What was Progressive in ‘Progressive Conservatism'?
Article first published online: 8 JAN 2014
© 2014 The Author. Political Studies Review © 2014 Political Studies Association
Political Studies Review
Volume 12, Issue 1, pages 29–40, January 2014
How to Cite
Griffiths, S. (2014), What was Progressive in ‘Progressive Conservatism'?. Political Studies Review, 12: 29–40. doi: 10.1111/1478-9302.12036
- Issue published online: 8 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 8 JAN 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 11 SEP 2013
- progressive conservatism;
- David Cameron;
- Red Tory;
- one nation conservatism
In January 2009 David Cameron announced that the ‘underlying philosophy’ of his government would be progressive conservatism. Despite the ambiguity about this term, it was generally interpreted as a signal that Cameron was moving his party to the left. To some commentators, Cameron was allying with the progressive ‘one nation’ strand of conservative thought. To others, particularly in the media, he was drawing on the more immediate influence of Phillip Blond's ‘Red Toryism’. However, the focus on the market (as opposed to state or community) found in both Cameron's speech and subsequent policies sits uneasily with both of these interpretations. Cameron's progressive conservatism has more in common with Thatcherism – an earlier conservative modernising project – than it does with centrist forms of conservative progressivism. Cameron's progressive conservatism is progressive, but only in particular, less commonly used, ways – not as a rediscovery of social justice.