Commentary Magazine

Article Preview

What the Tories Have to Teach Us

- Abstract

Britain’s Conservatives are poised to return to power after a dozen years in the wilderness, even as America’s conservatives have the look of a movement whose desert wanderings have only just begun.

This is an amazing reversal of fortune. Over the past third of a century, British Conservatives have played poor relation to their trans-Atlantic counterparts. Even when they held office, as they did for an impressive stretch from 1979 to 1997, British Conservatives imported policies, slogans, and political technology from across the Atlantic.

Margaret Thatcher adopted Lady Liberty’s torch of freedom as a party symbol. Did Richard Nixon win votes in “Middle America”? John Major would seek them in “Middle England.” George W. Bush invoked “compassionate conservatism,” and so then did Iain Duncan Smith.

About the Author

David Frum is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a columnist for National Review Online.