Margaret Thatcher and the Conservatives In 1975, Margaret Thatcher became leader of the Conservative Party and began to steer it towards what many have dubbed ÔThatcherismÕ. Margaret Thatcher believed in radical change, individuality, and a strong Government that enforces the law, rather than interfering in the economy. She was also opposed to the welfare state. In many ways, her ideology was broadly similar to classical liberalism, and many theorists see her ideology as neo-liberalism. Under her rule, the Conservatives were no longer truly conservative, as conservatives are usually opposed to too much individualism and liberty, and definitely do not want radical change. However, in terms of morality they remained staunchly conservative, believing strongly in the family and in law and order. It can be said then that the Conservative Party had become economically liberal but morally conservative. The Modern Conservative Party
This Classical liberal ideology is still prevalent in todayÕs Conservative Party. Consecutive leaders after Thatcher have all stayed relatively true to her reforms of the party and its ideology, believing in economic classical liberalism. However, in recent times they have struggled to get their message across as supposedly they are liberals, and yet are often against homosexuality, drugs and immigration-ideas which are much more right wing and against the very principles of Liberalism. This has led to a decline in their support, as people do not know what ideology the Conservatives are trying to represent, as some of their ideas seem to conflict with each other. In this way, it could be said that the Conservative Party do not reflect a specific ideology because they are often seen as a confusing amalgamation of several with no real, specific ideological status. It would be wrong to describe them as a conservative party, as they are in favour of change, but it would also be wrong to label them as a classical liberal party as they are essentially opposed to too much freedom of the individual. Recent Developments in the Conservative Party
Under their new leader, David Cameron, the Conservatives seem to have moved more right wing. Some of their main policies include creating more law and order, cracking down on immigration by bringing in Border police, and stopping people claiming too many welfare benefits if they are able to work. All of these policies are much less liberal and more conservative, showing that perhaps the Conservative Party are shifting to the right under David Cameron. However, it is still laden with neo-liberalist views, such as increasing choice and opportunities for the individual and cuts in Government spending. Therefore, it cannot truly be said that the Conservative Party follow a conservative ideology, nor do they follow a liberal ideology. They are an interesting mixture of neo-liberal economic policies, combined with moral and social conservatism. This makes them hard to place on any political spectrum, and thus it cannot be said that they really reflect any specific ideology.
Prior to Tony BlairÕs electoral success of 1997, the Labour Party were torn by ideological strife, with two main factions emerging. On the one side were the socialists, who wanted to turn Labour into a fully-fledged socialist party, while others, the Social Democrats, who wanted to move the party into the centre ground. The main problem was that this ideological strife made the party seem weak and resulted in a lot of election failures. The Labour Party did not really have an ideological stance at this time, with some leaders favouring socialism, while others favouring a social democrat approach. The main problem was that this haphazard ideology and constant struggle for power made the party seem virtually unelectable to the populace. Many argued that the Labour Party talked like socialists, but acted like social democrats, and after many of these unhappy social...
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