Thatcherism has been rooted in the individualist views of 19th and 20th century British political parties. However from a contemporary viewpoint, Thatcherism has been famously associated with opposition to join the European Union, which according to some was aimed at eroding Britain's sovereignty. In a famous Bruges Speech, 1988 Thatcher stated, '"We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them re-imposed at a European level, with a European super state exercising a new dominance from Brussels." (Bruges Speech from BBC, 2000). This would clearly indicate the perceived threats of joining the European Union completely which in turn led to Britain emphasizing on its own border controls and heightened sovereignty. Post war effects of Thatcherism have been clearly perceived within British politics and some elements of Thatcherism such as controlling public expenditure and promoting personal achievements have also been incorporated in the policy approach of New Labour government from 1997. However unlike Thatcherism, the Blair government has put greater emphasis on social justice and has focused on promoting social inclusion of the excluded groups and classes.
It is important to understand the impact of Thatcherism th...
tors as British gas, British telecom and British steel along with curbing powers of the trade unions and local government, promoting individual achievements and private enterprises and also strengthening powers of the central government (BBC, 2006). The focus was to bring in higher consumerism and increase levels of private investments. Public expenditure was cut down and monitored and the local governments faced severe restrictions with rate capping and poll tax in 1989. With loss of support from unions and controversies over poll tax, Thatcher had to leave although this was followed by a period of economic recession and high unemployment and also divisions in society.
As Thatcherism encouraged privatisation with gas, steel and telecommunications services, private ownership was also given to providers of health care services. This increased privatisation however led to widening of the rich poor gap and increased divisions in society. Clarke (1999) examined Thatcherism and considered the strengths and weaknesses of the political outlook highlighting the unique financial strategy and monetarist economic policy of the Conservative government. Clarke points out that even if Thatcher's economic policies were uncertain in theory and practice; they were ideologically applicable in terms of methods and objectives. Clarke highlighted the personal dimension of Thatcherism arguing that the rise and fall of Thatcherism could be reduced to definite personal attributes of Thatcher in terms of leadership and control. This however may not be completely true as Thatcher's policies on privatisation and controlling of local governments and trade unions could have been the main reason for the unpopularity of Thatcherism during the late 1980s.
In this regard, Heath et al (2001)