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What, other than the personal beliefs of Margaret Thatcher was there to Thatcherism?

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Introduction

Assignment 3: Thatcherism What, other than the personal beliefs of Margaret Thatcher was there to Thatcherism? The main concept in the question (Thatcherism) is a very ambiguous one and as such there are no clear-cut distinctions between the constituents of the main concept contained in Margaret Thatcher personal beliefs and those outside this domain. A minimalist approach to the question would assert that the personal beliefs of Margaret Thatcher equate to Thatcherism. From this it could be concluded that the subset identified in the question contains nothing because the domains of Thatcherism and the personal beliefs of Margaret Thatcher are completely mutually inclusive. The aforementioned approach makes the question appear absurd and demonstrates a fundamental deficiency in the understanding of Thatcherism as a term. Chambers English dictionary defines Thatcherism as ' the policies and style of government associated with Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister between 1979 and 1990'. I have emphasised 'associated' in the definition because of the important way in which the word extends the domain of Thatcherism. Now ideas and policies that were identified and linked to the Thatcher governments fall within the scope of study and our visualisation of the Thatcherism Venn diagram can change. Initially we assumed the terms 'Thatcherism' and 'the personal beliefs of Margaret Thatcher' were interchangeable and that they represented the same things. The dictionary definition alters this map by making the personal beliefs of Margaret Thatcher a subset of Thatcherism but not the sole constituent. ...read more.

Middle

However it is equally possible that these were the beliefs of Thatcher and other factors seem to confirm this situation. In 1974 Joseph and Thatcher demonstrated their mistrust of central policy by their involvement in the creation of the Centre of Policy Studies, this body offered an alternative source of advice to the Conservative Research Department and grew to wield a large influence of Thatcherite policy. This measure combined with her strong moral tone indicates that Margaret Thatcher had personal beliefs that were instrumental in Thatcherism. Nowhere is her moral tone better expressed than in her Old Testament speech where she uttered 'The Old Testament prophets did not say 'Brothers I want a consensus "This is my faith, this is what I passionately believe. If you believe too, then come with me." ' The second experiment we can conduct is imagining the 1975 Conservative Party without Margaret Thatcher at the helm or even as a member. If we consider the possible development of Thatcherism without Thatcher we can analyse which elements were manifestations of her personal beliefs and which parts were part of a broader political trend. This experiment invokes the concept of 'Zeitgeist' by trying to imagine historical evolution without significant individuals. Even with these mechanisms the task of separating the personal beliefs of Thatcher from the other components inside Thatcherism is a complicated and imprecise one. ...read more.

Conclusion

Analysis of the policy suggests little of it is directly attributable to the core beliefs of Margaret Thatcher. The legislation was motivated by the 1979 trade union militancy generally referred to as 'The Winter of discontent' and Rhodes confirms this in his report on Implementing Thatcherism by stating 'Even in late 1978, it was far from clear what the Conservatives would do in Office (with Industrial relations policy).' Therefore the personal beliefs of Margaret Thatcher surrounding unions could not have been that powerful or a coherent Industrial relations policy would have been presented in 1978. Thus Industrial Relations policy seems an area of Thatcherism that is outside the domain of her personal beliefs. The penultimate characteristic of Thatcherism to be considered is the process of privatisation. The aims of privatisation were to; improve efficiency, reduce government involvement, reduce the PSBR, widen share ownership and to gain political advantage. The instances of privatisation included BP in 1979, BT in 1984 and the water companies in 1989. The process of privatisation was often considered contradictory with the wider aims of Thatcherism because in order to gain management support for the measure concessions had to be made, these concessions often included promising relaxed regulatory control and a protected monopoly. Congeniality toward these sorts of monopolies seemed inconsistent with free market economic doctrine. The process of privatisation is seen as a central element of Thatcherism yet it does not appear to be a strong personal belief of Margaret Thatcher. ...read more.

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