From Academic Kids

Thatcherism is the system of political thought attributed to the governments of Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. Thatcher was unusual in late twentieth century British politics in being a highly ideological leader —she once thumped a copy of Friedrich Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty on the dispatch box in the House of Commons, proclaiming: "This is what we believe".

Thatcherism is characterised by a free market economy perhaps more closely associated with Victorian Liberalism in the United Kingdom, monetarist economic policy, privatisation of state-owned industries, low taxation, opposition to trade unions, nationalism, centralism and checks on the size of the Welfare State and local government. Thinkers closely associated with Thatcherism include Keith Joseph and Milton Friedman. Thatcherism may be compared with Reaganomics and Rogernomics.

Margaret Thatcher labelled supporters of her beliefs (or Thatcherites) as 'drys', as opposed to the 'wets' (often One Nation conservatives) who opposed her policies.

Following the recession of the early 1980s, the finance sector of Britain's economy began to revive, though it faced a second recession in the late 1980s. The collapse of Britain's manufacturing base, which many blame on Thatcherism, was partly compensated for by the growth in the service industries.

Changes to the power of the trade unions were made gradually, unlike the approach of the Heath Government, and the greatest single confrontation with the unions was the NUM strike of 1984 to 1985 in which the union eventually had to concede. Whether these confrontational tactics ultimately benefited Britain or not, they destroyed the post-war consensus of British politics. In 2001 Peter Mandelson, a member of parliament belonging to the British Labour Party closely associated with Tony Blair, famously declared that "we are all Thatcherites now". Nonetheless, many people continue to use the word "Thatcherism" as a term of abuse.

Towards the end of the 1980s, Thatcherism was stubborn in its opposition to perceived attempts by the European Union to erode British sovereignty. In the famous 1988 Bruges speech, Thatcher declared that "We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them reimposed at a European level, with a European super­state exercising a new dominance from Brussels."de:Thatcherismus sv:Thatcherism


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