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This Sceptred Isle

Oldies, Speculators, & Labour Fails Again
In 1992 The population in Britain was now more than 56 millions. More than 51 million lived in England and Wales more than 5 million in Scotland and about the same number in Ireland. The government was concerned about the increasing elderly population and, by the end of 1992 more than 2.6 million people were out of work.

At the General Election, the Conservatives were re-elected and John Major was now Prime Minister in his own right. The political leadership of the Labour Party was clearly unsettled and Neil Kinnock resigned to be replaced by John Smith.

By September 1992 the £ was in a desperate state and Britain pulled out of the ERM and allowed sterling to float. This single action could and did mean economic recovery.

John Major
John Major
JOHN MAJOR (born 1943)

  • John Major was born in Brixton.
  • He became Conservative MP for Huntingdon in 1979.
  • By 1987, he had become Treasury Chief Secretary to the Treasury- in itself a very rapid rise into Cabinet rank.
  • In 1989, with Howes sacking, Major became Foreign Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer a few weeks later when Nigel Lawson resigned.
  • He was Thatcher's choice to replace her as Conservative Party Leader, but perhaps not in the way that it happened.
  • When Thatcher was forced out, Major put his name forward at the later ballot and probably gained much support from the Tory lobby who did not want Michael heseltine as leader.
  • He became PM in 1990 and never had an easy time in government.
  • When the Tories lost the 1997 election he resigned immediately, although there were many who wanted him to stay until the Party settled down after his defeat.

did you know?
In September 1992 saw the opening of Britain's first commercial Classical music station, Classic FM.

Extract from The Times report on Social Trends
Divorce, drug addiction, illegitimate birth and Blackpool beach are booming as Britain becomes a nation of extremes dominated by television and plagued by petty crimes.
...British workers took more days off sick than their counterparts in every European Community country except the Netherlands.
But Britons would seem to work a longer week than other Europeans putting in an average of 44 hours.
Germans worked an average of 40.2 (forty point two) hours.
The United Kingdom has one of the highest marriage rates in the EC.
In 1989 there were 6.8 weddings per thousand eligible individuals but the divorce rate for the same year ran at 12.6 per one thousand.
Only Denmark registered a higher number of broken marriages. The proportion of births outside marriage has risen sharply from less than 11 per cent in 1979 to 28 per cent in 1990.
The incidence of AIDS was also less pronounced.
Last year there were 78 reported cases per million in Britain compared with an EC average of 135.
Crime and drug abuse continued to grow.
The UK had the highest number of prisoners in the EC and a growing number of registered heroin addicts.
Car thefts, burglaries and handling stolen goods made up almost 90 per cent of recordable offences.

Select historical period

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1979Margaret Thatcher PM (Conservative)
Rhodesian settlement at Lancaster House
1980Southern Rhodesia becomes Zimbabwe
1981Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer
Ronald Reagan President of the USA
1982Britain wins the Falklands War
1983Margaret Thatcher wins landslide victory
1984Indira Gandhi of India assassinated
Death of poet, John Betjeman
1985Mikhail Gorbachev succeeds Chernenko as Soviet leader
1986 Elizabeth II first British monarch to visit China
1987Worst storm of the century rages over Great Britain
1988George Bush wins US Presidential election
Bruges speech
1989Tiananmen Square massacre
1990Tories oust Margaret Thatcher
John Major new leader
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
1991The Second Gulf War
1993The Maastricht Treaty comes into force
1994 Channel Tunnel inaugurated
Mandela President of South Africa
Death of Labour leader, John Smith
Bosnians reject Owen-Vance peace plan
1995New Labour leader, Tony Blair drops Clause IV from Party Manifesto
UN 50th anniversary
1996 Clinton wins second term
British beef banned in Europe
Dunblane massacre
Prince and Princess of Wales divorce
1997 Labour wins General Election
Tony Blair becomes PM
Mother Teresa of Calcutta dies
Diana, Princess of Wales dies

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