Traditions of the Conservative Party
Order: Traditional conservatives believe that order in society is a strong human need. Without good order, progess cannot be achieved.
- Strong authoritarian policies on law and order
- Taking a hard line against organised process in society
- A general belief in strong government
Organic Society. This is a twofold philosophy. First, society is like a living organism and should be allowed to develop naturally, without artificial intervention. Secondly, all the sections of society depend on each other and are part of a single whole. We are not merely free individuals.
- Parties and governments should not seek to impose their own beliefs upon society
- Policies should be aimed at maintaining a strong, united society
Fear of Diversity: The belief in an organic society leads to a fear of too much social and cultural diversity, which might threaten social unity
- Opposition to multiculturalism
- Resistance to large amounts of immigration
- Intolerance towards "unconventional lifestyles"
Support for Tradition: Conservatives believe that traditions are important in maintaining unity, and continuity with the past. They provide a means by which a society can unite around common institutions and values. Traditions refer to both institutions and values
- Opposition to reforms that threaten traditional institutions, such as electoral reform, reform of the House of Lords, a changed role for the monarchy or movement towards a codified constitution
- Strong support for traditional values, largely surronding the traditional family and traditional morality. As far as possible the state should support these values through its policies
Support for private property and accumlated wealth: Conservatives see the ownership of property and wealth as being important in two ways. First, they are an expression of a family's individualism and their aspirations. Secondly, those who enjoy property and wealth have a greater sense of responsibility. Wealthy people have a responsibly to help those less fortunate. The last doctrine is known as noblesse oblige
- Taxes on property and wealth should be held down and possibly eliminated
- The rights of property owners should be protected, notably through strong policies on law and order and privacy laws.
- Conservatives have supported the idea that the wealthy should support the less privileged, but largely through the voluntary sector rather than high taxation
Pragmatism: It is a principle of conservatism that each problem in government should be dealt with on its own merits and not according to any fixed doctrines or ideology. Thus conservatives have opposed socialism and liberalism as such fixed doctrines
- Policies to be judged on their merits. Those which seem to favour the public good should be retained and those which do not, rejected, nom matter whether they come from left or right wing ideas
- In foreign policy the UK's national interests should always be pursued.