The Conservative Party 1997 - 2007: The Lost Decade

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  • The Conservative party 1997 - 2007
    • Michael Howard (2003-2005)
      • on the right of the party, Micheal Howard was seen as more charismatic than Smith
      • he made immigration his main focus of the 2005 election
      • Lab. 356 (-17); Cons. 198 (+33) & Libs. 62 (+11)
        • 3% swing to Cons.
    • November 2005 - another new leader
      • 5th Cons. leader in 9 years
      • Cameron tried to re-invent his party
      • Just as Blair distanced Lab. from the TUs, Cameron distanced himself from Thatcherism
    • repositioning the party
      • Cameron moved away from traditional Cons. focus on tax cuts, Europe & immigration
      • he chose to change focus on: same-sex marriage, green issues & state funding of NHS
      • he rebranded the party with a new logo, image, tone, style etc.
      • he did not solve issues such as Europe which still divides the Cons. today
    • issues that divided the Cons. 1997-2007
      • divisions between those who felt the party needed change (mods) & those who resisted this (rockers)
      • divisions over Thatcherism
      • divisions over Europe
      • divisions over social conservatism
        • modernisers e.g. Cameron & Osbonre refused to follow the party line
      • but, Howard brought stability to the party
        • e.g. despite the fact he was socially conservative, he promoted Mods in his cabinet
        • he was supported by both mods & rockers
      • Cameron unified the party by & large with exceptions such as Tebbit who criticised the 'rejection of Thatcherism'
    • Iain Duncan Smith (2001-2003)
      • 'the Quiet Man'
      • in 2002 Cons. leader Iain Duncan Smith told his party conference that he was the 'quiet man' of politics
      • his approach failed to make any impact on the party
    • 1997 Cons. wipe out
      • Lab. won a landslide majority of 178 seats
      • Cons. lost all seats in Scotland & Wales
    • William Hague's 'Fresh Approach'
      • in 1997 a new leader William Hague suggested a new approach
      • keep Thatcher's economic principles
      • oppose British membership to the Euro
      • extend tolerance to gays, single-parent families & ethnic minorities
    • the 2001 election
      • Hague made anti-Eurpoeanism the central strategy of his 2001 election campaign
      • this failed to inspire voters
      • Blair won another term
      • Cons. won 166 seats - only one more than 1997
      • Hague resigned as party leader
    • why did successive leaders fail to restore the party's popularity?
      • divisions in the party
      • lack of charismatic leadership
      • needed to be rebranded
      • Blair's effective election machine & overall popularity

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