Jim heartfield jim at
Fri Apr 30 01:20:55 PDT 1999

>Doug Henwood wrote:
>> But as Stuart Hall argued, Thatcherism infected the masses' day-by-day
>> understanding of life. There was a major shift in popular discourse away
>> from class-conscious, solidaristic rhetoric & towards individualized,
>> market talk. While the Tories may be on the ropes, has Blair's Labour party
>> really done anything to reverse this, much less come up with so pervasive
>> an ideology of their own? I'm not there, so maybe someone who is can
>> enlighten.

Stuart Hall's 'Thatcherism' thesis was popular amongst the 'Euro' wing of the British Communist Party and some of Labour's soft left. (See Andrew Gamble's book for example).

But the flaw in it was that it always exaggerated the unique hold that Thatcher had on the working class. Thatcher never won a majority of the electors, let alone of the working class.

The real explanation for her success was not her strength, but the weakness of the left. Labour was caught between two stools. The old Labour programme of state socialism had been comprehensively exposed as a crock in the late seventies. The emerging 'new' Labour programme was just a pale imitation of Thatcherism. That meant twenty years of Tory rule.

But Thatcher had no special hold over the working classes. The fault was in the opposition, and its exhausted political programme. Of course, it was much easier to believe in the superhuman powers of Margaret Thatcher than to address those failings...

-- Jim heartfield

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