British Conservatism - The Grand Tour

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0120130902

Anne McElvoy tells the stories of big challenges that have spurred leading British conservative thinkers into action, from the French Revolution to the Permissive Society.

Episode 1: How the French Revolution shocked progressive MP Edmund Burke into defending British traditions and privileges - sowing the seeds of British conservatism.

Bourke was no reactionary - he was a supporter of the American Revolution of the 1770s. Many of his fellow progressives saw in the French Revolution a similar push for liberation.

But to their consternation, Burke predicted that the French Revolution would descend into bloodshed.

He questioned abstract French ideas of Liberty and instead championed British tradition, from the right to own property, through the role of the Church, to the stabilizing effect of the House of Lords.

Among the radicals aghast at Burke's heresy was a young Cumbrian poet and student, William Wordsworth.

But having witnessed the impact of the Terror in Paris for himself, he - like other radical champions of the Revolution - began to turn away from it.

Finally, with Burke dead but his influence on conservatism spreading through nineteenth century Britain, Wordsworth hailed the long-dead MP as a genius.

With: Professor Richard Bourke, Professor Dinah Birch

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0120130902

Anne McElvoy tells the stories of big challenges that have spurred leading British conservative thinkers into action, from the French Revolution to the Permissive Society.

Episode 1: How the French Revolution shocked progressive MP Edmund Burke into defending British traditions and privileges - sowing the seeds of British conservatism.

Bourke was no reactionary - he was a supporter of the American Revolution of the 1770s. Many of his fellow progressives saw in the French Revolution a similar push for liberation.

But to their consternation, Burke predicted that the French Revolution would descend into bloodshed.

He questioned abstract French ideas of Liberty and instead championed British tradition, from the right to own property, through the role of the Church, to the stabilizing effect of the House of Lords.

Among the radicals aghast at Burke's heresy was a young Cumbrian poet and student, William Wordsworth.

But having witnessed the impact of the Terror in Paris for himself, he - like other radical champions of the Revolution - began to turn away from it.

Finally, with Burke dead but his influence on conservatism spreading through nineteenth century Britain, Wordsworth hailed the long-dead MP as a genius.

With: Professor Richard Bourke, Professor Dinah Birch

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0220130903

Anne McElvoy tells the stories of big challenges that have spurred leading British conservative thinkers into action, from the French Revolution to the Permissive Society.

Episode 2: By the 1830s and 1840s, the Industrial Revolution had brought vast changes to British life. It delivered innovation and prosperity, but chaos and disconnection too.

In the industrial north of England in particular, unrest was growing.

In this episode, Anne visits the Chelsea home of the great Scottish writer and thinker Thomas Carlyle, to find out how he fought back against the Industrial Revolution and the revolutionary idea it brought in its wake.

Carlyle argued that the concept of Utilitarianism, with its New Poor Law and its attack on older forms of charity, was forging a cold new world of atomized individuals. The only things that now connected people, he contended, were cash and disease.

In response, he called for strong leadership and a return to medieval Christian values.

And Anne visits Newcastle to see how Carlyle's ideas found a profound echo in architecture, through the buildings of Augustus Pugin, still visible across the country today.

With: Professor Dinah Birch, Dr Tristram Hunt MP

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0220130903

Anne McElvoy tells the stories of big challenges that have spurred leading British conservative thinkers into action, from the French Revolution to the Permissive Society.

Episode 2: By the 1830s and 1840s, the Industrial Revolution had brought vast changes to British life. It delivered innovation and prosperity, but chaos and disconnection too.

In the industrial north of England in particular, unrest was growing.

In this episode, Anne visits the Chelsea home of the great Scottish writer and thinker Thomas Carlyle, to find out how he fought back against the Industrial Revolution and the revolutionary idea it brought in its wake.

Carlyle argued that the concept of Utilitarianism, with its New Poor Law and its attack on older forms of charity, was forging a cold new world of atomized individuals. The only things that now connected people, he contended, were cash and disease.

In response, he called for strong leadership and a return to medieval Christian values.

And Anne visits Newcastle to see how Carlyle's ideas found a profound echo in architecture, through the buildings of Augustus Pugin, still visible across the country today.

With: Professor Dinah Birch, Dr Tristram Hunt MP

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0420130905

Anne McElvoy tells the stories of big challenges that have spurred leading British conservative thinkers into action, from the French Revolution to the Permissive Society.

Episode 4: In 1864, as the British economy boomed, the great Victorian critic John Ruskin was invited to Bradford to advise the prosperous merchants of the town on the style of their new Wool Exchange.

But instead Ruskin lambasted them for ditching traditional values of taste and craft. They had become worshippers, he told them, of 'the Goddess of Getting-On, or Britannia of the Market.'

Anne follows Ruskin to Bradford and discovers how, for this child of south London, the north of England came to represent both the crass prosperity of the time - and a very different vision of life.

Ruskin was deeply influenced by the Romantic poet William Wordsworth, who ditched his youthful radicalism for a conservatism that embraced the communal memory embodied in tradition.

And as Anne discovers, Ruskin moved to Wordsworth's native Lake District and set up guilds to foster an alternative to the factories and mills. He encouraged a return to small communal groups working the land and pursuing traditional crafts.

Yet Ruskin described himself as both 'a violent Tory of the old school' and 'the reddest of the red'. He had a great influence on the emerging socialist movement.

Anne suggests that John Ruskin is an example of how some nineteenth century conservatives had a surprising amount in common with socialism, because of their shared hostility to the costs of capitalism.

With: Professor Dinah Birch, Dr Tristram Hunt MP

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0420130905

Anne McElvoy tells the stories of big challenges that have spurred leading British conservative thinkers into action, from the French Revolution to the Permissive Society.

Episode 4: In 1864, as the British economy boomed, the great Victorian critic John Ruskin was invited to Bradford to advise the prosperous merchants of the town on the style of their new Wool Exchange.

But instead Ruskin lambasted them for ditching traditional values of taste and craft. They had become worshippers, he told them, of 'the Goddess of Getting-On, or Britannia of the Market.'

Anne follows Ruskin to Bradford and discovers how, for this child of south London, the north of England came to represent both the crass prosperity of the time - and a very different vision of life.

Ruskin was deeply influenced by the Romantic poet William Wordsworth, who ditched his youthful radicalism for a conservatism that embraced the communal memory embodied in tradition.

And as Anne discovers, Ruskin moved to Wordsworth's native Lake District and set up guilds to foster an alternative to the factories and mills. He encouraged a return to small communal groups working the land and pursuing traditional crafts.

Yet Ruskin described himself as both 'a violent Tory of the old school' and 'the reddest of the red'. He had a great influence on the emerging socialist movement.

Anne suggests that John Ruskin is an example of how some nineteenth century conservatives had a surprising amount in common with socialism, because of their shared hostility to the costs of capitalism.

With: Professor Dinah Birch, Dr Tristram Hunt MP

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0520130906

Anne McElvoy tells the stories of big challenges that have spurred leading British conservative thinkers into action, from the French Revolution to the Permissive Society.

Episode 5: In 1867, a new Reform Act was passed which gave urban working men the vote.

Conservatives of both parties were deeply concerned about what this meant for the future.

The leading conservative thinker and future Conservative Prime Minister Lord Salisbury damned the new Act as surrender. He opposed mass democracy, fearing the tyranny of the majority.

But in a Sheffield pub, Anne learns how other, less exalted conservatives responded to the threat of urban mass democracy more creatively.

They drew on an old Tory tradition, and found the answer in a pint of beer.

They adapted the old idea that each class in society should respect the others' pleasures, even if they were very different.

In opposition to new licensing laws, they began to champion the working man's right to a quiet pint.

Meanwhile, the music halls of the 1860s championed a rough, rumbustious patriotism for the ordinary people - rather than fostering revolution.

And a group of 'Tory Democrats' set up the Primrose League - an organization designed to bolster conservatism in ordinary people.

It offered a mix of loyalty to Queen and Country, medieval nostalgia, and invitations to picnics and summer balls.

At its height, the League amassed a membership of two million, many of them women.

All this showed that conservatism and democracy need not be opposites. In the end, even Lord Salisbury was reluctantly reconciled to the new order.

With: Professor Jon Lawrence, Dr Matthew Roberts, Fern Riddell, Professor Krista Cowman

Producer: Phil Tinline.

Anne McElvoy tells the stories of big challenges that have spurred leading British conservative thinkers into action, from the French Revolution to the Permissive Society.

Episode 5: In 1867, a new Reform Act was passed which gave urban working men the vote.

Conservatives of both parties were deeply concerned about what this meant for the future.

The leading conservative thinker and future Conservative Prime Minister Lord Salisbury damned the new Act as surrender. He opposed mass democracy, fearing the tyranny of the majority.

But in a Sheffield pub, Anne learns how other, less exalted conservatives responded to the threat of urban mass democracy more creatively.

They drew on an old Tory tradition, and found the answer in a pint of beer.

They adapted the old idea that each class in society should respect the others' pleasures, even if they were very different.

In opposition to new licensing laws, they began to champion the working man's right to a quiet pint.

Meanwhile, the music halls of the 1860s championed a rough, rumbustious patriotism for the ordinary people - rather than fostering revolution.

And a group of 'Tory Democrats' set up the Primrose League - an organization designed to bolster conservatism in ordinary people.

It offered a mix of loyalty to Queen and Country, medieval nostalgia, and invitations to picnics and summer balls.

At its height, the League amassed a membership of two million, many of them women.

All this showed that conservatism and democracy need not be opposites. In the end, even Lord Salisbury was reluctantly reconciled to the new order.

With: Professor Jon Lawrence, Dr Matthew Roberts, Fern Riddell, Professor Krista Cowman

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0520130906

Anne McElvoy tells the stories of big challenges that have spurred leading British conservative thinkers into action, from the French Revolution to the Permissive Society.

Episode 5: In 1867, a new Reform Act was passed which gave urban working men the vote.

Conservatives of both parties were deeply concerned about what this meant for the future.

The leading conservative thinker and future Conservative Prime Minister Lord Salisbury damned the new Act as surrender. He opposed mass democracy, fearing the tyranny of the majority.

But in a Sheffield pub, Anne learns how other, less exalted conservatives responded to the threat of urban mass democracy more creatively.

They drew on an old Tory tradition, and found the answer in a pint of beer.

They adapted the old idea that each class in society should respect the others' pleasures, even if they were very different.

In opposition to new licensing laws, they began to champion the working man's right to a quiet pint.

Meanwhile, the music halls of the 1860s championed a rough, rumbustious patriotism for the ordinary people - rather than fostering revolution.

And a group of 'Tory Democrats' set up the Primrose League - an organization designed to bolster conservatism in ordinary people.

It offered a mix of loyalty to Queen and Country, medieval nostalgia, and invitations to picnics and summer balls.

At its height, the League amassed a membership of two million, many of them women.

All this showed that conservatism and democracy need not be opposites. In the end, even Lord Salisbury was reluctantly reconciled to the new order.

With: Professor Jon Lawrence, Dr Matthew Roberts, Fern Riddell, Professor Krista Cowman

Producer: Phil Tinline.

Anne McElvoy tells the stories of big challenges that have spurred leading British conservative thinkers into action, from the French Revolution to the Permissive Society.

Episode 5: In 1867, a new Reform Act was passed which gave urban working men the vote.

Conservatives of both parties were deeply concerned about what this meant for the future.

The leading conservative thinker and future Conservative Prime Minister Lord Salisbury damned the new Act as surrender. He opposed mass democracy, fearing the tyranny of the majority.

But in a Sheffield pub, Anne learns how other, less exalted conservatives responded to the threat of urban mass democracy more creatively.

They drew on an old Tory tradition, and found the answer in a pint of beer.

They adapted the old idea that each class in society should respect the others' pleasures, even if they were very different.

In opposition to new licensing laws, they began to champion the working man's right to a quiet pint.

Meanwhile, the music halls of the 1860s championed a rough, rumbustious patriotism for the ordinary people - rather than fostering revolution.

And a group of 'Tory Democrats' set up the Primrose League - an organization designed to bolster conservatism in ordinary people.

It offered a mix of loyalty to Queen and Country, medieval nostalgia, and invitations to picnics and summer balls.

At its height, the League amassed a membership of two million, many of them women.

All this showed that conservatism and democracy need not be opposites. In the end, even Lord Salisbury was reluctantly reconciled to the new order.

With: Professor Jon Lawrence, Dr Matthew Roberts, Fern Riddell, Professor Krista Cowman

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0920130912

Anne McElvoy explores how the 'permissive society' provoked a new populist conservatism.

In the 1960s and 1970s, a series of apparently different issues emerged, from Mary Whitehouse's opposition to 'dirty' television, launched in Birmingham, through objections to immigration, education reform and changes in the Church of England, to anxiety about rising inflation.

Anne traces how these coalesced into a conservative moral critique of modern society as shaped by a 'liberal elite'. This was not a conservatism that defended Britain's rulers - it was one that attacked them.

With: Dominic Sandbrook, Professor Jon Lawrence, Dr Eliza Filby

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0920130912

Anne McElvoy explores how the 'permissive society' provoked a new populist conservatism.

In the 1960s and 1970s, a series of apparently different issues emerged, from Mary Whitehouse's opposition to 'dirty' television, launched in Birmingham, through objections to immigration, education reform and changes in the Church of England, to anxiety about rising inflation.

Anne traces how these coalesced into a conservative moral critique of modern society as shaped by a 'liberal elite'. This was not a conservatism that defended Britain's rulers - it was one that attacked them.

With: Dominic Sandbrook, Professor Jon Lawrence, Dr Eliza Filby

Producer: Phil Tinline.