Gender politics and conservatism: The view from the Conservative Party grassroots

Webb, Paul and Childs, Sarah (2012) Gender politics and conservatism: The view from the Conservative Party grassroots. Government And Opposition, 47 (1). pp. 21-48. ISSN 1477-7053

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Abstract

This article maps new survey data to show that there are three main ideological tendencies among Conservative Party members today and that they differ significantly on a range of contemporary political issues. The Liberal conservatives are the youngest, most male, claim to be the most active of these tendencies, and are distinguished by being the least hostile to Europe and immigration, to environmentalism or to a general feminist values, but the Traditionalist Tories – the largest, most working class and most female of the intra-party tendencies – are surprisingly progressive on a number of specific proposals and issues, including taxation and public spending, gender issues, and the institutional reform of politics. This suggests that, in so far as David Cameron has sought to push the party in a generally more 'centrist' and progressive direction since 2005, he has often gone with the grain of grassroots opinion; the Traditionalist Tories in particular would appear to endorse the thrust of much of his strategy. That said, there is clear scope for intra-party tension over the agenda of cuts in public expenditure which has surfaced since 2008. This hints at a potential revival of the old conflicts between 'wets' and 'dries' of the 1980s.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN0101 Great Britain
Depositing User: Paul Webb
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2012 15:13
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2012 15:13
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/41119
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