Advertisement

The Rise of Thatcher: Political Marketing’s Quantum Leap

Chapter
  • 34 Downloads

Abstract

Margaret Thatcher was elected leader of the Conservative Party on 11 February 1975. Her election, as first woman leader of a major British political party, was an outcome that few predicted even a few months previously. The Conservative Party had been in open disarray since its ignominious defeat a year previously in the ‘Who governs?’ general election of February 1974. Norman Tebbit’s autobiography, Upwardly Mobile, makes no attempt to hide the humiliation many right-wing Tories felt at Heath’s policy U-turns, electoral tactics and unsuccessful attempt to cobble together a coalition with the Liberals.1 Mrs Thatcher, however, was few people’s ideal candidate for the leadership. Patrick Cosgrave, then of the Spectator and later a part-time writer for Mrs Thatcher and her biographer, was one of the first to champion her cause in an article soon after the February 1974 general election. Thatcher was apparently embarrassed at the suggestion.2 Her own loyalty was to Sir Keith Joseph, and she did not believe that a woman leader would be acceptable to the party. ‘I don’t see it happening in my time,’ she said in an oft-cited answer to a reporter from the Liverpool Daily Post in June 1974.

Keywords

Prime Minister Election Campaign Conservative Party Woman Leader Gallup Poll 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Norman Tebbit, Upwardly Mobile (1989) pp. 171–80.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Nicholas Wapshott and George Brock, Thatcher (1983) p. 110.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    There are many accounts of the leadership race and all the biographies contain versions. The best accounts are to be found in: Wapshott and Brock, op. cit., and Nigel Fisher, The Tory Leaders: Their Struggle for Power (1977).Google Scholar
  4. For accounts of the tumult about policy see Dennis Kavanagh, Thatcherism and British Politics (1987);Google Scholar
  5. Hugo Young, One of Us (1989);Google Scholar
  6. and Jock Bruce-Gardyne, Mrs Thatcher’s First Administration: The Prophets Confounded (1984).Google Scholar
  7. 5.
    Jean Rook, ‘Woman of Destiny’, in The First Ten Years (1989).Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    Max Atkinson, Our Masters’ Voices (1988) p. 112.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Barbara Castle, The Castle Diaries 1974–76 (1980) p. 332.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Quoted in Michael Cockerell, Live from No. 10 (1988) p. 213.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ivan Fallon, The Brothers (1988) p. 149.Google Scholar
  12. 19.
    Mireille Babaz, Le Rôle de la Publicité dans les Campagnes Electorales Britanniques de 1964, 1966 et 1970 (1977).Google Scholar
  13. 22.
    The account given here relies heavily on Philip Kleinman, The Saatchi & Saatchi Story (1987).Google Scholar
  14. 28.
    Tim Bell, ‘The Conservative Advertising Campaign’, in R. Worcester and M. Harrop (eds), Political Communications: The General Election Campaign of 1979 (1982).Google Scholar
  15. 35.
    For details of audience reaction to PPBs, see Barrie Gunter et al., Television Coverage of the 1983 Election (1986).Google Scholar
  16. 40.
    Tony Benn’s diary entry for 7 September 1978 details the Cabinet meeting at which Callaghan announced his decision. Callaghan was said to be swayed by factors such as the devolution referendum and polls which suggested that Labour voters did not want an election. See Tony Benn, Conflicts of Interest: Diaries 1977–80 (1990) p. 334.Google Scholar
  17. 42.
    Lord Whitelaw, The Whitelaw Memoirs (1989) p. 159.Google Scholar
  18. 43.
    D. Butler and G. Butler, British Political Facts 1900–1985 (1986).Google Scholar
  19. 44.
    Bernard Donoughue, Prime Minister (1987).Google Scholar
  20. 46.
    D. Butler and D. Kavanagh, The British General Election of 1979 (1980), p. 85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 55.
    Ivor Crewe and Bo Sarlvik, ‘Popular Attitudes and Electoral Strategy’, in Zig Layton-Henry (ed.), Conservative Party Politics (1980).Google Scholar
  22. 63.
    Peregrine Worsthorne, in Sunday Telegraph, 14 May 1978.Google Scholar
  23. 66.
    Patrick Cosgrave, Margaret Thatcher — A Tory and Her Party (1978) p. 209.Google Scholar
  24. 69.
    See Barry Day, ‘The Politics of Communication’, in R. Worcester and M. Harrop (eds), Political Communication: The General Election Campaign of 1979 (1982).Google Scholar
  25. 72.
    ITN, British Voting Trends 1979–1987 (1987).Google Scholar
  26. 74.
    MORI, British Public Opinion, June 1987.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Margaret Scammell 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Politics and Communication StudiesUniversity of LiverpoolUK

Personalised recommendations