We are all Thatcherites now

1997 can be seen as Mrs Thatcher’s greatest victory, which set the seal on her transformation of British politics.  She had set out, on becoming leader in 1975, to abolish socialism and twenty years later she had succeeded beyond her wildest dreams.  By her repeated electoral success, by her neutering of the trade unions, by her privatisation of most of the public sector and the introduction of market forces into almost every area of national life, she – and her successor – had not only reversed the tide of increasing collectivism which had flowed from 1945 to 1979, but had rewritten the whole agenda of politics, forcing the Labour party gradually and reluctantly to accept practically the entire Thatcherite programme – at least the means, if not in its heart the ends – in order to make itself electable.  Neil Kinnock and after him John Smith took the party a long way down this road, without altogether abandoning traditional Labour values. The election of Tony Blair to succeed Smith in 1994 completed the process.  Blair was a perfectly post-Thatcherite politician: an ambitious pragmatist with a smile of dazzling sincerity, but no convictions beyond a desire to rid Labour of its outdated ideological baggage.  The rebranding of the party as ‘New Labour’ was the final acknowledgement of Mrs Thatcher’s victory. ‘We are all Thatcherites now,’ Peter Mandelson acknowledged.  She had not only banished socialism, in any serious meaning of the word, from political debate; she had effectively abolished the old Labour party.

– John Campbell, Margaret Thatcher, Volume Two

One Response to We are all Thatcherites now

  1. Pingback: The magic of privatisation is to make activities that were not bankruptable, bankruptable « Bjørn Stærk's Max 256 Blog

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