Politics in Minutes (2016)

The New Right

The term ‘New Right’ has been attached to a number of different conservative movements in the latter part of the 20th century. With the collapse of Soviet communism in the Warsaw Pact countries, it described the emergence of right-wing parties especially in eastern Europe. But it also refers to the development in the UK and USA in particular of a form of conservatism based not so much on class and tradition as a combination of very conservative social policies and very libertarian, laissez-faire economic policy.

A neoconservative movement – a backlash against the idealism of the ‘swinging sixties’ – flourished from the 1970s onwards, most influentially under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher in Britain and Ronald Reagan in the USA. In place of the paternalistic conservatism that preceded it, they advocated a meritocratic society with minimal government, opposed to government interference in the markets, and committed to cut both taxes and public spending.