You are on page 1of 3

4 kinds of hegemony achieved: electorally (ensuring the conservatives

were the dominant electoral force) ideologically (ensuring a general

consensus around free market ideals) state (rebuild state institutions)
economic (rebalancing the british economy.)
Thatcherism was born out of a critique of the post war consensus. Its time in
power was essential in turning the conservative critiques of the post war
consensus into the new dominant ideology
Not everything done by thatcher was to this goal, but when policies could
be implemented, it was to make space for these ideals
Thatcherism alone didnt destroy the post war consensus, it wasnt until
the labour party also adopted most of her tenants that a new ideological
consensus was formed.
Part of thatchers goals was to rebuild the institutions of the UK (privatising
utilities, depowering trade unions etc). New ideologies cannot take hold without
changing the institutions built by the previous ideology.
Characterisation of thatchers leadership
The structure of the conservative party allows the leader to appoint all cabinet
ministers and decide all final policy. Thatcher used this power to promote her
allies and slowly remove her enemies, unlike previous prime ministers who
focussed on a balanced approach to promote party unity.
Her leadership/organisational style highly focussed on centralising power
in her own office resulted in there being few thatcherites existing to
replace her in 1992
Under Thatcher organised ideological groups in the party flourished
whereas before there was an emphasis on unity
Some old conservatives, particularly heath felt the party had been stolen
from them. Part of her legacy is a deep division in the tory party over if the
tories should be a party of government or a party of ideology
Key failure of Thatcherism was to ensure continuity in her own
Thatcher was more populist than previous conservative leaders who showed
disdain for some of its grass-roots opinions on social issues like crime
Electoral Hegemony
Before 1945 the conservatives were the natural party of government and won
most elections, post 1945, the labour party achieved parity with the tories, a
success of Thatcherism was to promote her party back to this assured popularity
by characterising the labour party as the permanent fringe opposition.
Two party system replaced with a dominant party system

Aimed to raise the conservative voting base by linking aspiration

and property ownership with conservative values.
The conservative party shifted away from being a one nation party
aimed at appealing to all areas of society to a more ideologically
concentrated but consistent block vote of the middle and lower middle

Ideological Hegemony
By 1992 the labour party had conceded most of its alternative economic
strategies, and nuclear disarmament. The 1992 Labour manifesto had
almost no radical policies different from the conservative manifesto.
This was not achieved by changing the minds of the electorate, but rather
the minds of the political elites such as the media, who then presented
thatcherist policies as the only right and acceptable ones
Because support from the labour movement was impossible, the destruction of
the old labour unions was essential to weakening the opposition, Thatcher
instituted policies to weaken unions and discourage membership
The implicit endorsement of Thatcherism by new labour represents the
peak of thatcherisms ideological change.
In its implementation of policy thatcher acted pragmatically, shaped by
pressures rather than ideology, but thatcher and top conservatives
were strongly committed to implementing these changes where

Economic Hegemony
Important to note Keynsian policies were still used and monetarist
policies of inflation targeting had been removed by 1985. These
keynsian policies were just instead focussed on market stability rather
than full employment.
Significant cuts in taxes grew the economy and allowed for continued spending
Early 80s policies focused on stability, largest cuts in taxes came in the mid/late
Was willing to squeeze departments budgets across the board but was
hesitant to restructure or make deep cuts to individual departments.
Borrowing sharply increased

Denationalisation was a central tenant of Thatcherism by 1992 too many

industries were privatised for a renationalisation program to ever be effective
State Hegemony
While the state was rolled back in many areas, the police force and military were
strengthened with new powers and spending traditional conservative demands
Conservatives were unwilling to change the british constitution such as
pushing for increased devolution to ensure their goals. old party
ideology tied with the defense of traditional constitutional values.
Restructured the civil service to increase efficiency
Centralized control of education with a national curriculum
Much tougher sentencing and increases in police pay and manpower
was a key platform of the 1979 election and the length of the thatcher