The Pursuit of Power

The Pursuit of Power : The Conservative Party in Office from Disraeli to Major

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Despite its worst electoral defeat since World War I the Conservative Party has enjoyed many more years in office than either its Labour or Liberal oppositions. In order to better understand its apparent rise and fall, Chris Wrigley provides a critical history of the Party. Wrigley covers its surge in popularity under Disraeli and Salisbury, its broad appeal in the interwar years, the "never had it so good" years of the postwar period, ideological shifts within the Party in the 1970s and 80s and the increasing disillusionment of Tory voters in the 1990s. In so doing Wrigley assesses the success of the party, its ability to adapt and the reasons for its appeal. Wrigley focuses on the key themes, such as the social status that the party conferred on the upwardly mobile, through the Freemasons and the Rotary and Lions clubs; and the network of support and patronage often attached to the monarchy. The cultures that have emerged around Conservatism are examined, such as Baldwin's patronage of rural England, the paternalist-landowner images of Macmillan and Douglas-Home and the upwardly-mobile meritocracy of Heath.
Wrigley also examines the Conservative Party's drive for power, its willingness to discard unsuccessful leaders, and its perceived tendency to do whatever has been necessary to gain and maintain power.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 128 pages
  • 135 x 215mm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • notes, index
  • 0745311865
  • 9780745311869

Table of contents

The Conservative Party before 1846; Conservative adaption 1846-86 - Disraeli and after; Salisbury's hegemony 1886-1902; Conservatism in crisis and change 1903-24 - tariff reform and war; safety first - the age of Baldwin and Chamberlain 1924-40; Tory paternalism in war and peace 1940-74; back to basics - dealing with enemies within and without 1975-96.
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