We say socialism tends to stand together throughout the world”, Margaret Thatcher said on American TV in 1977. “We must have what I call the freer way of life likewise standing together”. Margaret Thatcher’s World derives from the fact that no democratic leader has provoked so great an international reaction, and no political brand – defined in many often contradictory ways, but a recognisable brand nonetheless – has had such international salience as Thatcherism, both at the time and subsequently.
It is striking in public discourse in countries across the world, how often the person and the ‘ism’ is used and misused, revered and abused. Frequently the spectre (or specter) of Thatcherism is invoked; the term and the person has become an epithet of approbation or opprobrium. The project is an international history and a reception study which includes such aspects as policy networks and processes, rhetoric, gender, and ideology. So it was that Johannesburg’s Business Day described “the global implementation of Thatcherism”, Tehran’s Shargh felt “the majority of the countries of the world have put the Thatcherism movement in their agenda”, Toronto’s Financial Post that “Thatcher’s legacy lives far and wide”, and Santiago’s El Mercuria wrote of “the woman who transformed the UK and shocked the world”. The application of the term goes beyond Britain, and even the West: President Ershad of Bangladesh has referred to “third world Thatcherism”, and the Times of India to “Thatcherism of the Tigris”. As she said in Moscow in 1987, “[I]t is universally true, you know, Thatcherism”.
When: Wed. 18 November 2015, 16.00-17.00
Where: Queens Building LT6.1, University of Exeter
Dr Martin Farr is Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary British History at Newcastle University. His recent publications include articles on the 1918 general election, the politics of strategic bombing 1940-5, and package holidays in the 1970s. He’s currently working on a book entitled Margaret Thatcher’s World, and articles and chapters on: the Representation of the People Act 1918; British seaside resorts since 1945; leaders of the Labour Party in the 1980s; the deaths of Hugh Gaitskell and John Smith; and the film version of Oh! What a Lovely War. He’s also contributing to a textbook called Britain and the World, 1603-2015. Follow him on Twitter @martinjohnfarr