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To What Extent Are the Conservatives Committed to Their Traditional Principles [25 Marks]

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To what extent are the Conservatives committed to their traditional principles
[25 marks]

Since 1979 the conservative party has undergone significant changes from the traditional party which first focused on ideas about human nature, order and pragmatism with new right conservatism under Thatcher. The current conservative party however, can be seen to be retaining traditional conservative principles and that they remain largely traditionalist. However there are many ways in which the conservative party has changed such as taxation, education and the welfare state. One way in which the conservative party has changed is through taxation. Traditionally the conservative party was known for believing in lower taxation rates. However the current conservative party has changed some of their policies and perhaps become more centralist on taxation. An example of this is proposing a new taxation scheme where people who earn under ten thousand pounds a year are exempt from paying tax; also a bigger ‘crack down’ on people who earn a larger salary. Therefore this means that they would pay more tax. This signifies deviation from traditional conservative principles; this can probably be labelled as part of the modernization of the party since Cameron has become leader. Another way the party has deviated from traditional conservative principles is through education. In contrast with the traditional condescending view on education by the conservatives, under Cameron there has been a strong emphasis on the idea that everybody should be able to go to university if their ability allows them too. This supports labour’s policies on scholarships to students from disadvantaged backgrounds and also attempting to establish more apprentiship jobs and work experience jobs to encourage young people who perhaps wouldn't go to university to learn skills that would provide a better future for them. However on the other hand although the conservatives now want every child to have the right to an education they firmly believe that a student’s progress is down to the work of a teacher. Therefore conservatives instead of wanting to privatize the education sector have chosen to pay teachers on their performance rates. Better results from teachers means a better salary. This means that flawed teachers are exposed and therefore paid less or terminated. Traditionally under conservative governments they have wanted to remove the state from people’s lives. Yet, under the Thatcher governments the state established tighter control over education, schools, colleges and universities. This signifies that Cameron has begun to move away from traditionalism in conservative policies for example a key part of the conservative manifesto is that they believe that there is a natural inequality. While Thatcher and Cameron are pro grammar schools, and the people in society that are better off going to private schools. Cameron has also put emphasis on more free schools and more academy schools, so to give those who don’t go to a grammar school the same opportunities. Traditional conservatism has always focused on having a strong government with strong law and order policies. Under Thatcher conservatives believed that prison works, and she was a strong believer of longer, harsher sentences. Thatcher believed that prison was the only way to rehabilitate criminals; although many supported this, it meant having an increased prison population at any one time and prisons could not support this. It meant a rebuilding process in order for prisons to be up to scratch to house all the prisoners that would be in them at any one time. However on the other hand, although Cameron wanted tougher sentencing policies, more powers for law enforcing bodies and to scrap the early release scheme (meaning that prisoners would have to serve their full prison sentence) by increasing prison capacity, pre-election. Post-election he put the plans on hold with more emphasis on rehabilitation of offenders and a second chance for ex-offenders. This would mean that ex-offenders would have their name scrapped from DNA databases and therefore have the chance to get a mainstream job. This shows how although Cameron still supports Thatcher’s policies, he is also in favour of newer policies that are more fitting to today’s society. This therefore signifies Cameron’s move away from traditional conservative principles and polices. Traditionally conservatives were against immigration. Although in previous conservative governments very little has been done in order to change the immigration process, Cameron put emphasis on changing it for the better and in theory reducing the amount of immigrants we have entering the country and using it for no conventional purposes and deliver to the hard working tax payers. However in the period of Thatcher’s leadership in the UK – 1979 to 1990 – they were broadly years of ‘zero immigration’, with immigration levels considerably lower than they are today. Immigration levels were stable, even recording a reduction in net migration to 53,200 in 1990 which had stood at 69,670 in 1979. This shows how under other government s immigration has been on the rise. However the conservatives are really aiming to clamp down on immigration in various ways such as: tightening benefits tourism and health tourism, so that we only welcome those who want to work hard and contribute to our society, also cutting net immigration from outside the EU to levels not seen since the late 1990s; this will ease pressure on the schools and hospitals that all hardworking taxpayers rely on and introducing a new citizen test with British values at its heart. This shows that Cameron is not deviating from traditional conservative principles because he is aiming to protect today’s society from people wanting to come in and jeopardize the system for the people who work hard to contribute well to modern day society. Overall I agree that Cameron follows traditional conservative principles he has also allowed himself to deviate from these in order to attempt to suit the needs of today’s society. For example although he has clearly followed Thatcher’s beliefs on education, he has also allowed change so to suit what modern day conservatives stand for. However I do believe that although it can be seen that the party has changed in many ways over time, it doesn't change the major fabric and machinery of the party and how the party has stayed the same at heart despite several changes which could perhaps be seen due to Cameron's beliefs himself rather than a party wide change.…...

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