Thatcherism’s greatest achievement

In 2002, twelve years after Margaret Thatcher left office, she was asked at a dinner what was  her  greatest  achievement.  Thatcher  replied:  “Tony  Blair  and  New  Labour.  We forced our opponents to change their minds.”  (Conor Burns, April 11, 2008)

Thatcher Tony Blair neoliberalismAs Tony Blair himself told: “[Thatcher] was immensely kind and generous to me when I was Prime Minister… Politicly, certain reforms she made, for example in Trade Union Law…, we kept the basic legal framework… We didn’t renationalise many of state industries that she privatized… I always thought my job was to build on some of the things she had done rather than reverse them… Many of the things she said… had a certain creditability… Whenever I wanted to ask her for advice, she would always give it… in a genuine, spirited way… She was very kind.” (BBC News, April 8, 2013)

These excellent books elaborate on this matter:
The Political Economy of New Labour: Labouring under False Pretences? by Colin Hay (Manchester University Press, 1999)
New Labour and Thatcherism: Political Change in Britain, by
Richard Heffernan (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000)
New Labour, New Language? by Norman Fairclough (Palgrave Macmillan, 2000)
Transforming Local Governance: From Thatcherism to New Labour, by Gerry Stoker (Palgrave, 2003)
A Brief History of Neoliberalism, by David Harvey (Oxford University Press, 2005)
The Thatcherite Offensive: A Neo-Poulantzasian Analysis, by Alexander Gallas (Haymarket Books, 2017)

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12 comments

  1. Haha, although New Labour moved closer to Conservative philosophy I don’t buy that they have helped the Conservative party long term. As of today, the party isn’t exactly popular.

    • @TheSociologicalMail “I don’t buy that [New Labour has] helped the Conservative party long term.”

      Really? As of the May 2021 local elections, where Boris trounced the rebranded-New-Labour led by Keir Starmer (whose ‘bold vision’ now is [‘changing the things that need changing’] (https://jacobinmag.com/2021/05/keir-starmer-bbc-meltdown-labour-election-hartlepool ), it appears from the US as though the Tories will have ideological hegemony until such time as the Labour left ejects New Labour completely. Of course, that will also require a level of dewokification for which the left PCM seems utterly incapable.

  2. […] context that Margaret Thatcher, when asked what she considered her greatest achievement, replied “Tony Blair and New Labour. We forced our opponents to change their minds.”) Of course, many people committed to BlackLivesMatter may understand themselves as committed also […]

  3. […] context that Margaret Thatcher, when asked what she considered her greatest achievement, replied “Tony Blair and New Labour. We forced our opponents to change their minds.”) Of course, many people committed to BlackLivesMatter may understand themselves as committed also […]

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