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Thatcherism. Assess the impact of Thatcherism on the Conservative Party's approach to Politics since 1975

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Introduction

Thatcherism Assess the impact of Thatcherism on the Conservative Party's approach to Politics since 1975 When Thatcher became leader of the Conservative Party in February 1975, she began to air her new radical policies. Thatcher's ideas were revolutionary and have had a considerable impact on Conservatism. This essay will assess Thatcher's influences and ideas and their impact on Conservative Party politics. It is important to look at Thatcher's inspirations to understand the main policies of Thatcherism. Thatcher drew on the ideas of Milton Friedman via her influential colleague, Sir Keith Joseph. One of Friedman's concepts was a simple one: to control inflation by controlling the supply of money and credit circulating the economy. This is something Thatcher would take on board in her Prime ministerial years to come. Her other influences came from Hayek, (that of economic freedom) and Adam Smith (a Laissez-Faire policy of letting Market forces create Prosperity on their own.) Thatcher believed that if the state interfered with businesses and industry too much, it steals freedom from the consumer and the consequence is inefficiency. One of Thatcher's pet hates along with consensus politics, is that of Trade Unions. ...read more.

Middle

Thatcherism continued to have a considerable impact, with VAT pushed right up to 17 %. Britain went into recession and unemployment rose to 3m. The party's views were split. It was the Thatcherites versus the 'Wets' and the discomfort continued with the Brixton and Liverpool riots, unrest in Northern Ireland and the Maze Prison hunger strikes. Thatcher asked for a decrease in Britiain's contribution to the Euro budget and this was partially granted. A real telling point in the Conservative Party's approach to politics is the Falkland's war. Thatcher's nationalistic policies meant the task force was ent to retake the tiny islands 8000 miles away and clearly the majority of Britain's voters didn't even question the sensibility of this and the Conservative's were re-elected. Thatcher continued her policy of privatisation, this time not so cautiously, British Telecom, British Steel and British Gas all went private, as well as electricity and water. After the miner's strikes were over and the boom began, it seemed Thatcherism was quite a success for Conservatism. Conservative Anti-European feelings continued and it seemed Thatcher favoured links with President Reagan and Gorbechev. ...read more.

Conclusion

Major changed very little of what Thatcher had put into place. Major had a similar European view to Thatcher, except his was 'wait and see' rather than no. Within the Conservative Party there were split views about both European entry and the Euro. It is clear thet Thatcherism had a significant impact on the Major years, his main policies being that of 'Taking responsibility for Britain' and the 'importance of leadership' and 'wealth and ownership'. Even when Hague came in as leader of the Conservative party we still see some policies adopted from Thatcher: pro free-market, low taxation, low public spending and anti-unity with Europe ('in Europe not run by Europe' is one of Hague's firm beliefs. Hague is anti-Euro and for keeping everything Private. Thatcher dramatically changed the Conservative party, altering Economic and Social views not only as leader but also by influencing other members of the Conservative party to take some of her views on board, particularly Major and Hague. Many of Thatcher's policies have stood the test of time in Conservatism and are still visible in the Conservative approach to Politics today. ?? ?? ?? ?? 27/04/07 Rebecca Jones 1 ...read more.

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