What about the workers?

What about the workers?

The Conservative Party and the organised working class in British politics

Andrew Taylor


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The relationship between the Conservative Party and the organised working class is fundamental to the making of modern British politics. The organised working class, though always a minority, was perceived by Conservatives as a challenge and many union members dismissed the Conservatives as the bosses’ party. Why, throughout its history, was the Conservative Party seemingly accommodating towards the organised working class that it ideology would seem to permit? And why, in the space of a relatively few years in the 1970s and 1980s, did it abandon this heritage? For much of its history party leaders calculated they had more to gain from inclusion but during the 1980s Conservative governments marginalised the organised working class to a degree that not so very long ago would have been thought inconceivable.


Andrew Taylor:
Andrew Taylor is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh