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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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What were the lasting effects of Thatcher’s legacy for social security?

(p.100) Commentary
The Legacy of Thatcherism

Peter Taylor-Gooby

British Academy

Why is it so hard for the Left to produce a coherent, progressive and practicable response to the crisis, when the Coalition’s strategy is so obviously failing? It is hard for electable and effective policy to be inclusive and generous, since the British public is tax averse and suspicious of the poor. The Coalition strategy, by contrast, rests on private enterprise-led recovery, work-ethic values and policies that exclude less deserving groups and is much cheaper. The chief current response from the Labour leadership is to accept the Coalition austerity programme and fit its own priorities within it. This chapter analyses a range of policy programmes suggested by commentators on the centre-left. It argues that any progressive strategy must develop a programme that builds solidarity over time and shifts public discourse in a direction that will make inclusive and generous policy possible, and discusses how this might be done.

Keywords:   reform, crisis, austerity, policy, left, strategy

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