Conservative Electoral Victories 1975-1990

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  • Cons. Electoral Victories 1975-1990
    • Labour Party's Weakness
      • vote of no confidence in Callaghan on issue of devolution
      • Callaghan on holiday (Guadeloupe)during 1979 Winter of Discontent
      • Callaghan seemed complacent having spring boarded into his Premiership in 1976 following Wilson's shock resignation
      • Labour was incontestablyweak
      • seemed unable to be attractive & essentially electable
        • 1983 manifesto 'longest suicide note in history'
          • too focused on quaint issues inc. unilateral disarmament & fox hunting
      • Labour's divisions
        • a divided opposition ensured the favouring of the FPTP system for the Cons.
        • Liberal Alliance only 2.5 million votes behind Lab, they got 186 less seats
        • splitting of Lab & formation of SDP caused opposition vote to split too many ways
      • anti-poll tax riots pressure groups militant tendency began to take effect
        • Lab ceased to be of political significance
        • provided inadequate opposition to Cons.
    • Thatcher's Strengths
      • T's appearance was political mastery as she tamed the unions & saved B from its Winter of Worries
      • she won a 43 seat majority in 1979 to illustrate the success of her campaign - working majority
      • T had been Tory leader since 1975 so had time to build up party machine for 1979 election
      • pragmatism of Cons. under T was reason for success 1979
      • T appeared as vitalised & energetic leader
      • Right to Buy incentivised market & economy
        • created property owning society
        • Heseltine in 1980s = 'greatest transfer of capital from the state to the people'
      • 2 million had opportunity to buy their council houses for less than market price
      • rolling back state frontiers
      • more ordinary citizens able to buy shares in private markets
      • denationalisation of British industry e.g. BT
      • political mastery of T inc. TV adverts 'if you see Sid, tell him' (1983)
      • appealed to inept middle class of Tory voters - those in share owning democracy
      • Cons. umbrella party while Lab. niche
      • Falklands Factor
        • unleashed national wave of patriotism at home & abroad
        • landslide of 397 with 144 seat majority
    • Tory Weaknesses
      • policies of previous terms having effect by 1987
      • Right to Buy dangled carrot in front of voters noses
        • direct result was Poll Tax
      • direct rate of income tax falling & increasing VAT had significant impact & was addressed by  attack on the poor
      • politicisation of police & decentralisation of power from LW councils causes problems beyond repair for Tories


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