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University 18 Yrs + | Thatcherism

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Introduction to Thatcherism

Margaret Thatcher is one of the only British Prime Ministers to have an –ism attached to her name – Thatcherism.

It is difficult for politicians, especially Prime Ministers, to demonstrate a coherent ideology as they constantly have to react to pressure from their party, the MPs that make up their Parliamentary majority, their Cabinet colleagues, the media, challenges from the Opposition parties, public opinion and, of course, events.

They also change their policies over time as they learn from events and Mrs Thatcher was Prime Minister for 11 years. Peter Riddell sees her ideas as an instinct rather than an ideology.

Nevertheless the Thatcher Governments marked a major shift in British politics to produce a State that was smaller and did less, though in some ways more centralised, while the market was accorded a much more important role in the provision of services and the promotion of entrepreneurship was seen as a major role for Government.

Thatcher’s success was in combining these radical changes with a fairly traditional foreign and defence policy and the championing of conservative social values to create a winning electoral coalition.