I will answer this question with a couple of posts. Today I will look at the policy issues behind the disagreements. Tomorrow I will consider the people.
The rebellions all represent a frustration that not enough Conservative policies are being pursued by the government. Conservative MPs point out that the Conservative party won an overall majority in England, so has a mandate to govern in England. This is frustrated by Coalition and UK votes in the UK Parliament. MPs want English votes for English issues, with Conservative Ministers for English issues as a result. They also often argue that Lib Dems have too large a say in policy in proportion to the number of seats they hold.
Some Conservative MPs were not happy about the original Coalition agreement, with many regreting the absence of a proper discussion within the Parliamentary party about the terms, and the absence of a vote to approve it. Few Conservatives ever wanted constitutional change. They were happy to let the Lib Dems have a referendum on AV because they could themselves oppose AV and vote No. They never bought into the idea of Lords reform, backing their Leader who had always made it clear prior to the election that he did not regard it as a priority and had no particular plan to bring it about.
Most Conservatives are fully signed up to deficit reduction. Most wish more of this to be achieved by controlling public spending. Far from being uneasy about cuts, many of the rebellions come from people wanting some cuts. There are strong groups of Conservatives who wish to see cuts in the EU budget, cuts in the overseas aid budget, cuts in regulation and bureaucracy, and sensible cuts in welfare. They would like to see cuts in energy subsidies, and the end of expensive projects like HS2.
There are strong groups against particular policies. HS2 is a very unpopular project, especially with those with constituencies along its route. Windfarms are unpopular with a significant number of MPs, both because of their environmental impact and owing to the high cost energy they sometimes generate. The delays in controlling immigration numbers frustrates some Conservative MPs. The intervention of both the ECHR and the ECJ in UK affairs often riles Conservatives.
Many Conservative MPs want some flesh on the bones of the new policy of negotiating a new relationship with the EU. They want a referendum on our relationship. Some are uneasy about the extent of the defence cuts, a department which has been singled out for far more cuts than other departments.
All want a strong private sector led recovery. Some were frustrated by tax increases in the last budget. Many dislike high fuel duties. The free enterprise groupings dislike current Income Tax and CGT levels, and see them as too high for the recovery.
The most serious worries relate to the EU. In that MPs reflect the mood amongst party activists. Our relationship with the EU dominates much of what the Uk does or is allowed to do, and is at the centre of Conservative wishes for constitutional change.