Although the Thatcher years marked a significant break from the post-war political settlement, ‘Thatcherism did not cause a single, abrupt caesura appearing out of the blues'. Truly, Thatcher's success during her years has mostly depended on a range of circumstances and political commitments to whom that constitute the majority of the electorate. However, she has been at the origin of the new British political order, and her influence on politics remains even today, years after she fell from power. If she arrived in power at a time when the role of the State was questioned, does it mean that she presided over a wholly new consensus? Did her victories at the polls prove that the British people have been gradually integrated into a new way of thinking during the 80's?
[...] However painful the closing down of industries has been, it was only the recognition of what was necessary for Britain. The British economic market was not efficient enough and in many fields the ‘Thatcher revolution' - because Britain has undoubtedly undergone a revolution during the 80's - has been a success. The traditional co-operative approach was responsible for many failures in the past, notably in terms of inflation. But if the Thatcher years have seen the recovery of one Britain it is at the cost of another Britain. [...]
[...] Moreover, although the objectives of free-market and strong state constituted a relative coherent policy, putting them in practice was far more difficult. To say true, the fulfillment of the Thatcher projects required the destruction of popular social and civic rights, such as trade- unions rights or local governance. So that even those convinced by the virtues of Thatcherism pensioners, women - could be in a situation where Thatcherism was directly infringing their interests. Thatcherism obviously provoked a rupture, but failed to resolve it. [...]
[...] The Thatcher years have more likely revolutionized the way of doing politics activism, personal commitments, because she believed in her political commitments than the situation in UK in the 80's. Thus it is normal, from this viewpoint that Thatcherism failed in many fields, because the principle cannot really be applied for ruling the country but for changing mentalities. The Thatcher era will be remembered as a period of tremendous political arousal. It can be seen more likely as an interlude before the resumption of more traditional party alternation. [...]
[...] What was more specific, and can be seen as a revolution, in the Conservative ideology, was her loathing of Socialism. In this regard, Thatcherism is assumed as something different from Conservatism. Thatcher's explicit objective not to live with or to compromise with Socialism is a feature that still distinguishes Thatcherism from the Conservatism of the post-war. What is different is that in Thatcher's desire to destroy Socialism there was a wish to produce a new model, to build a clear alternative. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee