Making thin air solid: the politics of Thatcherism today

Jamie Melrose, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies

Mr Jamie Melrose, School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies

Lady Thatcher is no longer with us: the ideological project that bears her name, Thatcherism, is still alive, despite premature obituaries. Re-reading The Politics of Thatcherism[1] (PoT), an edited collection of essays as responsible as anything for Thatcherism’s definition, is rather relevant. If Thatcherism is still with us, it would make sense for the conclusions of PoT to be so too.

In some of the condemnatory criticism of Margaret Thatcher’s transformation of British political culture, there is a surprising political subtext: a grudging respect for how successful Thatcherism has been. Just as the Prime Minister admired his partisan rival, Tony Blair, critics such as Slavoj Žižek come to bury and praise Thatcher. Left-wing critics of Thatcherism look on in awe at that most difficult of tasks: hegemony in a pluralist demos.

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