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Conservative party leadership strategy and the legacy of Thatcherite conservatism, 1997-2005

Hayton, Richard (2009) Conservative party leadership strategy and the legacy of Thatcherite conservatism, 1997-2005. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This research is a detailed analysis of the Conservative Party leadership's strategy between 1997 and 2005. Through an application of the strategic-relational approach to political analysis, it examines how the party responded to defeat, and seeks to explain why it struggled to return to a position from which it could effectively challenge for power. The particular focus is on how key figures in the leadership elite interpreted and understood the context they faced, how they sought to orientate their strategies towards it, and how ideology shaped their perspective. Three dilemmas for contemporary conservatism are highlighted and considered in depth: European integration; national identity and the 'English question'; and social liberalism versus social authoritarianism. These were chosen as each presents a significant ideological challenge for contemporary conservatism. The thesis explores how the leadership handled each of these, and how they related to the party's efforts to develop a strategy for electoral revival. The research exposes the inconsistent and uncertain nature of Conservative Party electoral strategy in this period. The strategic-relational analysis suggests that this stemmed not merely from the failure of key actors in the leadership, but from the need to address competing and sometimes contradictory contextual demands, and from difficulties inherent in dealing with the legacy of Thatcherism. The thesis argues that an appreciation of the 1997 -2005 period is essential for an understanding of the trajectory of contemporary conservatism under Cameron.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Politics (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.500293
Depositing User: EThOS Import Sheffield
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2016 14:14
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2016 14:14
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10326

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