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Conservatism and Classic Liberalism in British History: Are These Still Distinct or Have They Combined?

29 Maggio 2014
Ex Boccherini - Piazza S. Ponziano 6 (Conference Room )
Today with much discussion of ‘neoliberalism’ (whatever that means) it is often thought that so-called classical liberalism’ or ‘libertarianism’ is simply another form of right wing politics. In the British context this is understood as meaning that since at least the 1920s the free market wing of liberalism has been absorbed by the conservative party. There is truth in this and one surprising result has been the transformation of the British Conservative tradition to a point where since the Thatcher government economic liberalism is seen as being its defining feature – something that would have surprised many an older Conservative. However the reality is more complex with classical liberalism surviving elsewhere and what we can now see is the early stages of a realignment of politics, which reflects similar changes elsewhere in Europe.
Davies, Stephen