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Behind the Efforts of Centralization

Author: WeiZuo
Tutor: LiZhenZhong
School: Sichuan International Studies University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: Thatcher government Thatcherism Centralization Local government Government policies Economic factors British society British Reform policies Prime minister
CLC: K561.5
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2006
Downloads: 32
Quote: 0
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Thatcher is acknowledged as a unique figure in modern history not only of Britain but also of the world. During the long years of her government great changes took place in almost every field of British society' dissertation">British society. Because of the great changes during her administration, the policy adopted by Thatcher government has become a subject of interest to scholars concerned with British culture and society. In their studies many scholars observed that strengthening centralization was at the centre of the efforts made by her government. According to Thatcher government itself, the policy of strengthening centralization was chiefly an effort to cope with economic difficulties, and this explanation was largely endorsed by scholars who interpreted the policy mainly as expedient. Is economic consideration really the only contributor to the policy of strengthening centralization? If not, what are the reasons behind the strengthening of centralization? The answers to these questions will help us not only to better understand British politics towards the end of 20th century but also to make policy in handling China’s central-local government relations. To answer these questions, the author has made a study of literature related to the issue. Through her research, the present writer came to the conclusion that behind Thatcher government’s policy of strengthening centralization, there was not only economic consideration, but also the influence of party politics, as well as that of Thatcher’s personal political leadership style.It must be admitted that behind Thatcher government’s great efforts to strengthen the power of central government there was indeed economic consideration. The economic situation in Britain got worse and worse in the 1970s. When Thatcher came into power, British economy had been the most concerned matter of people in the nation. Meanwhile, in the 1970s, relationship between central and local government got changed with a result of local governments’overpowering. Thatcher related this with the decline of British economy and regarded local government as one of the roots of the poor economic performance of the country. With the guide of such an economic consideration, Thatcher government tried ways to get fiscal control over local governments and weaken local government’s administrative power which was believed to be responsible for the overspending of public expenditure. What’s more, the central government conducted structural reformation in local government. Thatcher thought the structure of local government was too redundant thus would inevitably add public expenditure. All these show Thatcher government had made great effort to strengthen centralization out of economic consideration.While economic consideration does force Thatcher government to adopt the policy of strengthening centralization, the influence of party politics can not be ignored. British party politics had existed for a long time and had exerted influence on government policies before Thatcher came into power. It would still exert its influence on Thatcher government’s policies especially on policies dealing with local government which has been the major battlefield of competition between the Conservative party and the Labour party. Party politics influenced the fiscal policies of the central government to local government. And party politics also had its influence shown on changes of housing policies and the abolition of GLC.In addition to the concern over economic situation and the influence of party politics, Thatcher’s personal political style is an equally important contributor to the policy of strengthening centralization. Prime ministers’influence on government varied between Thatcher and other ministers. Thatcher’s general impact on government was by comparative standards enormous. Her style of keeping her own strong belief helps to build up Thatcher’s decision to strengthen central government authority. Thatcher’s unique style of being active in work guaranteed her acquaintance with governmental work while her determinedness in work guaranteed the performing of policies in dealing with local government even in face of strong objection.It can be concluded that economic consideration, the influence of party politics, as well as that of Thatcher’s personal political style, are all contributive to Thatcher government’s policy of centralization. It might be argued the three factors mentioned above are not the only ones which gave rise to the policy of centralization, but it cannot be denied that these three factors did exist behind and contribute greatly to Thatcher government’s policy of strengthening centralization. A knowledge of the causes behind Thatcher’s policy of centralization is significant in that it can throw light on British politics in the late 20th century and give aid to us in handling relations between central-local governments. Due to the scope and depth of the topic on the one hand, and the limitation of time and resources for doing the research on the other hand, the present writer cannot expect her paper to be free from deficiencies. Further efforts are needed to obtain deeper insight into the policies adopted by Thatcher government, including the policy of centralization.

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CLC: > History, geography > European History > Western Europe > Britain > In the past,the modern history ( 1640 ~) > After World War II ( 1945 ~)
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