What Labour Did in Office

What Labour Did in Office

In the general election that took place in the spring of 1988, Mrs. Thatcher was eventually defeated. The dominant issue was unemployment, as it had been for two or three years prior to the election, since the end of the miners’ strike. While Mrs. Thatcher had in 1987 introduced substantial tax cuts, and a much less substantial capital spending program with the declared aim of “tackling unemployment now that we have conquered the problem of inflation once and for all,” this was perceived by most as unconvincing and cynical. Having staked so much on her “prudent housekeeping” approach to government spending, it was difficult for Thatcher to reverse course just before an election. Unlike Mondale in the 1984 American presidential election, faced with a comparable pre-election boom and budget deficit, the opposition parties in Britain did not denounce the deficit as irresponsible but said it was too little and too late. As so often before, the election was won and lost in the two or three years that preceded it, and not during the campaign itself.

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