ThatcherismMargaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister during the 1980s.
Mrs Thatcher was unusual in late twentieth century British politics in being a highly ideological leader. Although she did not publish a single statement of her aims and values, the general approach of Thatcherism was established by the mid-1980s. Thatcherism is characterized by a free market economy perhaps more closely associated with Victorian Liberalism in the United Kingdom, monetarist fiscal policy, Privatisation of state-owned industries, low taxation, opposition to Trade Unions and a check on the size of the Welfare State. Thinkers closely associated with Thatcherism include Keith Joseph and Milton Friedman.
Support for Thatcherism was strongest in south east England, the wealthiest region of the United Kingdom, and the greatest beneficiary of Thatcherite policy. By contrast the word became a term of abuse in areas where the Conservatives were weak. After the initial shock and the recession of the early 1980s, the United Kingdom economy began to revive based on the service industries in the south east; manufacturing industries and the north, Wales and Scotland did not prosper as much.
Changes to the power of the Trade Unions were made gradually unlike the approach of the Heath Government, and the greatest single confrontation with the unions was the NUM strike of 1984 to 1985 in which the union eventually had to concede.
Whether it ultimately benefited Britain or not, it destroyed the post-war consensus of British politics. In 2001 Peter Mandelson, a member of parliament belonging to the British Labour Party closely associated with Tony Blair, famously declared that "we are all Thatcherites now".