'Thatcherism has fundamentally altered conservative ideology in Britain' Discuss

Basing my essay outline on a YES/NO theme rather than advantages/disadvantages. Please don't be put off due to the fact it says advantages and disadvantages, I just find it a good layout :)

AQA a2 politics, June 2011 30 marks


'Thatcherism has fundamentally altered conservative ideology in Britain' Discuss


  • Thatcher placed much more emphasis on individualism and so conservatives has seen the need to safeguard individuals, this opposes the organic society and Thatcher believed "there is no such thing as society"
  • Thatcherism was very nationalist and anti-EU which can be seen in following conservative leaders Michael Hague and David Cameron
  • Camerons proposed 'British bill of rights' would seem compatible with Thatcherism and the New Right
  • Major did however continue to privatise some industries


  • Thatcher was very strong on tradition and banned the promotion of homosexuality but Iain Duncan-Smith accepted gay marriages, Michael Howard promoted homosexual rights and the current leader David Cameron is in favour of homosexual marriages
  • Cameron has tried to distance himself from Thatcher by trying to shift the party more to the centre and focusing on new issues such as the environment
  • Whilst Thatcher believed in a strong central government and abolished the council of greater London, Cameron's big society is more of a decentralisation of power, giving more to local councils
  • John Major tried to revert Thatcher's negativity by ending the poll tax and introducing the Maastrict Treaty into parliament which can be seen as internationalism as opposed to Thatcher's value of Nationalism
  • Cameron's leadership would appear to have more in common with One-Nation conservatism than the New Right, perhaps partly due to his coalition but association with the liberal-democrats does not have much to do with neo-liberalism


It can be said that Thatcher did lead a legacy which can be seen through the party's current scepticism of the EU and her belief in the free market but conclusively Thatcherism has not altered conservatism as an ideology. Many things in the party can still be seen as having a traditional conservative qualities such as property and Cameron wanting to reduce inheritance tax and hierarchy but in many ways the party can be seen as pragmatically placed with one-nation conservatism but not so much with Thatcher and the New right, her ideas are mainly left in the past




Its William Hague not Michael