Few of the problems of the 1980s were entirely new. However, many people blamed them on the new Conservative government, and in partcular, Britain’s first woman Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher had been elected in 1979 because she promised a new beginning for Britain. Margaret Thatcher had come to power calling on the nation for hard work, patriotism and self-help.
By the beginning of 1982 the Conservative govern had become deeply unpopular in the country. However, by her firm leadership during the Falklands War Thatcher captured the imagination of the nation, and was confidently able to call an election in 1983. As expected, Thatcher was returned to powerwith a clear majority.. It was the greatest Conservative victory for 40 years. In part Thatcher’s victory was a result of the ”Falklands factor”. A clear majority, however, had voted against the return of a Conservative government, showing dissatisfaction with Thatcher’s policies. It was not dificult to see why this was so.
Thatcher had promised to stop Britain’s decline, but by 1983 she had not succeeded. Industrial production since 1979 had fallen by 10% and manufacturing production by 17%. Unemployment had risen from 1.25 million in 1979 to over 3 million. Thatcher had begun to return nationalised industries to the private sector. By 1987 telecommunications, gas, British Airways, British Aerospace and British Shipbuilders had all been put into private