Robin Harris's history of the Conservative Party is hefty but so well written that it is a pleasure to it. Once finished, there will be a longish piece on it. In the meantime, I was interested to find a quote in the Introduction from the great conservative thinker, Michael Oakeshott.
To be conservative ... is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss. Familiar relationships and loyalties will be preferred to the allure of more profitable attachments; to acquire and to enlarge will be less important than to keep, to cultivate and to enjoy; the grief of loss will be more acute than the excitement of novelty or promise. It is to be equal to one's own fortune to live at the level of one's own means, to be content with the want of greater perfection which belongs alike to oneself and one's circumstances. With some people this is itself a choice; in others it is a disposition with appears, frequently or less frequently, in their preferences and aversions, and is not itself chosen or specifically cultivated.This is an attractive philosophy but is not, and cannot be a political ideology, let alone the basis for policy making. After all, there is just the possibility that what is in place is not quite what any true conservative would want to preserve. Then what?