What do we really mean when we say a political party has changed? And exactly what is it that drives that change? Political scientists working in the comparative tradition have come up with a general explanation that revolves around the role of election defeats and loss of office, and around changes of leader and factions. But how well does that explanation cope when subjected to a historically-grounded and therefore robust examination? This book tries to answer that
question by subjecting the common wisdom to a real-world, over-time test using one of the world's oldest and most successful political parties as an in-depth case study. What do the periods spent in both opposition and government by the British Conservatives since 1945 tell us about what drives
parties to change their sales-force, the way they organize, and the policies they come up with? Using internal papers, memos and minutes of meetings from party archives, along with historical and contemporary accounts, memoirs and interviews, this book maps the extent of change and then explores what may have driven it. The conventional wisdom, it turns out, is not necessarily wrong but incomplete, requiring both qualification and supplementation. This approachably-written book suggests when,
how, and why. Along the way, it provides a fresh and comprehensive account of the Conservative Party that should appeal equally to those interested in political history and those interested in political science.
Tim Bale graduated from Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge before going on to take a Masters degree at Northwestern University in the USA. He received his doctorate from Sheffield University. He joined the University of Sussex in 2003 after teaching at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He has published widely on party politics, particularly in Britain and Europe. He is the author of the prize-winning book, The Conservative Party from Thatcher to Cameron and has written for the Financial Times and the Guardian, as well as contributing to television and radio shows both in the UK and overseas.
1. Introduction ; 2. Disaster to Deliverance: 1945-1951 ; 3. Anxiety, Appeasement, Affluence - and After: 1951-64 ; 4. Amateur to Professional: 1964-1970 ; 5. Betrayal: 1970-4 ; 6. Confrontation and Consensus: 1974-1979 ; 7. Messiah to Meltdown: 1979-1997 ; 8. Conclusion ; Index