Philip Begley
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This chapter draws together Conservative policy in relation to nationalised industry and housing under the theme of ownership. By the 1970s the Conservatives had long been clear that they saw nationalised industries as undesirable in principle, and had begun to consider how to actually denationalise in practice. But it was also recognised that it would not be a straightforward process. The proposed method for unwinding the nationalised industries was wider share ownership. This can also be seen in relation to home ownership. The aim of a ‘property-owning democracy’, a long-standing element of Conservative thinking which had been revived and updated a number of times, moved more clearly to the centre of party strategy under Thatcher. Nonetheless, the most important policy which would help to bring it about was not in itself new. The sale of council houses under the ‘right to buy’ scheme had been a feature of Conservative manifestos in 1970 and 1974, although it was now given a new impetus.

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The making of Thatcherism

The Conservative Party in opposition, 1974–79


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