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Theresa May's mode of Conservatism; 'Soft' One Nation Toryism

Dorey, Peter ORCID: 2023. Theresa May's mode of Conservatism; 'Soft' One Nation Toryism. Roe-Crines, Andrew S. and Jeffery, David, eds. Statecraft: Policies and Politics under Prime Minister Theresa May, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 219-238. (10.1007/978-3-031-32472-7_12)

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This chapter will argue that, unlike Margaret Thatcher, Theresa May’s particular mode of Conservatism was difficult to discern, partly because many of her public pronouncements were often Delphic, which in turn reflected her pragmatic approach to politics. While aversion to abstract ideas and academic theories has traditionally been a key feature of British Conservatism, Thatcher clearly imbued it with ideological rigour, and Cameron, at least prior to becoming Prime Minister, eulogised the ‘Big Society’ extolling a more caring and socially responsible post-Thatcherite Conservatism. Careful reading of her key speeches and published interviews suggests that in many respects, May was instinctively a One Nation Conservative. On economic issues, she was certainly not a neoliberal ideologue, and while she certainly did not advocate a return to a mixed economy entailing some nationalisation, she was not an enthusiastic privatiser either. She was not afflicted with market-mania, and as such, was willing to concede that the unfettered, deregulated, market economy was fuelling excessive inequality and fostering corporate greed in many of Britain’s boardrooms. Like Edward Heath, she recognised that Capitalism did have an ‘unacceptable face’, and might thus require government regulation to save the system from itself.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff Law & Politics
Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN: 9783031324710
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2023 11:08

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