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Manufactured Schema: Thatcher, the miners and the culture industry

David Khabaz
Troubador Publishing (April 2006)

A couple of decades after Margaret Thatcher managed to radically transform the rules of industrial relations in Britain, there has been a great deal of debate, comment, analysis and accounts by a wide range of commentators with various ideological persuasions. Thatcherism has become an infamous concept in the study of modern British political discourse.

The Thatcherite project went beyond the simple boundaries of politics and touched upon all aspects of civil, legal and cultural spheres. It formed a distinct epoch in the history of modern British politics. In more ways than one, Thatcherism shaped the author's ideas of liberalism, democracy and tyranny. The project certainly displayed all these traits in its formation, expansion and demise.

This book attempts to re-examine one of the most controversial features of that era, the relationship between the media, the prime minister and the trade unions in the 1980s. The book is based upon the fundamental assumption that Mrs Thatcher's radical policies were, by and large, supported by the most partisan press industry to date. This assumption is then empirically substantiated with the aid of a comprehensive research program. Since this line of inquiry involved retrospective analysis of media output, it was deemed that a comparative content analysis of the national press was, therefore, more yielding to historical research than other media texts such as television.

The data generated by this research essentially compares the editorials of the national press in the 1970s to provide a more in-depth understanding of the differential outlook of the press to the miners and their strikes. Through an added qualitative scrutiny of the role of Murdoch's newspapers in three successive general elections involving Margaret Thatcher, the book argues that the special relationship between Mrs Thatcher and Murdoch, in particular, had a deeper impact not only upon the press industry but British society as a whole.

David Khabaz completed his PhD at LSE and currently works in the Library: user services department. In addition, he began his teaching career with the Open University and currently teaches the postgraduate MA module in 'Contemporary Issues in Popular Culture' as well as an undergraduate course -' Introduction to the Humanities'. His research interests are varied but remain firmly in the area of culture, politics, media and society. David is currently working on another manuscript which is devoted to a comparative study of the Labour Governments in the 1960s and 1970s to the current administration in office.

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