The Ideas Of Thatcherism: Principles, Political Practices, Influence On The Political Life

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Thatcherism is seen as a mix of Conservative and Liberalism ideologies, originated from the teachings and ideas of Margret Thatcher. Margaret Thatcher became the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1990. Thatcherism has had a huge impact on the UK laws we have today, Margret Thatcher’s ideas have influenced many other Members of Parliament and their decisions towards the law. Margret Thatcher was a huge believer of free market and primacy of competition, she also believed the right of individuals to determine their own lives hence, why Thatcherism was also given the name ‘neo-liberal’.

Thatcherism can be at variance with ‘one nation’ conservatism, insinuating the government has a sworn duty to look after the narrow and limited gap between the rich and poor in society. Over a period of time, Thatcher was able to guide conservatives who had belief in the old approach of government and oversee her approach which became the New Right.

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Barnard (2011) believed Thatcher’s New Rights government had very minimal contribution towards individual’s welfare although identifying themselves as law-makers and rule makers whilst, turning over their responsibilities to voluntary sectors; families and charities. This didn’t quite match one of Thatcher’s speech; “We are committed to a civilised society where the poor and the sick, the disabled and the elderly are properly cared for. By the community, by their families, by voluntary Organisations” (Mack and Lansley, 1985, p. 232).

Furthermore, Thatcherites believed the reason why the survival of capitalism and a profitable economics state only lasted so long due to it depending on the privatisation of services (Cow drill 2009). Margret introduced Privatisation to be able to empower society using popular capitalism. This ideology also helped encourage competition which would help strengthen accountability and efficiency within standing national industries as well as public services. However, many argued that this may be the reason for some policy changes. Thatcher’s classic liberal policies encouraged the introduction of the Educational Reform Act of 1998.

The neo-conservatism ideology focuses on the fragility of society that could only be resolved by the renovation of authority and social discipline. Moreover, Thatcher’s government advocated that the social discipline and authority should always be reinforced and strong at all heights of society. However, this may be argued that Thatcherism the growth of multiculturalism can be seen as a threat to the concept of nationhood within our society. Hence why Margaret Thatcher announced Nationality Act 1981 which many would say showed a very complicated and vague perception of what it means to be.

Privatisation was Margaret Thatcher’s most important policy. People saw privatisation as the symbol of Thatcherism as though her leadership, she privatised; telecommunications, water supply, glass supply, electricity, bus transportation and many more divisions of public transportations and, many more divisions of public services and state-run companies. rail was seen as the most controversial privatisation by her successor, John Major. Thatcher hated trade unions and wanted to introduce laws and make it much difficult for them. Margret Thatcher launched a revolution; governments in 100 countries moved their state-owned business to the private sector, she was determined to revive the stagnant economy alongside market-based reforms. Thatcher cut marginal taxes and tamed militant labour unions. Margret Thatcher promised the public increased of efficiency generate her investments and widen her share ownership. However, Margaret carried on what she thought was right despite her false promises; royal mail was also sold for a fraction of its value by the Conservative-led coalition government.

Margaret Thatcher aimed to create a nation of shareholders, her vision of privatisation did not agree with most members of the public. She believed we needed more entrepreneurs in order to build our wealth as a country, she wanted to allow people to stand up on their own feet by endorsing individual initiative and self-sufficiency. Hence, why she introduced policies that would ensure people succeed, for example, she lowered the prices of houses giving everyone the chance to buy council houses for low prices and become masters of their state. Barnard (2011) examined Thatcher’s perception of individual initiative and self-sufficiency is a key feature of Classical Liberalism hence, why individualism encourages individual autonomy over any social collectively. Therefore, creating an atomistic society built by self-sufficient and self-reliant people, As explained in Thatcher’s famous remark ‘that there was no such thing as society’. Thatcher wanted to get rid of the state as she assumed, they were coming in between her vision. Many would say she bought back negative freedom, as she started to give the police more power, money and equipment this is because Thatcher was very pathoclitic, she didn’t really see eye to eye with culture. Margaret was not afraid of what people would think of her and her decisions she believed what she was doing was right, many feared of her.

The in 1979 election manifesto Margaret Thatcher said, “the most disturbing threat to our freedom and security is the growing disrespect for law…Yet respect for the rule of law is the basis of a free and civilised life” ( 2014). Many believed that freedom within society is established on the foundation of law and order. The Criminal Justice Act 1982 noticed a radical change in the youth justice legislation hence why young people between the ages of 14-21 are eligible to be put under harsher correctional facilities for a short yet intense period of time.

In conclusion, Thatcherism is highly influenced by the economic liberalism whilst preserving the principles of order, authority and discipline. Margaret Thatcher has had a huge influence on politics and where we stand today. Thatcherites emphasised the necessity to restore the 19th-century liberal values as they had identified the post-war welfare state as a crippling factor to individual initiative and efforts, thus creating a state of helpless dependency (Cunningham and Cunningham 2012). Thatcher is one of the most controversial figures of our time. Not only did Margaret Thatcher transform her Conservative Party but had a huge influence on the change of politics. Many believed she was the embodiment of conservatism, she believed the nations can only be successful if they are set free. Margaret Thatcher launched a global revolution in order to end the Soviet Union in order to improve and grow as a nation. Thatcher’s most popular ideology was privatisation, she was very ambitious to be able to transfer nationalised entities from the public sector into private ownership. She believed this was the key to turn Britain around and push people to become successful and succeed as a nation, which took both positive and negative turn. Thatcherism mirrors a very liberal society that has rapidly developed into a conservative society in order to sustain its economic and political dominance. Even though many did not agree with her political teachings, they see it as an era where Britain has changed for the better and become much greater due to the changes Margaret Thatcher has made.


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  2. Edwards, C. (2019). Thatcher’s golden legacy of privatisation – CapX. [online] CapX. Available at: [Accessed 23 Apr. 2019].
  3. Hall, E. and Jacques, M. (2019). THE POLITICS OF THATCHERISM. [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Apr. 2019].
  4. Gamble, A. (1988). Privatization, Thatcherism, and State. Journal of Law and Society, 16(1), p.1.
  5. Martin, B. (2002). [online] Available at: [Accessed 20 Apr. 2019].


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