The New Right

  • Andrew Gamble


Tracing the ideological origins of the Thatcherite project requires an exploration of the ideas and doctrines of the New Right. The new politics of the 1970s spawned many political movements and political programmes across the whole political spectrum. The most powerful and influential of these new forces has been labelled the New Right, although many question whether it is new and a few who find themselves labelled New Right question whether it is right. What the term certainly does not signify is either a unified movement or a coherent doctrine. A wide range of groups and ideas make up the New Right, and there are many internal divisions and conflicts.1 The most important division, which is explored in this chapter, is between a liberal and a conservative tendency.


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Notes and references

  1. 1.
    There is a rich literature on the New Right. See especially Ruth Levitas (ed.) The Ideology of the New Bight (Cambridge: Polity, 1987);Google Scholar
  2. Gillian Peele Revival and Reaction: the Right in Contemporary America (Oxford: Clarendon, 1984);Google Scholar
  3. Norman Barry, The New Right (London: Croom Helm, 1987);Google Scholar
  4. Desmond King, The New Right (London: Macmillan, 1987); andGoogle Scholar
  5. David Green, The New Right (London: Wheatsheaf, 1987). For an intriguing insider’s map of the New Right see Maurice Cowling, The Sources of the New Right: Irony, Geniality, and Malice’, Encounter, November 1989, pp. 3–13.Google Scholar
  6. 2.
    For typical writing on this theme see Robert Moss, The Collapse of Democracy (London: Temple Smith, 1975).Google Scholar
  7. 3.
    For an initial exploration of this idea see The Free Economy and the Strong State’, in R. Miliband and J. Saville (eds), Socialist Register 1979 (London: Merlin, 1979), pp. 1–25.Google Scholar
  8. 4.
    An example is the very good study of what is termed here the liberal New Right by Nick Bosanquet, After the New Right (London: HEB, 1983).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 8.
    One of the best analyses of the internal tensions in New Right thinking can be found in Patrick Dunleavy and Brendan O’Leary, Theories of the State (London: Macmillan, 1987), ch. 3.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    See Roger Scruton, The Meaning of Conservatism (London: Penguin, 1980).Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    See Ferdinand Mount, The Subversive Family (London: Johathan Cape, 1982).Google Scholar
  12. 14.
    For a succinct summary see Alec Chrystal, Controversies in Macroeconomics (London: Philip Allan, 1979).Google Scholar
  13. 15.
    For one of the best analyses of the international economic order see E. A. Brett, International Money and Capitalist Crisis (London: HEB, 1983).Google Scholar
  14. 16.
    See Milton Friedman, Inflation and Unemployment (London: IEA, 1977), and Bosanquet, After the New RightGoogle Scholar
  15. 17.
    See M. Kalecki, ‘Political Aspects of Full Employment’, Political Quarterly, 14 (1943), pp. 322–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 18.
    For the main themes of Hayek’s writings see Norman Barry, Hayek’s Sodai and Economic Philosophy (London: Macmillan, 1979).Google Scholar
  17. 19.
    See W. Rees-Mogg, The Reigning Illusion (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1974).Google Scholar
  18. 20.
    See F. A. Hayek, Denationalisation of Money (London: IEA, 1978).Google Scholar
  19. 21.
    This was put forward in a paper by Kevin Dowd, The State and the Monetary System (Fraser Institute, 1988).Google Scholar
  20. 25.
    For the interwar debates on the feasibility of socialism see F. A. Hayek (ed.) Collectivist Economic Planning (London: Routledge, 1935).Google Scholar
  21. 28.
    Robert Nozick is best known for his book Anarchy State and Utopia (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1974).Google Scholar
  22. 30.
    Milton Friedman, ‘The line we dare not cross’, Encounter (November 1976).Google Scholar
  23. 31.
    For an analysis of the public-choice school see Bosanquet, After the New Right, ch. 4. and J. Buchanan et al., The Economics of Politics (London: IEA, 1978).Google Scholar
  24. 32.
    Nozick, Anarchy, State and Utopia. Nozick’s positions are criticised in several of the contributions to J. Paul (ed.) Reading Nozick (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1982).Google Scholar
  25. 34.
    For the extreme Austrian position see Murray Rothbard, Power and Market (Kansas: Sheed, Andrews and McMeel, 1977).Google Scholar
  26. 35.
    The analysis of the new class has been developed particularly by the American neo-conservatives, such as Irving Kristol. See I. Kristol, Two Cheers for Capitalism (New York: Basic Books, 1978) and Peele, Revival and Reaction.Google Scholar
  27. 37.
    The impact of the Cold War on postwar politics is emphasised by Phil Armstrong, Andrew Glyn and John Harrison, Capitalism since World War II (London: Fontana, 1984).Google Scholar
  28. 38.
    Those who moved right in the 1950s included former Trotskyists such as Irving Kristol, and former communists such as Alfred Sherman. There was later a further wave among those repudiating social democracy. See for example Patrick Cormack, Right Turn: Eight Men who changed their minds (London: Leo Cooper, 1978). The eight included Max Beloff, Lord Chalfont, Paul Johnson, Reg Prentice and Hugh Thomas.Google Scholar
  29. 39.
    The origins and course of the new Cold War are traced by Fred Halliday, The Making of the Second Cold War (London: Verso, 1983).Google Scholar
  30. 40.
    Moss, The Collapse of Democracy, is a good guide to subversion. See also the publications of the Freedom Association and Brian Crozier’s Institute for the Study of Conflict. The flavour and tone of this literature can be sampled in Brian Crozier, Socialism: Dream and Reality (London: Sherwood, 1987).Google Scholar
  31. 41.
    F. A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (London: Routledge, 1944).Google Scholar
  32. 42.
    Colin Leys, in Politics in Britain (London: HEB, 1983), ch. 15, analyses right-wing scenarios of political collapse.Google Scholar
  33. 43.
    The ideas and politics of the American New Right has been analysed by Mike Davis in ‘The Political Economy of Late-Imperial America’, New Left Review, 143 (1984), pp. 6–38; and ‘Reaganomics’ Magical Mystery Tour’, New Left Review, 149 (1985), pp. 45–66.Google Scholar
  34. 47.
    A rich source of this writing is the Salisbury Review, published quarterly. On New-Right attitudes on the family and morality, see Martin Durham, Sex and Politics (London: Macmillan, 1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Andrew Gamble 1994

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  • Andrew Gamble

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