Margaret Thatcher and the Thatcherism

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  • Topic: Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Conservative Party
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  • Published : March 14, 2011
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Margaret Thatcher and the Thatcherism

(A short summary of Margaret Thatcher’s policy)

University of Miskolc

Göncző-Dutkay Renáta

English teacher – MA

Correspondence student


Margaret Thatcher - the British prime minister of the 1980’s – entered into the history as an epoch-making politician. She was a controversial, but sometimes irresistible person, who was rated as a pattern in other countries too by the believers of the strict and purposeful governance. Her three-time election (and the fourth one of her party after her resignation) conveyed that impression all around the world that Margaret Thatcher worked with total public satisfaction. It seemed that the conservative politics marked with her name found the economic and political antidote of the age-long British deterioration, and this balm can be used and imported in other countries too. But sometimes these statements seem a little bit superficial. In my essay I would like to examine these questions and of course the effect of Margaret Thatcher’s era on the UK and other countries too.

Born capitalist

Mrs. Thatcher was born in 1925 as Margaret Hilda Roberts in a small English rural town, Grantham. Her family operated a grocery. Margaret learnt the actuation of the business as a young lady and experienced the existing capitalism and the advantages and disadvantages of the real competition. Her ideal was Winston Churchill. She got a scholarship in Oxford, and after the World War II she become the member of the conservative university club none the less the others turned left. Later she started to work in politics: she became a representative in the Parliament in 1959, a Social Insurance Under-Secretary in 1961 and a Minister of Education in 1970 in the Tory Heath government.

By and by she disliked any kind of governmental expenditures, and after her ministerial appointment one of her arrangements was the elimination of the free school milk for primary school students. She alluded to that the educational function of the school is more important than the social function. In the face of the negative response she insisted on her decision. The people did not know that this was just the beginning.

The election

The period before Margaret Thatcher’s coming into power was not good. In the second part of the 1970’s the Callaghan government (labour party) saw helplessly how the economy walked into the crisis. Because of the global economy recession the inflation increased and 1.6 million people became unemployed. The trade unions started demonstrations somewhere these demonstrations were violent. The labour party was unable to solve the problem so they had to throw up the sponge. Not surprisingly the conservative party - led by Margaret Thatcher - won the election.

The Ideology

It is not possible to understand the Thatcher-era without the ‘Iron Lady’s ideology. What affected to her? She was impressed by the works of Friedrich August von Hayek, the Austrian liberalist-conservative economist who is believed one of the fathers of the neocon-neoliberlism thinking. He thought that the state interventions into the economic process threaten the freedom. Thatcher mentor Sir Keith Joseph from the conservative party also professed that the state intervention sharpens the solved problem. Sir Keith believed in the entrepreneurial culture and he suggested decreasing the inland revenues, the state expenditures, the borrowings, and in line with this the enterprises and the individuals should had more responsibility for themselves. He suggested to Thatcher the significance of the privatization.

The ‘Iron Lady’s’ first period

Margaret Thatcher took her mentors advice and she got the exercise to realise the programme points which worked well in theory. In her 1979 campaign speech she promised the reduction of the income-tax, the cutting down of the state spending, the weakening of the...
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