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AHC: Thatcher leads Tories into a fourth general election

AgentRudda

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With a POD no earlier than 1st January 1989, make Margaret Thatcher lead the Conservatives into a fourth general election, either in 1991 or 1992. Bonus points if you don't go for a Labour Implodes POD, and extra bonus points if Thatcher wins a majority.
 
I mean just have a handful of votes go the other way in 1990? She stays in post, let's say things settle down a bit, she gets a minor post-Gulf bounce, polls narrowing a touch, we go into the anticipated June 1991 general election which is about HER and Labour wins a small majority.

I just can't see a Tory majority from 1989 onwards with her unless we engage in Future History-level stuff.
 

Thande

UP THE WORKERS & Ukrainians
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I just can't see a Tory majority from 1989 onwards with her unless we engage in Future History-level stuff.
Well, you're right, I mean, you'd have to posit huge external effects on the level of the Falklands War a decade earlier that might lead to a rally-around-the-flag effect, a real paradigm shift in geopolitics, and obviously that happening in 1989 is -wait
 
Well, you're right, I mean, you'd have to posit huge external effects on the level of the Falklands War a decade earlier that might lead to a rally-around-the-flag effect, a real paradigm shift in geopolitics, and obviously that happening in 1989 is -wait
The Falklands being regarded as the decisive factor in the result (as opposed to the scale) in 1983 is regarded as pop history and has been for a long while by the big analyses of it, it's strange that it's still regarded as decisive on here, though there's obviously a Labour apologia aspect to it.

If you're referencing Gulf or variants of, then I'll say what I said before on that, it's hard to separate out Major's natural post-Thatcher honeymoon from it, I feel like the fact it had such an effect on his personal ratings over the party rating mostly suggests it was about it tying into that honeymoon mood. I guess you might be talking about a totally hypothetical war due to the Soviets shooting down a plane with civilians on it, (By the way, it is James Baker) in which case that's sort of what I'm talking about with future history isn't it?

I can definitely see a Thatcher majority at the next election with a 1987 POD, but by 1989 too much of the domestic issues and tendencies were locked in IMO.
 
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Thande

UP THE WORKERS & Ukrainians
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I guess you might be talking about a totally hypothetical war due to the Soviets shooting down a plane with civilians on it, (By the way, it is James Baker) in which case that's sort of what I'm talking about with future history isn't it?
Fair, but my point is that if there was any time in which one would expect "dramatic FH things happening" to be relatively plausible, it's, er, the exact time we're talking about.
 
An ex Guardian journalist, David McKie, wrote a wonderful travelogue entitled Great British Bus Journeys, and I quote from the preface,

"Margaret Thatcher is often quoted as saying that any man over the age of twenty- six traveling by bus must have lost out in life. One can't help feeling though that it might have done her good to travel just now and then, in heavy disguise of course, on a humble bus service alongside the people over whom she presided.

Had she so demeaned herself at the height of her power, to catch the bus from Grantham to Sleaford for instance, she might have heard conversations cautioning her against the fatal poll tax or her apparent assumption that people work best when they feel insecure. [...] you will certainly hear a lot more on the buses of Britain about the country you live in than you ever could if you travelled only by train or car."

While the idea of Thatcher doing a Haroun al-Raschid has potential comedy value, suppose some ministerial aide did make that trip- someone important enough to ring the alarm bells. They could and should have known how much potential it had for going wrong. (Oddly, the KGB at the time is supposed to have the same problem.)

The more I think about it the more confused I get, actually. I don't understand how the late eighties Tories could have been unaware of the size of the landmine they were choosing to step on. The last poll tax someone tried to bring in caused the Peasants' Revolt, didn't it?

Blind, blinkered or buffoonish? I just can't reconstruct the thinking.
 

Earling

Well-known member
Blind, blinkered or buffoonish? I just can't reconstruct the thinking.
The Tories obviously didn't call it the poll tax.
Theoretically everyone is benefiting from council services so everyone should pay. Its not obvious that the size of your house determines how much use you make of local services.

In any case Thatcher was stubborn and wouldn't give in - and certainly not to rebels in the streets.

I think in some ways its amazing how easy the pivot to council tax proved.
 

SteveBP

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I think you'd need a different handling of the Poll Tax.
This is the key to Thatcher’s fall, for her to survive as party leader let alone win a fourth term she would’ve needed to be dissuaded of the Community Charge before trying to bring it in. So an earlier Council Tax could help. Did she have any close advisors trying to convince her of that?

Also I read somewhere she never said that about people using buses...
 
This is the key to Thatcher’s fall, for her to survive as party leader let alone win a fourth term she would’ve needed to be dissuaded of the Community Charge before trying to bring it in. So an earlier Council Tax could help. Did she have any close advisors trying to convince her of that?
She could have quite easily survived as party leader (albeit only in terms of making it to the next election) with just a less dreadful and complacent leadership campaign in 1990.

The thing about the poll tax is that it partially crept in on the back of the unpopularity of the old rates, there was a particularly unpopular revaluation in Scotland in 1985 which is why the Scottish Tories famously wanted a new system introduced there first. So there was a lot of desire to change the existing system. The issue is it all came to a head when Thatcher was at the peak of her dominance and at her most ideological. The dominance of her meant that the opposition to it was muted (Even so, no less a figure than Nigel Lawson and a good chunk of the parliamentary party thought it was an awful idea, so yes, she had enough people advising her against it) and at the start the public of course didn't grasp the full implication either, when it was still at the 'abolish the rates' stage of vagueness, it was popular.

The theory that emerged amongst the true believers was that it would force pressure on over-spending councils, I.E hopefully Labour ones, once voters felt the full cost of payment for services. The reality of course was that a huge swathe of people, including natural Conservative voters, went ape when they were clobbered by massive increases - but that wasn't foreseen by enough people when it was at the introduction stage, including the public. (I'm reminded of my late dad getting excited at the prospect of an outfit supporting the abolition of the poll tax's successor, the council tax - I don't think he'd processed that it would have to be replaced by some other form of local taxation)
 

Ncw8

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The more I think about it the more confused I get, actually. I don't understand how the late eighties Tories could have been unaware of the size of the landmine they were choosing to step on. The last poll tax someone tried to bring in caused the Peasants' Revolt, didn't it?
Many Tory MPs did become aware of it - it was a large factor in the move to replace Thatcher as leader.

They might have become more aware of it sooner if they'd had more Scottish MPs. It's only when English Conservative voters received their first Community Charge bills (and found they were paying more than under the rates) that Tory MPs began to realize that this was a somewhat courageous policy.
 
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