Small-c conservative

A small-c conservative is anyone who believes in the philosophy of conservatism but does not necessarily identify with an official Conservative Party.

Canadian context

The term was especially popular in Canada during the 1990s when the Progressive Conservative Party was centre-right with the Reform Party (later, the Canadian Alliance) further to the right. Members and supporters of the Reform Party/Canadian Alliance would thus describe themselves as small-c conservatives.

UK context

This term is also used in the United Kingdom to describe those who are conservative in the sense of resisting radical change rather than being members or supporters of the official Conservative Party. For example, the House of Lords as a body tends to resist social change and executive power and therefore—regardless of the numbers of lords who take the Conservative party whip—it is described as "small-c conservative".[1]

Australian context

A small-c conservative in Australia is generally a member of the Liberal Party, but is progressive on social policy and conservative on fiscal policy. The Liberal Party is made up of such small-c conservatives as well as the more right-wing big-C conservatives.


  1. Ingolfur Blühdorn, Uwe Jun, Economic efficiency-democratic empowerment, p. 109

See also

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