True Blues : The Politics of Conservative Party Membership: The Politics of Conservative Party Membership

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Oxford University Press, USA, Oct 13, 1994 - POLITICAL SCIENCE - 316 pages
The Conservative Party has been one of the most successful political parties in the western world, and yet its membership appears to be increasingly disaffected and in decline. This is the first in-depth examination of the party's grass roots, and provides a fascinating insight into who they are and what they think. - ;The Conservative Party is one of the most successful political parties in the western world. Its success has been built on its large grass roots membership. And yet that memberhip appears to be increasingly disaffected and in decline. This book is the first in depth study of this crucial section of the Conservative Party. Drawing on new and revealing survey data, it paints a fascinating picture of the social make-up and political views of a grass roots membership who dislike Jacques Delors more than the European Community, and The Sun newspaper most of all. The book challenges the stereotypical view of the Conservative activist as an eccentric and politically irrelevant Thatcher-loving extremist. Instead, the authors argue that the grass roots membership are the unsung heroes of political life; helping to keep the party system working and democracy intact at a time when it is under considerable strain. The authors claim that to some extent the party is the author of its own problems, and point out the likely dire consequences for its future success if the current decline continues. They conclude by outlining the ways in which the leadership might revitalize its most important political asset. -
 

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Contents

Introduction and Overview
1
Party Members in Context
19
Who Are the Members?
42
Joining the Conservative Party
72
Explaining Party Activism
100
Political Ideology and Party Members
126
Perceptions of the Party and Society
161
Local Campaigning and the Conservative Vote
189
Conclusionsthe Future of the Party
219
APPENDIX I
239
APPENDIX II
243
REFERENCES
281
INDEX
291
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