Chapter

Confrontation and Consensus: 1974–1979

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199234370.003.0006
Confrontation and Consensus: 1974–1979

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After a second election fought by flirting with a government of national unity, the leadership passed to an ideologue. There was no change in Tory candidates, but there was more change at the top than people now remember. There were also significant developments on the organisational front, involving centralisation and control but also the blurring of barriers between those in the Party and those advising it from the outside. Policy changed across the board as controlling inflation, cutting direct taxation and taming the unions became the domestic priorities. Scottish devolution was dumped and more assertive stance adopted towards the Soviets and ‘Europe’. The double defeats of 1974 were crucial, but so too were leaders and a new dominant faction. Money, or the initial lack of it, also mattered. Public and party opinion were important, too, as was an overwhelming determination to avoid repeating the mistakes of 1970-74.

Keywords: Thatcher; Heath; inflation; monetarism; trade unions; tax; Scottish devolution; immigration; think tanks; Liberal Party

Chapter.  30244 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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