Do you agree with the view that the industrial chaos of the winter of 1978-9 primarily accounts for Mrs Thatchers election victory in 1979?

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Do you agree with the view that the industrial chaos of the winter of 1978-9 primarily accounts for Mrs Thatcher’s election victory in 1979? Explain your answer using sources 1, 2 + 3 and your own knowledge.

In source 3, Pugh states that, ‘the industrial chaos of the winter of 1978-79 gave Mrs Thatcher her opportunity’. This suggests that industrial chaos of the so called winter of discontent was the decisive factor for Thatcher’s victory in the election of 1979. Source 3 therefore strongly agrees with the statement. Pugh also says that if ‘Callaghan held an election in the autumn of 1978, he might well have won.’ This therefore suggests that Callaghan was personally more popular than Margaret Thatcher. Despite of this, the Conservatives still had a parliamentary majority. This therefore suggests further, that it was the more short term reasons like the winter of discontent that gave Margaret Thatcher her victory. Furthermore, the winter of discontent lead to a number of strikes by public workers who felt that they were being victimized by the government following the cuts in public expenditure. These strikes lead to industrial chaos which in turn made Callaghan’s government lose support which gave Thatcher an advantage.

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Another result from the industrial chaos was a rapid increase in unemployment. Unemployment rose to more than 1.6 million by 1978. Source 2, a conservative campaign poster displays the mass unemployment. As Conservative is the opposing the party, the source would be biased and therefore would make out that the Labour government is not working, ‘Labour isn’t working’ and give the message that Britain would be in a better state under the Conservative party. Nonetheless, the poster shows that it was the mass unemployment that led to the downfall of Callaghan’s government and to Thatcher’s electoral victory.

Source 1 ...

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