For eleven years Margaret Thatcher was Britain's Prime Minister. During this time her style of governing was anything but harmonious. This style and the policies that came to be associated with them came to be known as Thatcherism. The main political goal of the Thatcherism was to reduce the role of state in the economy and public services strongly believing in individualism. Each person should be directly responsible for their own wellbeing and providing for family members. Thatcher supported the idea of self-reliance, where the state had very little to do with ruling over businesses.
For this matter her government introduced the free market, privatization, cuts in direct taxation and reduced the size of the welfare state. As mentioned above Thatcher believed very strongly in the freedom of the individual and the removal of the state from the market system. So her government started a series of massive privatisations in 1981 with British Telecom. Thatcher encouraged ordinary people not only to own the companies they worked for but also to own the houses they live in.
Huge numbers of council houses were sold to their tenants and free market system was established. The Conservative party leader is David Cameron now, but would he reverse privatization? Had he distanced from Thatcher's view? In fact, many people actually like the idea of private ownership, the whole world turned to it after it was introduced in UK. If Cameron's government is to be formed he would not reverse privatization but even take it further. An example that may show us this is the Conservative's policy over schooling.
They would take away the power of government over schools and would leave it to parents allowing them even to create their own schools, as they know better what is best for their children. One of the things that Thatcher did was to cut the top rate of income tax. She believed that the state should not take the money an individual earns and share them around, they should stay in earner's hands. Thatcher decided to reform the public spending and social services and for a few years of office government spending was cut by i?? 1 billion.
Although today David Cameron understands that taxation is needed, he still wants to lower it. This is his plan for tackling down the recession. In the economy policy of the Conservative party is stated that they would reduce the main rate of corporation tax to 25p and the small companies' rate to 20p. In addition they would provide tax cuts for new jobs with a i?? 2. 6bn package of tax breaks to get people into work. As for families, he says Conservative's would freeze the council taxes for those in need. This shows that Conservative party still has ideas similar to those of Thatcherism.
The Conservative Party during Thatcherism believed that UK should withdraw from the European Union. Lady Thatcher describes it as "perhaps the greatest folly of the modern era". She called Britain's membership as "a political error of historic magnitude". It was seen as undermining the strength of UK as the EU laws hold back the county's progress. David Cameron, the new leader of the party, slightly changes this idea and sees the EU as something we should work along with. However there shouldn't be such centralization in Brussels and people's voice should be considered more.
It is hard to say if Cameron still supports or rejects the Thatcher's idea about this issue because his government has not been formed yet and we could judge him only by what he said. Although many of the policies Margaret Thatcher introduced still remain among Cameron's Conservatives, the party has moved on in some areas leaving Thatcher apart. This includes the Health services. During Thatcherism hospitals and clinics were private and if anybody who wanted top-quality health care should pay for it, though the principle of a National Health Service free at the point of delivery was maintained.
Now Cameron wants to provide the funding for NHS needs as well as 'to deliver an NHS that provides the best health standards in the world, and ensure every patient is able to choose a good healthcare provider for their needs'. Cameron is obviously putting lots of efforts on this issue which shows that he is more interested in public services that Thatcher ever was. Thatcher claimed that 'British people's fears' about 'being swamped' were legitimate and the Tory party announced a new nationality law, as well as new restrictions on the entry of dependants, husbands and fianci??
s. The Tories passed a new Nationality Act which effectively removed the right to British citizenship from significant numbers of New Commonwealth citizens who had previously been classed as British citizens. The New immigration rules further restricted the entry of Commonwealth dependants into Britain. Cameron has changed the Party's attitudes towards this issue as well. He wants to make immigration easier for those who would benefit the country and its economy.
Nevertheless Conservatives want to make sure UK wouldn't be affected in criminal aspect, for this matter they want to create a new, integrated approach to managing country's borders, introducing Border Police Force. Here again Cameron is trying to change the Thatcherised policies of the party, bringing new, fresh ideas. Has the Conservative party abandoned Thatcherism? Considering the points made above, the most important issues over the Tories' policy remains strongly influenced by ideas of Thatcherism. Privatization was one of the biggest changes that Thatcher's government brought and David Cameron still believes in it.
The fact that he wants to take private ownership further is a sign that the party is still Thacherised. However the times are different than they were during Thatcher's leadership and Conservatives are forced to change their attitudes as the electorate no longer supports the iron lady's ideas. Both sides of the argument are very hard to examine because Cameron's government has not been in power and we have not seen what they would do differently from Thatcher, we have only words and promises with which to combine both leaderships.