Welcome to the second issue of Volume 10 of British Politics. In this issue, we continue to mark our tenth year of publication with a second consecutive special issue; this time around the theme of ‘Conservative Party Modernisation From Opposition to Government’, featuring our guest editor, Richard Hayton. We are delighted to welcome Richard on board.
The papers from this issue originate from a workshop event held in September 2014 at the University of Leeds, on the theme of ‘Whatever Happened to Conservative Modernisation?’. The workshop was organised and funded jointly by the Political Studies Association Conservatives and Conservatism Specialist Group, which Richard is the convenor of, and British Politics. When we put the workshop together, we were mindful of the fact that there was a General Election on the horizon, and the workshop was very much an attempt to provide an audit of David Cameron’s leadership of the party since 2005 across a number of key policy areas. What was most notable about the event was that each of the presenters reported very similar types of narrative on the fate of Cameron’s modernisation from opposition to government. The story, which is developed in various ways throughout the collection of papers here, was generally one of a fairly consistent departure, across most policy areas, from the Conservative leader’s early modernising momentum.
Here, we will refrain from our usual practice of providing a brief summary of each of the individual papers as the opening piece in the issue, by Peter Kerr and Richard Hayton, delivers an extended discussion of the main themes to come out of each of the papers. Instead, we would like to use this space to thank each of our contributors in turn – Richard Hayton and Libby McEnhill, Rosie Campbell and Sarah Childs, Rebecca Partos and Tim Bale, Philip Lynch, Neil Carter and Ben Clements, Martin Smith and Rhonda Jones, and Katharine Dommett – for their excellent contributions to both the workshop and this special issue. In addition, we would also like to extend our warm thanks to the School of Politics and International Studies at the University of Leeds for hosting the September workshop event. We hope you enjoy the issue.