Political parties ideology
History of the political parties in the UK
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - Political parties ideology
UK Political Parties: Ideologies
Conservative & Labour Party
Key Terms & Concepts
New LabourOld Labour Brown &
The Conservative Party:
• Founded in 1834
• Adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and
British unionism. (Union of GB & NI)
What is ‘conservatism?’
“A social & political philosophy which seeks to retain
- Pragmatic approach (slow, incremental change)
- Seeks to maintain the ‘status quo’ / no radical change
- Favours well established conditions, therefore slow,
progressive change to legislation.
• One of two dominant parties in the 19th Century
• (Conservatives & Liberals)
• 20th Century – (1920’s + Conservatives &
• In office for 57 years of the 20th Century
• Notably Churchill (1940 – 45, 1951-55)
• Thatcher (1979 – 1990)
One Nation Conservatism I
• This was the name given to the general ideology
of the party during the 20th century until the
birth of Thatcherism in the 1970’s.
* Post WW2 this was used to justify promoting
FULL EMPLOYMENT, welfare provision for the
poor & promoting social harmony.
Term derives from Disraeli (1804-81) (1874-80)
He thought the greatest threat to society lay in
the failure to integrate the poorer classes in to
mainstream society. This needed to be done!
One Nation Conservatism II
• Key beliefs/core values
• Redistribution of tax
• Social welfare – provision for the poor.
• State education & healthcare
• State pension schemes
• Compromise & consensus among the people.
• ‘Paternal Conservatism’ (State as a ‘father’)
• Government should provide for and regulate for its
citizens as a father would his children.
• Ruling class has a duty to promote the welfare of its
• Compassionate, concern for other – more inclusive.
• ‘ONE NATION’
Thatcherism: 1970’s +
• Rejected the consensus politics of the ‘post-war’ era and rejected
conservative pragmatism for the ideology of a free-market and
competition. (everything up for grabs – no longer ‘one nation’)
• Thatcherism & The New Right argued that the state needed to be
‘reigned’ back & spending needed to be cut. No ‘nanny state’
• Example: privatisation of national industries & sale of council houses
• Rugged ‘individualism’
• Belief that as individuals are self-interested and should endeavour
to do our best & achieve our potential.
• ‘Get on your bike’ (to look for work)
• ‘Stand on your own two feet’
• ‘Self help’
• Defended Britain's national interest – ‘euro sceptic’
conservatism & the Big Society
• “Political philosophy that stresses using traditionally conservative
methods & concepts in order to improve the general welfare of
• Social problems such as healthcare or immigration better tackled
through charities/corporations etc rather than directly through the
government departments. Transfer of state responsibilities to
external agencies – communities taking control of themselves.
• Big emphasis on Social Justice –
• E.g. giving individuals and families facing multiple disadvantages
the support and tools they need to turn their lives around. No
‘benefit culture’ ‘PEOPLE power & big society’
• Supports the ideals of:
• - Traditional families
• - Welfare reform to promote individual responsibility
• - Active policing
• - Standards-based schools (cf. No Child Left Behind)
• - Assistance (economic or otherwise) to poor countries.
The Labour Party
• Founded in 1900
• Originally established as a left wing party (though is now
considered more centre left) and has maintained its stance as a
democratic socialist party.
• What is ‘socialism’?
• “Social organisation in which the means of producing and
distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized
government that often plans and controls the economy.”
• - democratic socialist – done in a democratic capacity.
• Labour party has been described as a ‘Broad Church’ containing a
diversity of ideological trends from strongly socialist, to more
moderately social democratic.
The Labour Party
• Overtook the Liberal Party in the
1920’s in the two party system.
• Formed minority Governments under
Macdonald (1924, 29-31)
• Majority Governments post-war under
Attlee (1945-51) Wilson (1974-76)
• Longest serving Labour PM – Blair
(1997 – 2007)
• Blair signified a break in the party from ‘Old
Labour’ to ‘New Labour’
• Trade union ideas and interests dominated the early
history of the Labour Party.
• ‘emerged from the bowels of the trade union
movement’ (Bevin) – product of this movement.
Clause Four – original basis of the party 1918:
Public ownership of key industries
Government intervention in the economy
Redistribution of wealth
Increased rights for workers
Welfare state – ‘cradle to the grave’
State education and healthcare. (1948 NHS)
Raise taxes to pay for public services
Maintained close relationship with trade unions
New Labour/ The Third Way
1997 – 2010 II
• Trade unions losing its influence?
• ‘One person one vote’ for trade unions – rather than previous
• No longer dominated by trade union interests?
• Symbolic – change of logo from manual workers tools to red logo.
• Previous targeted electorate had changed. Working class
proportion had become smaller and more fragmented along
ethnic and gender lines. Could no longer win elections by
depending on the vote of white, working class male manual
• Now needed to appeal to ‘Middle England’ – an electoral
• Emphasis on ‘cohesion’, ‘solidarity’, ‘community’ , ‘fairness’
• Blair amended clause 4 1995.
New Labour II
• Core values & beliefs:
• Equality for all – equality of opportunity
• Community ‘we achieve more together than we do alone’
• Break away from Old Labour – did not raise taxes to pay
for public services.
• Public/private mix. Rejects public ownership.
• Equal and mutual respect for freedom for all.
• Some important implementations:
• National minimum wage
• EU Court of Human rights in to UK law.
Post 2010 – Miliband – ‘One Nation’
• Miliband has publically criticised the policies/ideology
of New Labour and suggests that the party needs to
attract traditional labour voters alienated by Blair.
• Argues for further government in the economy.
• Plans for new taxes for higher paid workers, an assault
on City bankers and new trade union rights for
Inequality is tackled not through redistributing
money to the poor by taxing the rich and
providing benefits, but through fairer, more
equal wages so that welfare services are less