The making of Thatcherism

The Conservative Party in opposition, 1974–79

By Philip Begley

The making of Thatcherism


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3130-0
  • Pages: 200
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: May 2020
  • BIC Category: British and Irish Politics, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Comparative Politics, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Conservatism & Liberalism, Society & social sciences / Comparative politics, Society & social sciences / Politics & government, Society & social sciences / Conservatism & right-of-centre democratic ideologies
  • Series: New Perspectives on the Right


The making of Thatcherism examines the Conservative Party's period in opposition between 1974 and 1979, focusing on the development of key policy on issues from the economy, to immigration and Scottish Devolution. Offering a detailed analysis of Conservative Party policy during this period, from the point at which it had last been in government to the point at which it subsequently regained power, this book helps us to understand the significance of the Conservative victory in 1979: What exactly did more than 13 million Britons vote for in May of that year?

This period is typically viewed as one of dramatic change within the Conservative Party; however, Philip Begley argues that policy changes were more modest and complex than has been previously considered. Focusing on the short-term political context, Begley contends that though the roots of Thatcherism were beginning to emerge in the party, Thatcherism does not appear to have been inevitable in policy terms by 1979. Providing an overview of the intellectual, economic, and social contexts, this book examines the range of factors driving the Conservative Party's development of policy.


1 The 1970s
2 Inflation
3 The Economy
4 Ownership
5 Industrial Relations
6 Immigration
7 Scottish Devolution
8 Education


Philip Begley is a Lecturer in the History of Medicine at the University of Liverpool

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