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Why and to What Extent Have Conservatives Supported one Nation Principles

Essay by   •  November 5, 2012  •  Essay  •  387 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,726 Views

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The belief that governments should be committed to reforms that make people feel part of the nation is a defining feature of one nation conservatism. The various factions of the ideology consist of differing degrees of one nation principles; in one nation Conservatism, this is the defining principle, in traditional Conservatism it is a minor consideration, whilst the New Right holds views that are against this belief. You should also be aware that ONC includes striking a pragmatic balance between business and the needs of the people, the idea of the government taking noblesse oblige and the idea of making decisions to keep the 'ship' afloat as opposed to directing it.

Perhaps most obviously, one nation principles are at the centre of one nation conservatism. The idea of Britain being viewed as a nation is of great importance to one-nation thinkers and this is why they are committed to reforms that make people feel part of the nation. This brings in ideas of social responsibility and the belief that social reform is essential in order to preserve a fragile society; in terms of strengthening existing bonds, reducing resentment and making people feel part of the nation. However, a pragmatism that places great importance on maintaining the balance between social reform and a lack of interference in the economy is also at the centre of the ideology. This is characterised by a belief that those with wealth should be allowed to keep it but should also be prepared to help those less fortunate of their own accord. An example of the accommodation that one-nation Conservatives reach with Capitalism can be seen in Disraeli's factory reform acts that limited the hours of women and children but not those of men. Here, he was carrying out social reform that would not compromise industry and the economy.

Also, many within the ideology see one-nation conservatism as being a crossover between the feudal obligations of the nobility and industrial philanthropy. This idea of governing pragmatically was put forward by Oakshott when he compared the state to a ship afloat on the sea with no origin and no destination. However, whilst this is the case, there is a strong sense of a need for social reform in order to preserve society within one-nation conservatism that is not necessarily present in other forms of the ideology.

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