Image of the future in the conservative ideology in Great Britain and in the program of United Russia party
When one discusses the conservative ideology, one claims that Tories are the founders. Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill and many others contributed greatly to the development of conservatism. Could that possibly influence the development of the modern Russian conservatives? What way do Russian and British ideologists see the future?
Key words: conservatism, ideology, image of the future.
International tension in relation to the events in Ukraine has opposed UK conservative ideology to Russian conservatism, despite the fact that both ideological concepts are very similar.
Conservatism is a special ideological trend that implies adherence to traditional values and customs. This has always been the framework that conservatism in Britain has been developing throughout its history. Conservatism has been undergoing changes to meet new challenges.
Margaret Thatcher made enormous contribution to the development of conservatism. It was at that time conservatism in the United Kingdom was transformed into neoconservatism. Thatcher held a number of fairly liberal reforms, such as the law on public bodies which required local councils publicity.
Nowadays the neoconservative wing of the British parliament is headed by David Cameron; according to some estimates he is more liberal-minded than many previous leaders. He went to an agreement with the Labour Party, which resulted in the reforms of various fields, for instance, the social reform. In particular, David Cameron in his speeches often as an argument leads theses «on the social welfare of families of Great Britain» . Protecting the middle class position is one of the priorities of the neoconservatives in the UK.
Within the framework of the social reform, the neoconservatives in the parliament proposed to limit migration. It should be noted that in the British version limiting migration refers to the development of the certain political strategy. According to the strategy, migration from the EU in Britain is only possible if workers are guaranteed a job.
When it comes to Russia, the natural development of conservatism was interrupted during the Soviet period. It was only with the collapse of the Soviet Union that it started its gradual revival. Today, the most important political entity that promotes conservatism is the party «United Russia».
Analyzing the keynote address of the party «United Russia» of 24.09.2011 reveals, first of all, the strict policy aimed at development of cultural values of ethnic groups, what is stated directly in the address: «We declare support for free development of all the cultures of the peoples of Russia» . In particular, the party supports non-governmental organizations that are engaged in the development of national culture, for example, such support benefits «Revival of the Volga Germans» society in the Saratov region.
The program of the party “United Russia” also reads that the party is seeking to build a welfare state. The great amount of social projects, such as «Strong family» project associated with education of the younger generation, proves that.
It is important to note that “United Russia” declares «fight against illegal migration, ethnic crime, xenophobic and separatism» .
Finally, as any other ideology, conservatism has its own vision of the future. The concept of the future in the program of the party «United Russia» is primarily connected to the special role of the middle class: “We must create a truly massive middle class. This, above all, the people who drag to the entire country themselves. It is entrepreneurs who create real goods and services; these are qualified doctors, teachers, university professors, workers and engineers, scientists and cultural workers of the village – they are, in fact, the basis. These are the people that build the future”. For the sake of the goal at the suggestion of «United Russia» the State Duma discusses many social laws.
The future in the «United Russia» program is associated with children as the potential of the country; they must be able to build their lives. “The opportunity to live with dignity, make a career, earn, give children the good future must be given only to the population of the capital and major cities, but also to the people throughout the country, in every city, village”. In particular, the party is developing various strategies to improve education in the country.
The “Address” refers to the development of the economy as a long-term goal: “We need to be strong and in the next five years — to enter the five largest economies in the world” . The result of this statement was the economic strategy proposed by the parties; the strategy implies the development of small and medium businesses.
Thus, one can see that conservatives in Russia and the UK have similar positions on some issues. The image of the future, which is represented in the program of the party «United Russia» and the image portrayed by Tory in Britain, has common characteristics. At the same time, there are substantial differences. Neoconservatives in modern Britain emphasize reducing the regulatory role of the state and expanding the scope of free enterprise and civil society. Representatives of the “United Russia” recognize the importance of the market and economic competition, focus on keeping the regulatory role of the state in social and economic sphere, including that in promoting the development of the civil society in modern Russia.
1. Official website of the UK Government; URL: http://www.parliament.uk/ (date accessed: 7/03/15)
2. Official site of the party «United Russia»: program-treatment; URL:http://er.ru/party/program/ (date accessed: 03/03/15)
3. Margaret Thatcher biography; URL: http://www.biography.com/people/margaret-thatcher-9504796 (date accessed: 03/03/15)