To what extent do the UK’s major parties accept Thatcherite Ideas and Policies? (25)
Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. The term Thatcherism covers a range of ideas and policies such as: an emphasis upon the individual as opposed to the state, rolling back the state, free market economics (privatisation), strong law and order tactics, anti-trade-unions and Euro-scepticism. To some extent, all major parties post 1990, accept or reject Thatcherite ideas and policies.
Firstly, regarding the Labour Party, New Labour from 1997 onwards was set up in order to embrace and modify Thatcherite changes such as privatisation, not to remove them. Blair also emphasised a strong position on law and order saying “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”. Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband have also on the whole maintained the Thatcherite consensus – they have not sought to return to nationalisation or liberalise their attitude to crime issues. Miliband has certainly antagonised the Left of the Party; for example by making clear that he is not in favour of nationalisation. He also distanced himself from the public sector strikes arguing that “there strikes are wrong”. This is similar to Thatcher’s crushing of Trade Union power as she saw the Unions as destructive and an inconvenience.
The Conservative Party has somewhat retained its Thatcherite outlook following her departure. The party retains the euro-scepticisms of the Thatcherites. Fundamentally the party still supports economic free markets in Europe, but not any loss of political sovereignty, this has led the Conservative Party to call for a referendum by 2017 regarding EU membership. The Prime Minister has also said that the Human Rights Act is being used too often to protect society’s villains and should, therefore, be replaced by a British Bill Of Rights which stresses responsibilities as well as rights. At the same time, the Conservatives have argued that they are in...