With campaigning in full force for the UK’s 2019 general election (#GE2019), it is interesting to take a quick glance back to the 1979 general election (#GE1979), which swept Margaret Thatcher to power.
In his 2016 political memoir Kind of Blue, Kenneth Clarke briefly describes the campaign for the 1979 general election:
“Margaret and the Conservative team fought a vigorous campaign but on a very cautious and low-key platform. There was scarcely any hint of our desire to move towards free-market economics. Our policy proposals were kept as unexciting as possible.”
Come the election on Thursday 3 May, this campaign strategy proved successful. Clarke has the following to say on why it was a success:
“The Thatcher years began in an atmosphere of cautious reassurance to the public. I have to admit that the campaign had given the public no hint at all of the tumultuous revolution to come, and we would certainly have been defeated if it had.”
What will they be writing about the 2019 general election in 2059?
- Kenneth Clarke portrait, via Wikimedia Commons.
- Photograph of page 103 of Kenneth Clarke’s Kind of Blue: A Political Memoir by MJCarty.