Blatcherism is a term formed as a portmanteau of the names of two British politicians, Tony Blair (Labour Party) and Margaret Thatcher (Conservative Party). It has been used by critics of monetarism and neo-liberal economics to refer to the thesis that a policy model of the Thatcher government, distinct from One Nation Conservatism, was resurrected when Blair came to power. It echoed 'Butskellism', frequently used to describe the post-war consensus on a mixed economy with moderate state intervention to promote social goals, particularly in education and health.
Editorial comment by Red Pepper before the 1997 General Election that brought Blair to power may be the earliest usage . Another early sighting of this term was in 2001, used by Brian Lee Crowley , a Canadian commentator. The term has also been used, for example, by the journalist Alexander Cockburn, in preference to Blairism.
Blatcherism can be defined as an emphasis on free-market policies, support for privatisation or the private ownership of former public services, a monetarist/neo-classical economic policy, and a retention of anti-trade union legislation. A convergence of such policies between the Labour and Conservative parties first emerged when Tony Blair became leader of the Labour Party. Blair was elected Leader of the Labour Party in July 1994 following the sudden death of his predecessor, John Smith. Under Blair's leadership the party abandoned many policies it had held for decades and embraced many of the measures enacted during Thatcher's tenure as Prime Minister, including the Building Societies (deregulation) Act of 1986. Blair, in conjunction with Peter Mandelson, Gordon Brown and Alastair Campbell, created the New Labour ethos by embracing many aspects of Thatcherite beliefs into Labour as the "Third Way".
The term is also used as shorthand by Ye. V. Ananyeva (On Modern Ways of Reformism, or On Reformism as Modern Way, Polis Journal – Political studies – No.5, 2001), according to whom Blatcherism is currently "personified by T. Blair", has "substituted for the previous postwar political consensus", and is "consensual" with "neoconservatism as embodied in Thatcherism" in the approach to a solution to Britain's modernisation problems.
Policies and Consequences
For details on the policies and consequences see the Thatcher Blair Consensus. Blatcherism was part of a world wide acceptance of the validity of neoclassical economic theory, leading the belief that governments had to follow the policy prescriptions of this theory. A good summary of the policy agenda is provided by the Washington Consensus. This was the provided as guidance to the International Monetary Fund as to the conditions it should impose before granting loans to Latin American countries.
- Chapter 10 of Government and Politics in Britain: An introduction by John Kingdom; page 25 of the PDF file contains the section From Butskillism to Blatcherism?
- On the spiral from Butskillism to Blatcherism, cause effect process and outcome[dead link]