A Conservative Consensus?

  • John Charmley
Part of the British Studies Series book series


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.


Prime Minister Party Leader Social Harmony Conservative Politics Conservative Party 
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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Dennis Kavanagh, Politics & Personalities (1990), p. 62.CrossRefGoogle 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. 11.
    For example, Ian Gilmour, Inside Right (1977).Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    Lord Hailsham, The Case for Conservatism (1947), p. 22.Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    Michael Bentley, ‘Liberal Toryism in the Twentieth Century’, in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 1994, esp. pp. 187–91.Google Scholar
  9. 17.
    Dennis Kavanagh, Politics & Personalities (1990), pp. 42–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 18.
    T. E. Utley, Enoch Powell (1968), p. 66.Google Scholar
  11. 19.
    Roy Lewis, Enoch Powell: Principle in Politics (1979), pp. 4851 for an analysis.Google Scholar
  12. 20.
    Lord Moran, Churchill: the Struggle for Survival (1965); see Seldon, pp. 42–54, for some common sense.Google Scholar
  13. 24.
    John Grigg, ‘Churchill: crippled giant’, Encounter, vol. XLVIII, no. 7, 1977.Google Scholar
  14. 28.
    Anthony Howard, RAB (1987), p. 222.Google Scholar
  15. 30.
    Bernard Levin, The Pendulum Years (1969).Google Scholar
  16. 31.
    See Simon Heffer, ‘Centenary of a Double-Crosser’, Spectator, 5 February 1994, pp. 8–10.Google Scholar
  17. 32.
    Enoch Powell, ‘Macmillan: The Case Against’, Spectator, 10 January 1987, p. 15.Google Scholar
  18. 33.
    Margaret Thatcher, The Path to Power (1995), p. 118.Google Scholar
  19. 34.
    Harold Evans, Downing Street Diary (1981), p. 22.Google Scholar
  20. 36.
    Julian Amery, ‘…And the Case For’, Spectator, 10 January 1987, p. 16.Google Scholar
  21. 37.
    Heffer, p. 9 for the last; Alistair Home, Macmillan vol. II (1989), p. 5, for the first.Google Scholar
  22. 38.
    Home II, pp. 64–5, but also G. Hutchinson, The Last Edwardian at No. 10 (1979).Google Scholar
  23. 42.
    Enoch Powell, ‘Macmillan: The Case Against’, Spectator, 10 January 1987, p. 15.Google Scholar
  24. 45.
    D. E. Butler and Anthony King, The British General Election of 1964 (1965), pp. 303–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© John Charmley 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Charmley
    • 1
  1. 1.University of East AngliaUK

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