Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Margaret Thatcher

We looked at a 1975 speech by Margaret Thatcher yesterday. The following were just a few of the points which came up.

- Thatcher's election as leader was far from inevitable. Heath was not far behind in the first round. Of the right wing of the party, Keith Joseph had been considered the natural candidate. His speech the previous October meant he could never be leader. The speech is here: https://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/101830

- It was essential to understand what kind of speech a new leader would be expected to give to the party conference, when a general election was a long way off. In addition the first woman leader had more to prove. Contrasting the content with the content of the election manifesto would be extremely useful. Here is the Conservative manifesto for October 1974.

- "State control" and "nationalisation" are at the centre of Thatcher's speech. It would be important to be able to summarize the different positions debated in the 1970s. Conservatives in Thatcher's current are not yet talking about massive privatization, but are describing nationalization as purely negative. Much of the middle ground is thinking of no more nationalizations, but no privatization either. The Left of the Labour Party ( around Tony Benn) see nationalization as positive, as a way of limiting what they think of as the damage caused by the dictatorship of profit, and, for some, as a way of gradually abolishing capitalism. One or two of the videos in my video list are about Tony Benn and produce a useful summary.

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