Margaret Thatcher managed to persuade the world at large, and conventional opinion in the United States, that her government had engineered the economic recovery and social transformation of Britain. That was a carefully contrived illusion, and for a while it was given the semblance of reality by the irresponsible policies that produced the credit-fueled boom of the mid-1980s. It has fallen to her successor, John Major, to inherit the crisis created by Conservative policy. Major won the April 1992 general election with a majority of twenty MPs, against the expectations of informed opinion. He thus saddled the Conservatives
with governing in a period when the accumulated results of their thirteen years of misrule became inescapable. Some Conservatives would have liked to leave a weak minority Labour government to bear the
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