Theme: Parties & Elections | Content Type: Journal article

Such a Thing as Society: The Conservative Party, Social Liberalism, and the One Nation Tradition since the Cameron Era

Niles Webb


Lewis Latham

| 1 min read

As factionalism becomes increasingly prominent within the Conservative Party, understanding the worldviews of the respective groupings has become key to understanding the party itself. This is especially true regarding the one nation group which is the most numerous in Parliament. From the Cameron era, the term ‘one nation’ expressed leaders’ attempts to modernise the party, reckon with the Thatcherite social legacy, and carve out a distinct centre-right identity which contained both socially liberal and distinctly conservative elements. However, reconciling ‘modern’ and ‘conservative’ views has been singularly difficult. Whilst bridging the two rhetorically and intellectually has been possible, leaders have struggled to translate such a synthesis into a viable governmental agenda that unites the party. Underlying this difficulty is fierce disagreement on immigration, sovereignty, nationhood and cosmopolitanism, resulting in one nation conservatism becoming a signal of intra-party disagreement rather than unifying leadership.

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