To what extent is the party of David Cameron Thatcherite? Thatcherism comprised a mixture of ideas and policies such as free markets, privatisation of industries, low taxation and little state involvement in people’s lives. Some may argue that the conservative party today under David Cameron has drifted into a different direction from Thatcherite policies, however others say that Thatcher still has a huge influence on the modern conservative party. One of Thatcher’s main policies was the privatisation of national industries and businesses, for example British Telecom in 1981. Privatising these industries was thought to encourage competition and force firms to offer cheaper and better services. It can be said that modern conservatives also agree with this idea about privatisation. In fact it seems David Cameron is looking to take further steps and take away government power from sectors such as schools and policing giving the public the freedom to control the state at a local level. This seems to suggest that the party of David Cameron is to some extent Thatcherite.
Thatcher also believed that taxes should be kept low as it would create more wealth for people and businesses. Not only would the extra wealth help people buy a property or allow businesses to expand more, it would also reduce government spending on welfare benefits. The conservative party, as it always has, also hopes to reduce taxes. David Cameron said that his conservative party would cut taxes for hardworking people. This tells us that indeed Cameron and Thatcher share some very similar policies. Both Thatcher and Cameron have tried hard to reduce the countries debt. Thatcher sold off many government owned industries. However, Cameron has to go about this in a different way as Thatcher had already sold most of the industries, although he did sell off the post office. This is very right wing of the two, and certainly pulls their governments closer in terms of similarity. However, a strong argument to suggest that the two parties are not similar is simply that David Cameron is in a coalition. This means that he has had to discard some of his policies and even puts decisions through the Lib Dem party. Thatcher never had to do this which enabled her government to be very right wing. The Lib Dems are perhaps more left wing, which makes the coalition government a much less conservative one than Thatcher’s was.
This shows that even if there are similarities between the two it is too a small extent as there are major differences. In addition to this, Thatcher had a strong and harsh belief in law and order, whereas David Cameron is arguably more lenient. His ‘hug a hoodie’ speech seemed to soften the conservative view on crime. This shows us that the Cameron party is not that Thatcherite. Thatcher was extremely euro-sceptic and even said ‘Europe needs us more than we need them’. Perhaps she would have opted out of the EU had she the chance. Although Cameron believes we may have ‘the wrong deal’, he is still pro EU. Many might think he is against the EU from the way he talks but this is simply because the conservative party has had a long history of division on them matter of the EU and therefore he has to be slightly careful in what he says. He might not want to become one ‘European super state’ but he certainly does not want to leave.
This sets Cameron apart from Thatcher as she was very against the EU. In conclusion, although Cameron’s tendencies may be very Thatcher like he cannot be as right wing as he may perhaps want to be because of the coalition. He has to take into account more socialist points of view from the liberal democrats, and of course has left many successful new labour policies untouched. This means that to some extent the party of David Cameron is somewhat Thatcherite, but largely it involves other political aspects.