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20 septembre 2011 2 20 /09 /septembre /2011 04:47

Media depictions

Depictions of Margaret Thatcher have featured in a number of television programmes, documentaries, films and plays; Sony VAIO VPCEB16FX/G Battery

she was played by Patricia Hodge in Ian Curteis's long unproduced The Falklands Play (2002) and Lindsay Duncan in Margaret(2009). She was portrayed by Andrea Riseborough in the TV film The Long Walk to Finchley. Thatcher will be played by Meryl Streep in the 2011 film The Iron Lady.Sony VAIO VPCEB16FX/L Battery

Thatcher was lampooned by satirist John Wells in several media. Wells collaborated with Richard Ingrams on the spoof "Dear Bill" letters which ran as a column in Private Eye magazine, were published in book form, and were then adapted into a West End stage revue as Anyone for Denis?, starring Wells as Denis Thatcher. Sony VAIO VPCEB16FX/P Battery

The stage show was followed by a 1982 TV special directed byDick Clement.In 1979, Wells was commissioned by comedy producer Martin Lewis to write and perform on a comedy record album titled Iron Lady: The Coming Of The Leader on which Thatcher was portrayed by comedienne and noted Thatcher impersonator Janet Brown. Sony VAIO VPCEB16FX/W Battery

The album consisted of skits and songs satirising Thatcher's rise to power.

In Spitting Image, Thatcher was portrayed as a bullying tyrant, wearing trousers, and ridiculing her own ministers.

Protest songs

Thatcher was the subject or the inspiration for a number of protest songs including The Specials' "Ghost Town", (1981),Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX Battery

and The Jam's "Town Called Malice" (Number One in February 1982). Elvis Costello's "Shipbuilding" protested against the Falklands war. Songwriter Billy Bragg released Workers Playtime in 1988. Paul Weller was a founding member of Red Wedge collective, which unsuccessfully sought to oust Thatcher with the help of music. Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX/B Battery

In 1987, they organised a comedy tour with British comedians Lenny Henry, Ben Elton, Robbie Coltrane, Harry Enfield and others.

There is no adamantine law that says we have to produce as much in the way of manufactures as we consume. If it does turn out that we are relatively more efficient in world terms at providing services than at producing goods, then our national interest lies in a surplus on services and a deficit on goods. Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX/G Battery

The Premiership of Margaret Thatcher began on 4 May 1979, with a mandate to reverse the UK's economic decline and to reduce the role of the state in the economy. Margaret Thatcher was incensed by one contemporary view within the Civil Service, that its job was to manage the UK's decline from the days of Empire, Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX/L Battery

and she wanted the country to assert a higher level of influence and leadership in international affairs. She was a philosophic soul-mate of Ronald Reagan, elected in 1980 in the United States, and to a lesser extent Brian Mulroney, who was elected in 1984 in Canada.Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX/P Battery

Thatcher would go on to radically transform Britain more so than any leader of Britain since Clement Attlee, rejuvenating a stagnant world power but socially dividing much of the population

Deflationary strategy

Under the Thatcher government the taming of inflation displaced high employment as the primary policy objective.Sony VAIO VPCEB17FX/W Battery

As a monetarist, Thatcher started out in her economic policy by increasing interest rates to slow the growth of the money supply and thus lower inflation. She had a preference for indirect taxation over taxes on income, and value added tax (VAT) was raised sharply to 15%, with a resultant actual short-term rise in inflation.Sony VAIO VPCEB190X Battery

The fiscal and monetary squeeze, combined with the North Sea oil effect, appreciated the real exchange rate. These moves hit businesses—especially the manufacturing sector—and unemployment quickly passed two million, doubling the one million unemployed under the previous Labour government.Sony VAIO VPCEB19FX Battery

Political commentators harked back to the Heath Government's "U-turn" and speculated that Thatcher would follow suit, but she repudiated this approach at the 1980 Conservative party conference, telling the party: "To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catch-phrase—the U-turn—I have only one thing to say: you turn if you want to; the Lady's not for turning."Sony VAIO VPCEB19GX Battery

That she meant what she said was confirmed in the 1981 budget, when, despite concerns expressed in an open letter from 364 leading economists, taxes were increased in the middle of a recession, leading to newspaper headlines the following morning of "Howe it Hurts", a reference to the Chancellor Geoffrey Howe.Sony VAIO VPCEB1AFX Battery

In 1981, as unemployment soared and the government's popularity plunged, the party chairman, Lord Thorneycroft, and two cabinet ministers, Lord Carrington and Humphrey Atkins, confronted the prime minister and suggested she should resign; according to her adviser, Tim Bell, "Margaret just told them to go away".Sony VAIO VPCEB1AFX/B Battery

Thatcher's key ally in the party was home secretary and later deputy prime minister William Whitelaw. His moral authority and support allowed her to resist the internal threat from the Heathite wets.

After the 1981 Brixton riot, Employment Secretary Norman Tebbit, responding to a suggestion that rioting was caused by unemployment, Sony VAIO VPCEB1AGX Battery

observed that the unemployment of the 1930s was far worse than that of the 1980s—and that his father's generation never reacted by rioting. 'I grew up in the 1930s with an unemployed father,' Tebbit said. 'He did not riot. He got on his bike and looked for work, and he went on looking until he found it.'Sony VAIO VPCEB1AGX/BI Battery

Over two million manufacturing jobs were ultimately lost in the recession of 1979-81.This labour-shedding helped firms deal with long-standing X-inefficiency from over-manning, enabling the British economy to catch up to the productivity levels of other advanced capitalist countries.Sony VAIO VPCEB1BGX Battery

The link between the money supply and inflation was proven accurate and by January 1982, the inflation rate had dropped back to 8.6% from earlier highs of 18%. Interest rates were then allowed to fall. Unemployment continued to rise, reaching an official figure of 3.6 million—although the criteria for defining who was unemployed were amended allowing some to estimate that unemployment in fact hit 5 million.Sony VAIO VPCEB1BGX/BI Battery

However, Tebbit later suggested that, due to the high number of people claiming unemployment benefit while working, unemployment never reached three million.

By 1983, manufacturing output had dropped by 30% from 1978. The productivity turnaround from labour-shedding proved to be a one-off, and was not matched by growth in output.Sony VAIO VPCEB1CGX Battery

The industrial base was so reduced that thereafter the balance of payments in manufactured goods was in deficit. In 1983 Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson told the House of Lords Select Committee on Overseas Trade:

There is no adamantine law that says we have to produce as much in the way of manufactures as we consume. Sony VAIO VPCEB1CGX/BI Battery

If it does turn out that we are relatively more efficient in world terms at providing services than at producing goods, then our national interest lies in a surplus on services and a deficit on goods

Iranian embassy siege

Thatcher's determination to face down political violence was first demonstrated during the 1980 siege of the Iranian embassy in Princes Gate, Sony VAIO VPCEB1DGX Battery

London, when for the first time in 70 years the armed forces were authorised to use lethal force on the British mainland. 26 hostages were held by six gunmen for six days in May, until the siege came to a dramatic end with a successful raid by SAScommandos. Sony VAIO VPCEB1DGX/BI Battery

Later that day, 'Thatcher went to congratulate the SAS men involved and sat among them watching a re-run of the attack'. The breaking of the siege by the SAS was later celebrated by the public as one of television's greatest moments.

The appearance of decisiveness—christened the 'resolute approach' by the prime minister herself—became Thatcher's trademark, and a source of her popularity.Sony VAIO VPCEB1EGX Battery

In the words of one historian: 'The mood reflected Mrs Thatcher's Iron Lady stance, her proclaimed intention of laying the "Suez Syndrome" to rest and again projecting Britain as a great power. Celebration of the SAS was a key component in the popular militarism of the 1980s, fuelled by the continuing "war" against international terrorism and by the Falklands conflict and Gulf War.Sony VAIO VPCEB1EGX/BI Battery

The storming of the Iranian Embassy had shown that Britain could meet terror with counter-terror: Mrs Thatcher's black-clad "terminators" would protect us.'

Commenting on the SAS's action, social services secretary Norman Fowler agreed: 'Mrs. Sony VAIO VPCEB1FGX Battery

Thatcher attracted public support because she seemed to be taking action which the public overwhelmingly thought was right but never thought any government would have the nerve to carry out.’

Northern Ireland

In May 1980, one day before Thatcher was due to meet the Irish Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, to discuss Northern Ireland, Sony VAIO VPCEB1FGX/BI Battery

she announced in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom that "the future of the constitutional affairs of Northern Ireland is a matter for the people of Northern Ireland, this government, this parliament, and no-one else."

In 1981, a number of Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and Irish National Liberation Army prisoners in Northern Ireland's Maze Prison Sony VAIO VPCEB1GGX Battery

(known in Northern Ireland as 'Long Kesh', its previous official name) went on hunger strike to regain the status of political prisoners, which had been revoked five years earlier under the preceding Labour government. Bobby Sands, the first of the strikers, was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Fermanagh and South Tyrone a few weeks before he died.Sony VAIO VPCEB1GGX/BI Battery

Thatcher refused to countenance a return to political status for republican prisoners, famously declaring, 'Crime is crime is crime; it is not political.'After nine more men had starved themselves to death and the strike had ended, some rights were restored to paramilitary prisoners, but official recognition of their political status was not granted.Sony VAIO VPCEB1HGX Battery

Thatcher later asserted, 'The outcome was a significant defeat for the IRA.'

Thatcher also continued the policy of 'Ulsterisation' of the previous Labour government and its Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Roy Mason, believing that the Unionists of Northern Ireland should be at the forefront in combating Irish republicanism.Sony VAIO VPCEB1HGX/BI Battery

This meant relieving the burden on the mainstream British army and elevating the role of the Ulster Defence Regiment and the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

The Falklands

On 2 April 1982, a ruling military junta in Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, a British overseas territory that Argentina had claimed since an 1810 dispute on the British settlement.Sony VAIO VPCEB1JFX Battery

The following day, Thatcher sent a naval task force to back diplomatic efforts with the threat of the use of force, and if negotiations failed, to recapture the islands and eject the invaders. The conflict escalated from there, evolving into an amphibious and ground combat operation. Sony VAIO VPCEB1JFX/B Battery

An opinion poll published prior to the British landing showed 70% support for military action. Argentina surrendered on 14 June and the operation was deemed a success, despite 258 British casualties. Victory brought a wave of patriotic enthusiasm and increased support for the Thatcher government, with Newsweek declaring "The Empire Strikes Back".Sony VAIO VPCEB1JFX/G Battery

One poll suggested that 84% of the electorate approved of the prime minister's handling of the crisis.

1983 General election

The 'Falklands Factor', along the resumption of economic growth by the end of 1982, bolstered the government's popularity. Sony VAIO VPCEB1JFX/L Battery

The Labour party at this time had split, and there was a new challenge in theSDP-Liberal Alliance, formed by an electoral pact between the Social Democratic Party and the Liberal Party. However, this grouping failed to make its intended breakthrough, despite briefly holding an opinion poll lead.Sony VAIO VPCEB1JFX/P Battery

In the June 1983 general election, the Conservatives won 42.4% of the vote, the Labour party 27.6% and the Alliance 25.4% of the vote (though the gap between Labour and the Alliance was narrow in terms of votes, the Alliance attained only a fraction of the seats that Labour held).Sony VAIO VPCEB1JFX/W Battery

Although the Conservatives' share of the vote had fallen slightly (1.5%) since 1979, Labour's vote had fallen by far more (9.3%) and in Britain's first past the post system, the Conservatives won alandslide victory. Under Margaret Thatcher, the Conservatives now had an overall majority of 144 MPs.Sony VAIO VPCEB1KGX Battery

Industrial relations

Thatcher was committed to reducing the power of the trades unions but, unlike the Heath government, adopted a strategy of incremental change rather than a single Act. Several unions launchedstrikes in response, but these actions eventually collapsed. Gradually, Thatcher's reforms reduced the power and influence of the unions. Sony VAIO VPCEB1KGX/B Battery

The changes were chiefly focused upon preventing the recurrence of the large-scale industrial actions of the 1970s, but were also intended to ensure that the consequences for the participants would be severe if any future action was taken. The reforms were also aimed, Thatcher claimed, to democratise the unions, and return power to the members.Sony VAIO VPCEB1KGX/W Battery

The most significant measures were to make secondary industrial action illegal, to force union leadership to first win a ballot of the union membership before calling a strike, and to abolish the closed shop. Further laws banned workplace ballots and imposed postal ballots.Sony VAIO VPCEB1LFX Battery

Miners' strike

The National Coal Board received the largest amount of public subsidies going to any nationalised industry: by 1984 the annual cost to taxpayers of uneconomic pits had reached £1 billion. The year-long confrontation over strikes carried out from April 1984 by the National Union of Mineworkers(NUM),Sony VAIO VPCEB1LFX/BI Battery

in opposition to proposals to close a large number of unprofitable mines, proved decisive. The government had made preparations to counter a strike by the NUM long in advance by building up coal stocks, ensuring that cuts in the electricity supply—the legacy of the industrial disputes of 1972—would not be repeated.Sony VAIO VPCEB1LFX/WI Battery

Police tactics during the strikes came under criticism from civil libertarians, but the images of crowds of militant miners attempting to prevent other miners from working proved a shock even to some supporters of the strikes. The mounting desperation and poverty of the striking families led to divisions within the regional NUM branches,Sony VAIO VPCEB1MFX Battery

and a breakaway union, the Union of Democratic Mineworkers (UDM), was soon formed. A group of workers, resigned to the impending failure of the actions and worn down by months of protests, began to defy the Union's rulings, starting splinter groups and advising workers that returning to work was the only viable option.Sony VAIO VPCEB1MFX/BI Battery

The miners' strike lasted a full year before the NUM leadership conceded without a deal. Conservative governments proceeded to close all but 15 of the country's pits, with the remaining 15 being sold off and privatised in 1994. Private companies have since then acquired licences to open new pits and open-cast sites, with the majority of the original mines destroyed and the land redeveloped.Sony VAIO VPCEB1NFX Battery

The defeat of the miners' strike led to a long period of demoralisation in the whole of the trade union movement. Nigel Lawson, then chancellor of the exchequer, later recalled:

The miners' strike was the central political event of the second Thatcher Administration. Sony VAIO VPCEB1NFX/B Battery

Just as the victory in the Falklands War exorcized the humiliation of Suez, so the eventual defeat of the NUM etched in the public mind the end of militant trade unionism which had wrecked the economy and twice played a major part in driving elected governments from office.Sony VAIO VPCEB1NFX/L Battery


The Thatcher government opposed the apartheid policy of the white-minority government of South Africa, but resisted international pressure to impose economic sanctions on the former colony, where the United Kingdom was the biggest foreign investor and principal trading partner.Sony VAIO VPCEB1NFX/P Battery

At the end of March 1984, four South Africans were arrested in Coventry, remanded in custody, and charged with contravening the UN arms embargo, which prohibited exports to South Africa of military equipment. Thatcher took a personal interest in the Coventry Four, Sony VAIO VPCEB1NFX/W Battery

and 10 Downing Street requested daily summaries of the case from the prosecuting authority, HM Customs and Excise. Within a month, the Coventry Four had been freed from jail and allowed to travel to South Africa, on condition that they returned to England for their trial later that year. Sony VAIO VPCEB1PFX Battery

However in August 1984 South African foreign minister Pik Botha decided not to allow the Coventry Four to return to stand trial, forfeiting £200,000 bail money put up by the South African embassy in London.

In April 1984, Thatcher sent senior British diplomat, Sir John Leahy, to negotiate the release of 16 Britons who had been taken hostage by the Angolan rebel leader, Jonas Savimbi. Sony VAIO VPCEB1PFX/B Battery

At the time, Savimbi's UNITA guerrilla movement was financed and supported militarily by the apartheid regime of South Africa. On April 26, 1984 Leahy succeeded in securing the release of the British hostages at the UNITA base in Jamba, Angola.

In June 1984 Thatcher received a visit from P. W. Botha, the first South African premier to come to Britain since his nation had left the Commonwealth in 1961.Sony VAIO VPCEB1QGX Battery

The leader of the oppositioncondemned the visit as a 'diplomatic coup' for the South African government, and Labour MEP Barbara Castle rallied European Socialists in an unsuccessful attempt to stop it. In talks atChequers Thatcher told Botha the policy of racial separation was 'unacceptable'.Sony VAIO VPCEB1QGX/BI Battery

She urged him to free jailed black leader Nelson Mandela; to halt the harassment of black dissidents; to stop the bombing of African National Congress (ANC) guerrilla bases in front-line states; and to comply with UN Security Council resolutions and withdraw from Namibia.Sony VAIO VPCEB1RGX Battery

Thatcher defended Botha's visit as an encouragement to reform, but he ignored her concern over Mandela's continued detainment,  and although a new constitution brought coloured people of mixed race and Indians into a tricameral assembly, 22 million blacks continued to be excluded from the representation.Sony VAIO VPCEB1RGX/BI Battery

After the outbreak of violence in September 1984, Thatcher granted temporary sanctuary to six African anti-apartheid leaders in the British consulate in Durban.

In July 1985 Thatcher, citing the support of Helen Suzman, a South African anti-apartheid MP, Sony VAIO VPCEB20 Battery

reaffirmed her belief that economic sanctions against Pretoria would be immoral because they would make thousands of black workers unemployed; instead she characterised industry as the instrument that was breaking down apartheid. She also believed sanctions would disproportionately injure Britain  and neighbouring African countries,Sony VAIO VPCEC20 Battery

and argued that political and military measures were more effective.

Thatcher's opposition to economic sanctions was challenged by visiting anti-apartheid activists, including South African bishop Desmond Tutu, whom she met in London, and Oliver Tambo, exiled leader of the outlawed ANC guerrilla movement,Sony VAIO VPCEE20 Battery

whose links to the Soviet bloc she viewed with suspicion, and whom she declined to see because he espoused violence and refused to condemn guerrilla attacks and mob killings of black policemen, local officials and their families.

At a Commonwealth summit in Nassau in October 1985 Thatcher agreed to impose limited sanctions and to set up a contact group to promote a dialogue with Pretoria,Sony VAIO VPCEF20 Battery

after she was warned byThird World leaders, including Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, that her opposition threatened to break up the 49-nation organisation. In return, calls for a total embargo were abandoned, and the existing restrictions adopted by member states against South Africa were lifted.Sony VAIO VPCF112FX/B Battery

ANC president Tambo expressed disappointment at this major compromise.

Brighton bombing

On the early morning of 12 October 1984, the day before her 59th birthday, Thatcher escaped injury in the Brighton hotel bombing during the Conservative Party Conference when her hotel room was bombed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army. Sony VAIO VPCF115FG/B Battery

Five people died in the attack, including Roberta Wakeham, wife of the government's Chief Whip John Wakeham, and the Conservative MP Sir Anthony Berry. A prominent member of the Cabinet, Norman Tebbit, was injured, and his wife Margaret was left paralysed.Sony VAIO VPCF116FGBI Battery

Thatcher herself would have been injured if not for the fact that she was delayed from using the bathroom (which suffered more damage than the room she was in at the time the IRA bomb detonated). Thatcher insisted that the conference open on time the next day and made her speech as planned in defiance of the bombers, Sony VAIO VPCF117FJ/W Battery

a gesture which won widespread approval across the political spectrum.

Anglo-Irish Agreement

On 15 November 1985, Thatcher signed the Hillsborough Anglo-Irish Agreement with Irish Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald, the first time a British government gave the Republic of Ireland a say (albeit advisory) in the governance of Northern Ireland. The agreement was greeted with fury by Northern Irish unionists.Sony VAIO VPCF117HG/BI Battery

The Ulster Unionists and Democratic Unionists made an electoral pact and on 23 January 1986, staged an ad-hoc referendum by resigning their seats and contesting the subsequent by-elections, losing only one, to the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP). Sony VAIO VPCF118FJ/W Battery

However, unlike the Sunningdale Agreement of 1974, they found they could not bring the agreement down by a general strike. This was another effect of the changed balance of power in industrial relations.


Thatcher's political and economic philosophy emphasised reduced state intervention, free markets, and entrepreneurialism. Sony VAIO VPCF119FC Battery

Since gaining power, she had experimented in selling off a small nationalised company, the National Freight Company, to its workers, with a surprisingly positive response. After the 1983 election, the Government became bolder and, starting with British Telecom, sold off most of the large utilities which had been in public ownership since the late 1940s.Sony VAIO VPCF119FC/BI Battery

Many people took advantage of share offers, although many sold their shares immediately for a quick profit and therefore the proportion of shares held by individuals rather than institutions did not increase. The policy of privatisation, while anathema to many on the left, has become synonymous with Thatcherismand was also followed by Tony Blair's government.Sony VAIO VPCF119FJ/BI Battery

Wider share-ownership and council house sales became known as "popular capitalism" to its supporters (a term coined by John Redwood). One critic on the left described privatisation as 'the biggest electoral bribe in history'.

Cold War

In the Cold War, Thatcher supported United States President Ronald Reagan's policies of deterrence against the Soviets.Sony VAIO VPCF11AFJ Battery

This contrasted with the policy ofdétente which the West had pursued during the 1970s, and caused friction with allies who still adhered to the idea of détente. U.S. forces were permitted by Thatcher to station nuclear cruise missiles at British bases, arousing mass protests by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Sony VAIO VPCF11AGJ Battery

However, she later was the first Western leader to respond warmly to the rise of the future reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, declaring that she liked him and describing him as "a man we can do business with" after a meeting in 1984, three months before he came to power. Sony VAIO VPCF11AHJ Battery

This was a start of a move by the West back to a new détente with the USSR under Gorbachev's leadership, which coincided with the final erosion of Soviet power prior to its eventual collapse in 1991. Thatcher outlasted the Cold War, which ended in 1989, and those who share her views on it credit her with a part in the West's victory, by both the deterrence and détente postures.Sony VAIO VPCF11JFX/B Battery

The West won the Cold War 'without firing a shot', Thatcher said, because the Soviet Union would not risk confrontation with its armed forces.

Domestic criticism

In February 1985, in what was generally viewed as a significant snub from the centre of the British establishment, the University of Oxford voted to refuse Thatcher an honorary degree in protest against her cuts in funding for higher education.Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E Battery

This award had previously been given to all prime ministers since the Second World War. Although the government's counter-claim of increased expenditure was also challenged, the decision of the Oxford dons was widely condemned as 'petty and vindictive'.Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H Battery

The Chancellor of the university, Lord Stockton, noted that the decision represented a break with tradition, and predicted that the snub would rebound on the university.

In December 1985 Thatcher was criticised from another former Tory bastion when the Church of England report Faith in the City blamed decay of the inner cities on the government's financial stringency and called for a redistribution of wealth.Sony VAIO VPCF11MFX/B Battery

However the government had already introduced special employment and training measures, and ministers dismissed the report as 'muddle-headed' and uncosted.The breach with the Church and its liberal bishops remained unhealed until William Hague called for renewed co-operation in 1998.Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E Battery

Soon after, Thatcher suffered her government's only defeat in the House of Commons, with the failure of the Shops Bill 1986. The bill, which would have legalised Sunday shopping, was defeated by aChristian right backbench rebellion, with 72 Conservatives voting against the government bill.Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B Battery

As well as Thatcher's only defeat, it was the last occasion on which a government bill fell at second reading. The defeat was immediately overshadowed by the US intervention in Libya.

Bombing of Libya

In the aftermath of a series of terrorist attacks on U.S. military personnel in Europe, which were believed to have been executed at Colonel Qaddafi's command, President Reagan decided to carry out a bombing raid on Libya. Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E Battery

Both France and Spain refused to allow U.S. aircraft to fly over their territory for the raid. Thatcher herself had earlier expressed opposition to "retaliatory strikes that are against international law" and had not followed the U.S. in an embargo of Libyan oil.Sony VAIO VPCF11Z1E/BI Battery

However Thatcher felt that as the U.S. had given support to Britain during the Falklands War but she had opposed the U.S.invasion of Grenada and that America was a major ally against a possible Soviet attack in Western Europe, she felt obliged to allow U.S. aircraft to use bases situated in Britain.Sony VAIO VPCF11ZHJ Battery

Later that year in America, President Reagan persuaded Congress to approve of an extradition treaty which closed a legal loophole by which IRA members/Volunteers escaped extradition by claiming their murders were "political". This had been previously opposed by Irish-Americans for years but was passed after Reagan used Thatcher's support in the Libyan raid as a reason to pass it.Sony VAIO VPCF127HGBI Battery

Westland affair

Thatcher's preference for defence ties with the United States was demonstrated in the Westland affair when she acted with colleagues to allow the helicopter manufacturer Westland, a vital defence contractor, to refuse to link with the Italian firm Agusta in order for it to link with the management's preferred option, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation of the United States.Sony VAIO VPCF137HG/BI Battery

Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine, who had pushed the Agusta deal, resigned in protest after this, and remained an influential critic and potential leadership challenger. He would eventually prove instrumental in Thatcher's fall in 1990.

Local government

In April 1986 the Thatcher government, enacting a policy set out in its 1983 manifesto, abolished the Greater London Council (GLC) and six top-tier Metropolitan County Councils (MCCs):Sony VAIO VPC-P111KX/B Battery

Greater Manchester, Merseyside (including Liverpool), South Yorkshire (including Sheffield), Tyne and Wear (including Newcastle and Sunderland), West Midlands (including Birmingham and Coventry), andWest Yorkshire (including Leeds).Sony VAIO VPC-P111KX/D Battery

The GLC was the biggest council in Europe; under the leadership of the Labour socialist radical Ken Livingstone it had doubled its spending in three years, and Thatcher insisted on its abolition as an efficiency measure, transferring most duties to the boroughs, with veto power over major building, engineering and maintenance projects being given to the environment secretary.Sony VAIO VPC-P111KX/G Battery

The government also argued that the transfer of power to local councils would increase electoral accountability.

Critics contended that 'the excesses of a few "loony left" councils helped Mrs Thatcher to launch a party-political assault',as all the eliminated councils were controlled by the Labour party, favoured higher local government taxes and public spending, and were vocal centres of opposition to her government. Sony VAIO VPC-P111KX/P Battery

The GLC also warned that the break-up of the county councils would lead to the creation of 'endless joint committees and over 60 quangos'.

Several of the councils including the GLC had however rendered themselves vulnerable by committing scarce public funds to controversial causes such as Babies Against the Bomb,Sony VAIO VPC-P111KX/W Battery

the Antiracist Year, and lesbian mothers seeking custody of their children; the Save the GLC campaign itself was estimated to have cost ratepayers £10 million, climaxing in a final defiant week of festivities that cost ratepayers £500,000.

Hong Kong

In 1984 Thatcher visited China and signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration with Deng Xiaoping on 19 December,Sony VAIO VPC-P112KX/B Battery

which committed the People's Republic of China to award Hong Kong the status of a "Special Administrative Region". Under the terms of the One Country, Two Systems agreement, China was obliged to leave Hong Kong's economic status unchanged after the handover on 1 July 1997 for a period of fifty years – until 2047.Sony VAIO VPC-P112KX/D Battery

European rebate

At the Dublin European Council in November 1979, Thatcher argued that the United Kingdom paid far more to the European Economic Community (EEC) than it received in spending. She famously declared at the summit: "We are not asking the Community or anyone else for money. We are simply asking to have our own money back". Sony VAIO VPC-P112KX/G Battery

Her arguments were successful and at the June 1984 Fontainbleau Summit, the EEC agreed on an annual rebate for the United Kingdom, amounting to 66% of the difference between Britain's EU contributions and receipts. This still remains in effect, although Tony Blair later agreed to significantly reduce the size of the rebate.Sony VAIO VPC-P112KX/P Battery

It periodically causes political controversy among the members of the European Union.

Lawson boom, 1984-8

During the 1980s there was a great improvement in the United Kingdom's productivity growth relative to other advanced capitalist countries.Sony VAIO VPC-P112KX/W Battery

Nigel Lawson, Chancellor of the Exchequer, identified inflation as 'the judge and jury of a government's record', but while the country also improved its OECD inflation ranking from fifteenth in 1979 to tenth in the so-called 'Lawson boom' year of 1987, when inflation had fallen to 4.2%, in the decade as a whole the country still had the second highest inflation rate of the G7 countries.Sony VAIO VPCP113KX/B Battery

The United Kingdom's growth rate was more impressive, ranking first in the OECD-16 in 1987, a statistical achievement that the Thatcher government exploited to the full in the general election campaign of that year. However, the balance of payments record had deteriorated, faring even worse than those of non-oil-exporting countries,Sony VAIO VPC-P113KX/B Battery

and there was a decline in the country's relative standing in terms of unemployment. The resulting welfare payments meant that, even though the Thatcher government in 1979 had taken the view that 'public expenditure is at the heart of Britain's present economic difficulties', Sony VAIO VPCP113KX/D Battery

it was not until the boom year of 1987 that the expenditure ratio fell below the 1979 level, and for most of the 1980s the average tax take was actually higher than in 197


1987 General election

By leading her party to victory in the 1987 general election with a 102 seat majority, riding the Lawson boom against a weak Labour opposition advocating unilateral nuclear disarmament, Sony VAIO VPC-P113KX/D Battery

Margaret Thatcher became the longest continuously serving British prime minister since Lord Liverpool (1812 to 1827), and the first to win three successive elections since Lord Palmerston in 1865. Mostnational newspapers supported her—with the exception of The Daily Mirror, The Guardian and The Independent—and were rewarded with regular press briefings by her press secretary, Sony VAIO VPCP113KX/G Battery

Bernard Ingham. She was informally dubbed 'Maggie' by the tabloids, and political protesters were given to chanting the slogan 'Maggie Out!' Despite her third straight victory she remained a polarising figure, her unpopularity on the left is evident from the lyrics of several contemporary pop-music songs.Sony VAIO VPC-P113KX/G Battery

Boom to bust

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson, overreacted to a market fall with his reflationary 1988 budget, stoking inflation and precipitating a slide in the government's fortunes. By the time of Thatcher's resignation in 1990, inflation had again hit 10%, the same level she had found it in 1979.Sony VAIO VPCP113KX/P Battery

Overall, the Thatcher government's economic record is disputed. In relative terms, it could be held there was a modest revival of British fortunes. Real gross domestic product had grown by 26.8% over 1979-89 in the United Kingdom as against 24.3% for the EC-12 average.Sony VAIO VPC-P113KX/P Battery

Measured by total factor productivity, labour, and capital, British productivity growth between 1979 and 1993 compared favourably with the OECD average.

However under Thatcherite management the macro-economy was unstable, even by the standards of the Keynesian era of stop-go.Sony VAIO VPCP113KX/W Battery

The amplitude of fluctuations in gross domestic product and real gross private non-residential fixed capital formation was greater in the United Kingdom than for the OECD.

In the Thatcher years the top 10% of earners received almost 50% of the tax remissions, but there proved to be no simple trade-off between equality and efficiency.Sony VAIO VPC-P113KX/W Battery

The receipts ratio did not fall below the 1979 level until 1992. The expenditure ratio rose again after Thatcher's resignation in 1990, even climbing for a time above the 1979 figure. The cause was the heavy budget charge of the recessions of 1979-81 and 1990–92 and the extra funding required to meet the higher level of unemployment.Sony VAIO VPC-P114KX/B Battery

Section 28

Though an early backer of decriminalisation of male homosexuality, Thatcher, at the 1987 Conservative party conference, issued the statement that "Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay". Sony VAIO VPC-P114KX/D Battery

Backbench Conservative MPs and Peers had already begun a backlash against the 'promotion' of homosexuality and, in December 1987, the controversial 'Section 28' was added as an amendment to what became the Local Government Act 1988. This legislation was repealed by Tony Blair's Labour administration between 2000 and 2003.Sony VAIO VPC-P114KX/G Battery

Welfare reforms

Welfare reforms in her third term created an adult Employment Training system that included full-time work done for the dole plus a £10 top-up, on the workfare model from the United States.Sony VAIO VPC-P114KX/P Battery


Thatcher, the former chemist, became publicly concerned with environmental issues in the late 1980s. In 1988, she made a major speech accepting the problems of global warming, ozone depletionand acid rain. In 1990, she opened the Hadley Centre for climate prediction and research.Sony VAIO VPC-P114KX/W Battery

In her book Statecraft (2002), she described her later regret in supporting the concept of human-induced global warming, outlining the negative effects she perceived it had upon the policy-making process. "Whatever international action we agree upon to deal with environmental problems, Sony VAIO VPCP115JC Battery

we must enable our economies to grow and develop, because without growth you cannot generate the wealth required to pay for the protection of the environment" .

European integration

At Bruges, Belgium, in 1988, Thatcher made a speech in which she outlined her opposition to proposals from the European Community for a federal structure and increasing centralisation of decision-making.Sony VAIO VPCP115JC/B Battery

Although she had supported British membership, Thatcher believed that the role of the EC should be limited to ensuring free trade and effective competition, and feared that new EC regulations would reverse the changes she was making in the UK: "We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, Sony VAIO VPCP115JC/D Battery

only to see them re-imposed at a European level, with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels". She was specifically against Economic and Monetary Union, through which a single currency would replace national currencies, and for which the EC was making preparations, Sony VAIO VPCP115JC/G Battery

now known as the euro and in force as legal tender since 2002 in twelve European countries. Britain has so far remained outside the so-called eurozone. The speech caused an outcry from other European leaders, and exposed for the first time the deep split that was emerging over European policy inside her Conservative Party.Sony VAIO VPCP115JC/P Battery

Thatcher's popularity once again declined, in 1989, as the economy suffered from high interest rates imposed to temper a potentially unsustainable boom. She blamed her Chancellor, Nigel Lawson, who had been following an economic policy which was a preparation for monetary union; Sony VAIO VPCP115JC/W Battery

in an interview for the Financial Times, in November 1987, Thatcher claimed not to have been told of this and did not approve.

At a meeting before the Madrid European Community summit in June 1989, Lawson and Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe forced Thatcher to agree to the circumstances under which she would join theExchange Rate Mechanism, a preparation for monetary union and the abolishment of the Pound Sterling. Sony VAIO VPCP115KG Battery

At the meeting, they both claimed they would resign if their demands were not met.[85]Thatcher responded by demoting Howe and by listening more to her adviser Sir Alan Walters on economic matters. Lawson resigned that October, feeling that Thatcher had undermined him.Sony VAIO VPCP116KG Battery

Leadership election, 1989

In November 1989 Thatcher was challenged for the leadership of the Conservative Party by Sir Anthony Meyer. As Meyer was a virtually unknown backbench MP, he was viewed as a "stalking horse" candidate for more prominent members of the party. Sony VAIO VPC-P116KX/B Battery

Thatcher easily defeated Meyer's challenge, but there were sixty ballot papers either cast for Meyer or abstaining, a surprisingly large number for a sitting Prime Minister. Her supporters in the Party, however, viewed the results as a success, claiming that after ten years as Prime Minister and with approximately 370 Conservative MPs voting, the opposition was surprisingly small.Sony VAIO VPC-P116KX/D Battery

Release of Mandela

Thatcher continued to be the leading international advocate of a policy of contact with South Africa, and the most forthright opponent of economic sanctions against the country, which was ruled by a white minority government.Sony VAIO VPC-P116KX/G Battery

Her stand had divided the Commonwealth 48-1 at three conferences since 1985, but had brought her influence in South Africa's white community. Rejecting the U.S. policy of disinvestment as a mistake, she argued a prosperous society would be more receptive to change.Sony VAIO VPC-P116KX/P Battery

In October 1988 Thatcher said she would be unlikely to visit South Africa unless black nationalist leader Nelson Mandela was released from prison,and in March 1989 she stressed the need to release him in order for multi-party talks to take place,Sony VAIO VPC-P116KX/W Battery

urging that the African National Congress's promise to suspend violence should be enough to permit his release, and that the 'renunciation of violence' should not be an absolute condition for negotiations for a settlement. At the end of March 1989, Thatcher’s six-day, 10,000-mile tour through southern Africa—a follow-up to her 'look and learn' exercise in Kenya and Nigeria in 1988—did not include South Africa because Mandela had not yet been released. Sony VAIO VPCP118JC Battery

Thatcher met reformist South African president-in-waiting F.W. de Klerk in London in June 1989, and stressed that Mandela must be freed and reforms put in place before she would visit the country. In July 1989 she called for the release not only of Mandela, but also Walter Sisulu and Oscar Mpetha, before all-group talks could continue.Sony VAIO VPCP118JC/B Battery

Thatcher therefore welcomed de Klerk's decision in February 1990 to release Mandela and lift the ban on the ANC, and said the change vindicated her positive policy: 'We believe in carrots as well as sticks.' However Thatcher had also set the freeing of Mandela as a condition of friendship with the white government.Sony VAIO VPCP118JC/P Battery

Thatcher said the European Community's voluntary ban on new investment should be lifted when Mandela was released. However her call to the world to reward reforms was countered by Mandela himself, who while still in jail argued sanctions must be maintained until the end of white rule, and criticised her decision to lift a ban on new investment unilaterally.Sony VAIO VPCP118JC/W Battery

Mandela declared:We regard the attitude of the British Government on the question of sanctions as of primary importance ... My release from prison was the direct result of the people inside and outside South Africa. It was also the result of the immense pressure exerted on the South African Government by the international community, in particular from the people of the UK.Sony VAIO VPC-P118KX/B Battery

However Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd was adamant: 'We needed to make a practical response to a man, President F.W. de Klerk, who has taken his political life into his hands.' Nevertheless as a gesture of goodwill Thatcher agreed to begin aid to the ANC, which until its suspension of violence she had criticised as 'a typical terrorist organisation',  her disapproval reinforced by her anti-socialism.Sony VAIO VPC-P118KX/D Battery

Mandela spoke of his respect for Thatcher, even expressing disappointment that she would not be 'the very first person I would see' on release from prison. However Thatcher’s opposition to sanctions left her isolated within the Commonwealth and the European Community, and Mandela did not take up an early offer to meet her, opposing her proposed visit to his country as premature.Sony VAIO VPC-P118KX/G Battery

Mandela rejected all concessions to the South African government, which he accused of seeking the easing of sanctions before it had offered 'profound and irreversible change'.

Mandela delayed meeting Thatcher until he had gathered support for sanctions from other world leaders in the course of a four-week, 14-nation tour of Europe and the United States.Sony VAIO VPC-P118KX/P Battery

While Thatcher and Mandela agreed about the importance of getting rid of apartheid, their first meeting failed to resolve differences over her unilateral lifting of sanctions and his refusal to renounce armed struggle until existing conditions in South Africa changed.Sony VAIO VPC-P118KX/W Battery

In their economic discussions, Mandela initially favoured nationalisation as a preferred method for redistributing wealth between blacks and whites, but with British investment in South Africa in 1989 accounting for half of the total, and with bilateral trade worth just over $3.2 billion,Sony VAIO VPCP119JC Battery

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