Philip Begley
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The concluding chapter draws together the different subjects discussed in the course of the book and summarises its main arguments. These include that although the 1970s have often been seen as a time of significant change in Britain, with Conservative Party policy playing a significant part, much of this change appears less dramatic than might be expected if the 1974–79 opposition period is looked at in detail. The breakdown of the post-war consensus, economic decline, the ungovernability of Britain and a loss of morality in national life were important themes which could be seen to define the period. However, although these ideological conditions were important, established practices, traditions, ways of approaching certain problems and the practical short-term political context of the period, which often engendered pragmatism, were also crucial. By comparing the policies outlined by the Conservative Party in 1974 and in 1979 we can see that in simple terms there were real developments during this period but few dramatic changes. In turn, this can tell us a great deal about the development of Thatcherism and Britain during the 1970s.

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The making of Thatcherism

The Conservative Party in opposition, 1974–79


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