social issues 1980s - 1990s

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  • chapter 19: social issues
    • homosexuality
      • negative attitudes towards homosexuality grew during the 1980s, reaching a peak in 1987.
      • part of the growing negativity may have been due to the identification of AIDS, with the first UK case being in 1981. due to gay men being more at risk to AIDS it became referred to as 'gay plague'.
      • fear of AIDS definately increased the prejudice towards gay people.
      • 'loont left' councils were accused of 'promoting' homosexual 'lifestyles' by funding support groups. there was tabloid outcry in 1986 over the book 'Jenny lives with Eric and Martin'.
      • section 28 was passed in 1988. this law banned the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities.
      • pressure group outrage! used direct action, threatening to 'out' gay clergy and MPs. lgbt rights charity stonewall backed challenged the unequal age of consent and the ban of homesexuals in the armed forces. this led to a reduction in the age of consent for gay men from 21 to 18 in 1994. equality wasn't reached until 2000 when the age of consent was lowered to 16; similarly it wasn't until 2000 that the ban on homosexuals in the ared forces was lifted.
    • race relations
      • late 80s saw good progress on race realtions. britain started to be seen as more comfortable with multiculturalism
        • there were no outbreaks of disorder with a racial component as were seen in 1981 and 1985.
      • a series of riots that happened 1991 and 1992 in towns and cities across the UK, involving mainly young white men on deprived council estates.
        • progress was not consistent however. in 1992, the black conservative candidate for Cheltenham, John Taylor, lost to lib dems amid roumours of racism from some local conservatives
      • 1987 general election saw 4 non-white MPs were elected, each still holding their seats in 1992.
      • 1993, Stephen Lawrence, black a level student was murdered by a gang of white youths.
        • CPS decided there was not sifficient evidence to convict them. the actions of the police were widely criticised dor failing to investigsate the case properly and for assuming Lawrence was likely yo be a perpertrator rather than a victim of crime.
        • 1998, the labout govermnent ordered a public enquiry into the case chaired by a High Court judge.
          • the MacPherson Report concluded the Metropolitan Police, while not corrupt, had been incompetent and was 'institutionally racist'
      • new stresses on social cohersion arose in 1990s there was a sharp increase in the number of asylum seakers, fleeing violent uphevals - Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq. as well as this, migration into the UK continued to many immigrants from the New Commonwealth - India, Pakistan, and Bangledesh
        • many of these immigrants were Muslims, concersn were raised of Muslim integration in British society.
          • in 1988, British Indian quthor Salman Rushdie published the novel 'The Satanic Verses' which was considered blashphemous my many Muslims.
          • it was clear that there was tension between British societal values and Islamic beliefs which some Muslims found difficult to reconcile.
    • position of women
      • third- wave femilism began in 1990s; which was both a critique and a step forward from the second-wave feminism of the 60s. it was braorder than just legal and financial equalities - involving race, gneder, sexuality.
        • out of this grew the 'Riot Grrrl' movement: female bands such as Bikini Kill and Huggy Bear had a punk sensibility and sang about feminist issues. by the mid-90s, the message of 'girl power' was a more mainstream one, led by Spice Girls.
      • the phenomenon of girl power had been linked to the emergence of powerful female characters on TV. the term 'ladette' became a cultural phenomenon, with womwn such as Zoe Ball and Ulriks Johnson talking openly about sex and drinking in the same way as men
      • obviously T's position as PM showed that women could achieve highly, especially in male-dominated fields. however T's own relationship was difficult to measure.
        • critics argued that she did little for women when she was in power. she had only one female cabinet member and did little to encourage others into parliament.
      • further indications of progress in women's rights - first female speaker in the house of commons, Betty Boothroyd, and the first female head of MI5, Stella Rimmington, were both appointed in 1992. the first ordation of women as priests in the CofE came in 1994.
      • in 1994, **** within marriage became a criminal offence.
      • it became increasingly normal for women to work - by 1993 68% of women of working age were in employment; by 1996 50% of employees were women.
      • women's pay also improved relatively, although remaining at 80% of men's earnings.
      • married women were able to be taxed separately from their husbands, giving women complete financial independence
    • anti-establishment
      • when M became Pm in 1990, his main aim was to create a classless society. this period saw an increase in people's willingness to challenge traditional sources of aithority, including the monarchy.
      • increased criticism of monarchy reflected a general decline in deference to Establishment 1987-1997 was a difficult period for the monarchy.
      • three out of the four marriages of the queens's children broke down
      • details of extramaritial affairs were spalshed across tabliods
      • amount of public disquiet about the financing of the restoration of Windsor Castle after the devastating 1992 fire. led to the queen agreeing to pay tax on her private income and a reduction in the civil list.
      • damaging revelations, especially from Diana about her treatment in the hands of the rotal family, continued to damage the monarchy's reputation.
        • the trough of public support for the monarchy was reached in 1997, in the aftermath of Diana's death, where the queen was accused of not caring, while the country was mourning.
      • YBA challenged ideas about what art was, creating art from materials not usually associated with art.
      • youth culture challenged the establishment late 80s saw 'acid house' dance music with a psychedelic edge arrive from the USA.
        • 1988 and 1989 nichnames the 'second summer of love' with an explosion of raves and free parties. linked to ecstasy use, provoking a moral panic about drug-taking and tabloid backlash.
          • 1994, gov passed Criminal Justice and Public Order Act which gave more powers to the police to break up these free parties.
      • growing direct action of environmental movement. a series of protests against road developments started in 1992 at Twyford Down M3 extension, spreading to Newbury Bypass and the M11 link road.
        • these protests brought together a wide range of people: new-age travellers; local residents; middle-class first-time protesters; dedicated environmental campaigners. using a variety of measures to delay or block work such as chaining themselves to trees.
    • the extent of social liberalism
      • 1993 conservative party conference: M launched 'back to basics' campaign to realign the country to its traditional values. however this was just a plan for the conservatives to return to its past, traditional, establishment management of society.
      • M's 'bakc to basics' campaign reflected a period with substantial changes in society which many found disconserting. the biginning of the period was socially conservative but Britain seemed to become a more socially liberal country as the decade ensued.
      • in summary - historian Alwyn W Turner argues that the 1990s were greatly influenced by the social liberalism of the 60s as those who had grown up in the 60s were now the people in power
    • moral panics
      • divorce rates hit record highs in the 1990s.
      • percentage of babies born to unmarried parents more than doubled from 12% (early 80s) to 30% (early 90s)
      • single mothers and absent fathers were particularly cirticised
      • in 1993 the child support agency set up to ensure the absent parents pay maintenance for their children
      • concern about under-age sex was seen in Victoria Gillick's campaign against the avaliability of contraceptive advice to girls under the age of consent without parents' knowledge
        • initially the high court ruled that this advice could only be given with consent from parent /guardian but this was overruled in 1995 by the house of lords.
      • Mary Whitehouse continued her work  until the late 80s, coining the phrase 'video nasty' and influencing the passing of the video recording act in 1994, which ensured videos had british film classifications attached to them.
      • it is also clear from the impact of the scandals which enveloped conservative MPs that public expectations was still high for the behavious of public figures in the 1990s.
        • extramaritial affairs, illegitimate children, and issues of sexuality all led to MPs resigning as ministers or stepping down,


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