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Burke: Conservative at heart

A new book from Number 10's new advisor revisits a patron saint

By AC Grayling   June 2013

In the wake of Barack Obama’s re-election last autumn, conservatives in the United States began a post-mortem on their defeat with predictable calls for a return to the first principles and basic tenets of their political faith. High on the rhetorical list was a demand to revisit (or as some pointed out, to visit) the ideas of the man whom some call the father, others the patron saint, of conservatism: Edmund Burke.

What makes this 18th century Irishman, a Whig sympathetic to American independence, the patron saint of conservatism? Was he a political conservative before the French Revolution and its…

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