Conservative thinkers

The key contributors to the political thought of the modern Conservative Party

By Mark Garnett and Kevin Hickson

Conservative thinkers

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7508-7
  • Pages: 200
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: July 2009
  • BIC Category: Society & social sciences / Politics & government, Society & social sciences / Conservatism & right-of-centre democratic ideologies, Politics, Politics & government, Comparative politics, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Comparative Politics


This book outlines and evaluates the political thought of the Conservative Party through a detailed examination of its principal thinkers from Harold Macmillan to the present.

Traditionally, the Conservative Party has been regarded as a vote-gathering machine rather than a vehicle for ideas. This book redresses the balance through a series of biographical essays examining the thought of those who have contributed most to the development of ideas within the party. The chapters benefit from archival research and interviews with leading Conservatives. The recent revival of Conservative fortunes makes the book particularly timely.

The book begins with an introductory chapter explaining the role of ideology in the Conservative Party. It then traces the political thought of the Conservative Party through its principal theorists since the 1930s. These are Harold Macmillan, R. A. Butler, Quintin Hogg, Enoch Powell, Angus Maude, Keith Joseph, the 'traditionalists' (Maurice Cowling, T. E. 'Peter' Utley, Peregrine Worsthorne, Shirley Letwin and Roger Scruton), Ian Gilmour, John Redwood and David Willetts. The book concludes with an overall assessment of the political thought of the Conservative Party and the relevance of past debates for contemporary Conservatism.

The book will be of considerable interest to academics and non-academics alike; for those who have a special interest in the Conservative Party but also for any student of contemporary British Politics.


1. Harold Macmillan
2. Rab Butler and the One Nation Group
3. Quintin Hogg, Lord Hailsham
4. Enoch Powell
5. Angus Maude
6. Keith Joseph
7. The Traditionalists
8. Ian Gilmour and the wets
9. John Redwood
10. David Willettts


Mark Garnett is Lecturer in Politics at the University of Lancaster

Kevin Hickson is Lecturer in British Politics at the University of Liverpool

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