• David Butler
  • Dennis Kavanagh


At the outset, the 1980s did not promise to be the Thatcher decade. But events developed in a way that made the period a ripe seed-bed for the values and the style of government that Margaret Thatcher represented. The Falklands war established in the public mind her strength and her patriotic drive, and the turn-around of the economy suggested a general picture of Conservative competence. Her party’s ascendancy was enormously aided by the division of the opposition between a Labour party, dragged down electorally by its unpopular left wing, and a new-born Alliance, full of drive and middle-class idealism, but never quite able to establish itself as the real alternative to the Conservatives. In a world of three-party politics, 42% of the votes were enough to give Mrs Thatcher a comfortable hold on power.


National Health Service Trade Union Opinion Poll Local Election Labour Party 
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Copyright information

© David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Butler
    • 1
  • Dennis Kavanagh
    • 2
  1. 1.Nuffield CollegeOxfordUK
  2. 2.University of NottinghamUK

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