Thatcherism after Thatcher
by Will Dahlgreen in Editor's picks, Front Page, Margaret Thatcher and Politics
Wed April 17, 2013 3:14 p.m. BST
New YouGov research reveals that, with no mention of the late prime minister, the nation's favoured policies are strongly Thatcherite in some ways - in others, not at all
Since the death of Baroness Thatcher, YouGov has laid out in detail the state of her reputation in the country. Today, as she is laid to rest, we reveal whether she leaves behind a "Thatcherite" country.
With no mention of Margaret Thatcher, we asked our respondents to choose between two policy positions, in each case one representing the "Thatcherite" position and the other representing the opposing viewpoint. The results were decidedly mixed:
On some points, like business and trade unions, the country is left with little doubt. A majority (52%) say a business’s profits are a sign of good management compared to 32% who say high profits are a sign of exploitation. In addition, 52% say uncompetitive companies should be allowed to fail while 27% say they should be subsidised. On trade unions, 45% say a stronger movement would be bad for Britain compared to 34% who say it would be good.
In other places Thatcherism leaves division. On the 'Right to Buy', Thatcherism is outnumbered: 49% say tenants of social housing should not have the right to buy their homes, compared to 42% who say they should. Additionally, 49% say prosperity depends on protecting jobs, full employment and spending power, while 41% say keeping down prices, inflation and government borrowing is key. The public is even more narrowly divided on regulation, as 45% say business works best when free from government and 40% support regulation.
Thatcherism is downright opposed, however, on individualism and privatisation. 61% say major public utilities are best run by the public sector compared to 26% who say they’re best run by private companies. And is there “no such thing as society”? The public say no: a majority (59%) and most Tories (54%) say government should be responsible for dealing with social problems, while 29% think responsibility lies with individuals, families and volunteers.