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Abstract

In the last Conservative leadership election ‘run-off’ in 2001, before Michael Howard ‘emerged’ as the new leader in 2003, both Iain Duncan Smith (IDS) and Ken Clarke made claims on the One Nation tradition.2 This immediately raises the question of how Conservatives who appear so diametrically opposed, on both issues of state intervention and on European integration,3 could both possibly issue an appeal which extolled the virtues of One Nation Conservatism. This chapter addresses such a conundrum by first analysing the use of One Nation as a central Party myth and secondly, by examining the composition and the legacy of the One Nation dining group of Conservative MPs formed in 1950. Finally, it focuses on and challenges a certain portrayal of One Nation as a group exclusively on the left of the Party, as in any effective exposure of the great myths of British politics it is important to demonstrate just how distorted and pervasive such a view has become.

Keywords

Nation Group Conservative Policy Conservative Political Conservative Party Daily Telegraph 
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Notes

  1. 3.
    D. Baker and D. Seawright, Britain For and Against Europe (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), andGoogle Scholar
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    R.J. White, The Conservative Tradition (London: Nicholas Kaye, 1950), p.23.Google Scholar
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    D. Southgate, ‘The Defence of Land and Labour’, in N. Gash, D. Southgate, D. Dilks and J. Ramsden, The Conservatives: A History from their Origins to 1965 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1977), p.125.Google Scholar
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    I. Macleod and A. Maude (eds), One Nation: A Tory Approach to Social Problems (London: Conservative Political Centre, 1950) see note 33 below for full list of One Nation publications.Google Scholar
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    B. Disraeli, Coningsby, or the New Generation (London: Everyman’s Library, 1967), p.59.Google Scholar
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    E. Powell and A. Maude, Change is Our Ally: A Tory Approach to Industrial Problems (London: Conservative Political Centre, 1954); see note 33 below.Google Scholar
  14. 20.
    One Nation Group, One Nation at the Heart of the Future (London: Conservative Political Centre, 1996), p.7.Google Scholar
  15. 26.
    We should note here that by 1996 Alport believed that Macleod suggested the name and that he, Macleod, was one of the first members to join the group; see ‘Forming One Nation’, The Spectator, 30 March 1996, pp.15–16. But Alport in his ‘Red Notebook’ file for his future memoirs written in the 1980s (see p.18) clearly accepts Gilbert Longden as the first recruit and states: ‘It was Angus Maude who suggested the title “One Nation” for our book which had an immediate and remarkable success’ (see p.3), in Box 44, Alport papers. The error is reproduced in the work of Iain Gilmour and Mark Garnett, Whatever Happened to the Tories: The Conservatives since 1945 (London: Fourth Estate, 1998), p.vii.Google Scholar
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    A. Seldon, Churchill’s Indian Summer: The Conservative Government, 1951–55 (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1981), p.58. But see pp.57, 424 and 434 for both the limited and extended state views of the group.Google Scholar
  17. 33.
    One Nation publications: I. Macleod and A. Maude (eds), One Nation: A Tory Approach to Social Problems (London: Conservative Political Centre, 1950);Google Scholar
  18. E. Powell and A. Maude (eds), Change is Our Ally (London: Conservative Political Centre, 1954);Google Scholar
  19. Lord Balniel, R. Carr, W. Deedes, C. Fletcher-Cooke, R. Fort, B. Harrison, K. Joseph, G. Longden, T. Low, J. Ramsden and G. Rippon, The Responsible Society (London: Conservative Political Centre, 1959);Google Scholar
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  22. P. Goodhart, Jobs Ahead (London: Conservative Political Centre, 1984);Google Scholar
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    Harmar Nicholls was MP for Peterborough, 1950–October 1974; see W.J. Biffen, ‘Party Conference and Party Policy’, Political Quarterly, 32 (1962), p.262, for an account of this historical decision of the conference.Google Scholar
  26. 50.
    Thus, arguably the One Nation group played a part in the promotion of such neo-liberal ideas in this period. See also R. Crocket, Thinking the Unthinkable (London: Fontana Press, 1995).Google Scholar
  27. 52.
    See D. Willetts, Modern Conservatism (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1992).Google Scholar
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    See ‘Varieties of Conservatism’, in P. Norton and A. Aughey, Conservatives and Conservatism (London: Temple Smith, 1989), pp.53–89.Google Scholar
  29. 61.
    One Nation group minute, 28 June 1951, Alport Papers. Indeed, a similar but erroneous extrapolation could be made for an association with Lord Hinchingbrooke (Victor Montagu), who was Chairman of the Tory Reform Committee in 1943 (and was present with Hailsham at this dinner) and who was involved with Angus Maude in the Suez group and was later to become so hostile to European membership as a member of the Monday Club; see P. Seyd, ‘Factionalism within the Conservative Party: The Monday Club’, Government and Opposition, 7 (1972), pp.464–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 65.
    For example, see J. Cole, As it Seemed to Me (St Ives: Phoenix, 1996), pp.209 and 251. On page 209, he equates One Nation with Gilmour and ‘the wets’, and on page 251 he identifies Pym as ‘One Nation’ and makes an explicit contrast with him and John Nott who was more ‘Thatcherite than Thatcher’, but of course John Nott was a member of One Nation.Google Scholar
  31. 74.
    Alistair Burt, interviewed at the House of Commons, 28 June 2004. See G. Streeter (ed.), There Is Such a Thing as Society (London: Politicos, 2002).Google Scholar
  32. 77.
    Copy of letter from Mr J. Enoch Powell to Mr Angus Maude, 20 October 1952, in Longden Box List: Temporary File Number 31.Google Scholar
  33. 78.
    See James Maragach in the Sunday Times, 28 April 1968.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Seawright

There are no affiliations available

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