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Conservative CenturyThe Conservative Party since 1900$
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Anthony Seldon and Stuart Ball

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198202387

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198202387.001.0001

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The Making of Party Policy

The Making of Party Policy

Chapter:
(p.347) 9. The Making of Party Policy
Source:
Conservative Century
Author(s):

JOHN BARNES

RICHARD COCKETT

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198202387.003.0009

This chapter highlights the focus upon the short term rather than the long, upon practical politics rather than theory, and upon action rather than reflection. It explores the creation and roles of an increasingly sophisticated policy structure, and identifies both an inner and an outer circle. Whilst the writers confirm that the leader is still the single most important arbiter of the party's official position, in practice the choices which the leader makes are shaped by a range of groups and interests in an essentially dynamic process. The chapter explains the methods by which the party has constructed its manifesto. It describes the history and varied fortunes of the network of party policy bodies, ranging from the secretariat of 1924 and the foundation of the Conservative Research Department in 1930, through the wartime and post-war clearing houses to the part played by the extra-mural think-tanks since the 1970s.

Keywords:   policy structure, manifesto, party policy, secretariat, Conservative Research Department, clearing houses

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