Between 1979 and 1990, Britain endured a period which wouldinflict both outrage and confusion, dividing what was once an untied nation.Former Chemist and Barrister, Margret Thatcher, soon became the first woman tobe elected as well as the longest serving British prime minister during the 20thcentury. After being elected as prime minister for the first time in 1979,Thatcher implemented a series of regulations, with her initial intent toovercome Britain’s struggles, such as mass unemployment. However, this laterresulted in a major negative impact on the majority of the British population.Having said that, this did not restrict her progression and ability to win thefollowing two elections in 1983 and 1987.In order to win her first election, Thatcher promisedBritain a variety of benefits. These include; “greater independence of theindividual from the state; an end to allegedly excessive governmentinterference in the economy, including privatization of state-owned enterprisesand the sale of public housing to tenants; reductions in expenditures on socialservices such as health care, education and housing”1.Her promises are likely to have played a huge role in convincing the public tovote for her as Prime Minister.
Another reason Thatcher won three elections in a row may bedue to her background. Growing up, her father, Alfred Roberts, owned a grocerystore in Grantham, England with an apartment which they lived at above thestore. This slightly makes Thatcher a more relatable candidate than JamesCallaghan and David Steel, who also ran for the 1979 election.
Alfred Robertsalso worked for the council, introducing Thatcher into conservative politicsfrom a young age. Margaret Thatcher also went on to Oxford University, aprestigious university which rates first in the UK, to study Chemistry. It isevident that having members of her family play a role in politics prior to herrunning for Prime minister and her attendance at Oxford University made her areliable candidate in the eyes of the voters. Additionally, manypoliticians used posters and advertisements to gain the votes of the public.The conservative party poster consisted of an image of a long queue of thepublic lining up to enter a job centre. It had the caption “Labour isn’tworking” in big bold letters. This simple campaign advertisement was Thatcher’sway of gaining votes as she is demonstrating how Britain’s unemployment rateshave excelled under the ruling of a labour party. This was seen as a wakeupcall to many of the British public which may also be a reason as to why theyvoted for Margaret Thatcher.
Furthermore, during the 1970’s, Britain experienced adecline where stock markets reduced by 40% and economic growth was weak. Risinginterest rates caused housing and car companies, which are typicallyinterest-sensitive, to collapse as most of the population could not afford topurchase them any longer.2This resulted in many people being vulnerable therefore pushing their votetowards Thatcher in hopes that she would fulfil her promises as Prime Minister.However, today “historians voted by 24% to 22% to put Thatcher in the firstplace (as Britain’s worst Prime Minister) for her “destruction” of pats ofBritish society”3,suggesting that Thatcher’s work as leader of Britain caused Britain’s futuresociety to struggle rather than benefit from the regulations she hadimplemented upon the nation. Regardless, she was still nominated a second andthird time. 1 Young, H. (2018).
Margaret Thatcher| Biography & Facts. online Encyclopedia Britannica.Available at: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Margaret-Thatcher Accessed9 Jan.
20182 Bresiger, G. (2018). The GreatInflation of the 1970s. online Investopedia. Available at:https://www.
investopedia.com/articles/economics/09/1970s-great-inflation.aspAccessed 10 Jan. 2018.
3 Bresiger, G. (2018). The GreatInflation of the 1970s. online Investopedia. Available at:https://www.investopedia.
com/articles/economics/09/1970s-great-inflation.aspAccessed 10 Jan. 2018.