Thatcherism and the End of Post-War Consensus

Why did Thatcherism represent the demise of the Post-War Consensus?

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Pragmatism

  • Much of Thatcherism evolved as circumstance allowed. Thatcher was pragmatic.
  • Whereas the Post-War consensus lacked pragmatism - same old same old.
    • The Mixed Economy with a large role for state intervention was never really challenged - Heath tried but failed, Selsdon Park and the Rolls Royce bailout.
  • Thatcher's government insisted that it could no longer be a universal provider.
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Privatisation

  • Both right-to-buy and privatisation of utilities evidences a move away from the Post-War consensus -  no longer a universal provider. 
    • Again, pragmatism - Thatcher believed in monetarism, limited state intervention in industry and business but tight controls over economic affairs, i.e. Money circulation. 
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Tight legal framework

  • Trade Unions now operated under a tighter legal framework.
    • Requirement to hold a secret pre-strike ballot. 
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    • The end of 'Closed Shop' Policy - the precondition that you had to be a part of a specific union in a specific industry to get the job.
    • Employers could sue trade unions for damages incurred during a strike.
  • Hardly consulted by the Government.
  • As unemployment rose, influence of TUs waned. 
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Abandonment of commitment to full employment

  • No longer Government's responsibility to make sure there was full employment. 
    • Offset on private enterprise and employees - their responsibility. 
  • Government's responsibility was to make sure inflation was low.
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No longer a universal provider

  • More should be left to the market
  • The voluntary sector
  • Self-help
    • Entrepreneurial spirit
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