Topic 3: Thatcher and the End of Consensus (1979-1997) Flashcards Preview

History: Britain 1951-1997 > Topic 3: Thatcher and the End of Consensus (1979-1997) > Flashcards

Flashcards in Topic 3: Thatcher and the End of Consensus (1979-1997) Deck (67):

What were the main reasons Thatcher was able to win the 1979 election? (5)

1. Public wanted a new approach to the economy.
2. 'Winter of Discontent' was still fresh in people's memories.
3. Enlarged middle class angry about Trade Union power.
4. Media support.
5. Decrease in Liberal vote (due to Lib-Lab pact).


What was Thatcher's economic stance?

Thatcher believed in monetarism. Monetarism was opposed to Keynes and the post-war consensus, and viewed inflation as a greater evil than unemployment.


What events led up to the Falklands War, 1982?

The legal ownership of the Falklands disputed between Britain and Argentina. 98% of the 2,000 islanders wished to remain under British rule ("sovereignty is not negotiable").

Nicholas Ridley (minister at foreign office) proposes "leaseback" - Britain maintains ultimate sovereignty, Argentina administers region.

General Galtieri (Argentinian dictator) decides to seize Falklands by force. 4,000 troops invade, but are quickly overcome by resistance of garrison of 80 royal marines.

Invasion condemned by all British parties. Task force rapidly assembled in 4 days.


How did Thatcher handle the Falklands War differently to how the Labour Party wished?

Thatcher decided not to channel response through the UN, seeing the matter as only a concern for Britain.


How did the Falklands War develop between April and June 1982?

25th April: Britain recaptured South Georgia.

1st May: Air strikes against occupying Argentinian forces on Falklands.

2nd May. Naval campaign began.

End of May: Key areas (San Carlos, Goose Green) recaptured.

14th June: Capital of Port Stanley liberated. Argentina surrenders.


In what ways was the conflict in the Falklands successful for Thatcher? (4)

1. Showed Thatcher's determination and skill during wartime.
2. Somewhat restored Britain's status as a "great power".
3. UN demanded withdrawal of Argentinian forces at Britain's request - actions justified by law.
4. Able to gain American aid despite Reagan not believing the islands worth going to war over.


In what ways did America provide military aid to Britain during the Falklands War? (3)

Caspar Weinberger (US defence secretary) lent Britain:
1. Weapons.
2. Military intelligence.
3. Use of US air base on Ascension Island.


In what ways was the conflict in the Falklands unsuccessful? (5)

1. Sovereignty remained issue with Argentinian government.
2. Deaths - 255 British and 665 Argentinian servicemen died.
3. Sinking of Belgrano, killing 360 Argentinian servicemen.
4. Unlikely to have been successful without support of USA.
5. Defence of the island cost around £1.5mn per islander. Little real significance.


Why did the miners go on strike, 1984-1985? (3)

1. Coal industry in long-term decline (government had subsidised losses).
2. National Union of Miners felt confident (victories in 1970s, leadership of Arthur Scargill).
3. National Coal Board proposed closing 23 pits in early 1984 (would result in 20,000 job losses).


Why was there conflict between Trade Unions and the government in 1984? (3)

1. Conservatives thought strikes could be called too easily.
2. Wage increases had been reduced to control inflation.
3. Monetarism viewed Trade Union power as a bad influence on the economy.


What were the main factors leading to a defeat of the miners? (5)

1. Determination of the government.
2. Preparation of the authorities.
3. Role of the Labour Party.
4. Mistakes and weaknesses of the miners.
5. Long-term economic trends.


In what ways did the government show determination during the Miners' Strike? (4)

1. Considerable protection given to miners that did want to work.
2. Police used against strikers (Battle of Augreave).
3. Leon Brittan (home secretary) set up National Reporting Centre. Ensured central control of policing and co-ordination of intelligence.
4. 1984 Trade Union Act: Unions had to hold secret ballots before strike action.


In what ways were the authorities prepared for the Miners' Strike? (3)

1. After the NCB advised closure of pits, a secret committee stockpiled coal to keep power stations running.
2. 1980 Employment Act: Banned secondary picketing, increased rights for non-union workers and encouraged secret ballots before strikes.
3. 1982 Employment Act: Banned most closed shop unions and sympathy strikes.


How did the authorities learn from the failure of the Industrial Relations Act, 1971?

The authorities passed laws restricting union power gradually to avoid widespread upheaval.


Why were the Labour Party unable to fully back the Miners' Strike? (3)

1. 65% of people supported government and police in poll. Televised violence.
2. Scargill's hard-left politics isolated Labour moderates.
3. Internal divisions meant unable to lead determined opposition to treatment of miners.


What mistakes and weaknesses were apparent on the side of the miners during the strike? (5)

1. Striking miners could easily be replaced due to high unemployment levels.
2. Scargill refused to hold a ballot, making the strike actin illegal.
3. Began strike in March, when demand for coal relatively low.
4. NUM had declined in power. Membership had dropped from 586,000 (1960) to 250,000 (1979).
5. Regional divisions between miners. Union of Democratic Miners formed in December 1984.


How did long-term economic trends contribute to the defeat of the miners? (3)

1. Mining had needed subsidies since its nationalisation in 1948. 1983-1984: NCB had deficit of £250mn.
2. Public less sympathetic towards government supporting failing industries.
3. Flow of North Sea Oil had decreased demand for coal.


What were the consequences of the Miners' Strike? (4)

1. Bitter resentment towards the government in mining communities.
2. Clear demonstration that the government wold not be defeated by Trade Unions.
3. Encouraged other employers to bring about changes with workers.
4. Membership of NUM below 100,000 in 1987.


What were the main reasons Thatcher was able to win the 1983 election? (3)

1. Falklands victory.
2. Out of touch Labour Party with Michael Foot ("longest suicide note in history").
3. Labour moderates broke away to form the Social Democratic Party.


What were the main reasons Thatcher was able to win the 1987 election? (6)

1. Strong pound.
2. Falling unemployment.
3. Sense of growing economy.
4. Popular policies.


In what ways was Thatcher successful in tackling inflation? (4)

1. Inflation of prices 18% (1980) down to 4.5% (1983).
2. Raised interest rates to control inflation. More internationally price competitive.
3. GDP growth rate 1979-1989 2.1% compared to 1.9 % European average (1950-1979 Britain 1.8% European average 3.9%).
4. Real wages of workers rose by 26% 1979-1984 (USA -7%, France 2%).


In what ways was Thatcher unsuccessful in tackling inflation? (5)

1. VAT increased from 8% to 15% in 1979.
2. Increased value of the pound made exports less competitive.
3. High interest rates made loan repayments difficult.
4. High number of unemployed did not benefit from wage increases.
5. Major rise in inflation 1979: 9% -> 1980: 20%.


In what ways did Thatcher improve employment levels? (2)

1. Number of small businesses grew from 1.89mn (1979) to 3.09mn (1989).
2. Number of self-employed workers grew from 1.9mn (1979) to 3.49mn(1989).


What were Thatcher's fiscal objectives?

Thatcher wanted to cut taxes in order to give people an incentive to work, and also to cut government spending.


How was Thatcher successful in achieving her fiscal objectives?

Government spending was reduced as a proportion of GDP from 46% (1979) to 39% (1990).


In what ways was Thatcher unsuccessful in achieving her fiscal objectives? (3)

1. Little change in overall tax burden. Simply a shift from direct to indirect tax (VAT).
2. Lack of government spending argued as main cause of unemployment.
3. Government spending rose by 13% in real terms 1979-1990.


In what ways did Thatcher damage employment levels? (3)

1. Unemployment more than doubled 1979-1983 to over 3mn.
2. Unemployment was unevenly distributed. Led to social tension and rioting (e.g. Toxteth, Brixton).
3. Manufacturing output fell by 14%.


What was Thatcher's policy towards "lame duck" industries?

Thatcher was prepared to see failing businesses collapse.


In what ways was Thatcher successful in handling lame duck industries? (2)

1. 1982: Productivity and growth rates began to rise.
2. Arguably sensible not to support inefficient businesses.


In what ways was Thatcher unsuccessful in handling lame duck industries? (2)

1. Closure of coal pits led to Miners' Strike 1984-1985.
2. Growth not always directly as a result of her policies e.g. North Sea oil opened up trade that was unavailable to previous governments.


How did Thatcher induce deregulation in cities?

1986 Financial Services Act. Opened up financial markets of London to greater trading opportunities, known as the 'Big Bang'.


In what ways was Thatcher successful in terms of privatisation? (4)

1. British Airways, British Gas and British Telecom privatised. Improved performance and lower prices for consumers.
2. London became a global financial centre comparable with New York.
3. Increased public stake in private businesses. Private share owners 3mn -> 11mn.
4. Government gained enormous revenue from privatising businesses (1979-1980: £377mn, 1985-1986: £2,600mn, 1988-1989: £7,000mn).


In what ways was Thatcher unsuccessful in terms of privatisation? (3)

1. Revenue gained from privatisation not sustainable.
2. 'Big Bang' encouraged selfish, get-rich-quick attitude. Big businesses run in the interests of shareholders, not the nation.
3. Shares often sold too cheaply, government did not maximise income.


What were Thatcher's social policies concerning housing?

Thatcher wanted to increase property ownership by selling off council houses. She believed that having a stake in the community made people less likely to support socialism.


In what ways did Thatcher improve housing? (3)

1. Provided tax relief on mortgages.
2. Property ownership went up by 12%.
3. Gave long-term council tenants the right to buy their home.


In what ways did Thatcher damage housing? (2)

1.Less council housing available for poor families.
2. Doubled government expenditure on subsidising mortgages.


What were Thatcher's social policies concerning education?

In 1988, the National Curriculum was introduced in schools, and teaching in universities would be to serve the economic needs of the country. GCSEs introduced.


In what ways was Thatcher successful in intervening with education?

Kept grants for young people attending university.


In what ways was Thatcher unsuccessful in intervening with education? (4)

1. 1981: Cut university budgets.
2. GCSEs not considered academically rigorous.
3. 1985: Oxford University refuses to grant Thatcher honorary degree (had been given to the six previous PMs that attended there).
4. Inconsistent - wanted less government control in the economy, but more in education.


What were Thatcher's social policies concerning the NHS?

Thatcher wanted to inject business principles into the NHS. Hospitals and GPs were to control their own budgets, and compete to attract patients.


In what ways was Thatcher successful in intervening with the NHS?

Financial discipline improved efficiency.


In what ways was Thatcher unsuccessful in intervening with the NHS? (2)

1. Business principles seen as inappropriate in the public sector.
2. For some priority became profit over patient.


What factors led to urban decay in cities? (5)

1. Overcrowding.
2. Poor housing conditions.
3. High unemployment.
4. Young people forced to move away to find work.
5. Increase in mental/physical illness and alcohol/drug abuse.


What were the benefits of investment and regeneration? (3)

1. Yuppies were able to buy up and sell cheap properties in regenerated areas.
2. Tax breaks were given to businesses that set up in 'Enterprise Zones'.
3. Canary Wharf became the second biggest financial district in the country.


What were the drawbacks of investment and regeneration? (2)

1. Encouraged selfish attitudes.
2. Locals hardly benefited from investment in their area due to Yuppies purchasing property.


Which areas experienced the highest levels of unemployment (give examples)?

Areas dependent on heavy industry experienced the worst unemployment levels.

e.g. manufacturing fell by 25% in the West Midlands, unemployment in Liverpool was 25% (1983) and remained above 10% for the rest of the eighties.


Describe the riots in 1981.

Riots broke out from April-July in Brixton, Toxteth, Handsworth and Chapeltown, leaving £6.5bn worth of damage. Poverty and racial tension between locals and police were thought to be the main causes.


What were the weaknesses of Labour in the 1979 election? (3)

1. Seen as too central.
2. Callaghan had a poor public image.
3. Only shortly after Winter of Discontent.


What were the weaknesses of Labour in the 1983 election? (3)

1. Foot was strongly left-wing ("longest suicide note in history").
2. Connections to radical left wing e.g. Militant Tendencies.
3. Social Democratic Party split vote.


What were the weaknesses of Labour in the 1987 election? (4)

1. Neil Kinnock have long-winded, uninspiring speeches.
2. Kinnock made u-turns on nationalisation and nuclear weapons.
3. Alliance contested every seat, splitting vote.
4. Had not fully recovered from 1983 defeat.


What was the Poll Tax?

The Poll Tax was a flat rate to be paid to local government by every individual.


How did the Poll Tax contribute to Thatcher's downfall?

Encouraged by the SNP, millions in Scotland refused to pay when it was first launched there in 1989.
31st March 1990: Day before tax due to be launched in England, demonstration in Trafalgar Square. 300 arrested in riot, 400 policemen injured. Thatcher pressed on with policy nonetheless.


What economic factors contributed to Thatcher's downfall? (2)

1. Deregulation made economy more vulnerable to stock market crashes. 24% wiped off shares 1987.
2. Interest rates were raised in 1989 to control inflation, but this damaged those who were encouraged to buy homes.


How did divisions over Europe contribute to Thatcher's downfall?

Thatcher was against further integration with Europe, shouting "no, no, no" in October 1989. Arguments over joining Exchange Rate Mechanism, divided colleagues.


What was the Westland Affair, 1985-1986?

Thatcher disagreed with defence minister Michael Heseltine over the future of British company Westland Helicopters. Heseltine was left with bitter resentment towards Thatcher.


What contributed to Thatcher's downfall in Autumn 1989?

Autumn 1989: Anthony Meyer challenged Thatcher's leadership, gaining support of 33 MPs. Showed support to be wavering.


How did Heseltine challenge Thatcher's leadership?

In 1990, spurred by Howe's speech, Heseltine held a ballot challenging Thatcher's leadership in which less than half sided with her. Thatcher chose to resign in order to bow out undefeated.


How were Thatcher's relations with Nigel Lawson damaged?

Thatcher chose to take economic advice from unelected Alan Walters, despite Lawson being Chancellor of the Exchequer.


How were Thatcher's relations with Geoffrey Howe damaged?

Thatcher humiliated Howe by demoting him from foreign secretary to deputy PM. Resigned 1990 after being a loyal Thatcherite since 1979 and publicly criticised her.


What were the problems with John Major that led to a Conservative defeat in 1997? (4)

1. He was never fully supported by party, MPs just voted him in to keep our Heseltine.
2. Bland and uninspiring.
3. Caught on camera calling cabinet members who did not sign the Maastricht Treaty "bastards".
4. 1995: John Redwood challenges Major's leadership, gaining the support of 1/3 MPs.


What was the result of the 1997 election?

Labour won a 179 seat majority.


What aspects of New Labour allowed them to win a landslide victory in 1997? (4)

1. Tony Blair young and dynamic at 41.
2. Removed Clause IV from party constitution (committed them to nationalisation).
3. Centrist policies won over some Tory households.
4. Rupert Murdock switched his newspapers from supporting the Conservatives to Labour.


What scandals contributed to a Tory defeat in 1997? (2)

1. Neil Hamilton accepted money to ask questions in parliament.
2. Conservative politicians Jonathon Aitken and Jeffrey Archer jailed for perjury.


How did the economy contribute to Major's defeat?

Unemployment rose to 2.6mn in 1992 causing recession. House prices fell by 1/4, mainly hitting middle class Tory homeowners.


What was the Masstricht Treaty?

The Maastricht Treaty encouraged greater European integration by creating a central bank and integrating defence.


What happened on Black Wednesday, 1992?

Britain withdrew from the ERM. Economy not as strong as others, humiliating.


How were other Conservative politicians disruptive during Major's time in office? (2)

1. Conservative rebels defeated ratification of Maastricht Treaty twice (only ratified when Major made matter vote of no confidence).
2. Thatcher on sidelines. Sided with Redwood and anti-Maastricht.