Thatcher and Thatcherism Essay

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Thatcher and Thatcherism It is now twenty years since Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister of Great Britain, and over eight years since she left office. So this seems a good opportunity to look back at what Thatcher and Thatcherism may have achieved, and what may be the lessons for today. I must start with a disclaimer. I'm the British High Commissioner and normally speak on behalf of the British Government in Australia. But I hope you will realise that in addressing a subject such as this I am speaking in a personal capacity. I am not quite sure what the Foreign Office would say if I asked them for the official line on Thatcherism. Given some of their run-ins with her on foreign policy,…show more content…
But the bulk of my career was in fact working for Ministers who-to a greater or lesser extent-fell out with her. Nigel Lawson, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer, and in many ways one of those who most closely shared her philosophy on freeing markets and on cutting spending and taxes. But who disagreed with her strongly on exchange rate policy and on the poll tax, leading eventually to his resignation. And then I worked for John Major, when he was Prime Minister, and in effect her anointed successor. But who found it hard sometimes to cope with the 'voices off' from Mrs Thatcher or her friends criticising him for not following her policies or her advice. So I welcome this opportunity to step back and reflect on Thatcher and Thatcherism. By any standard, she is a remarkable figure. The longest serving British Prime Minister this century. The only one to have won three successive General Elections-and indeed she was never defeated at a General Election. The only woman Prime Minister. The only one with an "ism" associated with her. I want to concentrate on her period as Prime Minister. But I first should put it in context by setting out some of the background. For she became Prime Minister at a time when some of the accepted nostrums that had guided British
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