About David Jeffery

I am a Lecturer in British Politics, following an ESRC-funded PhD studentship at Queen Mary, University of London. My research focuses on the causes of Conservative electoral decline in Liverpool, from 1945 onwards - specially the marked decline in Conservative vote share that occurred in the 1960s, following decades of Tory dominance in the city.

The PSA Conservatives and Conservatism Special Group aims to encourage the creation and dissemination of high quality research on all aspects of conservatives and conservatism.

We also aim to create a sense of identity and common purpose among those interested in a part of the political spectrum that has attracted far less scholarly interest than its obvious electoral and philosophical importance merits, and to that end we take a supportive approach in order to encourage engagement with conservatives and conservatism studies across the many levels of academic development.

Conservatism is one of the oldest and most influential philosophical positions in the world. In the UK, the Conservative Party is the most successful but probably the least studied major party in British politics. Similarly, conservative political thought and the ideology of the centre-right has been somewhat neglected relative to the left of the political spectrum. The PSA specialist group for the study of Conservative politics and conservatism (C&C) was set up in late-2008 by Professor Tim Bale (the first convenor) as a much-needed step towards addressing these deficiencies. This was a timely decision as conservatism and the Conservative Party were seeking to renew themselves in anticipation of a return to government at the national level, leading to heightened scholarly and public interest in the subject. The result of the 2010 general election ensured the continuing centrality of this field of academic enquiry to the study of British politics and public policy.

The advent of Brexit and the Trump presidential campaign demonstrate how conservative politics has significant potential to impact. These recent events highlight the importance of research in the area of conservatives and conservatism.

The PSA Conservatives and Conservatism Specialist Group is a supportive collection of thinkers dedicated to encouraging the creation and dissemination of high quality research on all aspects of conservatives and conservatism.

In October 2016, the group announced its new team.

New convenors Dr Anthony Ridge-Newman, Lecturer at the University of Roehampton; and Dr Alan Convery, Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, have published extensively on conservative politics.

Anthony’s two monographs, with Palgrave Macmillan, analyse the role of new media in Conservative Party change across distinct periods in its history.

Alan’s work on the Scottish and Welsh Conservatives includes a recent book on devolution and party change with Manchester University Press.

New publicity officer David Jeffery, Queen Mary University of London, is writing a PhD about Conservative electoral decline in Liverpool.

The new team have a range of fresh ideas for the group.

These include developing opportunities for research impact and knowledge exchange between scholars, political actors, conservative parties and think tanks.

While maintaining the group’s traditions, the new team sees an opportunity to expand the scope of the group and broaden the understanding of what conservatism is.

It is an interesting time to be studying conservatism, which is not only changing in the UK and US, but also across Europe and other regions of the world.

Less obvious political actors, like, for example, the conservative wings of religious organisations, can play roles in influencing agendas and public policy. Moreover, the powerful conservative media conglomerates are thought to dominate global discourse. These examples alone provide opportunities for much need analysis.

The group aims to take a supportive approach in order to encourage engagement with conservatives and conservatism studies across the many levels of academic development.

If you would like to join the group and be added to the mailing list, please contact the convenors: anthony.ridge-newman@roehampton.ac.uk and/or alan.convery@ed.ac.uk

New Conservative and Conservatism Specialist Group Convenor Team Announced

An email from Anthony Ridge-Newman to the C&C Specialist Group.

Dear C&C Group Members,

Thank you to Richard Hayton for the warm introduction (via email) and the opportunity to develop a team. Alan Convery (Lecturer, Edinburgh University) and I are delighted to be following on from Richard as the new convenors of the group. I know David Jeffery (PhD Candidate, Queen Mary, University of London) is keen to get started with promoting the group’s interests online.

Richard called it a ‘goodbye’, but I would imagine that it is more of a ‘see you soon’. We aim to build on the excellent work by Richard and Andrew Crines and look forward to their ongoing interactions with the group. On behalf of the group, I would like to offer a big thank you to Richard and Andrew, who have worked incredibly hard to help develop and promote the study of conservatives and conservatism within the PSA community and beyond. Some of their achievements include conferences, like last year’s at Oxford; journal special issues; and a range of edited collections. Alan, David and I wish you both all the very best and look forward to working with you in the process of group handover.

While writing my PhD about the Conservative Party (examined by the group’s co-founder Tim Bale), I remember feeling comforted by the existence of this group. It was good to know that I was not a lone researcher interested in conservatives and conservatism. I have found it a welcoming group of thinkers, a number of whom have helped support me in my personal academic progression. Therefore, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of those who have contributed to this group and helped make it what it is today. I feel confident that we can continue to build on its supportive approach in order to encourage engagement with C&C studies across the many levels of academic development.

I very much look forward to working with Alan, who became a friend and Scotland colleague while I was in my last post at Glasgow University. We have a range of ideas we would like to invest in the group to develop new opportunities across its shared interests in conservatives and conservatism. These include developing opportunities for research impact and knowledge exchange between scholars, political actors, conservative parties and think tanks. While maintaining the group’s traditions, we also see this as an opportunity to expand the scope of the group and broaden the definition/understanding of what conservatives/conservatism are/is.

Both the British Conservative Party and the US Republican Party are at interesting points in their histories. Developments like Brexit and Trump are likely to fuel research interests for some time. However, it seems timely to encourage more engagement and interests beyond those two parties. Conservatism is also changing across Europe and other regions. Other political actors, like, for example, the conservative wings of religious organisations, can play roles in influencing agendas and public policy. The Scottish Conservatives have become increasingly interesting in recent times, as have developments in the conservative media.

Please do continue to spread the word about the group and encourage new members, including students. This is a great opportunity to develop the group at an eventful time for the study of conservatives and conservatism. The new team and I are very much looking forward to working with you.

(If you did not receive this by email then we don’t have your up to date email address. If you would like to be added to the list, please email: anthony.ridge-newman@roehampton.ac.uk – thanks.)

Best,
Anthony

The Group Constitution

NAME

The Group shall be called the UK Political Studies Association Conservatives and Conservatism Specialist Group.

OBJECTIVES

The objectives of the group are:
1. To bring together and create a stronger sense of identity and common purpose among those political scientists, political theorists, historians and other scholars who currently study the ideas and practices of conservatism, and to encourage those who may want to do so in the future. 2. To organise specialist group panels at the PSA Annual Conference.

3. To encourage and facilitate the creation and dissemination of high quality research on all aspects of conservatism (theoretical and empirical) through a web presence and by specialist conferences and workshops.

4. To encourage a comparative as well as a British dimension to the study of conservative politics and conservatism.

MEMBERSHIP

Membership shall be open to all members of the UK Political Studies Association (PSA) and others with an active research and/or teaching interest in conservative politics, broadly defined. Membership of the Group will normally be open by right to full members of the PSA. Specialist group membership for non-PSA members will be at the discretion of the Convenor(s).

OFFICERS

The group shall have a minimum of two and a maximum of five Officers. At least one Officer will be elected as Convenor of the group, although the role of Convenor can also be held jointly.

The Convenor(s) and other Officers will hold office for three years and shall be elected by a vote among the members of the group, conducted either at the group’s AGM or by electronic means (for example via e-mail). To ensure impartiality in the event of an electronic ballot, an individual not standing for election (for example a retiring Officer) must be appointed to act as a returning officer for the election.

The roles and titles of the other Officers of the Group will be determined by the Convenor(s) in consultation with the other elected Officer(s). Such roles might include Publicity Officer, Events Officer, Treasurer, or Secretary.

The Convenor(s) and other Officers of the Group shall be eligible for re-election.

All Officers of the Group must be full paid up members of the PSA.

Officers of the Group will at all times act with integrity, and in accordance with the rules and objectives of the PSA.

RECORDS

Records shall be kept by the Convenor(s) and/or other delegated Officer(s) of the Group. These records will include minutes of any meetings and the annual report. A current membership list shall be maintained. An annual report will be compiled by the Convenor(s) and submitted to the PSA each year. The annual report will be made available to any member of the PSA that requests it.

VACATION OF OFFICE

The Convenor(s) and other Officer(s) of the Group shall vacate his or her office upon resignation; upon the instruction of the PSA Executive Committee, as agreed and recorded at a meeting of that Committee; or upon dismissal by resolution of a general meeting of the Group.

MEETINGS

The Group shall normally hold at least one annual meeting. Meetings can be held, at the discretion of the Convenor(s), using telephony or other electronic media instead of an actual gathering. The annual general meeting shall be held during the PSA annual conference each year or at another time, at the discretion of the Convenor(s). At least two weeks’ notice of an annual general meeting shall be given. Other general meetings shall be called at the discretion of the Convenor(s) or at the written request of no fewer than six members of the Group. Notice of at least seven clear days shall be given.

FINANCE

Applications by the Group to the PSA and/or to other organisations for grants of money shall be made at the discretion of the Convenor(s).

The Convenor(s) and Officer(s) of the Group are responsible for ensuring that the financial resources of the Group are used to further its objectives, as laid out in this constitution. Appropriate uses may include, but are not limited to, the organisation of conferences, workshops, lectures or other symposia (including costs related to travel, accommodation, subsistence, hospitality etc); grants for PhD students, Early Career Researchers, or other scholars who may be financially disadvantaged to enable their participation at such events or at the PSA Annual Conference; publicity costs related to Group activities; website maintenance; the award of an annual prize.

The Convenor(s) of the group must keep accurate financial records, and as part of the annual report to the PSA will account for the Group’s expenditure.

On vacating office, the Convenor(s) of the Group shall hand over the records to his or her duly elected successor.

Only PSA members are eligible to receive funding from the Group for any activity. If a conference or other event is organised for which a fee is charged, normally non-PSA members will be charged a higher fee.

PRIZES

The Group will normally award a prize or prizes totalling a value of up to £100 for the best publication(s) on conservatism/conservative politics in the previous year.  The prize will be judged by the Convenor(s), or they may delegate the task to suitably qualified members of the Group. The judging panel will consist of at least two people. No Officers of the Group, and no members of the judging panel, will be eligible for a prize. In the event that the prize winner is not a paid-up member of the PSA, the cash prize will not be paid (in accordance with the principle that only PSA members are eligible to receive funding from the group).

WEBSITE

The Group shall maintain a website to publicise its activities and disseminate relevant information to members.

PSA CONSTITUTION

The Group shall be governed by the appropriate clauses of the PSA constitution with regard to any matter not covered by this constitution.

AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION

This constitution may be amended or altered only by a resolution supported by two-thirds of the members present and voting at a general meeting, provided that no alteration shall contravene any part of the PSA’s Constitution.   This constitution shall be made available to all members of the Group on request, and posted on the Group’s website.

Download a printable PDF of the Group Constitution