Amateur to Professional: 1964–1970

Tim Bale

in The Conservatives since 1945: The Drivers of Party Change

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199234370
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191746093 | DOI:
Amateur to Professional: 1964–1970

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Back in opposition a meritocrat replaced an aristocrat as leader and, while there was little change on the frontbench, the Party selected a broader range of candidates. Organisationally, things changed: the leader was elected; there were attempts to break up city parties; campaigning, polling, advertising, broadcasting – and policy making – were all modernized. Policy itself shifted in an economically liberal, anti-trade union, pro-devolution but anti-immigration direction. Defeat in 1964 made a difference but less so than did the desire to do what had been left undone in government. A much bigger defeat in 1966 had no impact, at least on policy. The Party’s outgoing leader had just as much impact as the new broom who replaced him – a change that did not signal the triumph of a new faction. Most of the changes that took place were driven by anticipation of the next election and of government. Public opinion, the zeitgeist, and policy synchronisation were also important.

Keywords: Home; Heath; Wilson; Powell; leadership election; trade unions; comprehensive; immigration; Selsdon; Scottish devolution

Chapter.  25481 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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