Thatcher has died. What about Thatcherism?

M-A-G-G-I-E, You ain't go no alibi...
M-A-G-G-I [-E], You ain’t go no alibi…
Margaret Thatcher died today. Her death was bound to be controversial, with many opinions on Thatcher and the legacy of Thatcherism being aired across social media tonight. A number of people on twitter have pointed to Thatcher’s attitude towards the deaths of Bobby Sands, of the crew of the Belgrano, of the victims of Apartheid South Africa and Pincohet’s Chile, and of the 96 who died at Hillsborough as reasons why people shouldn’t be too sentimental over her death. It will be interesting to see the British media over the next week on this issue.

A number of people have also raised the important question – what was Thatcher’s legacy? If Thatcherism represented a shift in British politics, what did it achieve? Did Thatcherism outlive her Prime Ministership and does it still exist today? Many would argue that the current policies of the Con-Lib Dem coalition are the contemporary embodiment of Thatcherism and that Thatcher’s legacy still weighs heavily upon the living (to paraphrase Marx).

It is too late in the evening to write a comprehensive post of the legacy of Thatcherism, so here are some links to earlier posts on this blog on the topic of Thatcher and British politics:

On the ‘uniqueness’ of Thatcherism in British political history

On the early years of Thatcherism and the crisis of the 1981 riots

On government accountability and public inquiries under Thatcher

And a little ditty to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the resignation of Thatcher

Hopefully I’ll get a chance to write something more substantial in the next few days. I am sure I’m not the only one scrambling to write! In the meantime, here’s The Smiths…


Edited to add: For anyone interested in the recent historiography of Thatcher and Thatcherism, I would recommend Ben Jackson and Robert Saunders’ Making Thatcher’s Britain and Richard Vinen’s Thatcher’s Britain. I reviewed Vinen’s book here.

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