The Legacy of Thatcherism: Assessing and Exploring Thatcherite Social and Economic Policies

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Three decades after the election of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister, it is perhaps time to take stock of the concept of 'Thatcherism' and the prominent role it has played in the history of post-war Britain. Of course, there is much debate about what Thatcherism actually was or is. Some commentators argue that Thatcherism was more noteworthy for its rhetoric than for its achievements. The welfare state, for example, emerged little changed after eleven years of Thatcherism. Some historians additionally suggest that other social forces that existed prior to Thatcher will outlast her. Yet, whichever way one looks at it, the Thatcherite project of the 1980s brought about a fundamental reorganisation of much of the UK's social and economic life. Did Thatcherite policies dramatically alter the trajectory of the country's development? Can even long-term and seemingly enduring path dependencies be altered as dramatically as claimed?. Ought Thatcher's period in office be seen as a 'critical juncture' for the UK? This book brings together a range of experts in housing, economics, law and order, education, welfare, families, geography and politics to discuss the enduring legacy of those social and economic policies initiated by the first of the UK's New Right governments (1979-1990).