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Gender politics and conservatism: The view from the Conservative Party grassroots
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-08, 12:37 authored by Paul WebbPaul Webb, Sarah Childs
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.
JournalGovernment and Opposition
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