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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.

Keywords: Margaret Thatcher (b. 1925); Media Imagery; Parliamentary Socialism; Political Change; Political Communication; Thatcherism

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2008


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