Preference” eanipaigners to the Thateherites,rnPowellites, and so-eallcd “Euroskepties”rnof flic presenf dav. Flir rightistsrnhaw neer liad much success in Britain,rnnot een in the 19>0’s, wlicn all of Europernexcept iMigland seemed full ofrnsame-shirted cohorts doing calisthenics.rnThe British do not much like excitablernideologues, but like their statesmenrn”w eatliercd and polished, like old wood,”rnas Andre Maurois noted in his Disraeli.rnThe conservative right is disdainful ofrnabstraction and intellectually untidy.rnF,mincntl’ practical, it is more interestedrnin w hat is, than in what might be. Manrnconseratiycs sta’ as far away as possiblernfrom ideas, in favor of nostalgic attachmentsrnand pragmatic practices, foolishlyrnbclic ing that if they control the Ministrrnof Defense and the IVeasurv,rneerthing else can take care of itself.rnConseraties are less interested in comprehensixcrnexplanations or intellectualrntours de force than in haing a quiet life.rnThe Conser’atie and Unionist Party,rnostcusibh the main instrument of politicalrnconserxatism, is sorely divided betweenrnliberals who are in power andrnmore traditionalist lories who make uprnthe bulk of the party membership andrnConserativc ‘oters. This is particularlyrnnoticeable at Conference time, whenrnthe delegates on the floor of the conferencernhall might as well belong to a differentrnpart, so far are thev removed fromrnthose on the platform. Corporate donationsrnare dring up, and the Duke ofrnWestminster, one of the richest men inrnBritain, no longer gives to the party, inrnprotest at a propert’ law reform. Thern|)art is some £16 million hi debt, isrnlosing members rapidly, and is at its lowest-rneer standing in the opinion polls.rnEight M.P.s, all of them opponents ofrnk.uropean union, recentK had the Whiprntaken a\a from them, for courageouslyrn()ting against the go’ernment on increasedrnE.G. funding (and one otherrnresigned the Whip at the same time),rnwhich has put the government into a minoritvrnposition on man’ of those incons|)rnicuous cross-parts committees thatrndetermine goxcrnmental policies andrnstrateg. This leaves the eonserati’crnright with some room to maneuver, andrnmakes its central argument—that therngoxcrnmcnt is in trouble because it isrninsuffieientK conserativc—that muchrnmore credible.rnThere are se’cral small-e conservativerngroups outside the part- proper. Onernsueli organization, the I^’rcedom Association,rnhit the headlines when it tried tornhac Douglas Ilurd arraigned for treason,rnfor being a signatory to the MaastrichtrnTreaty. Industrialist Sir JamesrnColdsmith’s new book, The irap. whichrnargues against free trade, has caused ripples,rnand he has set up a London branchrnol his Referendum Party. There are ariousrnsingle-issue groups which, althoughrnnot party-political, are made up of peoplernwith broadly conservative views, respectivelyrncampaigning to preserve thernold Praser Book, defend the monarch}’,rnfight against European union, protectrnBritish culture, return to traditionalrnteaching methods, and retain bloodrnsports. There are many conscrativerncommentators in the newspapers, althoughrnnot on television, all the wayrnacross the spectrum from the populistrnSun to the broadsheet Sunday Telegraph.rnThere are two quarterly conservativernmagazines, the intellectual, influentialrnSalisbury Review and the intelligent, ifrnmore polemical. Right Now! However,rnthe main impetus for the political (asrnopposed to metapolitical) right-wingrnmovement is within the partv itself,rnwhere a multiplicity of groups continuernagitating for sterner policies, especiallyrnon crime, Europe, and immigration.rnOne of the Whip-less M.P.s, BillrnCash, organizes a lobby group called ThernEuropean Eoundation and publishes anrninformative magazine called ‘The Europeanrnjournal. There are other fairlyrninfluential single-issue groups within thernparty, like the Conservative Eamilv Campaign,rnwhich lobbies for laws protectingrnthe faniiK’, and the Conservative ChristianrnEellowship, whose members wantrnto invest (or re-invest) the part withrna Christian sensibility. Thateheritcrngroups, like the Bruges Group (so namedrnbecause of a strongly antifederalistrnspeech Margaret Thatcher once madernin the Flemish town), the No TurningrnBack Croup, and Conservative Wiy Forward,rncontinue to promulgate the gospelrnof Thatcherism to the partv, wherernnian members retain great affectionrnfor “Maggie.” Many other right-of-centerrngroups are strongly influenced byrnThatcherism, like the Selsdon Grouprn(named after the hotel whence the issuedrnthe 1973 “Selsdon Declaration”),rnthe Young Conservatives (so bumptiousrnthat the Conservative Central Ofhee isrnthreatening to dissolve the organization,rnas they did the Federation of ConservativernStudents), and the National Associationrnof Conservative Graduates (ofrnwhich Lady Thatcher is Patroness).rnThe other great British conservative isrnJ. Enoch Powell, now, regrettably, in hisrn80’s, but as lucid as ever. He enunciatesrna genuine Tory strain within the party,rnwedded to tradition, classicism, and constitution,rnand threw away a promisingrncareer by making a famous speech (colloquiallyrnknown as the “rivers of blood”rnspeech) alluding to the possible adversernconsequences of Commonwealth immigration.rnHe has influenced, and continuesrnto influence, several groups on thernTory right. The best known is the MondayrnClub, formed in response to I laroldrnMacmillan’s famous “winds of change”rnspeech, which presaged the banishing ofrnSouth Africa from the Commonwealth.rnAlthough dormant in recent years, itrnhas recently been bequeathed £100,000,rnso may again rise to prominence. Otherrngroups, like the London Swinton Circlern(named after the college where prospectivernconservative M.P.s were once tutored),rnTory Action (founded in 1974 byrnthe former deputy head of MI6), andrnRight Ahead, exist to “hear and questionrnConservatives and Ulster Unionists” andrngenerally keep them on the qui vive.rnhi theory, this is great conservativernstrength, which makes it all the morernremarkable that the countrv has beenrngiven up to the Vandals. But conservativesrnin Britain, as everywhere, are workingrnagainst the tide of histor-, which isrnfor homogenization, uniformity, universalisni,rncollectivism, and millenarianism,rnand our complex philosophy is not easilyrnreduced to slogans. British conservativesrnare also overfond of reaction and notrnfond enough of ratiocination, are isolatedrnwithin the institutions captured byrnMarxists and now held by their descendants,rnand, most importantly, are accustomedrnto losing. Ever since BonniernPrince Charlie, British conservativesrnhave been on the defeated side, and thernconsciousness of this has made them defensive;rnthey have none of that self-confidencernand self-righteousness withoutrnwhich there can be no ultimate victory.rnWithout recapturing such confidencernthrough local victories, without a long,rnpainful, countcroffensive back throughrnthe institutions, British conservatismrncan be nothing more than a holdingrnoperation, a valiant but ultimately vainrnattempt to salvage some fragments ofrnEngland from the rising, swiriing waters.rnDerrick Turner is a freelance writer inrnLondon.rnSEPTEMBER 1995/39rnrnrn