Thatcher and Thatcherism

Thatcher and Thatcherism

Thatcher and Thatcherism

Thatcher and Thatcherism

Synopsis

Drawing extensively on political memoirs, Thatcher and Thatcherism surveys the origins and impact of 'Thatcherism' as a cultural construct and an economic creed.Focusing on the career of Margaret Thatcher, Eric J. Evans proposes that the ideological coherence and originality of 'Thatcherism' was illusory. He argues that 'Thatcherism' was a bold experiment in ideologically driven government which failed to meet its main objectives.He includes discussion of:* privatization and the fate of the trade unions* Britain's slow economic decline versus Thatcher's delusions of British grandeur* the legacy of the Falklands and of Britain's approach to Europe* education, the civil service, and crime.* the contribution of the poll tax fiasco to her fall from power.With full bibliography and explanation of the economic, social and historical context of Britain in the late 1970s and 80s, Thatcher and Thatcherism is an invaluable guide to the complexities and paradoxes of contemporary Britain.

Excerpt

Six years have passed since the first edition of this book was published. They coincide with the first six years of what is sometimes called the 'New Labour project' under the premiership of Tony Blair. In October 2002, Margaret Thatcher announced that, on medical advice, she would take no further part in public life. This revised, and considerably expanded, second edition judges the significance of both of these developments. For the first time, it is possible to make a judgement about the extent of Thatcher's influence not only in office but 'in the wings' after she fell from power. What was the final chapter in the first edition has been divided into two to enable more extended coverage of the extent of Thatcher's influence after 1990. This includes evaluation of the extent to which Blair has governed on Thatcherite principles. Elsewhere, I have treated Thatcher's foreign policy in more detail. I have made some changes to every chapter and have, of course, brought the Guide to further reading up to date. Thatcher is of scarcely less interest to publishers in 2003 than she was in 1997, and much of value has appeared in the last six years.

As a historian whose writings have mostly covered an earlier period of British history, I have been fascinated by the tendency for emphases and judgements about a contemporary figure to alter over a short space of time. This is, in many respects, a different book from the one I wrote in 1997. My overall assessment of Thatcher has perhaps not altered much, but my judgement about her longer-term significance certainly has. She was, without doubt, the most influential Prime Minister of the second half of the twentieth century. She irrevocably altered the political landscape of the United Kingdom (UK) and also altered—for good or ill—the reputation of the UK beyond these shores. Returning to her career confirms at least one judgement about the nature of political influence. Outsiders with talent, determination and energy are always likely to make more important, and more lasting, changes to the landscape than

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