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This Sceptred Isle

The Birth of Thatcherism and a Referendum on Europe
In 1975 Margaret Thatcher replaced Ted Heath as leader of the Conservative Party. The country voted to stay in the Common Market. Although 67% of those who went to the polling stations voted Yes to the EEC membership, it is doubtful that many knew the deeper implications of the Treaty of Rome.

Barbara Hepworth
Barbara Hepworth

  • Born in Wakefield and studied at Leeds School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London
  • Became a sculptress working mostly in stone and bronze but also in concrete, wood and aluminium
  • Developed an abstract style
  • Married twice, the sculptor John Skeaping and then the artist Ben Nicholson
  • Died in a fire at her studio in 1975

did you know?
In 1975 bankruptcies were the highest ever recorded in Britain's history.

Edward Heath's Comment In The Times
"This chronic inability to make a decision on what is probably the most important issue of this century is in part the product of a political and parliamentary system that is growing steadily weaker. And once the referendum is over we would do well to examine ruthlessly the whole of our decision-making institutions and procedures both in and out of Westminster.

"But the prime reason must be historical. It is more than 70 years since Queen Victoria died and yet it is the Victorian influence that remains the most potent of our political life. It is of course hardly surprising that a country like Britain, which for most of its history has been a medium sized power, should eulogize the aberration in British history in the last century which made us, for a time at least, the most powerful nation on earth. But even then the British people were slow to catch up with reality....It is a tragedy that Britain has allowed herself to succumb to the delusion that the splendid isolation of the Victorian age was the norm rather than the exception that some are still proffering the myth that in the modern world Britain can survive alone.

"So once again the British people are having to catch up with reality."

Select historical period

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1973 Britain joins the EEC
VAT is introduced
Yom Kippur War
1974 Labour win General Election. Harold Wilson once more PM
1975British EEC Referendum
1976Harold Wilson resigns as leader of Labour Party. James Callaghan succeeds him as leader and PM
Race Relations Act
1977Nationalisation of aircraft industry
Jimmy Carter becomes President of the USA
1978New pope is John Paul II
1979Tories win General Election. Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain's first woman PM
1980Zimbabwe (South Rhodesia) independence
1981Nott Defence review
1982Falklands War
1983Tories win "Falklands-Factor" General Election

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