Thatcherism comprises the conviction, economic, social and political style of the British Conservative Party politician Margaret Thatcher, who was leader of her party from 1975 to 1990. It has also been used to describe the principles of the British government under Thatcher as Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990 and beyond into the governments of John Major, Tony Blair and David Cameron.[1] An exponent of Thatcherism is regarded as a "Thatcherite". Thatcherism represented a systematic, decisive rejection and reversal of the post-war consensus, whereby the major political parties largely agreed on the central themes of Keynesianism, the welfare state, nationalised industry and close regulation of the British economy. There was one major exception, the NHS, which was widely popular. In 1982, she promised the British people that the NHS is "safe in our hands".[2]

Both the exact terms of what makes up Thatcherism as well as its specific legacy in terms of British history over the past decades are controversial. In terms of ideology, Thatcherism has been described by Nigel Lawson, Thatcher's Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1983 to 1989, as a political platform emphasising free markets with restrained government spending and tax cuts coupled with British nationalism both at home and abroad.[3] The Daily Telegraph stated in April 2008 that the programme of the next non-Conservative British government, Tony Blair's administration with an emphasis on New Labour, basically accepted the central reform measures of Thatcherism such as deregulation, privatisation of key national industries, maintaining a flexible labour market, marginalising the trade unions and centralising power from local authorities to central government.[4]


Thatcherism attempts to promote low inflation, the small state and free markets through tight control of the money supply, privatisation and constraints on the labour movement. It is often compared with Reaganomics in the United States, economic rationalism in Australia and Rogernomics in New Zealand and as a key part of the worldwide economic liberal movement.

Nigel Lawson, Thatcher's Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1983 to 1989, listed the Thatcherite ideals as "free markets, financial discipline, firm control over public expenditure, tax cuts, nationalism, 'Victorian values' (of the Samuel Smiles self-help variety), privatisation and a dash of populism".[3] Thatcherism is thus often compared to classical liberalism. Milton Friedman said that "Margaret Thatcher is not in terms of belief a Tory. She is a nineteenth-century Liberal".[6]

Thatcher herself stated in 1983: "I would not mind betting that if Mr Gladstone were alive today he would apply to join the Conservative Party".[7] In the 1996 Keith Joseph memorial lecture, Thatcher argued: "The kind of Conservatism which he and I [...] favoured would be best described as 'liberal', in the old-fashioned sense. And I mean the liberalism of Mr Gladstone, not of the latter day collectivists".[8] Thatcher once told Friedrich Hayek: "I know you want me to become a Whig; no, I am a Tory". Hayek believed "she has felt this very clearly".[9] The relationship between Thatcherism and liberalism is complicated. Thatcher's former Defence Secretary John Nott claimed that "it is a complete misreading of her beliefs to depict her as a nineteenth-century Liberal".[10]

As Ellen Meiksins Wood has argued, Thatcherite capitalism was compatible with traditional British political institutions. As Prime Minister, Thatcher did not challenge ancient institutions such as the monarchy or the House of Lords, but some of the most recent additions such as the trade unions.[11] Indeed, many leading Thatcherites, including Thatcher herself, went on to join the House of Lords, an honour which William Ewart Gladstone, for instance, had declined.[12] Thinkers closely associated with Thatcherism include Keith Joseph, Enoch Powell, Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman. In an interview with Simon Heffer in 1996, Thatcher stated that the two greatest influences on her as Conservative leader had been Joseph and Powell, who were both "very great men".[13]

Thatcher was a strong critic of communism, Marxism and socialism. Biographer John Campbell reports that in July 1978 when asked by a Labour MP in Commons what she meant by socialism "she was at a loss to reply. What in fact she meant was Government support for inefficient industries, punitive taxation, regulation of the labour market, price controls – everything that interfered with the functioning of the free economy".[14]

Thatcherism before Thatcher

A number of commentators have traced the origins of Thatcherism in post-war British politics. The historian Ewen Green claimed there was resentment of the inflation, taxation and the constraints imposed by the labour movement, which was associated with the so-called Buttskellite consensus in the decades before Thatcher came to prominence. Although the Conservative leadership accommodated itself to the Clement Attlee government's post-war reforms, there was continuous right-wing opposition in the lower ranks of the party, in right-wing pressure groups like the Middle Class Alliance and the People's League for the Defence of Freedom and later in think tanks like the Centre for Policy Studies. For example, in the 1945 general election the Conservative Party chairman Ralph Assheton had wanted 12,000 abridged copies of The Road to Serfdom (a book by the anti-socialist economist Friedrich Hayek later closely associated with Thatcherism),[15] taking up one-and-a-half tons of the party's paper ration, distributed as election propaganda.[16] The historian Dr. Christopher Cooper has also traced the formation of the monetarist economics at the heart of Thatcherism back to the resignation of Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer Peter Thorneycroft in 1958.[17]

As early as 1950, Thatcher accepted the consensus of the day about the welfare state, claiming the credit belonged to the Conservatives in a speech to the Conservative Association annual general meeting. Biographer Charles Moore states:

Neither at the beginning of her career nor when she was prime minister, did Margaret Thatcher ever reject the wartime foundations of the welfare state, whether in health, social policy or education. In this she was less radical than her critics or some of her admirers supposed. Her concern was to focus more on abuse of the system, on bureaucracy and union militancy, and on the growth of what later came to be called the dependency culture, rather than on the system itself.[18]

However, historian Richard Vinen is sceptical about there being Thatcherism before Thatcher.[19]


Thatcherism is often described as a libertarian ideology. Thatcher saw herself as creating a libertarian movement,[20][21] rejecting traditional Toryism.[22] Thatcherism is associated with libertarianism within the Conservative Party,[23] albeit one of libertarian ends achieved by using strong and sometimes authoritarian leadership.[24] British political commentator Andrew Marr has called libertarianism the "dominant, if unofficial, characteristic of Thatcherism".[25] Whereas some of her heirs, notably Michael Portillo and Alan Duncan, embraced this libertarianism, others in the Thatcherite movement such as John Redwood sought to become more populist.[26][27]

Some commentators have argued that Thatcherism should not be considered properly libertarian. Noting the tendency towards strong central government in matters concerning the trade unions and local authorities, Andrew Gamble summarised Thatcherism as "the free economy and the strong state".[28] Simon Jenkins accused the Thatcher government of carrying out a nationalisation of Britain.[29] Libertarian political theorist Murray Rothbard did not consider Thatcherism to be libertarian and heavily criticised Thatcher and Thatcherism stating that "Thatcherism is all too similar to Reaganism: free-market rhetoric masking statist content".[30]

Thatcherism as a form of government

Another important aspect of Thatcherism is the style of governance. Britain in the 1970s was often referred to as "ungovernable". Thatcher attempted to redress this by centralising a great deal of power to herself, as the Prime Minister, often bypassing traditional cabinet structures (such as cabinet committees). This personal approach also became identified with personal toughness at times such as the Falklands War, the IRA bomb at the Conservative conference and the miners' strike.

Sir Charles Powell, the Foreign Affairs Private Secretary to the Prime Minister (1984–1991 and 1996) described her style as such: "I've always thought there was something Leninist about Mrs Thatcher which came through in the style of government: the absolute determination, the belief that there's a vanguard which is right and if you keep that small, tightly knit team together, they will drive things through ... there's no doubt that in the 1980s, No. 10 could beat the bushes of Whitehall pretty violently. They could go out and really confront people, lay down the law, bully a bit".[31]

Economic positions

Graph showing the annual UK GDP growth with the Thatcher years (1979–1990) highlighted, depicting the economic turnaround
Graph showing the annual UK GDP growth with the Thatcher years (1979–1990) highlighted, depicting the economic turnaround

Thatcherite economics

Thatcherism is associated with the economic theory of monetarism. In contrast to previous government policy, monetarism placed a priority on controlling inflation over controlling unemployment. According to monetarist theory, inflation is the result of there being too much money in the economy. It was claimed that the government should seek to control the money supply to control inflation. By 1979, it was not only the Thatcherites who were arguing for stricter control of inflation. The Labour Chancellor Denis Healey had already adopted some monetarist policies, such as reducing public spending and selling off the government's shares in BP.

Moreover, it has been argued that the Thatcherites were not strictly monetarist in practice. A common theme centres on the Medium Term financial Strategy, issued in the 1980 Budget, which consisted of targets for reducing the growth of the money supply in the following years. After overshooting many of these targets, the Thatcher government revised the targets upwards in 1982. Analysts have interpreted this as an admission of defeat in the battle to control the money supply. The economist C. F. Pratten claimed that "since 1984, behind a veil of rhetoric, the government has lost any faith it had in technical monetarism. The money supply, as measured by £M3, has been allowed to grow erratically, while calculation of the PSBR is held down by the ruse of subtracting the proceeds of privatisation as well as taxes from government expenditure. The principles of monetarism have been abandoned".[32]

Thatcherism is also associated with supply-side economics. Whereas Keynesian economics holds that the government should stimulate economic growth by increasing demand through increased credit and public spending, supply-side economists argue that the government should instead intervene only to create a free market by lowering taxes, privatising state industries and increasing restraints on trade unionism.

Trade union legislation

Reduction in the power of the trades unions was made gradually, unlike the approach of the Edward Heath government and the greatest single confrontation with the unions was the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) strike of 1984–1985, in which the miners' union was eventually defeated. There is evidence that this confrontation with the trade unions was anticipated by both the Conservative Party and the NUM. The outcome contributed to the resurgence of the power of capital over labour.[33]

Domestic and social positions

All too often the ills of this country are passed off as those of society. Similarly, when action is required, society is called upon to act. But society as such does not exist except as a concept. Society is made up of people. It is people who have duties and beliefs and resolve. It is people who get things done. [Margaret Thatcher] prefers to think in terms of the acts of individuals and families as the real sinews of society rather than of society as an abstract concept. Her approach to society reflects her fundamental belief in personal responsibility and choice. To leave things to society is to run away from the real decisions, practical responsibility and effective action.[34]

— No.10, Statement, The Sunday Times (10 July 1988)

Thatcherite morality

Thatcherism is associated with a conservative stance on morality.[35] The Marxist sociologist and founder of the New Left Review, Stuart Hall, for example, argued that Thatcherism should be viewed as an ideological project promoting "authoritarian populism" since it is known for its reverence of "Victorian values".[36] The Social Democratic Party supporter David Marquand claimed that Thatcher exploited "authoritarian populist" sentiment in 1970s Britain: "Go back, you flower people, back where you came from, wash your hair, get dressed properly, get to work on time and stop all this whingeing and moaning".[37] Norman Tebbit, a close ally of Thatcher, laid out in a 1985 lecture what he thought to be the permissive society that conservatives should oppose:

Bad art was as good as good art. Grammar and spelling were no longer important. To be clean was no better than to be filthy. Good manners were no better than bad. Family life was derided as an outdated bourgeois concept. Criminals deserved as much sympathy as their victims. Many homes and classrooms became disorderly; if there was neither right nor wrong there could be no basis for punishment or reward. Violence and soft pornography became accepted in the media. Thus was sown the wind; and we are now reaping the whirlwind.[38]

Examples of this conservative morality in practice include the video nasties scare, where in reaction to a moral panic over the availability of a number of provocatively named horror films on video cassette she introduced state regulation of the British video market for the first time.

Despite her association with social conservatism, Thatcher voted in 1966 to legalise homosexuality, one of the few Conservative MPs to do so.[39][40] That same year, she also voted in support of legal abortion.[41] However, in the 1980s during her time as Prime Minister, the Thatcher government enacted Section 28, a law that opposed the "intentional promotion" of homosexuality by local authorities and "promotion" of the teaching of "the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship" in schools.[42] In her 1987 speech to the Conservative Party conference, Thatcher stated:

Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay ... All of those children are being cheated of a sound start in life—yes cheated.[43]

The law was opposed by many gay rights advocates such as Stonewall and OutRage! and was later repealed by Tony Blair's Labour government in 2003.[44][45] Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron later issued an official apology for previous Conservative policies on homosexuality, specifically the introduction of the controversial Section 28 laws from the 1980s, viewing past ideological views as "a mistake" with his own ideological direction.[46]

Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite has argued that Thatcherism married conservatism with free-market economics.[47]

Sermon on the Mound

In May 1988, Thatcher gave an address to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. In the address, Thatcher offered a theological justification for her ideas on capitalism and the market economy. She said "Christianity is about spiritual redemption, not social reform" and she quoted St. Paul by saying "If a man will not work he shall not eat". Choice played a significant part in Thatcherite reforms and Thatcher said that choice was also Christian, stating that Jesus Christ chose to lay down his life and that all individuals have the God-given right to choose between good and evil.

Foreign policy


Whilst Thatcher was Prime Minister, she greatly embraced transatlantic relations with the U.S. President Ronald Reagan. She often publicly supported Reagan's policies even when other Western allies were not as vocal. For example, she granted permission for American planes to use British bases for raids on Libya and allowed American cruise missiles and Pershing missiles to be housed on British soil in response to Soviet deployment of SS-20 nuclear missiles targeting Britain and other Western European nations.[48]


Towards the end of the 1980s, Thatcher (and so Thatcherism) became increasingly vocal in its opposition to allowing the European Community to supersede British sovereignty. In a famous 1988 Bruges speech, Thatcher declared: "We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them reimposed at a European level, with a European superstate exercising a new dominance from Brussels".

While Euroscepticism has for many become a characteristic of Thatcherism, Thatcher was far from consistent on the issue, only becoming truly Eurosceptic in the last years of her time as Prime Minister. Thatcher supported Britain's entry into the European Economic Community in 1973, campaigned for a "Yes" vote in the 1975 referendum[49] and signed the Single European Act in 1986.[50]

Dispute over the term

It is often claimed that the word "Thatcherism" was coined by cultural theorist Stuart Hall in a 1979 Marxism Today article,[51] However, this is not true as the phrase "Thatcherism" was first used by Tony Heath in an article he wrote that appeared in Tribune on 10 August 1973. Writing as Tribune's Education Correspondent, Heath wrote: "It will be argued that teachers are members of a profession which must not be influenced by political considerations. With the blight of Thatcherism spreading across the land that is a luxury that only the complacent can afford".[52][53] Although the term had in fact been widely used before then,[54] not all social critics have accepted the term as valid, with the High Tory journalist T. E. Utley believing "There is no such thing as Thatcherism".[55]

Utley contended that the term was a creation of Thatcher's enemies who wished to damage her by claiming that she had an inflexible devotion to a certain set of principles and also by some of her friends who had little sympathy for what he called "the English political tradition" because it facilitated "compromise and consensus". Utley argued that a free and competitive economy, rather than being an innovation of Thatcherism, was one "more or less permanent ingredient in modern Conservative philosophy":

It was on that principle that Churchill fought the 1945 election, having just read Hayek's Road to Serfdom. [...] What brought the Tories to 13 years of political supremacy in 1951 was the slogan 'Set the people free'. [...] There is absolutely nothing new about the doctrinal front that she presents on these matters. [...] As for 'privatisation', Mr. Powell proposed it in [...] 1968. As for 'property-owning democracy', I believe it was Anthony Eden who coined the phrase.[56]

In foreign policy, Utley claimed Thatcher's desire to restore British greatness did not mean "primarily a power devoted to the preservation of its own interests", but that she belonged "to that militant Whig branch of English Conservatism...her view of foreign policy has a high moral content". In practical terms, he claimed this expressed itself in her preoccupation in "the freedom of Afghanistan rather than the security of Ulster".[57]

Such leftist critics as Anthony Giddens claim that Thatcherism was purely an ideology and argue that her policies marked a change which was dictated more by political interests than economic reasons:

Rather than by any specific logic of capitalism, the reversal was brought about by voluntary reductions in social expenditures, higher taxes on low incomes and the lowering of taxes on higher incomes. This is the reason why in Great Britain in the mid 1980s the members of the top decile possessed more than a half of all the wealth.[58] To justify this by means of economic "objectivities" would be an ideology. What is at play here are interests and power.[59]

The Conservative historian of Peterhouse, Maurice Cowling, also questioned the uniqueness of "Thatcherism". Cowling claimed that Thatcher used "radical variations on that patriotic conjunction of freedom, authority, inequality, individualism and average decency and respectability, which had been the Conservative Party's theme since at least 1886". Cowling further contended that the "Conservative Party under Mrs Thatcher has used a radical rhetoric to give intellectual respectability to what the Conservative Party has always wanted".[60]

Historians Emily Robinson, Camilla Schofield, Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite and Natalie Thomlinson have argued that by the 1970s Britons were keen about defining and claiming their individual rights, identities and perspectives. They demanded greater personal autonomy and self-determination and less outside control. They angrily complained that the establishment was withholding it. They argue this shift in concerns helped cause Thatcherism and was incorporated into Thatcherism's appeal.[61]


Critics of Thatcherism claim that its successes were obtained only at the expense of great social costs to the British population. There were nearly 3.3 million unemployed in Britain in 1984, compared to 1.5 million when she first came to power in 1979, though that figure had reverted to some 1.6 million by the end of 1990.

While credited with reviving Britain's economy, Thatcher also was blamed for spurring a doubling in the relative poverty rate. Britain's childhood-poverty rate in 1997 was the highest in Europe.[62] When she resigned in 1990, 28% of the children in Great Britain were considered to be below the poverty line, a number that kept rising to reach a peak of nearly 30% during the government of Thatcher's successor, John Major.[62] During her government, Britain's Gini coefficient reflected this growing difference, going from 0.25 in 1979 to 0.34 in 1990, at about which value it remained for the next 20 years, under both Conservative and Labour governments.[63]

Thatcher's legacy

New Labour new Britain logo
The majority of Thatcher's reforms were retained by New Labour. In 2002 she was said to have regarded this as her greatest achievement.[64]

The extent to which one can say Thatcherism has a continuing influence on British political and economic life is unclear. In 2002, Peter Mandelson, a member of parliament belonging to the British Labour Party closely associated with Tony Blair, famously declared that "we are all Thatcherites now".[65]

In reference to modern British political culture, it could be said that a "post-Thatcherite consensus" exists, especially in regards to economic policy. In the 1980s, the now defunct Social Democratic Party adhered to a "tough and tender" approach in which Thatcherite reforms were coupled with extra welfare provision. Neil Kinnock, leader of the Labour Party from 1983 to 1992, initiated Labour's rightward shift across the political spectrum by largely concurring with the economic policies of the Thatcher governments. The New Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were described as "neo-Thatcherite" by some on the left, since many of their economic policies mimicked those of Thatcher.[66]

Most of the major British political parties today accept the trade union legislation, privatisations and general free market approach to government that Thatcher's governments installed. At present, no major political party in the United Kingdom is committed to reversing the Thatcher government's reforms of the economy, although in the aftermath of the Great Recession from 2007 to 2012, the then Labour Party leader Ed Miliband had indicated he would support stricter financial regulation[67] and industry-focused policy[68] in a move to a more mixed economy. In 2011, Miliband declared his support for Thatcher's reductions in income tax on top earners, her legislation to change the rules on the closed shop and strikes before ballots as well as her introduction of Right to Buy, claiming Labour had been wrong to oppose these reforms at the time.[69]

Moreover, the United Kingdom's comparative macroeconomic performance has improved since the implementation of Thatcherite economic policies. Since Thatcher resigned as British Prime Minister in 1990, British economic growth was on average higher than the other large European economies (i.e. Germany, France and Italy). Additionally, since the beginning of the 2000s the United Kingdom has also experienced lower unemployment compared with some other big economies. Such an enhancement in relative macroeconomic performance is perhaps another reason for the apparent "Blatcherite" economic consensus, which has been present in modern UK politics for a number of years.

Tony Blair wrote in his 2010 autobiography A Journey that "Britain needed the industrial and economic reforms of the Thatcher period". He described Thatcher's efforts as "ideological, sometimes unnecessarily so" while also stating that "much of what she wanted to do in the 1980s was inevitable, a consequence not of ideology but of social and economic change".[70]

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Thatcher's 1979 election victory, BBC conducted a survey of opinions which opened with the following comments:[71]

To her supporters, she was a revolutionary figure who transformed Britain's stagnant economy, tamed the unions and re-established the country as a world power. Together with US presidents Reagan and Bush, she helped bring about the end of the Cold War. But her 11-year premiership was also marked by social unrest, industrial strife and high unemployment. Her critics claim British society is still feeling the effect of her divisive economic policies and the culture of greed and selfishness they allegedly promoted.

See also


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  • Campbell, John. The Iron Lady: Margaret Thatcher from grocers daughter to prime minister (2009), abridged version of his two-volume biography.
  • Cannadine, David. Margaret Thatcher: A Life and Legacy (2017)
  • Cannadine, David. "Thatcher, Margaret Hilda, Baroness Thatcher (1925–2013)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Jan 2017 online Doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/106415 35,000 words, by a scholar
  • Evans, Eric J. (2013) Thatcher and Thatcherism (Routledge, 2013).
  • Gallas, Alexander (2015). The Thatcherite Offensive: A Neo-Poulantzasian Analysis. Brill.
  • Giddens, Anthony (2006). Sociology (5th ed.). Cambridge: Polity Press. ISBN 978-0-7456-3379-4.
  • Gilmour, Sir Ian (1992). Dancing with Dogma: Thatcherite Britain in the Eighties. Simon & Schuster.
  • Hall, Stuart; Jacques, Martin (1983). The Politics of Thatcherism. Lawrence & Wishart.
  • Bull, David; Wilding, Paul (1983). Thatcherism and the poor. ISBN 978-0-9039-6357-2.
  • Jessop, Bob. (2015) "Margaret Thatcher and Thatcherism: Dead but not buried." British Politics 10.1 (2015): 16-30. online
  • Jessop, Bob; Bonnett, Kevin; Bromley, Simon; Ling, Tom (1988). Thatcherism: A Tale of Two Nations. Cambridge: Polity Press.
  • Kavanagh, Dennis. (2015) "Thatcher and Thatcherism. Do They Still Matter?." Observatoire de la société britannique]] 17 (2015): 211-221. online
  • Kavanagh, Dennis (1990). Thatcherism and British Politics: The End of Consensus?. Oxford University Press.
  • Letwin, Shirley Robin (1992). The Anatomy of Thatcherism. Flamingo.
  • Roots of Neoliberalism: Factors Behind the "Thatcherite" Revolution', an essay by Daniel Jakopovich in Ekonomija/Economics, Vol. 17, No. 2, 2011, pp. 429–44
  • Moore, Charles. Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography: Volume I: From Grantham to the Falklands (2013); Margaret Thatcher : the authorized biography, volume two : everything she wants (2015); vol 3 has not appeared.
  • Skidelsky, Robert, ed. (1989). Thatcherism. Blackwell.
  • Vinen, Richard (2009). Thatcher's Britain: The Politics and Social Upheaval of the 1980s. London: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-84737-175-1.
  • Williamson, Adrian. (2016) Conservative Economic Policymaking and the Birth of Thatcherism, 1964-1979 (Springer, 2016).


  • Bevir, Mark, and Rod A.W. Rhodes. "Narratives of 'Thatcherism'." West European Politics 21.1 (1998): 97–119. online
  • Jones, Harriet and Michael Kandiah, eds. The Myth of Consensus: New Views on British History, 1945–64 (1996) excerpt
  • Marquand, David. "The literature on Thatcher." Contemporary British History 1.3 (1987): 30–31. online

External links

A Small Family Business

A Small Family Business is a play by Alan Ayckbourn about the eponymous business and dealing with the Thatcherism of the time. It premiered at the Olivier stage of the Royal National Theatre on 20 May 1987, where it won the Evening Standard Award for Best Play for that year. Its Broadway premiere occurred on 27 April 1992.


Actually (stylised as Pet Shop Boys, actually.) is the second studio album by English synth-pop duo Pet Shop Boys. It was released on 7 September 1987 by Parlophone in the United Kingdom and by EMI Manhattan in the United States and Canada. According to Neil Tennant and music historian Wayne Studer, Actually loosely critiques Thatcherism, the political zeitgeist of the 1980s, and was recorded in anticipation of Margaret Thatcher's re-election.Actually is featured in the 2005 musical reference book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, and in 2006 Q magazine placed the album at number 22 in its list of the "40 Best Albums of the '80s". In 2012, Slant Magazine listed the album at number 88 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".

Bibliography of Margaret Thatcher

This bibliography includes major books and articles about British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and her policies.

Conservatism in the United Kingdom

Conservatism in the United Kingdom is related to its counterparts in other Western nations, but has a distinct tradition and has encompassed a wide range of theories over the decades. The Conservative Party, which forms the mainstream centre-right party in Britain has developed many different internal factions and ideologies.

Economic rationalism

Economic rationalism is an Australian term often used in the discussion of macroeconomic policy, applicable to the economic policy of many governments around the world, in particular during the 1980s and 1990s.

Economic rationalists tend to favour economic liberal policies: deregulation, a free market economy, privatisation of state-owned industries, lower direct taxation and higher indirect taxation, and a reduction of the size of the welfare state. Near-equivalents include Rogernomics (NZ), Thatcherism (UK), and Reaganomics (USA). However, the term was also used to describe advocates of market-oriented reform within the Australian Labor Party, whose position was closer to what has become known as the 'Third Way'.

As it is a phrase used by Max Weber in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism the highest likelihood is the term was drawn from there and its modern denotations can all be accommodated within Weber's usage. Its recent usage arose independently in Australia, and was derived from the phrase "economically rational", used as a favourable description of market-oriented economic policies. Its first appearances in print were in the early 1970s, under the Whitlam government, and it was almost invariably used in a favourable sense until the late 1980s.

The now dominant negative use came into widespread use during the 1990 recession, and was popularised by a best-selling book Economic Rationalism in Canberra by Michael Pusey.

Essex man

Essex man and Mondeo man are stereotypical figures which were popularised in 1990s England. "Essex man" as a political figure is an example of a type of median voter and was used to help explain the electoral successes of Margaret Thatcher in the previous decade. The closely related "Mondeo man" was identified as the sort of voter the Labour Party needed to attract to win the election of 1997.

For Queen and Country

For Queen and Country is a 1988 Eastmancolor British-American crime drama film co-written and directed by Martin Stellman and starring Denzel Washington in Panavision. Washington stars as Reuben James, a Black British former paratrooper, who joined the British Army to escape the poverty of inner city London; Reuben fights in the Falklands War, and upon returning home he finds that society ignores and challenges him while trying to adjust to normal life.

The film received mixed reviews and was a box office flop. It has recently been reevaluated as a serious critique of Thatcherism and its effects on the UK in the 1980s.

Horace Cutler

Sir Horace Walter Cutler (28 July 1912 – 2 March 1997) was a British Conservative politician and Leader of the Greater London Council from 1977 to 1981. He was noted for his showmanship and flair for publicity and was, in several ways, a forerunner of Thatcherism.

Keith Joseph

Keith Sinjohn Joseph, Baron Joseph, (17 January 1918 – 10 December 1994), known as Sir Keith Joseph, 2nd Baronet, for most of his political life, was a British barrister and politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he served in the Cabinet under four prime ministers: Harold Macmillan, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher. He was a key influence in the creation of what came to be known as "Thatcherism" and the subsequent decline of one-nation conservatism and the postwar consensus.

Keith Joseph was the first to introduce the concept of the social market economy into Britain, an economic and social system inspired by Christian democracy. He also co-founded the Centre for Policy Studies writing its first publication: Why Britain needs a Social Market Economy.

Liberalism in the United Kingdom

This article gives an overview of liberalism in the United Kingdom. It is limited to liberal parties with substantial support, mainly proved by having had a representation in parliament. The sign ⇒ denotes another party in that scheme. For inclusion in this scheme, it is not necessary that parties labelled themselves as a liberal party.

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, (née Roberts; 13 October 1925 – 8 April 2013) was a British stateswoman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. She was the longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century and the first woman to hold that office. A Soviet journalist dubbed her "The 'Iron Lady'", a nickname that became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. As Prime Minister, she implemented policies known as Thatcherism.

She studied chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford, and worked briefly as a research chemist, before becoming a barrister. Thatcher was elected Member of Parliament for Finchley in 1959. Edward Heath appointed her Secretary of State for Education and Science in his Conservative government. In 1975, Thatcher defeated Heath in the Conservative Party leadership election to become Leader of the Opposition, the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom. She became Prime Minister after winning the 1979 general election.

Thatcher introduced a series of economic policies intended to reverse high unemployment and Britain's struggles in the wake of the Winter of Discontent and an ongoing recession. Her political philosophy and economic policies emphasised deregulation (particularly of the financial sector), flexible labour markets, the privatisation of state-owned companies, and reducing the power and influence of trade unions. Thatcher's popularity in her first years in office waned amid recession and rising unemployment, until victory in the 1982 Falklands War and the recovering economy brought a resurgence of support, resulting in her decisive re-election in 1983. She survived an assassination attempt in the Brighton hotel bombing in 1984.

Thatcher was re-elected for a third term in 1987, but her subsequent support for the Community Charge ("poll tax") was widely unpopular, and her views on the European Community were not shared by others in her Cabinet. She resigned as Prime Minister and party leader in November 1990, after Michael Heseltine launched a challenge to her leadership. After retiring from the Commons in 1992, she was given a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher (of Kesteven in the County of Lincolnshire) which entitled her to sit in the House of Lords. In 2013, she died of a stroke in London at the age of 87.

Always a controversial figure, she is nonetheless viewed favourably in historical rankings of British prime ministers, and her tenure constituted a realignment towards neoliberal policies in the United Kingdom; despite the passage of time, debate over the complicated legacy of Thatcherism persists.

Marxism Today

Marxism Today, published between 1957 and 1991, was the theoretical magazine of the Communist Party of Great Britain. The magazine was headquartered in London. It was particularly important during the 1980s under the editorship of Martin Jacques. Through Marxism Today, Jacques is sometimes credited with coining the term Thatcherism, and believed they were deconstructing the ideology of the government of the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher, through their theory of New Times. It was also a venue for the influential British Cultural Studies of Stuart Hall.

It was the standard-bearer for the "reformist" wing of the CPGB in the years 1977–1991.A "special issue" was published in 1998, seven years after the magazine's demise. Until 1998, the New Statesman magazine described itself on an inside page as "incorporating" Marxism Today (among other titles).

New Times (politics)

New Times was an intellectual movement among leftists in Great Britain in the late 1980s. It was centred on the Eurocommunist faction of the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB), and most of the intellectual groundwork for the movement was laid out in the latter party's official theoretical journal, Marxism Today.

One-nation conservatism

One-nation conservatism (also known as one-nationism, or Tory democracy) is a paternalistic form of British political conservatism advocating preservation of established institutions and traditional principles combined with political democracy, and a social and economic programme designed to benefit the common man. This political philosophy views society as organic and values paternalism and pragmatism. One-nation conservatism reflects the belief that societies exist and develop organically, and that members within them have obligations towards each other. It particularly emphasises the paternalistic obligation of those who are privileged and wealthy to the poorer parts of society. One-nation conservatism is also defined as a political philosophy that sees the purpose of the elite as reconciling the interests of all classes, labour as well as management, instead of identifying the good of society solely with the interests of the business class.The describing phrase 'one-nation Tory' originated with Benjamin Disraeli (1804-81), who served as the chief Conservative spokesman and became Prime Minister in February 1868. He devised it to appeal to working-class men as a solution to worsening divisions in society through introducing factory and health acts, as well as greater protection for workers. The ideology featured heavily during Disraeli's terms in government, during which considerable social reforms were passed by the British parliament.

Towards the end of the 19th century, the Conservative Party moved away from paternalism in favour of free-market capitalism, but fears of extremism during the interwar period caused the revival of one-nation conservatism. The Conservative party continued to espouse the philosophy throughout the post-war consensus from 1945, influencing the decision to maintain the Labour government's Keynesian intervention in the economy, formation of a welfare state and the National Health Service. Later years saw the rise of the New Right, which attributed the country's social and economic troubles to the welfare state and Keynesian policies. David Cameron, who led the Conservative Party from 2005 to 2016, named Disraeli as his favourite Conservative, and some commentators and MPs have suggested that Cameron's ideology contains an element of one-nationism. Other commentators have questioned the degree to which Cameron and his coalition embodied One-Nation Conservatism, instead locating them in the intellectual tradition of Thatcherism. In 2016 Cameron's successor, Theresa May, referred to herself as a one-nation conservative in her first speech as prime minister and outlined her focus on one-nation principles.

People's Republic of South Yorkshire

The People's Republic of South Yorkshire or the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire were nicknames often given to South Yorkshire under the left-wing local governments of the 1980s, especially the municipal socialist administration of Sheffield City Council led by David Blunkett, used by both detractors and supporters of the councils. The councils pursued a social policy radically different from that of Margaret Thatcher's national government, following more closely along the lines of Militant tendency-dominated Liverpool City Council and the Greater London Council led by Ken Livingstone.The expression was coined by Max Williams, a leader writer at the Yorkshire Evening Post, although it was soon adopted by supporters of the council's left-wing policies. Sheffield Hallam was the only seat in South Yorkshire where the Conservative Party was a significant political force, the remaining seats being Labour safe seats or Liberal–Labour marginals. Sheffield City Council and the South Yorkshire Metropolitan Authority were solidly left wing, remaining socialist even as Thatcherism became the dominant political ideology in the country as a whole.

Sheffield City Council constructed large council estates with large numbers of communal blocks of flats based on the streets in the sky philosophy, including the Park Hill complex, and the borough councils of South Yorkshire set up an extensive network of subsidised transport under the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive. The councils also took more confrontational steps against the Conservative Westminster government. Sheffield refused to set a budget in the rate-capping rebellion, while South Yorkshire declared itself a nuclear-free zone and a demilitarized zone. The red flag flew on Sheffield Town Hall on May Day and the city signed a peace treaty with the city of Donetsk in the Ukrainian SSR, at that point on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Both groups of policies - the practical and the symbolic - were sometimes cited as reasons for the nickname. The National Union of Mineworkers moved to headquarters in Sheffield in 1983 in the run-up to the decisive 1984–85 miners' strike, and the area subsequently became one of the main centres of the strike.Although it lost some of its relevance following the Labour Party's shift towards New Labour and the expulsion of the far-left elements of the party, along with the replacement of Thatcherism with the more moderate Majorism and Blairism, the name remains in use for the area, which is still dominated by the political left. Up until and including the 2015 general election, the only seat in South Yorkshire not held by Labour was Sheffield Hallam; which was held at the time of the election by the-then Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg. However, despite not winning, the seat did experience an increase in the Labour vote and the Labour Party candidate Oliver Coppard significantly reduced then-Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg's majority from 15,284 votes to just 2,353 votes..

Labour, supported by the left-wing group Momentum, gained Sheffield Hallam at the 2017 snap general election for the first time in their history, while also retaining all of their existing South Yorkshire seats, meaning that Labour controlled every seat in South Yorkshire for the first time. The Labour candidate Jared O'Mara won a majority of 2,125 votes over Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg, and Clegg's loss was one of the major high-profile losses on the night of 8 June 2017. O'Mara was suspended from the Labour Party on 25 October 2017 after it emerged that he had made derogatory comments online about women and homosexuals, years prior to his election.As of 2017, all four metropolitan borough councils – Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield – are under Labour control, and the Conservatives do not hold a single seat in Rotherham or Sheffield.


Powellism is the name given to the political views of Conservative and Ulster Unionist politician Enoch Powell. They derive from his High Tory and libertarian outlook.

Premiership of Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on 4 May 1979 and served until 28 November 1990. She was elected to the position after leading the British Conservative Party since 1975.

In domestic affairs, Thatcher is best known for her sweeping policies concerning the affairs of the economy, including the privatisation of most nationalised industries. In foreign policy, she fought a war against Argentina and played a key role with US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in ending the Cold War. By the late 1980s, she would alienate several senior members of her Cabinet with her opposition to greater economic integration into the European Community. She also alienated many Conservative voters and members of Parliament with the imposition of a local poll tax. As her support ebbed away, she was challenged for the Conservative Party leadership and persuaded by Cabinet to withdraw from the second round of voting—ending her eleven-year tenure as Prime Minister.

Though she remains a domestically polarising figure, historians and political scientists generally rank Thatcher as an above-average Prime Minister.

Present Arms (album)

Present Arms is the second album by UB40 and was released in 1981. It spent 38 weeks on the UK album charts, reaching number 2. An album of original songs, it spawned two top 20 hits in 'One in Ten' (number 7) and 'Don't Let It Pass You By/Don't Slow Down' (16).

Like their first album Signing Off, Present Arms contained many socially and politically charged lyrics, from the anti-militant title track to 'Sardonicus' which was linked to both President Ronald Reagan and Risus sardonicus, an ironic smile on tetanus victims' faces, The UK top-ten hit "One in Ten" was an attack on Thatcherism. The album also touches on a subject very dear to UB40's heart: 'Lamb's Bread' and 'Don't Walk On The Grass' are written as part of the band's longstanding campaign for the legalisation of cannabis. Musically, the album continued in the heavy, reverb-drenched, mellifluous style of the debut.

The title track has been used to open UB40 concerts from the mid 1990s onwards, usually with the blasting horn section beginning the concert.

As with Signing Off, Present Arms was critically acclaimed and commercially successful in the UK.

A dub version of this album called Present Arms in Dub was released soon after.

The Secret Rapture (play)

The Secret Rapture is a 1988 British play by David Hare. Its premiere in the Lyttelton auditorium of the Royal National Theatre was directed by Howard Davies. British revivals of the play have included one at the Salisbury Playhouse in 2001 and at the Lyric Theatre, London in 2003. Hare later adapted it as 1993 film of the same title, also directed by Davies.

It is set in 1980s Britain and examines the impact of Thatcherism on personal relationships within the family of a junior government minister after her father's death. Hare states that its title refers to a nun's feeling of ecstasy on being received by God at the moment of her death, rather than the Protestant concept of the Rapture.

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