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The legacy of Margaret Thatcher

Wyn GrantProfessor Wyn Grant, Politics and International Studies, said:

'Predictably responses to Mrs Thatcher's death are polarised between those who adored or admired her and those who hated her. Mrs Thatcher was the first person in power to argue against the dominant view that Britain's relative economic decline was inevitable and simply had to be 'managed'.

'As far as deindustralisation is concerned, it should be remembered that this was under way well before 1979 and an important driver was trade liberalisation: the rate of effective protection fell from 9.3 per cent in 1968 to 1.2 per cent in 1986. I remember interviewing businesses in the West Midlands for our book on the CBI in the early 1970s and thinking 'How can these businesses survive?' Many of them didn't. However, there is no doubt that the appreciation of sterling as a 'petro currency' after 1979 accelerated this trend.

'Of the 20th century peacetime prime ministers, I would rank Thatcher alongside Attlee in terms of making a difference. But arguably the achievements of the post-war Labour Government such as establishing the NHS were the results of the efforts of a number of cabinet ministers rather than just one person.'

Professor Wyn Grant

Politics and International Studies

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