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Why Where the Results of the Elections In 1979, 1983 and 1997 So Significant? What Effects Have They Had On the Policies and Development of the Labour Party?

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Introduction

WHY WHERE THE RESULTS OF THE ELECTIONS IN 1979, 1983 AND 1997 SO SIGNIFICANT? WHAT EFFECTS HAVE THEY HAD ON THE POLICIES AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE LABOUR PARTY? This essay will explore how politics has changed in Britain over the last 25 years by analysing the elections in 1979, 1983 and 1997 and the way the Labour party has moved towards the right wing. The policies of the two main parties in that period will be examined in order to give an idea of how things have changed over the time. In 1974 Labour came into power but during its time in office could not fight the inflation and unemployment that were increasing rapidly, nearly beating the records of post-war. Economics was to play one of the main roles in the following elections. In April 1976 the Labour Prime Minister resigned and handed over the Seals of Office to James Callaghan. The labour party had lost two bi-elections failing to get seats in Parliament. James Callaghan delayed the general elections from 1978 to 1979 hoping that the economy would improve but things just got worse when workers carried out strikes across the country. ...read more.

Middle

Although it took a decade to reduce state spending as a share of GNP from the 1979 level." (Kavanagh, British Politics, 2000, pg. 169). The Prime Minister also believed in reducing government spending and taxation, social authoritarianism that included respect for authority and a firm stand in law and order as well as in strong defence. She increased the number of police officers and their pay and she had an assertive foreign policy, she was more in favour to attach to the United States than she was to join the European Community. From 1983 to 1990 the Conservative Party continued its "thacherist" policies after wining the elections again in 1987. The end of thatcherism arrived when "Mrs Thatcher had failed to roll back the state. Public expenditure remained stubbornly resistant, because cuts were swamped by rising costs from unemployment" (ed. Nick Tiratsoo, From Blitz to Blair, 1997, pg. 198), and when surveys found that the British public did not trust the Conservatives as they had before, and that the voters suspected that public services of health and education were going to be privatised. As a consequence, in 1989, Peter Lilley, the deputy leader of the party declared that the Conservatives did not have any intention of privatising the public services and that they would be safe in their hands, trying to assure the voters. ...read more.

Conclusion

We have been elected as New Labour and we will govern as New Labour" (CNN website). When the Conservatives won power in 1979 they changed the situation of the country radically. Thatcher's policies revolutionised the economic and politic systems. She was the first female Prime Minister in Europe. Her ideologies were welcomed and in 1983 she won the elections again and introduced for the following office a more radical agenda. Margaret Thatcher stayed in power until 1989 when John Mayor stepped on the leadership fearing that people did not support Thatcherism anymore, especially the privatisation of public services such as health and education. Meanwhile, the Labour party with its radical socialist policies did not gain the necessary support from the British until Tony Blair got into the leadership and transformed the party introducing right wing ideologies and moving out from the left wing and far from the unions. The New Labour won the elections in 1997, which was really significant because they had not been in power for 18 years and they had won by a vast majority. This confirmed that the British did not believe in the Conservatives any more and that they had placed their hopes in the New Labour, which had left and right wing policies covering, in this way, most of the needs of the economy and politic matters. ...read more.

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