By Richard Wade (auth.)
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Additional resources for Conservative Party Economic Policy: From Heath in Opposition to Cameron in Coalition
Regardless, the proposal split the Conservative Party in Cabinet, Parliament, and in the country (Bruce-Gardyne and Lawson, 1976: 99–103). An aggravating factor was the fact that a general election was due in 1964, and small shopkeepers were a traditional bulwark of Conservative support. As a The Conservative Party and Its Microeconomic Policies, 1964–97 35 result, some Tories who supported abolition in principle were highly sceptical of the timing. Heath was ultimately able to carry the legislation through Parliament, and RPM was abolished prior to the 1964 general election (Bruce-Gardyne and Lawson, 1976: 108–12).
If the government wished to keep unemployment below the natural rate, it would then need to increase the money supply by an amount greater than that anticipated by workers, and the process would repeat itself. The conclusion Friedman and Phelps drew was that, far from leading to a temporarily higher level of inflation as the Phillips curve suggested, holding unemployment below its natural rate would lead to an ever-increasing rate of inflation. If one plotted a graph with inflation on the vertical axis and unemployment on the horizontal axis, the Phillips curve would appear to be vertical in the long run, whilst cutting the horizontal axis at the natural rate of unemployment.
Heath was ultimately able to carry the legislation through Parliament, and RPM was abolished prior to the 1964 general election (Bruce-Gardyne and Lawson, 1976: 108–12). Whether this contributed to the Tories narrowly losing the election remains open to debate (Findlay, 2001). RPM abolition is mainly of interest here because it illuminates the difficulties involved in reconciling the views of paternalist Tories with those Conservatives who are less sceptical of the free market. It was this contrast in views between market sceptics with considerable sympathy for state intervention and the economic liberals who favoured a relatively unfettered market that dominated Conservative interparty debates over microeconomic policies during the years following 1964.
Conservative Party Economic Policy: From Heath in Opposition to Cameron in Coalition by Richard Wade (auth.)
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