Suvarna Garge (Editor)

"And" theory of conservatism

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The "And" theory of conservatism is a political neologism coined in 2000s conservativism for the notion of holistic policy bringing together traditional conservativism with some aspects of liberalism (right-libertarianism), combining policies like low taxation with traditionally liberal solutions to issues such as poverty and global warming.


Examples of the 'politics of and' include:

  • A commitment to opposing same-sex marriages AND to securing fair pension and inheritance arrangements for gay people
  • A bigger budget for the armed forces AND an end to the sale of arms to despotic regimes
  • Faster, longer imprisonment of repeat offenders AND more care for the vulnerable children of prisoners
  • A willingness to confront the Islamic roots of global terrorism AND more opportunities for mainstream Muslims to set up state-funded schools
  • Controlled immigration policies AND a commitment to international development
  • Origin

    The term originated in the UK, and was first noted during Iain Duncan Smith's leadership of the Conservative Party (UK) from 2001 to 2003. It has been subsequently popularised by former Conservative Party aide Tim Montgomerie, now editor of, who has written on its usage. It has also been used in the United States where it has been picked up on by publications such as The Weekly Standard, who have considered its implications for the Republican Party (United States). It has been defined in the U.S. as follows:

    "The idea is that a center-right party needs not abandon its core issues - crime, taxes, family. Rather, the wise course is to hold fast on those issues and speak to concerns normally ceded to the left." —The Oklahoma Gazette

    The 'And' theory in the UK

    The 'And' theory has been embraced by several leading conservative politicians in the UK, including the former Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister David Cameron (although the term 'the And theory' tends not to be expressly mentioned due to its clunky and potentially confusing name). When challenging for the leadership of the party, Cameron said:

    "When we talk about foreign affairs, we don't just stand up for Gibraltar and Zimbabwe but for the people of Darfur and sub-Saharan Africa who are living on less than a dollar a day and getting poorer while we're getting richer"

    Cameron therefore encouraged Conservatives to be concerned by the former Empire territory of Zimbabwe and the situation in Darfur.

    Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith has continued to promote 'And' politics, most notably in his 2005 pamphlet 'Good For Me, Good For My Neighbour' written with Danny Kruger:

    “I have never believed that modernisation requires the jettisoning of Conservative Euroscepticism, or of our belief in low taxation, or of our tough approach to crime. These principles remain enduringly popular with the public. My proposal for the modernisation of the Party is not to subtract from these core principles – but to add to them.”

    Duncan Smith has encouraged the party to embrace a "social justice" agenda (traditionally associated with the Left) based on a commitment to the family (seen as an issue of the right).


    "And" theory of conservatism Wikipedia