British Conservatism: The Grand Tour

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0320130904

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 3: In the 1840s, industry, commerce and voting reform gave new power to the cities and the middle classes. But then the feudal aristocracy found an unlikely new champion.

Benjamin Disraeli was a dandy Jewish London novelist, who dressed in peacock waistcoats.

But along with a clutch of youthful aristocrats, he formed a group called Young England.

They tried to revive the romantic idea of rural landowners looking after the poor, and to translate this to the new era.

Disraeli toured the cities of the industrial north, and drew on the suffering he saw in novels that venerated the old ways.

This was not a huge success. But Disraeli found his great cause in the battle over Free Trade.

When Prime Minister Robert Peel decided to abolish the tariffs that protected British farmers from foreign corn imports, Disraeli spied betrayal.

And so did Lord George Bentinck, a true rural aristocrat and a man who was really just interested in horse-racing - until the threat of Free Trade spurred him into action.

Together, 'the Jockey and the Jew', as they were dubbed, led the charge against Peel, arguing that Free Trade would destroy a whole social system.

But they lost - and it was Peel's championing of Free Trade which proved the more effective conservative move.

Instead of Disraeli and Bentinck's diehard defence of the old ways, Peel's more open approach welcomed the new urban middle classes into politics, showing that you didn't have to be a landed gentleman to support the Church and the Constitution.

With: Professor Jon Lawrence, Professor Richard Aldous, Dr Tristram Hunt MP

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0320130904

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 3: In the 1840s, industry, commerce and voting reform gave new power to the cities and the middle classes. But then the feudal aristocracy found an unlikely new champion.

Benjamin Disraeli was a dandy Jewish London novelist, who dressed in peacock waistcoats.

But along with a clutch of youthful aristocrats, he formed a group called Young England.

They tried to revive the romantic idea of rural landowners looking after the poor, and to translate this to the new era.

Disraeli toured the cities of the industrial north, and drew on the suffering he saw in novels that venerated the old ways.

This was not a huge success. But Disraeli found his great cause in the battle over Free Trade.

When Prime Minister Robert Peel decided to abolish the tariffs that protected British farmers from foreign corn imports, Disraeli spied betrayal.

And so did Lord George Bentinck, a true rural aristocrat and a man who was really just interested in horse-racing - until the threat of Free Trade spurred him into action.

Together, 'the Jockey and the Jew', as they were dubbed, led the charge against Peel, arguing that Free Trade would destroy a whole social system.

But they lost - and it was Peel's championing of Free Trade which proved the more effective conservative move.

Instead of Disraeli and Bentinck's diehard defence of the old ways, Peel's more open approach welcomed the new urban middle classes into politics, showing that you didn't have to be a landed gentleman to support the Church and the Constitution.

With: Professor Jon Lawrence, Professor Richard Aldous, Dr Tristram Hunt MP

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0620130909

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 6: At the dawn of the twentieth century, far more men now had the vote than in a few decades earlier. And now, in the Edwardian era, politics was becoming a more aggressive, antagonistic business.

In 1901, the radical politician David Lloyd George opposed the Boer War. But when he tried to say so in Birmingham, he only narrowly escaped a huge mob, which attacked the Town Hall to stop him speaking.

Conservative politicians were worried about keeping mass support. But in working-class support for the War, the Empire and the Union, they detected a popular form of conservatism to which they thought they could appeal.

So Anne goes to Tyneside to rediscover the 'conserving crowds' of the years before the First World War: mass working-class conservative protests against Home Rule for Ireland.

She hears about one such march - a torchlit procession of 15000 Tyneside workers, who gathered to demonstrate their support for the Scottish politician Andrew Bonar Law and his hardline opposition to Home Rule.

This was just one expression of the way that a stern Protestant conservatism had a powerful appeal among the workers of cities like Newcastle, Liverpool and Glasgow.

And Anne finds out how, while all this was going on, female conservatives were fighting back against the 'Votes for Women' movement with their Anti-Suffrage League.

With: Professor Krista Cowman, Dr Dan Jackson, Professor Jon Lawrence, Professor Martin Pugh

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0620130909

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 6: At the dawn of the twentieth century, far more men now had the vote than in a few decades earlier. And now, in the Edwardian era, politics was becoming a more aggressive, antagonistic business.

In 1901, the radical politician David Lloyd George opposed the Boer War. But when he tried to say so in Birmingham, he only narrowly escaped a huge mob, which attacked the Town Hall to stop him speaking.

Conservative politicians were worried about keeping mass support. But in working-class support for the War, the Empire and the Union, they detected a popular form of conservatism to which they thought they could appeal.

So Anne goes to Tyneside to rediscover the 'conserving crowds' of the years before the First World War: mass working-class conservative protests against Home Rule for Ireland.

She hears about one such march - a torchlit procession of 15000 Tyneside workers, who gathered to demonstrate their support for the Scottish politician Andrew Bonar Law and his hardline opposition to Home Rule.

This was just one expression of the way that a stern Protestant conservatism had a powerful appeal among the workers of cities like Newcastle, Liverpool and Glasgow.

And Anne finds out how, while all this was going on, female conservatives were fighting back against the 'Votes for Women' movement with their Anti-Suffrage League.

With: Professor Krista Cowman, Dr Dan Jackson, Professor Jon Lawrence, Professor Martin Pugh

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0720130910

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 7: Anne traces how, after 1918, mass democracy and the spectre of red revolution split conservatism.

The moderates embraced the new situation. They countered the rising socialist movement by drawing on conservative values of family and property-ownership, aiming to appeal not least to the millions of new women voters.

A young Tory MP, Noel Skelton, invented the idea of the 'property-owning democracy' to encapsulate this new, inclusive, gentle approach.

In 1926, when the much-dreaded General Strike finally came, but ended peacefully, this seemed to bear out the moderates' ideas.

But there were those for whom all this was appalling. Militant conservatives disapproved of mass democracy, along with big business and much else in modern Britain.

And as mass unemployment and agricultural crisis spread in the 1930s, they banged the drum for a return to traditional social hierarchies, headed by a powerful King.

When a full-blown confrontation between politicians and monarchy threatened to break out in 1936, all this came to a head.

With: Professor Simon Ball, Professor Krista Cowman, Professor Jon Lawrence, Professor Martin Pugh

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0720130910

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 7: Anne traces how, after 1918, mass democracy and the spectre of red revolution split conservatism.

The moderates embraced the new situation. They countered the rising socialist movement by drawing on conservative values of family and property-ownership, aiming to appeal not least to the millions of new women voters.

A young Tory MP, Noel Skelton, invented the idea of the 'property-owning democracy' to encapsulate this new, inclusive, gentle approach.

In 1926, when the much-dreaded General Strike finally came, but ended peacefully, this seemed to bear out the moderates' ideas.

But there were those for whom all this was appalling. Militant conservatives disapproved of mass democracy, along with big business and much else in modern Britain.

And as mass unemployment and agricultural crisis spread in the 1930s, they banged the drum for a return to traditional social hierarchies, headed by a powerful King.

When a full-blown confrontation between politicians and monarchy threatened to break out in 1936, all this came to a head.

With: Professor Simon Ball, Professor Krista Cowman, Professor Jon Lawrence, Professor Martin Pugh

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0820130911

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 8: Anne explores how conservatives of left and right responded to the advent of the welfare state and the 'affluent society' after the Second World War. As old patterns of paternalism and hierarchy began to broke down, conservatism had to reinvent itself once again.

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

Producer: Phil Tinline.

0820130911

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 8: Anne explores how conservatives of left and right responded to the advent of the welfare state and the 'affluent society' after the Second World War. As old patterns of paternalism and hierarchy began to broke down, conservatism had to reinvent itself once again.

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

Producer: Phil Tinline.

1020130913

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 10: In this final episode, Anne visits the chapel in Grantham where Mrs Thatcher's father preached, to explore how his story encapsulates how conservatism has changed across the last two centuries.

In the pew where his daughter Margaret sat listening to his sermons, Anne hears how Alderman Roberts, a Wesleyan Methodist, was a Victorian liberal who came, in the twentieth century, to see himself as a conservative.

She explores how his story captures something of the changing role of religion and class in conservatism, and the ways that, over the last century, conservatism has absorbed key elements of Victorian liberalism.

And how, in the process, it has transformed itself from an ideology that was focused on the land, paternalist benevolence, traditional social hierarchies and the Church of England, into something rather different.

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

Producer: Phil Tinline.

1020130913

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 10: In this final episode, Anne visits the chapel in Grantham where Mrs Thatcher's father preached, to explore how his story encapsulates how conservatism has changed across the last two centuries.

In the pew where his daughter Margaret sat listening to his sermons, Anne hears how Alderman Roberts, a Wesleyan Methodist, was a Victorian liberal who came, in the twentieth century, to see himself as a conservative.

She explores how his story captures something of the changing role of religion and class in conservatism, and the ways that, over the last century, conservatism has absorbed key elements of Victorian liberalism.

And how, in the process, it has transformed itself from an ideology that was focused on the land, paternalist benevolence, traditional social hierarchies and the Church of England, into something rather different.

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

Producer: Phil Tinline.