If there are difficulties in the development and expression of business interests through representative associations, then it is possible that other routes may become important for the defence of business interests. One alternative route that suggests itself is through political parties, especially parties apparently favourable to business interests. This chapter will argue that the weaknesses of business political organisation apparent elsewhere are not compensated for by the effective defence of business interests through political parties. Indeed, under Margaret Thatcher’s leadership, the British Conservative Party was able to develop its own conception of what was good for business. In some respects, the policies developed did coincide with what was wanted by a broad spectrum of business opinion, but in others they were seen by some business persons as having harmful effects, particularly for manufacturing industry. When economic interest and party doctrine diverged, it was often party doctrine that emerged as more influential on the course of events. The ideological hegemony of “Thatcherism” meant that attempts to influence policy, to be successful, had to accept the basic premises of the New Right ideology — yet these were the very premises which large sections of domestically-based manufacturing industry sought to challenge in the first place’ (Judge, 1990, p. 221).
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