'New Right' Conservatism or Thatcherism

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  • Created by: Sarah
  • Created on: 15-05-13 12:14

The New Right under Margaret Thatcher

The free market and neoliberalism: Margaret Thatcher and her closest supporters were 'neoliberals'. They believed that, wherever possible, markets should be free from intervention or interference by government, trade unions or large, powerful corporations. The solution to virtually all economic problems lay in free markets correcting themselves automatically. This meant free markets for products, finance and labour.

Examples.

  • Most large nationalised (publicly owned and state-run) industries were sold off into private hands. These included gas, electricity, water, telecommunications, steel and coal.
  • Some industries were made open to competition and monopolies were broken up. These included the professions (law,opticians etc.). The financial markets were made more open and competitive, and banks were allowed to compete with building societies.
  • State-run services were opened up to competition between the state itself and private companies

 

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The New Right under Margaret Thatcher

Anti-Unionism: The New Right believed that powerful trade unions were a barrier to economic progess. They prevented labour markets being flexible, forced wages up too high and prevented technological progess in many industires

Examples.

  • The legal powers of trade unions were severly reduced
  • Unions were forced to make themselves more internally democratic to break up unaccountable leadership groups
  • The ability of unions to take industrial action to further their aims were reduced
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The New Right under Margaret Thatcher

Low direct taxation: New Right conservatives saw direct taxes on individuals and private companies as a disincentive to work and enterprise.

Examples.

  • Income tax levels were reduced, especially at higher earning levels. The revenue was made up by higher indirect taxes such as VAT
  • Taxes on private company profits were reduced
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The New Right under Margaret Thatcher

State Disengagement from Economic Management: As neoliberals, these conservatives believed that economic problems would solve themselves in the medium term, as long as governments resisted the temptation to try and manage the economy. The only justifiable intervention was in controlling the total amount of money in circulation (the money supply) to prevent inflation. This policy was known as 'monetarism'

Examples.

  • Government did not intervene when there were economic slumps in the early 1980s and 1990s
  • Government controlled money supply tightly.
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The New Right under Margaret Thatcher

Dependency Culture: Thatcherite conservatives saw exessivly high levels of welfare benefits as a disincentive to work, enterprise and self-reliance. This created a "dependency culture" where people became used to relying on state support

Examples.

  • Many welfare benefits were reduced or eliminated
  • Benefits were targeted on those in most need, and who were unable to be self-reliant through no fault of their own

 

 

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The New Right under Margaret Thatcher

Neoconservatism: Recognising that a much freer society could create the danger of disorder and moral decline, the New Right adopted American neoconservative ideals. These included a strong position on law and order and attempts to maintain traditional, Christian morality. Substrantial cultural diversity was discouraged

Examples.

  • Strong policing policies, including greater powers to control demonstrations and public disorder
  • Longer, more sevre sentences for criminals
  • Support for the institution of traditional marriage
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The New Right under Margaret Thatcher

Property: Like traditional conservatives, the New Right emphasised the importance of home ownership

Examples.

  • Tenants in local authority housing were given the right to buy their homes at discounted prices and mortgage rates
  • The markets supplying mortgages were opened up to greater competition and it was made easier for families to obtain mortgages and other credits

 

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Comments

Old Sir

These 'light touch' revision cards provide a useful listing of the issues that define this topic. Students could use these to search their notes and texts for evidence to support this knowledge and gain marks in AO2, evaluation and analysis.

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