Britain’s political turmoil shatters its pragmatic image
The latest opinion polls have seen the Labour Party slipping back in the polls and, although it is still the dominant party, it has lost its overall lead to the Tories and the Liberal Democrats. The Conservatives have maintained their strong support and the ‘big four’ parties have regained their lead in the polls. What has occurred to Britain’s image abroad is in striking contrast to the public perception of Britain itself since the end of the Second World War. There is much to be learned from the changing reality of British life at home and abroad.
The collapse of the two major parties after the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979 in Western Europe had profound consequences for Britain’s image and reputation because it damaged the Labour Party in particular. This was because in the early 1980s, the Labour Party had been the country’s dominant party since 1945, winning the most seats and forming the government.
It was in the 1980s that Western Europeans realised Thatcher was a political force of the right, and the image of Britain abroad became negative after the 1980 election. In 1984, Margaret Thatcher had to defend her government in an internal British party conference against a Labour Party minority government with her Conservative Party in opposition who were not prepared to share the same policy objectives. When the Labour government in the British government fell in 1987, British politics collapsed with the Conservative Party taking control of the government with a narrow parliamentary majority. This was followed a few days later by the election of a Labour Party minority government and the start of the second Thatcher Government. In the UK, the decline in the Labour Party’s parliamentary representation was followed by the decline in the popularity of the Labour Party and Thatcher in Britain. Britain entered a period of uncertainty with a fall in trade and international relations from which it would never fully recover. This period was also marked by the ‘Velvet Revolution’ after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, which saw a return of the Socialist Party to political prominence alongside other socialist parties across Europe.
The image of Britain abroad also deteriorated after the second Thatcher government because it was a government that came from the centre-right of politics