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date: 20 July 2024

p. 994 ‘A Bloody Good Hiding’: 1985locked

p. 994 ‘A Bloody Good Hiding’: 1985locked

  • Timothy Brain


By 1985 the country had travelled far on its journey of profound economic, social, and political change under Mrs Thatcher. Old industries were dying or dead; individual and collective entrepreneurialism was valued as never before, even if some of it looked like old-fashioned greed and get-rich-quick. The public services themselves, especially health, education, local government, and housing, bastions of a service-first ethos, found themselves subject to reorganization and cultural change which either practically eliminated the government’s direct provision of the service, as with housing, or subjected it to the supposed rigours of private sector techniques. After the depths of the 1970s change was necessary, but the process was unpredictable and it produced social, economic, and political losers as well as winners. The police found themselves at the fulcrum of the inevitable tensions generated by such fundamental change. The years since 1974 had been tough, but in 1985 it was about to get a lot tougher.

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