"The similarities between Thatcherism and New Labour are more important than the differences". Discuss.
Thatcherism was built upon: Classical Liberalism, which emphasises the importance of individual freedom, and Conservatism, which promotes the notions of national sovereignty, the family and traditional morals and the minimising of state intervention. Thatcher developed her policies over time with her first government focussing on union reform and monetary control, the second focussing on privatisation and the third focussing on the restructuring of the welfare state.
After becoming leader of the party in 1994, Blair made a decisive break away from Old Labour's traditional political stance, rebranding the party as 'New Labour'. In policy terms New Labour often refer to themselves as 'The Third Way' between Old Labour, whose 'statist socialism' they believe to be too radical, and Thatcherism, which they consider to have been overly concerned by the principle of laissez-faire and individualism. By accepting many of his predecessors ideas on: free trade, the requirement of a flexible labour market, the need to promote the spirit of entrepreneurial capitalism, the necessity for greater individual self-help and personal initiative in welfare, it can be argued that Blair has significantly shifted the party to becoming more 'Thatcherite'.
There were four crucial aspects of Margaret Thatcher's economic reform: the privatisation of industry, the controlling of inflation, the curbing of union power, and the reduction of public spending in order to allow cuts in direct taxation. The most striking move away from the past by New Labour is the repeal of Clause IV of its constitution, which had become a keystone in the philosophy of the left. Commitment to public ownership was replaced by the view that "the enterprise of the market and the rigour of competition are joi...