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The sociology of Modern Britain Margaret Thatcher

  • 05 Pages
  • Published On: 19-12-2023

Margaret Thatcher and what she is known for

Margaret Hilda Thatcher is a stateswoman that served Britain as a Prime Minister, starting in 1979 and ending in 1990. She was also the Conservative Party leader from 1975 to the end of her tenure as Prime Minister (Jessop, 2015). She became the first woman and the 20th century’s longest reigning British prime minister in the UK. Because of her uncompromising leadership style and politics, she is known for implementing some famous policies that are up to date referred to as Thatcherism (Jessop, 2015).

Thatcherism and her economic employment

As Margaret took the premier seat in 1979, she saw the introduction of what was and is still known as economic ‘Thatcherism’, aimed at solving the UK’s financial problems. She came to office when England was experiencing political instability and when the government was being hit hard by high debt, inflation and unemployment rates. Thatcherism describes her political ideals of a sizable central government and free market. The small government was then restricted to a handful of tasks like defending the UK nation, as well as its currency (Jessop, 2015).

She fought inflation using an economic concept referred to as monetarism by increasing interest rates and tightening the supply of money. Additionally, she reduced income taxes for the nation’s earners. She also occasionally increased sales taxes and reduced government spending. She is also famous for pro-business philosophies like privatizing some sectors like in transportation, housing, public utilities and other sectors (McMeeking et al., 2021). The short-term and immediate impact of her policies is the rising unemployment rates (McMeeking et al., 2021). Soon, the country started experiencing a modest GDP growth, a rise in the ownership of homes and increased wages during her tenure (McMeeking et al., 2021).

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Whether Britain would have been any different without her

Britain could not have been the same had the nation’s citizens voted no and not allowed Margaret Thatcher in the prime minister’s position (Silverwood, 2017). After she became the prime minister, she started making big transformations, especially on the manner in which the country was ran. This led to significant transformation of Britain. Her privation of companies and ensuring that ordinary citizens and not government officials ran government companies such as British Telecom and British gas, believing that better services would be delivered by private companies changed the country significantly (Silverwood, 2017). Thousands of citizens, ordinary people, developed the ability to purchase council houses. These strategies ensured that ordinary people had stake in their society, something that would not have been possible without her revolutionary changes (Silverwood, 2017). Her reign made London to be regarded as one of the best and highly successful business and banking center. Britain, particularly London, became a destination for investors and business minded individuals and companies (Silverwood, 2017).

Impact of the great debate, deindustrialization and the winter of discontent

The great debate on deindustrialization and the winter of discontent changed British Society Significantly. India benefited from had had a competitive advantage because of the connection or nexus between craftsmen and merchants (Seth, 2014). This organizational structure, a flexible traditional manufacturing and the continued relationship meant that India would have been able to produce sufficient amount of good quality handicrafts to meet the mass market demands. However, when this nexus was broken, India began to experience deindustrialization. The rise in factory goods and cottage productivity in Britain affected textile prices, making a continued production of textile uneconomic in India (Seth, 2014). Reducing sea freight as fostered specialization and trade in India and Britain. Britain then won both the domestic and export market of India. Together with the reducing demand for India’s textile, exporting factory-made products, as well as the reducing India’s agricultural productivity meant a huge transfer of finances to Britain from India, benefiting Britain a great deal (Kitson and Michie, 2014).

Meanwhile the Winter of Discontent marks a period between 1978 and 1979 that was filled with strikes by trade unions, and the public and private sector demanding the UK government to raise pay (Berns and colleagues, 2020). These strikes caused significant public inconvenience. Eventually a 17% pay rise was attained in 1978. These strikes ended the Labor Party’s rule and ushered in Thatcherism, a conservative leadership that later, besides breaking down the conventional working-class ties and being less sympathetic to its people in the initial days, revolutionized the nation’s public and private sector and led to a significant economic growth (Berns and colleagues, 2020).

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Indeed the Modern Great Britain Owes its greatness to the uncompromising leadership style of Margaret Thatcher and landmark events of the past including the deindustrialization and the Winter of Discontent. The deindustrialization gave Britain an advantage in production and export sector while the Winter of Discontent influenced the minimum wage and employee welfare.

References

Berns, F.G.P., Juvé, J.I. and Aguilar, E., 2020. The Long Winter of Discontent. Apocalypse TV: Essays on Society and Self at the End of the World, p.58.

Jessop, B., 2015. Margaret Thatcher and Thatcherism: Dead but not buried. British Politics, 10(1), pp.16-30.

Kitson, M. and Michie, J., 2014. The deindustrial revolution: the rise and fall of UK manufacturing, 1870-2010. Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.

McMeeking, T., Heppell, T. and Roe-Crines, A., 2021. Prime Ministerial powers of patronage: Ideology and Cabinet selection under Margaret Thatcher 1979–1990. British Politics, pp.1-19.

Silverwood, J., 2017. Margaret Thatcher, Theresa May and Industrial Strategy: What the discursive appeal to industrial strategy by Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May might tell us about the prospect for radical policy change or continuity.

Seth, V.K., 2014. Debate on de-industrialization revisited: The process of decline of traditional flexible manufacturing. Global Business Review, 15(3), pp.597-610.

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