495The politics of public expenditure from Thatcher to Blair
Policy & Politics vol 34 no 3 • 495–515 (2006)
Final submission June 2005 • Acceptance July 2005
Key words: public expenditure • Labour • Conservatives • Thatcher • Blair
The politics of public expenditure from
Thatcher to Blair
Maurice Mullard and Raymond Swaray
The central concerns of this study are twofold: first, to analyse the nature of the
politics of public expenditure under both the Thatcher and Blair governments and to
ask whether changes in government did make a difference. Second
When Margaret Thatcher died on 8 April 2013 it was more than twenty-two years since she had been ousted as Prime Minister in December 1990. She had been ill for a long time and although she made occasional appearances in public she had ceased public speaking and took no active part in politics. In the time that had elapsed since she was Prime Minister a new generation of politicians had taken charge and the Thatcher decade had begun to seem a distant memory. Yet no sooner was her death announced than for ten extraordinary days Britain was plunged back into that
it really changed anything, alternative comedy foregrounded a set of avowedly resistant concerns with anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-capitalism and ‘Thatcher’ (Lee, 2010 ; Schaffer, 2016 ).
While the previous chapter explored a certain ‘anti-elitist elitism’ in the satire boom, whose protagonists were mainly white, male, upper-class, Oxbridge and so on, the egalitarian politics of alternative comedy was often embodied in the comedians themselves, who came from ‘art schools’ and ‘lesser universities’. Suddenly comedians were working-class, black, female, they
). Centred on the concept of policy feedback, this article examines the impact, four decades after its enactment, of Margaret Thatcher’s keystone 1980 ‘Right to Buy’ (RtB) policy on today’s social housing institutions in the United Kingdom ( James et al, 1991 ). Although this article focuses on the UK case, Thatcher’s privatisation strategies kick-started a wave of similar housing commercialisation across western liberal democracies ( Whitehead, 2012 ). This is why the analysis of the UK case is particularly relevant as it could help us think about commercialisation in
What mrs Thatcher did
One of the fascinating aspects of Conservative Party thinking in the mid- to late
1970s was its intellectual robustness and utter self-confidence. The Conservatives
were sure that they were moving with the grain of the British people. When we
read the policy documents of the years between Mrs Thatcher’s election as leader
in 1975 and the 1979 election there is a definite sense of purpose, of a political
party with a mission. This mission was no less than the transformation of the
country and the defeat of
arrangements are reshaped to produce them. Wall Street discovered new concepts – like securitization and financial engineering, a phrase that subtly places financial models and debt securities in the same category as railways, bridges, factories and other sturdy trappings of industrial production. This was the beginning of our own era of financialization, and in the mid-1980s it looked like the glimmer of a new dawn, at least for those on the right side of the fence.
Current free trade historiography holds that Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government tore down sacred
Mrs Thatcher’s legacy
Mrs Thatcher’s legacy:
getting it in perspective
Even 25 years after her election as Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher still
arouses passions: fervent loyalty, nostalgia and hatred. There are at least
four divergent accounts that have been developed over the years about
her social policy legacy:
• She was a wicked neo-conservative witch who ushered in a new
era of social and economic policy. Her reign marks a watershed in
postwar history and her impact was malign. This could be called
In this enlightening study, Ian Cummins traces changing attitudes to penal and welfare systems.
From Margaret Thatcher’s first cabinet, to austerity politics via New Labour, the book reveals the ideological shifts that have led successive governments to reinforce their penal powers. It shows how ‘tough on crime’ messages have spread to other areas of social policy, fostering the neoliberal political economy, encouraging hostile approaches to the social state and creating stigma for those living in poverty.
This is an important addition to the debate around the complex and interconnected issues of welfare and punishment.
Does the Coalition government represent a new politics in Britain, or is the new government just the same old Tories hiding behind an opportunist pact with the Liberal Democrats? Does Cameron differ from past Conservatives like Margaret Thatcher, and if so, how? This book looks at the Coalition government in the context of conservative ideas and seeks to assess what, if anything, is new about it. The book is aimed at undergraduates and those interested in the future direction of politics in the UK.