Popular Disollusionment in Britain in the 1960s and 70s

During the 1960s and 70s, the population of Britain experienced a large shift towards popular disollusionment for three main reasons:

1.)  The Economy:  The British economy had slowly been declining since the end of WWII. Wages weren’t able to keep pace with inflation and stagflation, which is the condition of little or no economic growth. The standard of living for many Britons dropped noticeably, while others plummeted directly into poverty. In addition, traditional manufacturing jobs were gradually diminishing, so unions began to lose membership. During the “winter of discontent,” labor unions began a massive protest against Parliament’s economic policies. Economic decline was the biggest factor in the British popular disollusionment.

 2.) Ideological Conflicts:  During the 70s, many forces worked to change government policies. Many mainstream newspapers and conservative thinkers put large amounts of effort into undermining the concept of the Keynesian welfare state. Other New Social Movements (NSMs), such as feminism, nuclear activism, and environmentalism, began to take precidence. In addition, unions lost support due to the image that they neglected the need of the workforce, acted undemocratically, and even bullied society.

3.)  Social Change:  In addition to economic and ideological strife, many issues on subjects such as race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation, began to surface. The fear by the British of being overrun by nonwhite immigrants became prominent, and that fear, along with many others, was answered by none other than Margaret Thatcher when she came to power in 1979, but that’s another story.

Quite a few things happened because of this disollusionment. For one, punk music was born. If it wasn’t for this movement, the Sex Pistols, Ramones, Led Zeppelin, and many other punk bands would have never been created. Politically, Margaret Thatcher used a large portion of this negative momentum to attain power. She wisely played off of the discontentment of society and reaped the rewards accordingly.

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~ by edwardrmeow on February 11, 2008.

One Response to “Popular Disollusionment in Britain in the 1960s and 70s”

  1. well done…

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