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Do you agree with the view that the industrial chaos of the winter of 1978-9 primarily accounts for Mrs Thatchers election victory in 1979?

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Introduction

Do you agree with the view that the industrial chaos of the winter of 1978-9 primarily accounts for Mrs Thatcher's election victory in 1979? Explain your answer using sources 1, 2 + 3 and your own knowledge. In source 3, Pugh states that, 'the industrial chaos of the winter of 1978-79 gave Mrs Thatcher her opportunity'. This suggests that industrial chaos of the so called winter of discontent was the decisive factor for Thatcher's victory in the election of 1979. Source 3 therefore strongly agrees with the statement. Pugh also says that if 'Callaghan held an election in the autumn of 1978, he might well have won.' This therefore suggests that Callaghan was personally more popular than Margaret Thatcher. Despite of this, the Conservatives still had a parliamentary majority. This therefore suggests further, that it was the more short term reasons like the winter of discontent that gave Margaret Thatcher her victory. Furthermore, the winter of discontent lead to a number of strikes by public workers who felt that they were being victimized by the government following the cuts in public expenditure. ...read more.

Middle

Source 1, as a result also agrees that the industrial chaos and the winter of discontent played a major role in deciding Thatcher's victory in the election on 1979. Source 1 is written by Cole, a political journalist. It is written a few years after the election. This means that Cole had an advantage of looking back on events. The source is also unlikely to be biased because Cole is a journalist for the Observer which is fairly neutral. He therefore has the duty of being impartial and should show both sides of the argument. However, Source 1 also suggests that it was the long term factors that led to Margaret Thatcher's victory in 1979 and therefore partially disagrees with Source 3. In particular, it mentions the 'IMF public spending crisis of 1976.' Indeed, the IMF crisis led to major cuts in public expenditure which angered the Unionists. It also angered the Left Wing of Callaghan's party. As a result, the Labour party was split which therefore did not give the public any confidence in their labour government at the time. ...read more.

Conclusion

It was therefore evident that the Labour government was not running the country successfully. These Strikes would have also been publicise which meant that the rest of Britain who were not public workers could see that Britain needed a change in government as Labour was not dealing with the economically mess that Britain at the time was facing. It was the winter of discontent that led to the conservative majority in the 1979 election. Source 2 also, like Source 1 states that Margaret Thatcher's electoral victory was a certainty, 'Labour isn't working' and therefore disagrees with Source 3. It is evident that the winter of discontent of 1978-79 contributed immensely to Thatcher's victory in the 1979 general election. In fact, the winter of discontent was the centre for the preceding events such as mass unemployment, mass opposition from the trade unions and public workers. However, I do believe that the IMF crisis which caused cuts in public expenditure was a primary cause of Thatcher's victory as it was a major cause for the industrial chaos in the winter of 1978-89 in the first place. ...read more.

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