The Conservative Party's survival as a significant political force was now open to serious question for the first time since the crisis over the Corn Laws. The Labour Party has commanded a fairly consistent level of attention, whether in office or in opposition. But it seems that the Conservatives are fated to be regarded either as unavoidable or irrelevant. This book presents an analysis that suggests that the party leader plays a less important role in Conservative recoveries than a distinctive policy programme and an effective party organization. It examines the Conservative position on a series of key issues, highlighting the difficult dilemmas which confronted the party after 1997, notably on economic policy. New Labour's acceptance of much of the main thrust of Thatcherite economic policy threw the Conservatives off balance. The pragmatism of this new position and the 'In Europe, not run by Europe' platform masked a significant move towards Euro-skepticism. The book also traces how the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Parties adapted to the creation of the Scottish Parliament, exploring the re-organisation of the Scottish party, its electoral fortunes and political prospects in the new Scottish politics. It examines issues of identity and nationhood in Conservative politics in the 1997-2001 period, focusing on the 'English Question' and the politics of 'race'. The predictable results of the Conservatives' failure to develop an attractive, consistent narrative are then analysed. Right-wing populist parties with charismatic leaders enjoyed some electoral success under the proportional representation systems in 2002.
Conservative politics of nationhood under
William Hague, focusing on the ‘EnglishQuestion’ and the politics of ‘race’.
Policy towards the European Union (EU) is examined in Chapter 8.
The end of Empire, moves towards membership of the European Community (EC), devolution and immigration posed significant challenges to the
dominant One Nation perspective in the 1960s. Two contrasting positions
on how to adapt the Conservative politics of nationhood emerged. Edward
Heath proposed EC membership, Scottish devolution and a liberal perspective
on race relations. Enoch Powell
Anderson, P. (1992b ) ‘Figures of descent’, in Anderson, P., EnglishQuestions
Anderson, P. (1992c) ‘The light of Europe’, in Anderson, P., EnglishQuestions
Anderson, P. (1992d) EnglishQuestions
Benn, T. (1992) The End of an Era
Berger, S. (2000) ‘Labour in comparative perspective’, in Tanner, D., Thane, P. and Tiratsoo,
N. (eds) Labour’s First Century, Cambridge
Birchall, I. (1980–81) ‘The autonomy of theory: a short history of New Left Review’, International Socialism, 10
Chun, L. (1993) The British New Left, Edinburgh
Crosland, C. A. R. (1956) The
new Scottish politics. In Chapter 10, Philip Lynch examines issues of
identity and nationhood in Conservative politics in the 1997–2001 period,
focusing on the ‘EnglishQuestion’ and the politics of ‘race’. Hague pledged
to redress the perceived inequities of New Labour’s devolution settlement by
introducing the idea of ‘English votes for English laws’ at Westminster, but
he resisted suggestions that the Conservatives should support the creation
of an English Parliament. Hague spoke positively of the contributions made
to British life by ethnic minority communities
different parts of the UK. However, saying ‘sorry’ to Scottish voters for
eighteen years of rule by an insensitive Conservative steamroller – which
delivered the poll tax – and expecting to be forgiven in time for the first
elections to the Scottish Parliament seemed optimistic to say the least.
Moreover, in contrast to moderating its position towards devolution and
to Scotland, the Conservatives also sought to make political capital from the
rise of the Englishquestion. And this situation illustrated the Conservative
political dilemma: how to appear pro-Scottish in
understandings of the most recent ideological transformation of the
party from ‘Old’ to ‘New’ Labour, a transformation that, as Kenny and Smith
(2001: 234) suggest, is ‘a complex political problem which requires a multidimensional and disaggregated interpretation’.
Unless indicated, the place of publication is London.
Abrams, M., Rose, R. and Hinden, R. (1960) Must Labour Lose? Harmondsworth
Anderson, P. (1992) EnglishQuestions, London and New York
Archer, M. (1995) Realist Social Theory: The Morphogenetic Approach, Cambridge
Bale, T. (1999) ‘The logic of no
Labour, the people and the ‘new political history’
Unless indicated, the place of publication is London.
Anderson, P. (1992 ) ‘Origins of the present crisis’, reprinted in his EnglishQuestions
Bagehot, W. (1983) The English Constitution
Baker, N. (1996) ‘“Going to the dogs”. Hostility to greyhound racing in Britain: puritanism,
socialism and pragmatism’, Journal of Sports History, 23:2
Beer, S. H. (1965) Modern British Politics
Bentley, M. (1996) Politics Without Democracy, 1815–1914
Berrington, H. (1992) ‘Dialogue of the deaf? The elite and the electorate in mid-century
Britain’, in Kavanagh, D. (ed
Emigration and the spread of Irish religious influence
’Farrell, Ireland’s EnglishQuestion Anglo-Irish Relations 1534–1970 (London, 1971), pp. 235–40.
Population, providence and empire
David Doyle, reviewing scholarship on the diaspora, referred to ‘the
‘Ireland’s Spiritual Empire’ thesis of the 1950s’; David Noel Doyle, ‘Small
differences?: the study of the Irish in the United States and Britain’ in
I.H.S., xxix:113 (May, 1994), 118; see also Conor Cruise O’Brien, States of
Ireland (London, 1972), p. 53; Desmond Fennell, The State of the Nation:
Ireland since the Sixties