Britain’s declining economy, particularly its manufacturing base, is a key feature of the background for this period. It was primarily an attempt to reverse its poor economic performance in relation to its European counterparts which led to the UK’s entry to the European Economic Community in 1973. The apparent failure of Keynesian economic policies and the rapidly escalating costs of the welfare state led to a revival of economic liberalism and a desire to reduce the role of the state in the economy and society. The election of the Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher in 1979 brought these policies to power. In 1982, success in the Falklands War gave Thatcherism increased confidence at home and abroad, deepening its mission to put a final end to the post-war consensus. Thatcher’s authoritarian populism politicized the family as never before in its attempt to restore so-called ‘family values’ and reverse the progressive tide, particularly equality for women and the growth of the single-parent family. Thatcherite economic policies accelerated the decline of Britain’s manufacturing base but other sectors, particularly services, experienced a minor boom in the eighties.
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