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T.E. Utley and Renewal of Conservatism in Post-War Britain

Stapleton, Julia

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This article examines the writings of T.E. Utley (1921–1988), a prominent contributor to the Conservative press in the post-war period. It does so in the context of Maurice Cowling's concept of ‘public doctrine.’ While attention is increasingly given to the ideas that shaped the Conservative Party in the 20th century, it has fallen short of investigating the broad foundations of Conservative ideology and their authoritative status expressed in Cowling's term. Yet Utley's thought underlines the importance of inquiry at this level, especially in distinguishing Conservatism from rival ideologies after 1945. His concern to ground Conservatism in a theory of moral and political obligation is crucial here; it was targeted against diffuse forms of secular liberalism that conceived ‘happiness’ as the end of human life. The article focuses on the shift in his allegiance from the post-war consensus to the New Right challenge of the 1960s but against the backdrop of his unchanging Tory beliefs. It explores the significance of his association with the Daily Telegraph in this regard and his relationship to ‘Powellism’ and Thatcherism. The article concludes by relating the decline of public doctrine in Conservative Party circles recently to the erosion of the sense of British nationhood that inspired Utley's Conservatism.


Stapleton, J. (2014). T.E. Utley and Renewal of Conservatism in Post-War Britain. Journal of Political Ideologies, 19(2), 207-226.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 23, 2014
Online Publication Date May 20, 2014
Publication Date May 20, 2014
Deposit Date Jul 14, 2014
Publicly Available Date Jul 15, 2014
Journal Journal of Political Ideologies
Print ISSN 1356-9317
Electronic ISSN 1469-9613
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 2
Pages 207-226
Public URL


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