Five progressive things done by the governments of Margaret Thatcher

There are plenty of things Margaret Thatcher did which progressives are right to have opposed. Support for Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet abroad, the casual disregard her government showed to the unemployed at home, the emasculation of local government and the introduction of Section 28 to name but a few.

Thatcher the EurophileShe also brought in a few progressive measures, though. Here are five:

  1. The abolition of corporal punishment. Under Margaret Thatcher’s government corporal punishment was abolished in 1986. Mrs Thatcher did not vote herself (she was entertaining Nancy Reagan at the time),  and several pro-caning Tory MPs missed the commons vote – which was won by 231 votes to 230 – because they were stuck in traffic caused by preparations for the wedding of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, which took place the following day.

  2. Took action on HIV/AIDs. It was the government of Margaret Thatcher which started the fightback against the spread of HIV/AIDS, launching a number of campaigns to draw attention to the spread of the disease and promote safe sex as the 1980s epidemic gained ground. Mrs Thatcher had serious misgivings about mounting a campaign at all – she wanted the traditional family to be reclaimed as the backbone of British life, therefore any “deviant” behaviour was to be condemned – but her government broke the ice in talking about sex – safe sex.

  3. Took climate change seriously. For some Margaret Thatcher was a climate change pioneer. Mentioning climate change at the Royal Society in 1988, she told scientists that climate change warranted government action to diminish pollution and promote sustainable development. She also threw her weight behind global efforts to phase out CFCs.

  4. Promoted European intergration. Despite the Conservative Party’s strained relationship with Europe, Margaret Thatcher signed Britain up to the Single European Act, which created the European single market, signaling greater European integration by making it easier to pass laws, strengthening the EU Parliament and laying the basis for a European foreign policy.

  5. Liberated the Falklands from a fascist junta. Despite her uncomfortably close relationship with Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and the fact that she denounced Nelson Madela’s African National Congress as terrorists, Margaret Thatcher sent British forces halfway around the world to defend the self-determination of the islanders against an aggressive government of the far right.

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  • Galathumpian

    Simply not true. The occupation of the Falklands by the British happened BEFORE Argentina was a country. It helps when the facts are right.
    And Argentina didn’t steal itself from Spain. The gained independence against their Colonial rulers. The Falkland Islanders do not want to do that. It would be simpler if they did.

  • rgr


  • mike hamblett

    Thatcher created the conditions whereby corporations and banks could dominate future governments

  • mike hamblett

    Sorry, but all our ‘stuff’ is now made in Germany and Far East