Part IV. Policy To-day and To-morrow

39. GENERAL ELECTION, 1945

OUR argument has now reached its final stage. The first was taken up by a discussion of the underlying basis of Conservatism and of certain basic Conservative ideas. The second has been in the main destructive criticism of the case for Socialism. We now move into the sphere of more practical politics. Our first task here is clearly to analyse the choice which the country, whether consciously or unconsciously, made in 1945, our next to describe the consequences of that choice so far as the present enables us to predict these. The third and final stage is to deduce from the argument the elements of a Conservative policy. Quite clearly this cannot amount to a programme. The function of an opposition is to oppose, and to attempt to describe in any detail the measures and policies which may become necessary at an election two or three years from now is no better than crystal- gazing. Nevertheless a good deal more than a statement of principle is both possible and necessary. If to seek to delineate a detailed programme is crystal-gazing, to go on repeating "the maintenance of our institutions, the preservation of our empire, and the improvement of the condition of the people" is only star-gazing. If we are to have a practical programme in two or three years' time we must be in a position now to build up and promulgate a fairly coherent body of doctrine, sufficiently detailed to form the basis of a policy when the time comes, and sufficiently generally, diffused to create the necessary body of public opinion to support the programme when this also comes to be stated. In each chapter, therefore, I shall endeavour to make some appraisal and criticism of the part played in national affairs by the present Government, to indicate where and how far they have been wrong, and to suggest both on what lines the problem would have been tackled under a Conservative Government, and what a Conservative Government will have to do to deal with the matter when the pendulum swings back again and Conservatives once more assume responsibility.

The first stage in this phase of the argument is therefore to

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The Case for Conservatism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Part I. Preliminary 7
  • 1. the Philosophy of Conservatism 7
  • Part II. Basic Conservative Ideas 16
  • 2. the Religious Basis of Society 16
  • 3. the Organic Theory of Society 24
  • 4. Country 31
  • 5. Commonwealth and Empire 36
  • 6. International Order 41
  • 7. Authority 44
  • 8. the Liberal Heresy 48
  • 9. the Socialist Heresy 54
  • 10. Liberty 60
  • 11. the Idea of Law 68
  • 12. Natural Law 70
  • 13. the Rule of Law 76
  • 14. Progress 83
  • 15. Continuity 86
  • 16. Enterprise 89
  • 17. Incentives, Liberal and Socialist 91
  • 18. Property 97
  • 19. Trading for Profit 103
  • 20. Competition, Big Business and Public Ownership 107
  • 21. the Land 119
  • 22. Trade Unions and Co-Operatives 125
  • 23. the Politics of Abundance 133
  • 24. Education 143
  • Part III. the Socialist Case Examined 147
  • 25. Introduction to Part III 147
  • 26. Profit and Use 150
  • 27. Public Ownership 154
  • 28. Planning 163
  • 29. Inequality of Income 167
  • 30. Inequality of Wealth 174
  • 31. Poverty--Its Cause and Cure 181
  • 32. War 189
  • 33. Standard of Life 192
  • 34. Housing 197
  • 35. Public Health 200
  • 36. Social Insurance 202
  • 37. Unemployment--The Facts 207
  • 38. Unemployment--Cause and Cure 213
  • Part IV. Policy To-Day and To-Morrow 225
  • 39. General Election, 1945 225
  • 40. Foreign Affairs 235
  • 41. Social Policy 250
  • 42. Economic Policy 260
  • 43. Food and Agriculture 277
  • 44. Nationalisation 284
  • 45. Britain at the Cross Roads 296
  • 46. the Politics of the Next Election 303
  • 47. Epilogue 311
  • Index 315
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