This are the conviction, ideologies, economics, social policies and political styles that mark the event in which Margaret Thatcher was the Prime Minister of Britain between May 1979 to November 1990[1]. The Thatcherism policies have continued to be used even after her tenure in the other governments until today. The policy, which Margaret Thatcher brought with her into power, was referred to as Thatcherism (Arnestein, 2001). At the beginning of her time until the end of her eleven years as the Prime Minister of Britain, several events were taking place.

In the late 70s in the 20th century, Britain had several economic pressures, which were characterized by inflation. These problems dated back from the Second World War where Britain emerged a distant third from the US and the Soviet Union. Britain had used all its resources and this led to the draining of its resources (Pugh, Peter & Flint, 2011). This led to the labor government having desperate measures to try to revive the economy of Britain. The major policies that were being used at that time were that ministers had the powers to cut taxes and boost state spending in order to increase economic activities. This did not help hence it led to the government being involved in more debts.

Another policy was the encouragement of the use of the trade unions by consulting them in matters of economy and workplace. These trade unions took advantage of the powers that the government gave them and any time one of their policies did not go as they wanted, they used this power to paralyze the economy of the country by leading strikes. This made commodities being produced by Britain to lose their market. Additionally, this led to the lack of growth in technology. Despite the growth of the other super powers, Britain did not grow but instead its economy deteriorated. It came to be referred as ‘the sick man of Europe.’[2]

The other policies that were also very common before Thatcherism were the use of the mixed economy. In this policy, the government almost controlled all the resources and the companies of the country. This did not bring any good quality production of the products produced by the companies. Additionally, these companies were poorly managed and the machines that were being used by the government in these companies were outdated therefore they did not improve the quality of its product in any way.

In addition to these policies, the government was adversely affected by the strikes of the various trade unions, which had affected the government at that time. These trade union strikes did a lot of damage and even destroyed some of the facilities, which were used by the hospital leading to the deterioration of the countries medical facilities (Arnestein, 2001). Before the government could try to bring back the medical facilities that were used in the hospitals, the economy of the government continued to flop in the economic sectors. These poor policies in the economic sector led to the inflation of Britain thus the rise of Thatcherism.

In the bid for her election, Margaret Thatcher promised to improve the economy of Britain using several policies. In her bid, the policies that she promised were to increase the taxes and reduce money supply so that she could be able to cope with inflation. This worked very well and it has been used until today with the economy of Britain becoming stronger (Pugh, et al., 2011). These policies were being referred to as monetarism policies. They reduced inflation from twenty percent to four percent, and this was the lowest at that time to be recorded in after thirteen years.

Another event in the Thatcherism era, which was being experienced, was the strong stranglehold labor unions, which had weakened the economy of Britain in the earlier years before she came into power. Margaret Thatcher made policies, which put pressure that weakened these unions and 1984 she signed a policy, which was elected through a secret ballot. It made it difficult for strikes[3]. Therefore, this meant that the unions could no longer hold strikes, which could affect the economical health of Britain.

Additionally, it was around this time that the most influential and strongest union went on strike. It had almost paralyzed the transport sector by the use of train but due to the efforts of Margaret Thatcher had foreseen the strike it did not paralyze. However, due to the policies that Margaret Thatcher had imposed, it did not affect the economy of Britain in any way therefore, marking the beginning of the weakening of the unions (Henschke, 2006). Thatcherism had marked the government industrial relation whereby the workers were given more powers than the unions, which were trying to bring down the economy of Britain.

In order to weaken these trade unions completely, Thatcher promoted privatization, which is, encouraging the workers to own part of the companies therefore, removing the need of these trade unions (Arnestein, 2001). The workers of these companies were offered cut out shares, which encouraged them to buy the shares and become co-owners of the business. In addition to this, Thatcher encouraged people to own their own houses and during this period, she made it easy and possible for the workers to buy the council houses. Cash that was generated from buying this houses and the sale of shares was used to recover the areas where there were budget deficit.

It was also during Margaret Thatcher’s tenure that public spending was reduced gradually. In the year 1983, the budget for public spending was cut by one billion pounds. Additional cuts from the budget were from the education, energy, housing, industrial subsidies, employment and foreign aid. This was in the aim to control the economy of Britain through the reduction of public spending. Despite all this efforts, the government had to borrow about three billion from foreign aid but this did not mean that the economy of Britain was not growing.

Despite all the efforts that Margaret Thatcher had put forward towards the economic recovery of Britain, it was at this time that Britain received the highest unemployment level since 1923 (Arnestein, 2001). Most of her policies rendered very many people jobless due to the high tax rates and the high inflation rates that she had created at that time. However, after the economy of Britain had recovered its health, employment opportunities started to open and the rates of unemployment started to decrease.

Another event that was very common in the tenure of Margaret Thatcher was the repair of the education system, which was very much in need of repair. First at around 1983, she declared the year of information technology where every secondary school should have obtained a desktop by the end of every year (Arnestein, 2001). Secondly, at around 1988, Margaret Thatcher signed another policy, which shaped the education from its poor state in which it was to the good state, which is currently in use today.[4]

Before Margaret Thatcher had signed the policies, the education system was characterized by unqualified teachers, schools being owned and controlled by the different Members of Parliament and a poor education curriculum, which was being set by the teachers. Thatcher changed this, made the school education curriculum to be reviewed by government professionals, and changed the power of control from the MPs to the provision of the school to perform self-government.

In conclusion, Thatcherism was not only about the policies that were put by Margaret Thatcher, but the sheer practices that she was implemented to put forward her policy. In addition, it is worth noting that Thatcherism came because of the poor government policies of the earlier government that led the country into inflation characterized by a lot of chaos. On the other hand, Thatcher was not popular with the public but the electoral commission of Britain had at that time not yet fully developed.



Arnestein, W. L. (2001). Britain yesterday and today: 1830 to the present. Geneva, IL: Houghton Mifflin.

Henschke, S. (2006). Thatcherism. Saarbrücken: VDM, Müller.

Pugh, P. & Flint, C. (2011). Introducing Thatcherism. London, UK: Totem Books.


[1] She was the first woman in Britain to become the Prime Minister.

[2] ‘The sick man of Europe’ has been used by the other nations to show that Britain was the only country in Europe that was not performing well.

[3] The policies which were used to weaken these trade unions was to ban the use of pickers

[4] Education before Thatcherism was very poor as compared to the other countries but due to Thatcherism, the education quality stated to rise.

Still stressed from student homework?
Get quality assistance from academic writers!