Chapter

The Electoral Success of Thatcherism

Anthony F. Heath, Roger M. Jowell and John K. Curtice

in The Rise of New Labour

Published in print April 2001 | ISBN: 9780199245116
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599453 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199245118.003.0003
 The Electoral Success of Thatcherism

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The authors focus on the principal aspects of the Thatcherite economic reform programme and assess to what extent they were accepted by the British electorate. The analysis shows that the electorate accepted the Conservative reforms on privatization and trade union legislation and that, during her time in office, Margaret Thatcher won public backing for the changes. But in two other respects, Margaret Thatcher failed to carry the country with her; once the problem of inflation was solved at the beginning of the 1980s, the electorate wanted the government to pay more attention to the high level of unemployment and did not appear to accept Thatcherite policies in this area. The electorate showed no enthusiasm for the Thatcherite philosophy of reduced government spending on public services. The analysis of the Thatcherite economic reform programme gives support to the thesis that a political party does not need to be closely in tune with the electorate's policy preferences in order to win an election.

Keywords: electorate's policy preferences; inflation; privatization; public services; Thatcherism; trade union legislation; unemployment

Chapter.  12405 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: UK Politics

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