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Using these four passages and your own knowledge, asses the view that Thatchers electoral success was a result of the weakness of the Labour party.

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History Coursework Kitty McCargo-Walklate December 2012 Total Word Count: 1,929 Question 22B: Using these four passages and your own knowledge, asses the view that Thatcher?s electoral success was a result of the weakness of the Labour party. Jenkins argues that the Labour Party?s weakness was a vital aspect of the Conservative success. Jenkins explains that Labour could not exploit this public dissatisfaction because it was seen as weak and divided. He comments on the parties ?specular disunity,? but fails to justify this, leaving his acknowledgement broad and therefore his argument is less convincing. The election of Michael Foot as leader of the Labour party was crucial in the parties ?schism?. His inability to maintain a united front resulted in formation of the SDP, which later formed an alliance Conservative in the 1983 election. Jenkins does not fully develop this idea, therefore his argument is only partially complete. With the Liberal Party in 1982. This political unit went on to split the anti-tory vote in 1983 which proved fatal to Labour?s chances of electoral victory. Furthermore, he comments on Labors policies as being key in its downfall. The Labour 1983 manifesto, ?New Hope for Britain? was later dubbed as ?the longest suicide note in history.? Jenkins main criticism of this is its more left-wing defense policies, with the cancellation of the Trident nuclear programme and the removal of Cruise missiles from Britain. Its policies were considered very much against the public demands in the context of the Falklands war. ...read more.


to care about unemployment,? hence attain more votes. We must be wary of his accurateness. The broadness of this statement is flawed as we are aware that Thatcher?s economic policies led to a sharp recession from 1979-1982 resulting in widespread discontent among the unemployed. More accurately, Morgan argues that mass unemployment ?lost its old political potency.? This slightly divergent and more moderate point bares greater credibility due to unemployment becoming less of a threatening factor as a result of Thatcher?s introduction of individualism. Furthermore, because Labour was such a weak party in 1983, the high unemployment figures were less significant because there was not a strong opposition party for the unemployed electoral to turn to. 578 875 Regardless of Young?s negative approach to Thatcher?s economic plans, he too cannot deny the economic success that took place under her leadership. However it is clear that Young?s analysis does not apply for the 1979 election in which the economy played a lesser part in the outcome of the results. Alongside this, Young?s failure to consider Labour weakness as a contributing factor to Thatcher?s electoral success leaves his argument incomplete. This passage is not; therefore, a convincing argument for Thatcher?s overall electoral success. Correspondingly, Morgan take a similar approach to Young in his lack of belief that it was Thatcher?s success that lead to her victories. Immediately he comments that the Thatcherite ethic ?seemed overwhelming?, suggesting that in fact it was not the appeal of her policies or leadership it was simply a matter of demographic advantage for the Conservative party. ...read more.


Overall, providing Thatcher with 61.1% of the seats when Labour and the SDP combined won just over half that despite them having a combined 53% of the vote. 1447 Although Evans portrays a convincing argument for the conservative?s success being key to Thatcher?s victory, he strongly implies that the disunity caused by the Labour split was fundamental. This reiterated Jenkins argument, however Evans approach is more balanced as he acknowledges the contrasting impact of Thatcher economic success and leadership. 1739 In conclusion, various factors accounted to Thatcher?s success, the most prominent of these being labour weakness. Evans presents a convincing argument that agrees in part with the statement. However, he emphasises the wrong factors such as the FPTP electoral system which, without Thatcher?s policies, would not have benefited the party as much. This leaves his argument weak in comparison to Jenkins?. Overall Jenkins provides us with the most convincing argument in response to the reason for Thatcher?s victory in the 1979 and 1983 election. By agreeing with the interpretation he recognises the importance of Labour?s weaknesses as an essential factor. However, Jenkins argument is insufficient when evaluating the reasons for the 1987 Conservative victory. With the effects of Thatcher?s hardline economic policies beginning to affect society, it was the electorate?s want for sustained prosperity that allowed Thatcher to gain a third term in office. Therefore it can be argued that in 1987, Thatcher?s economic policy was more important in Thatcher?s electoral success than Labour weakness. When considering Thatcher?s three election victories though, Labour weakness was the strongest overall factor, although economic policies has increased significance in the 1987 elections. 1929 ...read more.

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