Thatcher to blame for ‘Broken society’

The 'Broken society' that David Cameron has focused on is the fault of the rising inequality that primarily took place under Margaret Thatcher.

The ‘Broken society’, which David Cameron and his party often refer to, is the fault of the rising inequality that primarily took place under Margaret Thatcher, according to two academics recently cited by the Conservative party leader.

In October, David Cameron told Conservative party conference:

“But in Britain today there is a dark side as well. After twelve years of big government, we still have those stubborn social problems. Poverty, crime, addiction. Failing schools. Sink estates. Broken homes.”

But last week, Richard Wilkinson and Katie Pickett wrote a British Medical Journal editorial which said:

“It is now clear that unequal societies have an increased prevalence of a host of social problems, including violence, bullying, teenage births, higher rates of imprisonment, low educational performance, reduced social mobility, low levels of trust, and longer working hours. Insofar as these are behavioural outcomes, they provide strong evidence that psychosocial processes are associated with inequality.

“The benefits of greater equality tend to be largest among the poor but seem to extend to almost everyone. A more equal society might improve most people’s quality of life. Rather than merely paying lip service to creating a “classless society,” it is a task for politicians and policy experts to repair our “broken society” by undoing the widening of inequalities that has taken place since the 1970s.

A chart on Wilkinson and Pickett’s Equality Trust website shows that the largest rise in inequality took place while Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister.

Wilkinson and Pickett are authors of the groundbreaking study on inequality ‘The Spirit Level’ and were cited by David Cameron in his Huge Young memorial lecture on the day the editoral was published. Cameron’s speech was challenged for making inaccurate claims about poverty and inequality.

24 Responses to “Thatcher to blame for ‘Broken society’”

  1. Tony

    Grow up

  2. Daryn McCombe

    RT @leftfootfwd: Thatcher most to blame for 'broken society' say academics cited by Cameron //bit.ly/3oB6sL

  3. SSP Campsie

    RT @leftfootfwd Thatcher most to blame for 'broken society' say academics cited by Cameron //bit.ly/3oB6sL

  4. j farrington-douglas

    RT @leftfootfwd: Thatcher most to blame for 'broken society' say academics cited by Cameron //bit.ly/3oB6sL

  5. Mark Manning

    RT @leftfootfwd Thatcher most to blame for 'broken society' say academics cited by Cameron //bit.ly/3oB6sL || UK

  6. Harriet

    Tony. Take you’re own advice. Grow up. Smell the shit*.

    *In this instance, shit is the rubbish that Thatcher said/did/implemented/said/changed thought during her tyrannical reign.

  7. willstraw

    I’m not sure I would quite have phrased it that way, but Harriet is spot on. It’s a great credit to progressive politics that Cameron is now committed to tackling inequality and the problems of our inner cities. But he shouldn’t pretend that the problems started in May 1997.

    Will

  8. Stephanie Barlow

    RT @leftfootfwd: Thatcher most to blame for 'broken society' say academics cited by Cameron //bit.ly/3oB6sL

  9. Joe FD

    If Cameron is going to criticise Labour for failing to tackle inequality – a criticism that cuts to the bone for progressives – then he should commit to tackling it himself.

  10. Lynda Edwards

    It was good in the late 1970s before the Thatcher government! Trouble was the Tories don’t like unions so our manufacturing industry was destroyed. Countries which have a good manufacturing industry, e g Germany, China and Japan, are prosperous while we appear to be sinking.

    We should have a law allowing people to be self-employed without the fear that, if anything goes wrong, they will be able to claim Jobseeker’s Benefit which they are unable to do so at the moment. Some employers take on employees on a self-employed basis – if those people lose their jobs they will be unable to claim benefit as they only will be paying Class 2 contributions as opposed to Class 1 which employed people pay or Jobseekers have credited to them. A self-employed person, running their own business, may be so successful that they are able to take on staff – they should be rewarded for being independent of employers.

    The Tories appear to be targetting young voters who may not even have been born prior to the Thatcher government and will not know how much damage has been done in the past 30 years.

    Tony Blair was brought up Tory parents that is why he was a disappointment when in power.

  11. Anon E Mouse

    The Tories never started illegal wars that killed hundreds of thousands of people. Nor did they mislead the House of Commons to get support for the said illegal wars. Nor did they blindly follow a crazy Republican US President into those illegal wars. Blair even got a US bravery medal for it. ???!!!

    Labour breaks society in other countries and that’s OK is it? 32000 women and children dead in Afganistan is OK to you “progressives” is it?

    Strange set of values you have and this is now scraping the barrel.

    At the election next year if Brown is in Labour is out.

  12. Stephen Duffy

    RT @leftfootfwd: Thatcher most to blame for 'broken society' say academics cited by Cameron //bit.ly/3oB6sL

  13. Panos Koumi

    RT @leftfootfwd: Thatcher most to blame for 'broken society' say academics cited by Cameron //bit.ly/3oB6sL

  14. Alexander Grey

    Margaret Thatcher to blame for Cameron's "Broken Society" — //bit.ly/3oB6sL

  15. Rory

    I think David Cameron is about as committed to tackling the problems of our inner cities as are Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.

  16. Ross J Warren

    Oh it makes such a nice change to be giving rather than receiving! I suppose hear I am the troll !

    Its a bit more than rich to blame Thatcher for the mess today’s society is in, and I am pretty certain that in 12 years time, if Conservatives were still blaming Blair, everyone would rightly smell a big fat rat. However I would remind the Socialist faith-full that in fact Maggie inherited a massive mess from the outgoing Labour government that has bankrupted the nation and had to call in the IMF for a loan. Yes our economy did indeed collapse in the first year or so of her time in office, as old outdated and union hamstrung businesses went to the wall. Yes the recovery when it came did not reach everyone, but by the time John Majors government was finished the economy was in good shape, we handed on a golden legacy to Nu-Labour.
    The sad part is that despite all the noise Nu-labour achieved nothing 12 years of waste ,under achievement, corruption and illegal wars, leading in to end to bankruptcy. So what is left for the Nu-labour faithful to do, I know blame Maggie that always goes down well with the left and if its not true, well at least it helps hide the fact that Blair was useless and Brown was hapless. The rot of course started long before Maggie with Wilson, but that has never been a popularist thing to say now has it?

  17. Ross J Warren

    “The Tories appear to be targeting young voters who may not even have been born prior to the Thatcher government and will not know how much damage has been done in the past 30 years.” The last 12 of which have been under a nu-labour government. If I am not mistaken, indeed the damage has been done over 45+ Years with much of the real damage done by Wilson and his near communist government.

  18. willstraw

    Ross,

    I think the point that Wilkinson and Pickett are making is that the problems which Cameron refers to as ‘Broken Society’ are not a recent phenomenon and can be traced back to the rise in inequality. This started under Thatcher and not Wilson as this chart shows:

    //www.leftfootforward.org/2009/11/academics-criticise-camerons-approach-to-inequality/

    Labour has not done enough on this front but the same chart shows that the rise in inequality has been abated since the party came to power.

    Best wishes,

    Will

  19. timmymc

    RT @leftfootfwd: Thatcher most to blame for 'broken society' say academics cited by Cameron //bit.ly/3oB6sL

  20. Lucy Chapman

    RT @leftfootfwd: Thatcher most to blame for 'broken society' say academics cited by Cameron //bit.ly/3oB6sL

  21. Keir Liddle

    RT @lucyfunf: RT @leftfootfwd: Thatcher most to blame for 'broken society' say academics cited by Cameron //bit.ly/3oB6sL

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