Established political parties

  • Created by: HanRed16
  • Created on: 23-10-18 14:20

The Conservative Party

Traditonal Consveratism:

The origins of the Conservatism date back to the Tory Party of the late 17th century, an aristracratic group first came together in defence of the histrorical privileges of the Crown and CoE as powerful landowning owners. The party was remarkably sucessful in the late 19th and 20th centuries, beginning to be supported by middle classes also.

One-Nation Conservatism:

Associated with Benjamin Disraeil (PM 1868 and 1874-80) who commented on the growing division between the rich and the poor in the mid-19th century, produced by the development of industrial capitilism. The 'one-nation' philosophy sought to bridge the gulf between the classes through a paternalistic (thinking or behavouir by people of authority that result in them making decisions for other people, with their best interests in mind, that may prevent them taking responsiblity for their own lives) social policy. This was really to prevent a revolution as the poor may feel unhappy with their position in society. It became a party for the middle classes also.

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The New Right

New Right source to reduce state intervention in the economy, while restoring order to society in the face of rising challenges from millirant trade unions and other groups on the left.

New Right combined the approach:

  • the thinking of neo-conservatives who wanted the state to take a more authoritraian approach to morality and law and order.
  • the thinking of neo-liberals who endorsed the free market and the rolling back of the state in people's lives and business. 
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Margaret Thatcher (leader 1975-90) favoured more sharp ideological forms of conservatism. Thatcherism was linked with the rise of a school of thought known as the New Right.

Thatcherism comprised the following key themes:

  • Control of public spending, tax cuts to provide incentives for businesses and to stimulate econmonic growth.
  • Privitasation of industries and services taken into state ownership to promote improvement and wider consumer choice through competiton.
  • Legal limits on power of trade unions to deter industrial action.
  • A tough approach on law and order, with increased police and judicial powers.
  • Assertion of British interests abroad.
  • A desire to protect national sovereignty against the growth of the European Community (EU).

Thaterchites encouaged people to take more responsibiltiy for themselves. However, in practise the popularity of the NHS and the need to maintain a framework of state welfare provision limited the scope for radical reform.

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Old Labour

The Labour Party was founded in 1900 by a group of socialist societies and trade unions. It was known until 1906 as the Labour Representation Committee- to get more working class MPs into parliment, where they could push for better working and living constions for working class people.

The first Labour government took office in 1924 under Ramsay MacDonald which was short lived that didnt command a parlimentary majority. The same followed in their second time in office (1929-31) whih failed due to the divide caused by the Wall Street Crash in America. But not until 1945 could they make changes in their third term, with a majory government. These changes included the nationalisation of the industries,a system in social security and the creation of the NHS.

Old Labour (social democracy) had key Labour principles embodying nationalisation, redistrubution of wealth from rich and poor and the provision of continually improving welfare and state services- contrasting with the free market approach prefered by Thatcherism or New Labour.

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New Labour

With more support, the party moved away from its hard left position of the early 1980s. They recognised that policies that appealed soley to the traditional working class would not be enough to win an election.

Under the influence of progressive thinker Anthony Giddens, the party was rebranded as 'New Labour' which aimed to find a way between old-style socialism and free-market capitalism.

The creation sparked intense controversy as tradtionals felt that Blair was too much at home with business leaders and too enthusisatic for the values of the market. Supporters aruged that adaptation was key to a changing society and that it embodied 'traditional values in a modern setting'.

Key features of New Labour in power included:

  •  Emphasis on wealth reation rather than distribution- sought to reduce poverty but did not make the elimination of inequality a priority.
  • People need to be aware of their responsibility to the commnity as well as their rights- sought to impose conditions on the receipt pf welfare benefits and brought in legal measures to deal with anti-social behaviour (ASBOs). Promising to be tough on crime.
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New Labour- continued

  • Responsibity in handling the national finances: aimed to differentiate themselves from eariler social democratic administration, by conserving resources before investing more in key public services.
  • Enlisting the public sector to deliver public services: for example, Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contarcts were awarded to private firms to build new schools and hospitals.
  • Influence of liberal ideology on Labour thinking: the trasnfer of central government functions to new representative bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northan Ireland. With the passing of the Human Rights Act in 1998, but still stood by tougher consequences for criminals.
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