Margaret Thatcher: In Victory and Downfall, 1987 and 1990

Margaret Thatcher: In Victory and Downfall, 1987 and 1990

Margaret Thatcher: In Victory and Downfall, 1987 and 1990

Margaret Thatcher: In Victory and Downfall, 1987 and 1990

Synopsis

This volume studies Margaret Thatcher and her influence on British politics with the American reader in mind. Geelhoed interprets Thatcher's strengths and weaknesses as a political leader and analyzes important trends in modern British politics. Drawing on the author's own experience as an expatriate eyewitness to the latter part of the Thatcher era, interviews with numerous British scholars and political observers, and a thorough examination of relevant published sources on the Thatcher years, Geelhoed provides a unique analysis of this extraordinary woman's leadership and the closing years of her era.

Excerpt

The Conservative Party's landslide victory in Great Britain's general election on June 11, 1987, gave Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher the keys to 10 Downing Street for the third consecutive time. Not since Robert Hanks Jenkinson, the second Lord Liverpool, won three successive elections in the 1820s had a British prime minister accomplished a political victory of this magnitude. By climbing to the top of the greasy pole--as Benjamin Disraeli once phrased it--for the third straight time, Thatcher achieved a personal electoral victory which had eluded the grasp of the giants of British political history. Neither Disraeli nor William Gladstone in the nineteenth century nor David Lloyd George, Herbert Asquith, Winston Churchill, Harold Macmillan, or Harold Wilson in the twentieth century ever presided over three consecutive party victories.

Without question, the decade of the 1980s in Great Britain was the era of Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher dominated British politics and government in a fashion not witnessed since Churchill's leadership of Britain during World War II. Furthermore, it now appears that Thatcher has emerged as the most influential European leader since Charles de Gaulle. Thatcher's economic and social philosophy, her personal determination and shrewdness, and her political instincts combined to make her a political phenomenon in Britain.

The 1987 British general election was a referendum on eight years of Thatcherism and conservative government. In that respect, Margaret Thatcher's third triumph differed markedly from the Conservative Party's . . .

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