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.

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