Margaret Hilda Thatcher
[ Part 1]
(Parliamentary and Political career)
Margaret Thatcher was undoubtedly one of the great political figures of her day — both in the United Kingdom, and in the global sphere. She was a deeply divisive figure, who is often promoted as a 'Conviction Politician' because of her 'full-steam-ahead' and 'damn the lifeboats' attitude to anything remotely likely to obstruct her will.
There is no doubt that she was strongly influenced by the monetarist theories of Milton Friedman, and the ultra-libertarian view of Freidrich Hayek. However her economic views were filtered through the scholarly interpretations of her mentor Keith Joseph [Sir Keith Joseph], and later by the influence of fanatical business-oriented ideological warriors, Antony Fisher [the battery-chicken king of the UK ... Sir Antony Fisher] and Ralph Harris [Lord Harris of High Cross]. Harris was a paid lobbyist for the tobacco industry, who ran FOREST (Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco) funded by both Philip Morris and British-American Tobacco.
Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher created the Conservative think-tank, the Center for Policy Studies which operated reasonably above-board as a genuine policy organisation — and later they established both the European Democrat Union, and the Independent Democrat Union with its subsidiary the Pacific Democrat Union. These were and are the Comintern of the right-wing political parties.
By keeping out of direct contact with the corporations which backed them, both Thatcher and Joseph managed to escape charges of corruption, and their image realatively clean.
Fisher and Harris, however, jointly founded the Adam Smith Institute and the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). These organisations appear to many to be legitimate policy think-tanks, but they also provide on a commission basis, an ideological front to what was obviously commercial lobbying. The Adam Smith Institute connection was used by a Philip Morris lobbyist (and fringe-CIA operative) Richard T Hines. He was able to expoit its free-market think-tank network in Eastern Europe in an attempt to establish an tobacco-flavoured International Journalism School. Margaret Thatcher's foundation offered much the same services in 1992.
The IEA operated its tobacco 'front' service through the European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF) run by Roger Bate (now with the American Enterprise Institute). Lord Harris focussed on FOREST which was expanded globally, but got itself into a major financial scandal with secret funds used to purchase Spanish real estate.
Sir Antony Fisher left his daughter and Harris in charge of the IEA and took his trophy wife to San Francisco where he joined forces with multi-millionairre brewer Joseph Coors, and bank/oil-heir Richard Mellon Scaife (and later the Koch Brothers) to establish hundreds of ultra-libertarian think-tanks. Fisher later brought these together under the umbrella of the Atlas Network (Atlas Economic Research Foundation) of think-tanks in the USA — which coordinates the commissions and commercial activities of these libertarian-commercial groups.
In the UK the Conservative party consisted of two main factions — the older 'true conservatives', and the new ideological libertarians (who saw themselves as 'progresives') — both of which depended heavily on funding from major corporations. The tobacco industry was one of the most generous, and in return successive Conservative governments managed the difficult task of dampening the enthusiasm of the medical and health establishments for the abolition of tobacco, and the progressive anti-smoking attacks on tobacco advertising and public smoking.
In this, the tobacco industry, the advertising and publishing/media companies, and the conservatives were in agreement. It was a very profitable arrangement for the Tories.
After the second world war, the tobacco companies also had strong associations with the UK secret services (MI5 and MI6) and with those officers from military intelligence. They also had banking connections through Sweden and Switzerland because of the financing of arms deals — and later with the hunt for Nazi loot.
Britain's class system and the war-time selection processes had conspired to bring these educated and polticially-savvy elites to the forefront when industry and trade expanded in the post-war era. And few opportunities were more profitable than the expansion of cigarette sales across Europe — especially after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Conservative politicians often had links through these associations to influential East European, USSR, and Middle Eastern power-brokers, politicians and trade organisations which served the tobacco industry well. Margaret Thatcher was later able to utilise her connections to the Foreign Office and her trans-European relationships with the powerful, as a saleable commodity.
Some key documents
Only a fraction of material available in the tobacco archives about Thatcher's Conservative Government and the tobacco industry
1959: Margaret Thatcher entered parliament
1970: The Conservative Prme minister Heath had won the 1970 election on a free-market platform, but had soon abandoned it in the face of events.
Thatcher was subsequently appointed to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Education and Science. During her first months in office she attracted public attention as a result of the administration's attempts to cut spending. She gave priority to academic needs in schools.
This stuck with her for life: "Maggie Thatcher... Milk Snatcher!" Heath's government was a debacle.
She imposed public expenditure cuts on the state education system, resulting in the abolition of free milk for schoolchildren aged seven to eleven
The 1970 general election victory resulted in Keith Joseph being appointed secretary of state for health and social services. It was a post he held throughout the parliament. Joseph had an unwieldy, high-spending department. A correspondent from the Times judged that "no solution was found to the chronic financial problems of the NHS and in the reorganisation of the service excessive deference was paid to the susceptibilities of doctors".
1972 Mar 2: SECRET minutes: Jeremy Thorpe saw PM Heath (Wilson was leader of the Opposition). Neither of the two major parties could command an overall majority. Labor now held 5 more than the Tories. Liberals led by Thorpe had 14 seats. 7 Ulster Unionists. 16 independents (incl Welsh and Scottish nationalists etc.).
They were also discussing the miners pay - and disputes, However they didn't strike any agreement,
1972 Jun: Sir Keith Joseph, then Secretary of State for Social Services, referred in a speech to a 'cycle of deprivation'
1973 Sept 19: The Selsdon Manifesto (A free market conference at Selsdon House) largely set the Tories economic ideology.
Britain is today approaching a state of crisis. We are suffering the worst bout of inflation for a quarter of a century, with the pound depreciating and mortgage rates rising at an unprecedented rate. The political situation has become increasingly volatile and unfavourable to the Government with dramatic by-election swings being registered against Conservative candidates as a result of a tremendous upsurge of support for the Liberals.
[This esssentially set out the policies of the Thatcher Government. Keith Joseph was a member of this group.]
Electorally the situation is serious in that the continuing failure of the Government's counterinflation strategy will, if prolonged, lead to nemesis at the polls; and to the victory of a Labour Party committed to the most extreme socialist programme since 1945
The Government's about turns in economic policy are, alas, bringing this situation about. At a time when the Labour Party is moving strongly in a more socialist direction, the Government's aid to industry (with the extension of political interference that entails) is vastly greater than under the last Labour administration. Public expenditure has soared, helping to produce the largest public Sector deficit in our financial history. Government controls over prices and incomes, once derided in opposition, have so ministers tell us, become essential weapons in the fight against inflation. Finally, the Government has done next to nothing to reduce the size of the public sector or to do anything really radical about extending the private sector in welfare and education. If present trends continue, the electorate will only have a choice between two brands of collectivism at the next General Election: Socialism V. The Tory Corporate State
1974 Feb: The Heath Conservative government lost the February 1974 general election — a 'double election defeat' which left the Tories dispirted and directionless.. It had experience difficulties with oil embargoes and union demands for wage increases in 1973. Labour formed a minority government. The Tories turned to monetaryism under Keith Joseph who, together with the party leader Margaret Thatcher and William Whitelaw, formed an effective troika of Tory leadership.
Joseph certainly demonstrated maladroit judgment when he spoke at Birmingham on the subject of the cycle of social deprivation. The cycle was attributed to a combination of the young and poor in a climate of sexual freedom perpetuating a deprived class with little effective hope of self-improvement.
The observation was neither novel or offensive but the choice of such phrases as "the balance of our human stock is threatened" invited misrepresentation. The uproar that followed had Joseph protesting that he was misunderstood and apologising and redefining what he had intended to say. It is no exaggeration to say that his tactlessness and subsequent confusion lost him any chance of replacing Edward Heath as leader.
1974 March: Keith Joseph and Ralph Harris (later Lord Harris) create the Erhard Foundation, which was to be the Conservative Party's version of Labour's Fabian Society. The idea was that the Foundation was an agency of the Conservatives and it was always to include three members of the Tory front bench - initially Keith Joseph, MT and George Howe.
It was to run a school to train MPs and conduct research and lobby, and it would need a staff of about 12 and about £120,000 a year for five years
[Don't confuse with the US Earhart Foundation which gives grants to conservative (libertarian) causes.]
1974 Apr: Keith Josephs:
With Margaret Thatcher he established a free enterprise think-tank, the Centre for Policy Studies. The venture had the grudging acquiescence of Edward Heath, and became a focal point for such devoted evangelists of free enterprise as Alfred Sherman, Alan Walters and Peter Bauer.
1974 April: Both Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher underwent a conversion to the libertarian economic philiosphy
The Tories had always had an ambiguous relationship with the doctrines of laissez-faire and the market economy: in the nineteenth century it was the Liberals who were the party of free trade. Now Thatcher was born again as a votary of laissez faire. Under her leadership there would be no more U-tums, no more compromise.
Her affinity for Jews, for example, was unmistakable. When she had been converted to the true faith of free enterprise, her guru was Sir Keith Joseph, the patrician Jewish elder statesman who had already undergone the same conversion.
Her own parliamentary constituency, in the north London district of Finchley, has a large Jewish population with which she closely identified; these small businessmen and accountants were almost as much "the folk from whence I came" as her own artisan and shopkeeper forebears.
And an unusual number of Jews sat in Thatcher's Cabinets: Joseph, Nigel Lawson, Leon Brittan, Malcolm Rifkind, Michael Howard.
The weird crew of wizards and mountebanks whom Thatcher assembled around her in Downing Street. Some of chose she attracted could be dignified with the name "intellectual," a number of them spiritual refugees from socialism, the English equivalents of neo-conservatives.
- the historian Hugh Thomas,
- the former Labour MP Woodrow Wyatt (both of them made lords by Thatcher),
- the journalist Paul Johnson, once the editor of the socialist New Statesman
Also her Number Ten crew/devotees
- the economist Alan Walters, (already ideological sympathizer);
- Charles Powell, had been nonpolitical civil servant,
- her press secretary (and hit man) Bernard Ingham, (a sometime Labour supporter).
- former MP and popular novelist Jeffrey Archer, whom Thatcher chose at one point to make deputy chairman of the Conservative Parry, until an untoward episode with a prostitute forced his resignation
1974 Oct: Labour forced to the polls, General election where they won by a narrow majority. This put Heath under pressure.
1974 Oct 19: During a speech, Keith Joseph exposed an ultra-conservative side of his ideology (eugenics, anti single-parent families) which destroyed his chance ot replacing Heath as leader of the Conservatives.
1975: Munich conference of Conservative Party Leaders [Whitelaw leading the UK Conservatives] pledged full cooperation in forming a European Democratic Union — however Christian Democrats created their onw union
1975 Feb 11: Thatcher challenged Heath for leadership of the Tory party in opposiion. She won on the first ballot, Heath never forgave her for successfully challenging his leadership.
Thatcher began to attend lunches regularly at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a think tank founded by the poultry magnate Antony Fisher, a disciple of Friedrich von Hayek.
She had been visiting the IEA and reading its publications since the early 1960s. There she was influenced by the ideas of Ralph Harris and Arthur Seldon, and she became the face of the ideological movement opposing the welfare state. Keynesian economics, they believed, was weakening Britain. The institute's pamphlets proposed less government, lower taxes, and more freedom for business and consumers.
1976 June: Thatcher at an European meeting of conservative parties in Hanover promoted wider group with Christian Demcroats and Conservatives
1977: Mark Thatcher, after having failed his accountancy degree three times, set up Mark Thatcher Racing. It later developed cash problems
1977 March: Conservatives and Christian Democrats joined forces to elect Signor Colombo as President of the European Parliament
1977 May 15: Article for Sunday Telegraph "How Tories will face the unions" She is the Leader of the Opposition —
1977 Sep: /E (autumn) Inter-Party Conference sets up the European Democratic Union formally — launch arranged for December but delayed until after March 1978 founding congress of the EPP, New date for launch and formal congress was 24 April 1978 in Salzburg
1977 Sep 27: Minutes of the Management Committee of the Centre for Policy studies. [Margaret Thatcher's copy]
1978–79: Dubbed the "Winter of Discontent". The Conservatives attacked the Labour government's unemployment record, using advertising with the slogan Labour Isn't Working. A general election was called after James Callaghan's government lost a motion of no confidence in early 1979.
1978 Apr 24: European Democratic Union formally launched in Salzburg. Meeting of Party Leaders with one elected as Chairman for two-year term
1978 Dec: - Feb 1979 The Winter of Discontent — The coldest winter for 16 years with blizzards which stalled the economy. Also widespread strikes by public sector trade unions demanding larger pay rises. The Labour Government was attempting to control inflation. The newspapers (particularly Murdoch's The Sun) and the middle classes came to believe that the unions were acting irresponsably and the government had no control.
1979 Feb: /E (Early) She won the General Election against James Callahan, and became Prime Minister on 4 May 1979
She inappropriately (and inaccurately) quoted Saint Francis: "Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope." Geoffrey Howe abolished Britain's exchange controls in 1979, allowing more capital to be invested in foreign markets
Margaret Thatcher made Keith Joseph the secretary of state for industry. It was something of an anti-climax as the department was not a major Whitehall fiefdom. Joseph was obliged to offer financial lifelines to British Shipbuilders, British Rail and British Leyland. It was easy to caricature this as apostasy but in due course shipbuilding and the motor industry passed to the private sector. Joseph confronted his critics by resisting the steel strikers and eventually outfacing them.
1979 July 20-21: Thatcher is host for the European Democratic Union in London.
Chirac is the bitter rival to French president Giscard and the UDF Party who are part of the EDU. French government blackballed Chirac from meeting with Thatcher.
Douglas Hurd, Minister for State, was UK rep. Alistair MacAlpine was treasurer. Sir Anthony Royle was also there.
The EDU has hundreds of Sub-Committees on all subjects. Hurd and Baroness Diana Elles ran the sub-committee on "Eurocommunism"
They planned to extend the EDU world wide = IDU
1980 Feb: /E In a letter to a constitutent Mrs Thatcher wrote
"My Health Ministers and I are in no doubt that smoking is the major preventable cause of illness and premature death in the UK"
Her Junior Health Minister, Sir George Young, is currently leading his team in negotiating a voluntary agreement with the TAC.
It's a three yearly ritual in which the unspoken threat of legislation is supposed to squeeze concessions the industry wouldn't otherwise give. Sir George wants a stronger health warnings and an advertising ban.
[Sir George Young] I don't think any Health Minister ean be unaware of the tremendous drain on the health service caused by smoking, 50,000 premature deaths, 50 million days lost from work through sickness. And if we could use the resources currently devoted to looking after these ill from smoking, to diseasee which are nonpreventable... kidney patients, people suffering from hip joints that need replacement... we could make a big improvement in the country's health.
In principle, Mrs.Thatcher is behind Sir George Young in aecepting that clgarettes kill 50,000 yeople a year, but ranged against him are the interests of other powerful government departments.
- John Nott's Department of Trade. £300 million from tobacco exports
- James Prior's Department of Employment — 40,000 jobs plus half a million people indirectly affected, people like small shopkeepers.
- Sir Keith Joseph's Department of Industry, 3,000 new Jobs created from £20 million worth of Government assistance since 1972.
- Sir Geoffrey Rove at the Treasury, £2.5 billion in revenue from cigarettes, enough to pay for a third of the National Health Service.
Despite his Government's stated concern for the health of the nation, in his last budget Sir Geoffrey only put 5 p. pn a packet of 20. Cigarettes are still cheaper in real terms than they were 15 years ago.
[Source: 1980 April 14 Panorama Transcript.]
1980 Feb: 6: After being chucked out of the Freedom Association, top Thatcher aide and speechwriter Robert Moss wrote a best-selling roman-a-clef. The Spike'. It recycles the paranoid Rightist fantasy that the leading left-wing think-tank in America, the Institute for Policy Studies, is a KGB outstation and is also involved with international terrorists
1980 Oct: Colby to Witt :According to "inside information" Thatcher was 'for the industry'. But her Health Minister Sir George Young had "extermist anti-tobacco stances"
1980 Dec: Thatcher's job approval rating fell to 23%, lower than recorded for any previous Prime Minister
1981: /? Keith Joseph welcomed the move to Education in 1981, [Later] he sought a modest expansion in his science budget by seeking a parental charge for university tuition fees, thus requiring no net increase in public spending. The Tory middle classes were outraged and Joseph was obliged to abandon his plan.
1981: Riots in England resulted in the British media discussing the need for a policy U-turn.
1981 Jan 27: TACs meeting with Thatcher's Ministers for Sport [Hector Monro] [DHHS = Minister for Health Finesberg. Sports sponsorship (one under Whist mistakenly in 1983)
[ Elephant and Castle: Comments in UK documents about meetings at the Elephant and Castle are just common English name for an area in London which houses some of the Thatcher government's Ministries This is an area of London which housed the Health Minister.]
The industry is trying to get him to renew the sports sponsorship agreement for another three years. They see it as urgent. [Why?]
1981 Mar: Three hundred and sizty four leading economists issued a statement expressing concern. The recession of the early 1980s deepened, but she increased taxes.
1981 Mar 17: Hansard answers from Minister Hector Monro [Sec of State for Environmenet — later Baron Monro of Langholm]
Mr. Monro: The existing sports sponsorship voluntary agreement with the tobacco industry is effective until 31 December 1981. I have agreed with the chairman of the Tobacco Advisory Council a timetable for renegotiation of a new agreement. Preparatory work is proceeding and so far we are keeping to the agreed timetable.
1981 Dec 18: TACS Meeting with Norman Fowler, the UK Sec of State for Social Services. The Note is written by Sir James Wilson (AJW) the TAC President, and he was accompanied by AMR who is BAT/TAC political specialist AW Reid. DHSS is Department of Health and Social Services. Norman Fowler was the Secretary of State for Social Services.
1982 /E: Mark Thatcher set up Monteagle Marketing, an international consultancy firm.
1982 Jan 9: While competing in the Paris-Dakar rally, Thatcher, his French co-driver, and their mechanic went missing in the Sahara Desert for six days.
The trio had become separated from a convoy of vehicles after they stopped to make repairs to a faulty steering arm. They were declared missing on 12 January; after a large-scale search, a C-130 Hercules search plane from the Algerian military spotted the white Peugeot 504 some 50 km off course on 14 January.
Mark later claimed that they hadn't been lost and refused to give public thanks to the group which had found and rescued him.
The Falklands War 1992 Apr 2:
The ruling military junta in Argentina ordered the invasion of the British-controlled Falkland Islands and South Georgia, triggering the Falklands War. Thatcher took charge of the War Cabinet and successfully led the country in the war to reconquer the Falkland Islands;
By April 5-6
a naval task force had been despatched to retake the islands
1982 May 2: the nuclear-powered submarine HMS Conqueror torpedoed and sank the cruiser (Argentine training ship) General Belgrano and 323 young trainee sailors died. In the Falkands War 907 died (both sides) and 2432 people were maimed, mainly young soldiers.
1982 Jun 14: Argentina surrendered.
1982 July: /E In the euphoric period after the Falklands War the UK began to experience signs of economic recovery; inflation was down to 8.6 per cent from a high of 18 per cent, but unemployment was over 3 million for the first time since the 1930s
1983: Overall economic growth was stronger and inflation and mortgage rates were at their lowest levels since 1970, although manufacturing output had dropped by 30 per cent since 1978 and unemployment remained high, peaking at 3.3 million in 1984
1983: Thatcher won her second general election on a wave of nationalistiv fervour; After the 1983 election the sale of state utilities accelerated; more than £29 billion was raised from the sale of nationalised industries, and another £18 billion from the sale of council houses.
1983 Oct: Reagan's invasion of Grenada. She gave him hell.
[See reference to Sultan of Oman in Philip Morris handnote in Part 2]
1984: After having failed as an accountant with Touche Ross, and an unimpressive career in motor racing, jewellery sales and unspecified business verntures" in the Far Easr, Mark Thatcher's involvement in a contract to build a university in Oman was revealed in 1984 by the Observer newspaper.
The newspaper alleged that he had earned a commission for a £300 million deal won by the British construction company Cementation after Lady Thatcher had recommended it to the Sultan of Oman.
During an official visit, the Prime Minister had urged the Omanis to give the work to Britain and he represented Cementation, a subsidiary of Trafalgar House which won the contract, She always denied a conflict of interests and said she had simply been "batting for Britain".
Immediately after the scandal broke, Mark severed his links with Cementation and left his Downing Street flat, and the Thatcher's family friends established him on a lucrative contract in Dallas, Texas, as a representative of Lotus and British Car Auctions for an annual salary of £45,000. .
1984: Prime Minister Thatcher went on a state visit to the Soviet Union and met with Gorbachev
1984 Mar: the National Coal Board (NCB) proposed to close 20 of the 174 state-owned mines and cut 20,000 jobs out of 187,000. Two-thirds of the country's miners, led by the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) under Arthur Scargill, downed tools in protest.
1984 Mar: - 85: It had been a commonplace of British political debate anywhere outside the extreme left that the unions had to be tamed, inflation curbed, and economic initiative revived. [Atlantic Monthly]
She compared the strike to the Falklands War saying "We had to fight the enemy without in the Falklands. We always have to be aware of the enemy within, which is much more difficult to fight and more dangerous to liberty."
1984 Oct 12: Thatcher narrowly escaped injury in an IRA assassination attempt at a Brighton hotel early in the morning during the Conservative's annual conference. Five people were killed including the wife of Cabinet Minister John Wakeham.
1984 Dec 18:: Letter from Sheehy (CEO of British-American Tobacco) to Tommy Thompson, Opinion Reearch & Communications.
Bernard [Her media man] seemed to be under constant fire, but I think he stood his corner very well.
In truth, Margaret [Thatcher] is doing a splendid job, but I guess everybody hopes that she could do even better:
1985: Questions were also asked in Parliament over claims Mark Thatcher had received millions of pounds in commission from a 1985 arms sale to Saudi Arabia. He denied receiving any money.
1985 Mar: /E (Early), she came up against a tougher enemy still: her old university. She was proposed for an honorary doctorate at Oxford, as Oxonian Prime Ministers always had been. No one could by then doubt the peculiar distaste felt for the Prime Minister within the academic community, and although such proposals had always gone through on the nod, this one was opposed. It was debated in Congregation, the parliament of the Oxford faculty, and rejected. The blackballing dons felt that Thatcher was different, because of "the cuts" — by now fighting words in academic spending. [Atlantic Monthly]
1985: Mar. The NUM leadership conceded without a deal, the Strike was broken She defeated a strike by the seemingly invincible miners' union, a victory in its way as dramatic as the one over General Galtieri.The government closed 25 unprofitable coal mines in 1985, and by 1992 a total of 97 had been closed; those that remained were privatised in 1994.
1985 Dec: /E By the end of 1985 public assets (Jaguar, British Aerospace, BP, and other) had been sold for a bargain $10 billion. The next year other companies would join them (including British Gas expected to fetch $10b) and all the water works of England and Wales. Then public housing
1985 Dec: Meeting of US officials and Iranian government in Algeria and then Frankfurt. The Reagan Administration begins selling arms to Iran secretly — the deal is over American hostages and the Nicaraguan Contras. At this time Iran and Iraq are at war with Russia supporting Iraq. The deals begin to become exposed in June 1986.
1986: The Big Bang of 1986 removed many restrictions on the London Stock Exchange. The Thatcher government encouraged growth in the finance and service sectors to compensate for Britain's ailing manufacturing industry.
1986: Prime Minister Thatcher is questioned over her son Mark's relationship with the Sultan of Brunei.
1986 Apr 14-15: Thatcher permitted Ronald Reagan's F-111s to use Royal Air Force bases for the bombing of Libya in retaliation for the alleged Libyan bombing of a Berlin discoth¸que, and the killing of a British policewomen by gunfire from the Libyan Peoples Bureau in London.
[See time-line of events]
1986 May 21: Keith Joseph left the government and received a life peerage.
[Keith Sinjohn Joseph, Baron Joseph of Portsoken born January 17 1918, died December 10 1994]
1987 Feb 14: Thatcher's son Mark married Diane Burgdorf, the daughter of a Texas car dealer ('a car showroom heiress'). They had met in Dallas where Thatcher was a representive of the Lotus cars.
He had already been dogged by further allegations of exploiting his mother's position to earn a commission of £12 million as an intermediary for the £20 billion Al Yamamah arms deal with Saudi Arabia.
He denied receiving the commission and nothing was proved but he became almost persona non grata among his mother's aides.Sir Bernard Ingham advised him to leave the UK.
1987 June 11: She called an early general election — unemployment was falling — her third successive victory.
The economy was stable and strong, and inflation was low. Opinion polls showed a comfortable Conservative lead, and local council election results had also been successful She had the benefit of North Sea oil revenues.
However there was increasing Thatcherphobis in the intellectual classes. Anti-sentiments were in full flight. Thatcher returned to Downing Street with a reduced, but still large majority: however the hatred of her conservative and liberal enemies intensified. ['Chattering classes']
Another mini-survey of the intelligentsia, conducted in early 1988, told the same story — Thatcherites were seen as "barbarians"
1988 Jan: Thatcher was pressing the Council of Ministers (European Economic Community) to support duty-free, because it raised the value of airport privatisation.
1988 Feb 4: The Foreign Policy report says that Thatcher was:
- Castigating European leaders for being 'soft on terrorism'
- Attempting to revive the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group (EPG) which had failed to find settlement between South African government and the ANC.
[This is the year of Glasnost - openness in Eastern Europe and Russia]
1988 Apr 5: Tobacco Institute newsletter says:
Britain's Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health noted in its 4th report "a small but real increase in the risk of lung cancer to nonsmokers from prolonged exposure to environmental tobacco smoke" (ETS).
A bill then introduced in parliament to allow nonsmoking Britons to demand workplace segregation lacks the support of Thatcher govt, which prefers voluntary action, officials said.
1988 Sep 27: Senator Jesse Helms writes to Margaret Thatcher promoting the interests of the companies which make smokeless tobacco products on grounds of free-trade.
1989 Jan: Thatcher gave the strongest anti-smoking speech ever made by a prime minister to launch the UK governments £11 m campaign to halve the number of teenage smoker by 1993 and mark the start of the Europe Against Cancer Year.
1989 Apr: Chris Tame's FOREST paper links Thatcherism and the Conservative party with the IEA. Especially youth wing "health fascism" of doctors. FOREST's future strategy Lord Harris of High Cross ran FOREST.
1989 Apr: /E Thatcher's infamous poll tax was introduced into Scotland, a year before its attempt introduction into England.
1989 May: Removal of Hungary's border fence opens a hole in the Iron Curtain. This triggered the Berlin Wall to fall.
1989 Nov: /E (late) Nigel Lawson, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, resigned over economic policy-and over whether it should be dictated by himself or by Sir Alan Walters, a member of her kitchen cabinet.
1989 Nov 8: Thatcher made a speech promoting the need for action against climate change at the General Assembly of the United Nations.
1989 Nov 9: The day the Berlin Wall came down
1990 Mar 31: Public disquiet culminated in a 70,000 to 200,000-strong demonstration in London. The demonstration around Trafalgar Square deteriorated into the Poll Tax Riots, leaving 113 people injured and 340 under arrest. It was revealed that under this new tax (replacing council rates) the Duke of Westminister's £10,295 estate rates would shrink to £417, the same amount paid by his housekeeper and resident chaufeur.
1990 Aug: She was on a state visit to the USA when Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invaded neighbouring Kuwait.
During her talks with US President George H. W. Bush, who had succeeded Reagan in 1989, she recommended intervention, and put pressure on Bush to deploy troops in the Middle East to drive the Iraqi army out of Kuwait.
Bush was somewhat apprehensive about the plan, prompting Thatcher to remark to him during a telephone conversation that "This was no time to go wobbly!"
Thatcher's government provided military forces to the international coalition in the build-up to the Gulf War, but she had resigned by the time hostilities began on 17 January 1991
1990 Aug 2: to 28 Feb 1991 [Gulf War] Began with Iran bombardment of Kuwait City on August 2. It was nearly six months before the UN Coalition retaliated
1990 Nov: /E (late) Sir Geoffrey Howe resigned from the govemment and unleashed the closest he could to a fierce attack on Margaret Thatcher. The Labour politician Denis Healey once said in the House of Commons that to be attacked by Howe was like being savaged by a dead sheep; on this occasion the dead sheep bit back.
1990 Nov 22: Margaret Thatcher forced to resign. A few days later she was replaced by John Major — "a man who had risen without trace" and without any convictions — a compromise candidate by people opposed to Haseltine as leader. [Ex cabinet]
- Former trade secretary Nicholas Ridley "smokes cigarettes with dedication, as if engaged in an athletic activity from which he hoped eventually to attain national recognition."
- Health secretary William Waldegrave has been "educated out of his wits,"
- Mrs. Thatcher's opponent Michael Heseltine, Watkins writes: "There is something of the pine-forest about him."