The "Thatcher Revolution".
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Bisma Shahid Loan Professor Schilling 5-5-03 The "Thatcher Revolution" When one talks about revolution, certain concepts come to mind. They are that of a great upheaval, both social and economic and a change in the structure which is being targeted. The Thatcher Revolution was one such revolution, which started in 1979 when Margaret Thatcher came to power as the Prime Minister of England, till 2001, when Tony Blair finished his first term. Many barriers were broken down during this revolution, which changed England from a struggling economy to a highly efficient industrial power with a powerful economy. The Thatcher Revolution tried to ensure that ideas that were put forth resulted in some sort of economic and social action regarding England. Although ideas came from different people and institutions, they were developed into an agenda and plan to follow and implement by Margaret Thatcher. The concept of Thatcherism emphasized on aspects such as individual freedom, opportunity and responsibility, with their being emphasis on aspects such as a strong market economy, strong families and a strong sense of patriotism. Margaret Thatcher was extremely critical of how British individualism was being replaced by a growing sense of socialism, and how the emphasis on creating a welfare state was leading many British people to become passive bystanders rather than being actively involved in creating lives form themselves and their families.
They did not agree with her regarding her individualist views. Although they were willing to accept reforms that would be economically beneficial to the country, they did not agree with Margaret Thatcher on issues pertaining to curtailing amenities such as free education, National Health Service, and other free and low cost facilities. They did not concur with Thatcher on the issue that her reforms would make the system more efficient. This could be considered to be one of the major things that Margaret Thatcher failed in achieving during her tenure. The Thatcher Revolution is important for the understanding of British history for many varied reasons. When Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979, Britain was going through a massive economic crisis. The British workers were facing massive unemployment as well as having to bear the brunt of Callaghn's income policies, which were extremely skewed. Public sector unions were also increasing in size and strength because of these disastrous economic policies, which were leaving the workers with no choice but to fight against the government and its policies. The militancy of these unions was also increasing, causing great problem to the government.
In order to see that the country did not get paralyzed if the coal workers decided to strike, she had extra reserves of coal stored to sustain the country in times of emergency. She pursued a step by step approach regarding the unions. She dealt with many issues related to strikes, by passing the Employment act of 1980, and 1982 which required 80 percent approval to establish a closed shop, restricted sympathy strikes and stated that unions could be sued for civil damages, or jailed if found guilty of contempt in court. National unions were held responsible for any local violations of the law or labour contract that might occur due to a strike. In this way Thatcher ensured that the power of labour unions was broken forever. These accomplishments were very important, and still have significance to this day for many reasons. The Thatcher Revolution ensured that England became a financial power again, a position it had not held since the WWII. Thatcher genuinely felt that she could help the British people, and firmly believed in the Victorian principles of scrupulousness and hard work. Some of her ideas and laws met with great disapproval and dislike, but in the end it was Thatcher, and the Thatcher Revolution which went on to restore England to some semblance of its former power.
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