British Conservatives - Then and Now

June 16, 2008
Posted by Jay Livingston

Conservatives in the UK take a position that’s opposite of US conservatives on the question of individual rights – at least the rights of those thrown into prison without any charges brought against them. (See the previous post.)

But conservatism within the UK may be at odds with itself, or at least with its old Thatcherite self. Here’s David Cameron, the Conservative Party leader, as quoted by David Brooks in his column last month
We used to stand for the individual. We still do. But individual freedoms count for little if society is disintegrating. Now we stand for the family, for the neighborhood — in a word, for society.
It seems like only yesterday, though it was nearly twenty years ago, that Margaret Thatcher was saying something very different.
There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.
(I’d love to use that quote as the only question on a sociology final. Discuss.)

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