What was Progressive in ‘Progressive Conservatism’?

Griffiths, Simon. 2014. What was Progressive in ‘Progressive Conservatism’? Political Studies Review, 12(1), pp. 29-40. ISSN 1478-9299 [Article]

Text (© 2014 The Author. Political Studies Review © 2014 Political Studies Association)
What_was_Progressive_in_Progressive_Cons.pdf - Published Version

Download (150kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

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.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):



progressive conservatism, David Cameron, Thatcherism, Red Tory, one nation conservatism.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



January 2014Published
8 January 2014Published Online
11 September 2013Accepted

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

28 Aug 2018 08:29

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:49

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)