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Clear blue water?The Conservative Party and the welfare state since 1940$
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Robert M. Page

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781847429865

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847429865.001.0001

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The Conservative Party and the welfare state

The Conservative Party and the welfare state

clear blue water?

(p.145) Epilogue The Conservative Party and the welfare state
Clear blue water?

Robert M. Page

Policy Press

Most Conservatives tend to agree that the welfare state should provide a safety net for those at risk of destitution and that it should not be used as a vehicle for major egalitarian forms of redistribution. However, the party’s approach towards the welfare state has ebbed and flowed since 1940 with particular strands of Conservatism dominating at particular times. Between 1950 and 1964 the One Nation Conservative tradition held sway. In a brief interregnum under Edward Heath, a modern technocratic approach to the welfare state came to the fore to be succeeded by the emergence of neo-liberal Conservatism under the Thatcher and Major governments. At present, a progressive, neo-liberal Conservative approach is holding sway. While this represents continued support for neo-liberal economic policies it has been combined with a `tough’ but `fair’ approach to those experiencing poverty. It remains to be seen how long whether this current variation of Conservatism will hold sway.

Keywords:   conservativism, one nation conservatism, neo liberal conservatism, progressive neo liberal conservatism

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