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A political cartoon showing the bad legacy left behind by Margaret Thatcher's economic and political government policies.

Key Points:

  1. Margaret Thatcher was britain’s Conservative prime minister from 1979 to 1990 [1]
  2. Thatcher saw herself as creating a libertarian movement[2][3], rejecting traditional Toryism.[4]
  3. Mrs. Thatcher centralised a great deal of power to herself, as the Prime Minister, often bypassing traditional cabinet structures
  4. Thatcherism is associated with the use of monetarism to run the economy. Monetarism places the main priority on controlling inflation over controlling unemployment.
  5. There were nearly 3.3million unemployed in Britain in 1984, compared to 1.5million when she first came to power in 1979
  6. Euro-skepticism has become a characteristic of Thatcherism; however Margaret Thatcher was at times inconsistent on this issue. Thatcher supported Britain's entry into the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973. She also campaigned for a ‘yes’ vote in Britain’s 1975 referendum concerning EU issues.
  7. Thatcher only became truly Eurosceptic in the last years of her time as Prime Minister.
  8. When she resigned in 1990, 28% of the children in Great Britain were considered to be below the poverty line [5]

Significance to Liberal Economics

During the 1970’2 and 1980’s Great Britain needed reforms to its existing economic policies. These changes were demanded by the changing global clime in order for Great Britain to remain a world super-power. Monetarism and free-market economics was adopted by Thatcher’s government, contrasting with the previous government’s policies. Thatcher privatised many formerly public institutions and gave top priority to the control of inflation. The economic policies of Britain during this time were influenced by the policies of US President Ronald Reagan. Consequently it can be seen how liberal economics was being adhered to, in a more adamant fashion, by world super powers.


[1] Matt Christenson (14 March 2012). “Britain’s Thatcherism”. Perspectives on Ideology.
[2] Oakley, Robin (23 November 1990). "Thatcherism's end begins debate over style and ideology". The Sunday Times.
[3] D'Ancona, Matthew (5 March 1991). "Into the age of the individual - Labour's chance to write the next chapter of political history". The Guardian.
[4] "What Was Right With the 1980s". Financial Times. 5 April 1994.
[5] Nelson, Emily; Whalen, Jeanne (22 December 2006). "With U.S. Methods, Britain Posts Gains In Fighting Poverty". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 18 October 2007