A Conservative Consensus?

Part of the British Studies Series book series (BRSS)


Despite Labour’s propaganda — and the disappointment of later Conservatives — the Churchill years marked no great change in, but rather a reinforcement of, the prevailing consensus. Butler’s strategy in opposition had been aimed at trying to convince the electorate that the Conservatives could preside over a Welfare State with high public spending, and that there would be no return to the austerity of the 1930s. The Conservatives had fought a campaign which emphasized this theme; as Churchill put it: the nation needed a rest ‘if only to allow for Socialist legislation to reach its full fruition’.1 Nor did the election result suggest that the nation was anxious for any change. More votes had been cast for Labour than for the Conservatives (13,948,605 as opposed to 13,717,538),2 and the Conservatives had a slender majority of 17 seats. If the campaign and the result suggested that a period of consolidation was in order, Churchill was only too happy to oblige.


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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Dennis Kavanagh, Politics & Personalities (1990), p. 62.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A. Seldon, Churchill’s Indian Summer (1981) p. 426.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Andrew Roberts, Eminent Churchillians (1994), p. 258.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    A. Cairncross (ed.), The Robert Hall Diaries 1947–1953 (1989), p. 177.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    A. Home, Harold Macmillan, vol. I (1987); Seldon, pp. 250–9.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    A. Cairncross (ed.), The Robert Hall Diaries 1947–1953 (1989)Google Scholar
  7. Lord Birkenhead, The Prof in Two Worlds (1961), pp. 284–9Google Scholar
  8. K.O. Morgan, The People’s Peace (1989), pp. 119–22.Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    For example, Ian Gilmour, Inside Right (1977).Google Scholar
  10. 12.
    Lord Hailsham, The Case for Conservatism (1947), p. 22.Google Scholar
  11. 13.
    Michael Bentley, ‘Liberal Toryism in the Twentieth Century’, in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 1994, esp. pp. 187–91.Google Scholar
  12. 15.
    The locus classicus of this is now Margaret Thatcher, The Downing Street Years (1992)Google Scholar
  13. but see also Patrick Cosgrave, Margaret Thatcher: a Tory and her Party (1978) and Thatcher: the First Term (1985).Google Scholar
  14. 17.
    Dennis Kavanagh, Politics & Personalities (1990), pp. 42–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 18.
    T. E. Utley, Enoch Powell (1968), p. 66.Google Scholar
  16. 19.
    Roy Lewis, Enoch Powell: Principle in Politics (1979), pp. 48–51 for an analysis.Google Scholar
  17. 20.
    Lord Moran, Churchill: the Struggle for Survival (1965); see Seldon, pp. 42–54, for some common sense.Google Scholar
  18. 24.
    John Grigg, ‘Churchill: crippled giant’, Encounter, vol. XLVIII, no. 7, 1977.Google Scholar
  19. 28.
    Anthony Howard, RAB (1987), p. 222.Google Scholar
  20. 29.
    John Charmley, Churchill’s Grand Alliance (1995)Google Scholar
  21. David Carlton, Anthony Eden (1979)Google Scholar
  22. Diane Kunz, The Economic Diplomacy of the Suez Crisis (1991) for all of this.Google Scholar
  23. 30.
    Bernard Levin, The Pendulum Years (1969).Google Scholar
  24. 31.
    See Simon Heffer, ‘Centenary of a Double-Crosser’, Spectator, 5 February 1994, pp. 8–10.Google Scholar
  25. 32.
    Enoch Powell, ‘Macmillan: The Case Against’, Spectator, 10 January 1987, p. 15.Google Scholar
  26. 33.
    Margaret Thatcher, The Path to Power (1995), p. 118.Google Scholar
  27. 34.
    Harold Evans, Downing Street Diary (1981), p. 22.Google Scholar
  28. 36.
    Julian Amery, ‘ ‖And the Case For’, Spectator, 10 January 1987, p. 16.Google Scholar
  29. 37.
    Heffer, p. 9 for the last; Alistair Home, Macmillan vol. II (1989), p. 5, for the first.Google Scholar
  30. 38.
    Home II, pp. 64–5, but also G. Hutchinson, The Last Edwardian at No. 10 (1979).Google Scholar
  31. 42.
    Enoch Powell, ‘Macmillan. The Case Against’, Spectator, 10 January 1987, p. 15.Google Scholar
  32. 45.
    D. E. Butler and Anthony King, The British General Election of 1964 (1965), pp. 303–4.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© John Charmley 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of East AngliaEngland

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