Defence of inequality has always been a core principle of the Conservative Party in Great Britain. Yet the Conservatives have enjoyed great electoral success in a British society marked by widespread inequalities of wealth and income. Peter Dorey here examines the intellectual and political arguments which Conservatives use to justify inequality. He also considers debates between Conservatives over how much inequality is desirable or acceptable. Should inequality be unlimited, in order to promote liberty, incentives and rewards? Or should inequality be kept within certain bounds to prevent social breakdown and political upheaval? Finally, he examines why some less prosperous sections of British society have nonetheless supported the Conservatives instead of political parties promoting equality. This book will be an important resource for students and commentators of contemporary British politics.
Peter Dorey is Reader in Politics at Cardiff University. He has published widely on the contemporary history of the Conservative Party, including 'The Conservative Party and the Trade Unions' (1995), 'The Major Premiership: Politics and Policies under John Major, 1990-97' (editor, 1999) and 'British Conservatism and Trade Unionism, 1945-1964' (2008).