By Robert Leach (auth.)
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They are held by the masses, and although there may be a difference in sophistication between the elite and mass versions of particular ideologies, normally they recognisably belong to the same kind of outlook on life, and interrelate. Mrs Thatcher acknowledges the influence of the everyday maxims acquired during her upbringing in that celebrated grocer's shop in Grantham (Young, 1989, p. 5) but also acknowledges a debt to Adam Smith and Hayek (Thatcher, 1977), and it is difficult to assess which has made the more significant contribution to what has come to be termed 'Thatcherism'.
If deliberate manipulation of people's minds by the government or the dominant element in society was regularly employed and always successful, there would be no ideological conflict, just the universal acceptance of one ideology. Plato wanted to eliminate conflict in this way in his ideal state, and there have been celebrated recent fictional examples, such as Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's Brave New World. Real live governments have found it rather more difficult to stifle all 30 BRITISH POLITICAL IDEOLOGIES dissent.
Thus a particular politician or group in the British Labour Party might be described as 'right wing', strictly within the context of his party, while more generally he would be regarded as 'on the left'. Similarly, factions within the Conservative Party are often loosely termed left, right or centre to explain their ideological position relative to others within their party, while they all essentially belong to the right. This emphasises the importance of context in interpretation. Yet if the classification is virtually universal, it is not unproblematic.