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The British Labour Party, “Parliamentary Socialism” and Thatcherism, 1979-1990: A Visual Perspective

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This article examines the British Labour Party's interaction with Thatcherism during the 1980s, harnessing posters from the People's History Museum and cartoons from the British Cartoon Archive that provide a unique insight into a political era dominated by visual communication and media-generated imagery. The posters and cartoons illuminate the Labour Party's response to the breakdown of the postwar settlement, the crisis of social democracy, the decline of class-based voting, the erosion of industrial militancy and the pre-eminence of market forces. Contending that the Labour Party's adoption of a media-led communications strategy fatally undermined the pursuit of parliamentary socialism, the article concludes that Margaret Thatcher's restructuring created the preconditions for the removal of socialist ideology from mainstream British politics.
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Keywords: Margaret Thatcher (b. 1925); Media Imagery; Parliamentary Socialism; Political Change; Political Communication; Thatcherism

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-06-01

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