Moving beyond the supposed turning point / milestone event (depending on your perspective) of the 1979 election, we consider the events of the 1980s and the extent of the change the decade brought to ‘Modern Britain’. Students are asked to engage with and evaluate Stuart Hall’s hotly debated characterisation of the 1980s as something qualitatively different for the UK, or ‘New Times’. These changes occurred outside of the defined Political and Economic spheres and were sometimes, but not always, avowedly fashioned in resistance to them.

In considering rioters as well as yuppies, pickets as well as scabs it’s hard to avoid the idea that all in Britain were looking towards some sort of ‘new time’ beyond the world around them – even if for some such a ‘new time’ looked very similar to an imagined past. In meeting these figures and events, students investigate the nature of the changes that occurred in the 1980s and what, or who exactly was responsible for making them.

Lesson List

  1. Was the 3rd May 1979 a turning point or a milestone?
  2. Why were Thatchers Conservatives so electorally successful?
  3. Why did ‘The Troubles’ remain unresolved in the 1980s?
  4. Was Thatcherism more than an electoral project?
  5. Was Thatcher able to reshape society in her own image?
  6. How similar were Thatchers extra-parliamentary opponents?
  7. How far did Thatcher return Britain to the World Stage?
  8. Did the 1980s bring ‘New Times’? – Revision Lesson



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