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The Legacy of ThatcherismAssessing and Exploring Thatcherite Social and Economic Policies$
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Stephen Farrall and Colin Hay

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265703

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265703.001.0001

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Interrogating and Conceptualizing the Legacy of Thatcherism

Interrogating and Conceptualizing the Legacy of Thatcherism

(p.3) 1 Interrogating and Conceptualizing the Legacy of Thatcherism
The Legacy of Thatcherism

Colin Hay

Stephen Farrall

British Academy

This chapter reflects on the debates surrounding Thatcherism with the benefit of hindsight. Most commentators seem to accept that Thatcherism is now a historic concept—referring, if not exactly to the period 1979–90, then certainly to events now largely concluded. This allows us a degree of historical perspective that was previously unavailable. Current assessments by political scientists of the rise of ‘New Labour’ and of the development of the British state in the post-war period have had to grapple with this period (and, indeed, 1997). But there are other reasons for returning to Thatcherism and perhaps even for preferring the term ‘Thatcherism’ to the more recent ‘neo-liberalism’. ‘Thatcherism’—however hard it remains to offer a strict definition—embraced more than just neo-liberal ideas. Thatcherism combined both neo-liberal and neo-conservative strands and was often at its more radical and consequential when it identified policy targets which combined elements of both.

Keywords:   Thatcherism, contemporary political history, British political science, Britain since 1945

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