May 4, 2019

WHAT WE MEAN WHEN WE SAY cONSERVATISM IS NOT AN IDEOLOGY:

What Thatcher got right (Oliver Wiseman, 5/04/19, CapX)

For all that Thatcherism is rightly recognised as an ideological revolution in British public life, it is important to remember its pragmatic roots. In her foreword to the 1979 Conservative manifesto, she wrote:

"This election may be the last chance we have to... restore the balance of power in favour of the people. It is therefore the most crucial election since the war... It contains no magic formula or lavish promises. It is not a recipe for an easy or a perfect life. But it sets out a broad framework for the recovery of our country, based not on dogma but on reason, on common sense, above all on the liberty of the people under the law."

What lessons does this message hold for Conservatives today?

First it is a reminder that electoral success lies in the application of Conservative policies and ideas to the problems of the day, not in fighting yesterday's battles. Securing popular capitalism in 1979 meant tackling inflation and facing down overmighty union leaders. Today I think it means solving the housing crisis and unlocking the productivity growth that will deliver higher wages and greater prosperity.

It was obviously crucial that she was able to tag team with Volcker/Reagan in crushing inflation/wage growth.

Posted by at May 4, 2019 8:25 AM

  

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