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July 1, 2008 / C H Thompson

Social policy and the New Right

The New Right are a group of thinkers who believe the family is the cornerstone of all social policies. They came to the fore in the 1980s when Mrs Thatcher was in power. Mrs Thatcher and many Conservative politicians said poor behaviour by young people in schools, on the streets, etc was down to coming from a poor family background.

New Right thinkers saw the nuclear family as the perfect model of how all families should be, and some politicians like John Redwood were especially critical of young single-mothers. Redwood expressed concern about the cost of welfare payments to single-parent families and these payments encouraged single-parenthood and the subsequent creation of an underclass.

Single-parenthood was seen as the greatest threat to the nuclear family. Indeed the Conservatives at the time created a moral panic about lone mothers and their threat to society.

However the New Right identified other areas which were threatening the nuclear family, because there has been an increase in:

  • Fatherless families
  • Divorce rates
  • Cohabitation
  • Gay and lesbian couples/marriages
  1. Why do you think the New Right has targeted the above? What might New Right thinkers, believe the above cause?

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