The Tories and Television, 1951-1964:
Broadcasting and Elite

(Palgrave Studies in the History of the Media)

By Anthony Ridge-Newman

Available now for pre-order on Amazon

ISBN-10: 1137562536
ISBN-13: 978-1137562531
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

This book explores the role of television in the 1950s and early 1960s, with a focus on the relationship between Tories and TV.

The early 1950s were characterized by recovery from war and high politics. Television was a new medium that eventually came to dominate mass media and political culture.

But what impact did this transition have on political organization and elite power structures?

Winston Churchill avoided it; Anthony Eden wanted to control it; Harold Macmillan tried to master it; and Alec Douglas-Home was not Prime Minister long enough to fully utilize it.

The Conservative Party’s relationship with the new medium of television is a topic rich with scholarly questions and interesting quirks that were characteristic of the period.

This exploration examines the changing dynamics between politics and the media, at grassroots and elite levels.

Through analysing rich and diverse source materials from the Conservative Party Archive, Anthony Ridge-Newman takes a case study approach to comparing the impact of television at different points in the party’s history.

In mapping changes across a thirteen year period of continual Conservative governance, this book argues that the advent of television contributed to the party’s transition from a membership-focused party to a television-centric professionalized elite.

Endorsed by leading academics and Conservative Party figures:

‘Rarely can the benefits of examining the political past to understand the present have been as amply demonstrated. Drawing upon a period of rapid development, Ridge-Newman combines appreciation of contemporary debates around the influence of media with a scrupulous understanding of the culture of the Conservatives. The developing dynamics between media and political institutions will now be clearer.’ - Dr Michael Higgins, Senior Lecturer, Strathclyde University

‘In this excellent book, Anthony Ridge-Newman continues the work he began in Cameron’s Conservatives and the Internet (2014). He now explores the relationship between the Tories and, another important new medium, in its time, television. In analysing the role television played in the transformation of Conservative Party organization, 1951-64, Ridge-Newman reveals the complex and fascinating dynamics of change and tradition. His much needed and well-written study scrutinizes how the advent of television altered the internal dynamic between Tory elites and the party’s grassroots, thus transforming their approach to political campaigning.’ - Dr Mari K. Niemi, Senior Researcher, University of Turku, and academic of the year (Finland, 2015)

'The success of the Conservative party over the centuries is due in considerable part to its ability to adapt to new norms and new media. Anthony Ridge-Newman's book is a scholarly yet entertaining account of the party's relationship with the medium of television, which dominated the second half of the twentieth century. Ridge-Newman chronicles the Tories' initially cautious embrace of television in the days of postwar austerity, which developed into mastery of the medium in the bellwether election of 1959. This is an important account of a transformational period in British politics, in which the glowing box in the corner of the sitting room became the instrument of continued Conservative domination of the political landscape.' - David Jones MP, Secretary of State for Wales 2012-14


Cameron's Conservatives and the Internet: Change, Culture and Cyber Toryism

By Anthony Ridge-Newman Buy online @ Palgrave Macmillan

ISBN: 9781137436511
Publication Date: November 2014
Formats: Ebook (PDF) - Ebook (EPUB) - Hardcover
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

The internet is changing the way many of us interact and communicate. But how is it impacting on more historically traditional institutions like the British Conservative Party?

As more web-applications spring up as part of our everyday lives, how are political parties responding to these wider changes in the ways in which we interface with technology and one another?

Using David Cameron's Conservative Party as a case study, the book examines the role of specific internet technologies like blogs, email, ConservativeHome, Facebook, MyConservatives, Twitter and WebCameron in the organizational culture of the Tory Party. Benefitting from both academic and party insider perspectives, the book presents the case for the emergence of a new technological subculture within the party, namely 'Cyber Toryism'.

Preface and Acknowledgements
1. Cameron's Conservatives and the Internet
2. Tory Elites and Centralized Internet Operations
3. Blogs: The Conservative Home?
4. Facebook: New Face of Conservative Organization?
5. In the Net: Joining Cameron's Conservatives Online
6. Surrey Conservatives and the Internet
7. Anglesey Conservatives and the Internet
8. Cyber Toryism

Endorsed by leading Conservative Party scholars:

'Benefitting from being written from both an academic and an insider perspective, this study effectively outlines the challenges that new media pose to the organizational and campaign hierarchy that has traditionally characterized the Conservatives. Ridge-Newman shows that the advent of digital democracy doesn't only pose risks for parties; it also offers rewards.' - Professor Tim Bale, School of Politics and International Relations, Queen Mary, University of London

'Anthony Ridge-Newman provides an innovative analysis of the Conservatives’ engagement with the internet under David Cameron. Drawing on ethnographic methods during hard-fought elections, his book is unique, breaking new ground in the study of the role that new technologies are playing in the lives of political activists in Britain.' 
- Dr Alexander Smith, Department of Sociology, Warwick University

'Ridge-Newman’s book offers the first in-depth investigation of the role of digital technologies in the Conservative Party under Cameron. This book explores the challenges that new forms of technology pose to traditional structures of power and authority within political parties. It is essential reading for researchers and practitioners alike.' 
- Dr Alex Windscheffel, Department of History, Royal Holloway, University of London