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'One-Nation' Conservatism Wins Again in Britain

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20.12.2019

Last week the world's second-oldest political party showed, and not for the first time, its capacity to regenerate itself and win an impressive majority in difficult circumstances.

That's a reference to the victory of the Conservative Party in Britain's Dec. 12 general election, in which it won a 365-seat majority in the 650-member House of Commons -- about which I wrote at considerable length earlier this week.

The resilience of the Conservative Party should not come as a total surprise to those who know that it is older than our Republican Party and just a dozen years less longstanding than our Democrats. Our parties' persistence is the subject of my recent book, "How America's Political Parties Change [And How They Don't]."

Some think the Conservative Party even older, tracing it back to the Tories who combatted the Whigs in the elections of 1679 and 1681 (both names were insults). But I follow its leading historian, Robert Blake, in dating it to 1846, when Benjamin Disraeli led a rebellion against then-Prime Minister Robert Peel's embrace of free trade.

Disraeli, the Anglican son of a Jewish writer, believed the party should be guided by the great English landowners and the established Church of England yet, at the same time, could be the voice of the patriotic people of England, Scotland and........

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