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.


Nation Group Conservative Policy Conservative Political Conservative Party Daily Telegraph 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Seawright

There are no affiliations available

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