Marketing Triumphant: Falklands Fallout



Thatcher’s progress to the 1983 election landslide and, seemingly, complete dominance of the political scene could not have been predicted in the early months of her tenure. The government’s ‘honeymoon’ with the voters quickly began to wane. Inflation soared, aided by the doubling of VAT in Chancellor Howe’s June 1979 budget, and so too did unemployment, climbing to more than 2.5 million by April 1981.1 The Social Democratic Party, launched in March 1981, threatened to break the mould of British politics with two sensational by-election results, culminating in Shirley Williams’ win at Crosby in November. Opinion polls in the autumn of 1981 showed Thatcher as the least popular prime minister in modern British history: only 25 per cent of the public were satisfied with her performance and 62 per cent dissatisfied, according to Gallup. In December, the Tories trailed the SDP/Liberal Alliance by 27 per cent (23–50 per cent).2


Prime Minister Opinion Poll Direct Mail Conservative Party Chief Information Officer 
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  1. 1.
    For an excellent account of the economic difficulties and policies in this period, see Peter Riddell, The Thatcher Government (1983).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
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  3. 3.
    Some scholars doubt the long-term impact of the Falklands, arguing that it had little effect on voting decisions at the 1983 election. See, for example, Ivor Crewe, ‘Why Labour Lost the Election’, Public Opinion, July 1983.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Margaret Scammell 1995

Authors and Affiliations

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

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