The media and communications
This chapter explores the recent ideological developments within the main British political parties. The best way of explaining the nature of political ideology in Britain is to provide a brief survey of modern British politics from the point of view of ideas. But first the chapter provides some account of the competing ideological traditions. Commentators usually focus on three conservatism, socialism and liberalism. The Irish-born politician Edmund Burke is usually credited as the intellectual founder of conservative ideology. While the decline of conservatism and socialism leaves liberalism as the dominant ideology in Britain, it does not enjoy an unchallenged monopoly of political thinking. Most writers on conservatism whether hostile or favourable tend to equate it with the current beliefs of Conservative Party leaders. The chapter shows that ideology does play an important role in British politics, but that it needs to be assessed in the context of other influences, notably institutional factors and socio-economic developments.