A brief history of one-nation Conservatism


I HEREBY predict that one of the great themes of British politics in the next few years will be “one-nation conservatism”. The Conservatives are currently running a presidential-style election campaign built around Theresa May and designed to hammer home the message that voters are not just voting for their local MPs on June 8th, but also deciding whether to put Mrs May or Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street.

But there are limits to this highly personal approach: the British political system is not a presidential one, Mrs May is proud of being a Conservative (indeed she famously told George Osborne that he ought to try to get to know the Conservative Party), and parliamentary parties need a guiding philosophy in order to flourish. After the election Mrs May will increasingly present herself as a champion of a new brand of one-nation Toryism: a brand of Conservatism that tries to unite the British people as a whole into a single political community while at the same time doing battle with the “Brussels bureaucrats” who want to do Britain down.

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