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Conservative CenturyThe Conservative Party since 1900$
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Anthony Seldon and Stuart Ball

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780198202387

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198202387.001.0001

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The Party and the Civil Service

The Party and the Civil Service

(p.383) 10 The Party and the Civil Service
Conservative Century



Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses one of the most powerful influences upon the actions of Conservative governments: the role of the civil service. It notes that the Conservatives returned to office in 1970 and still more in 1979 armed with plans intended to ensure that the governmental machine worked to implement rather than frustrate their aims. The chapter explains that, traditionally, Labour had been suspicious of the ‘establishment’ influence of the civil service, but once the Conservatives also adopted a radical agenda, they too came to regard the bureaucracy as a barrier to be overcome in its instinctive commitment to the status quo. It charts the different interactions between the party and Whitehall, concluding with a discussion of the Thatcher and Major reforms.

Keywords:   Conservative governments, civil service, bureaucracy, Whitehall, Thatcher reforms, Major reforms

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