What Is Thatcherism Did It Succeed Essay

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What Is Thatcherism? Did It Succeed? Essay, Research Paper In 1979 Margaret Thatcher took over from James Callaghan as Prime Minister. On being appointed she appealled, in the words of Francis of Assisi for help in bringing harmony when there is discord. For the next eleven years Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister winning an incredible three general elections. During this time, though, her style was anything but harmonious. This style and the policies that came to be associated with them came to be known as Thatcherism. There are several identifiable aspects of Thatcherism which helped her and her government stay in power for so long and improve the United Kingdom so immeasurably. Throughout the 1970s Britain had been subjected to a series of damaging strikes and terrific

inflation. The Tories 1979 manifesto pledged to encourage private enterprise, lower taxes and restore power to the individual. What Thatcherism was promising at the end of the Seventies was the formula for renewed economic success in Britain through reinvigoration of the supply side of the economy. The high inflation crisis in Britain’s economy was gradually defeated under the Thatcher government. In 1978, domestic production in the U.K. only grew by 1% while consumer spending went up by 5%.An unacceptably high level of inflation resulted. In the early years, the Thatcher government committed itself to gradual reductions in the money supply and increases in various taxes to quell inflation. These policies were monetarist. Monetarism was a policy Thatcher believed in which

distinguishes her from previous governments. The Tories soon earned the reputation as honest and effective inflation-fighters. As the British economy was recovering from recession in 1983, inflation fell form 20% to 4%, the lowest level in 13 years- largely as a result of these monetarist policies. During its years in power, the Thatcher government managed to weaken the stranglehold labour unions held over industry and government in Britain. Thatcher saw this as a very important part of her plans for the country. Unions had contributed towards, or been responsible for, the downfall of three successive governments. In 1980, 82, 84 and 88 legislation was introduced affecting the Unions. Unions in Britain had priced many of their members out of jobs by demanding excessive wages for

insufficient output. This had the effect of making British goods incompetitive. At first, unions were able to hold down the Tories as they had done with previous governments. But the government gradually piled pressure onto the unions until one of them snapped. In 1984 the most powerful and most militant union went on strike. It was the miners union led by a Marxist, Arthur Scargill. Thatcher had ingeniously predicted and prepared for the strike; by stockpiling coal at power stations the effects of the strike on the economy were minimalised. The government had passed legislation to make striking more difficult with a compulsory secret ballot and less effective with flying pickets being banned. The Tories won the coal strike hands-down, and this win signalled that the era of union

supremacy in the governing of Britain came to an end. In addition, at about the same time as the miners’ strikes, the Tories won battles with staff at the Government Communications Headquarters. The leashing of unions began to produce prominent signs of economic efficiency: From 1973-9, general economic productivity amounted to 1% or so p.a. Since then productivity has doubled, and in the manufacturing sector it has quadrupled, due, in part to declining union clout. However, Thatcherism has not done a thoroughly clean job in the area of unions. School teachers never had been won over by the Tories and were threatening to strike in 1994. Also high levels of unemployment assisted the Thatcher Tories in decreasing the unions’ propensity to hold strikes. Thatcherism ushered in a