The Thatcher government saw itself as ending the trade unions’ veto on economic-policy reform, and many of the changes of the 1980s would have been regarded as inconceivable by informed opinion in the 1960s and 1970s. Moreover, the early 1980s saw unemployment return to 1930s levels, which conventional wisdom thought incompatible with re-election. So, how was the government able to break out of the constraints imposed by the political economy of the previous three decades? The answer probably lies in a combination of the economic failures of the 1970s, the Falklands War, political strife in the Labour Party, and a maverick prime minister who over-rode the doubts of the risk-averse majority of her colleagues
In my heart, at the time, I was enraged by what Margaret Thatcher did. But now she belongs to history. In my head, looking back as an economic historian, I have to acknowledge the necessity of it. When she came to power, our country was a pretty miserable place: stagnant, strife-torn, and full of bullies. Money was more equally distributed than it is now, but money was worth less than power, and power was highly concentrated in the hands of state monopolies, private monopolies, and organized labour.
'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'.
Also by Professor Wyn Grant, Thatcher, football and the Premier League
Margaret Thatcher visited WMG at the University of Warwick in January 1990. You can read the transcript of the speech she gave and footage here shows her on a tour of WMG, led by Lord Kumar Bhattacharya, and an image from the visit below.