To What Extent Were Opposition Weaknesses the Main Reason for Conservative Electoral Victories Under Thatcher

Conservative electoral dominance under Thatcher is largely attributed to 2 main theories. One of these theories is that weaknesses in opposition, namely in the Labour Party, practically handed over 3 election victories to the Tories during the period of 1979-90. However, a much-distinguished hypothesis frequently proposed by the Conservative Party also exists. This hypothesis makes claim that Thatcher’s policies and leadership were more telling factors and ultimately more significant. Both of these theories carry a lot of weight. However, when all the evidence is weighed out, it seems Labour weaknesses

That . By 1979, the Labour Government seemed exhausted from maintaining its tenuous grip on power since the elections of 1974. The enforced IMF loan of 1976, and the Winter of Discontent exposed a lot of cracks in a government that couldn’t even ensure dead bodies were being buried in graveyards.   The strikes of 1978 and 1979 managed to simultaneously reduce support from the middle classes who disliked the apparent radicalism of the unions, and also from the working classes who perceived a Government seeking to undermine, rather than protect, workers’ rights through its 5% incomes policy and attempts at employment law reform.

Similarly, the 1983 election saw Labour in terrible disarray. Just two years earlier, moderate big-hitters such as Jenkins, Williams and Owen had felt so isolated by Labour’s move to the left under new leader Michael Foot, that they had felt compelled to leave the party, taking twenty MPs with them to form the SDP, which quickly joined an alliance with the Liberals to try and claim the centre-left. Failing to react to this, Labour seemed to underline its non-electability by adopting as a manifesto a list of left-wing policies, such as unilateralism and nationalisation, which was described by one of their own MPs as “the longest suicide note in history”. Many in the Labour Party were relieved not to have been knocked into third place in...