There are noted tensions and ambiguities in British conservatism, which has changed markedly over time and has been very variously explained. In British politics the term ‘conservatisms’ dates back to the 1830s, but the roots of the philosophy are much older, developing out of the ‘Toryism’ established from the late seventeenth century, and arguably further back. Conservatism evolved and changed in response to altered circumstances. Terms commonly associated with conservatism are ‘pragmatism’ and ‘flexibility’. The British Conservative party has sometimes been characterized as a pragmatic rather than an ideological party, responding to immediate practical problems instead of preconceived theory. Moreover conservatives have frequently denied that their political convictions constitute an ideology.
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