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> I was living in London at the time Thatcher first won.  She did not
receive a
> majority by any means.  What happened was that the Lib-Dems broke off
> from Labour and the non-Thatcher vote was split.  To my knowledge she
> never won a majority in her 12 years.  As I remember, she won 41% that
> first time

True - but then no single post-war British government ever polled more than
50 % in a general election. Thatcher's scores were decent, if not
extraordinary. In 1974, Labour got a (slender) majority in the Commons with
less than 40 % of the vote.
The split of the non-Thatcher vote should not be exaggerated. In many
constituencies, the left-wing vote wasn't split down the middle, but went
either to Labour (mostly in the North) or to the Lib Dems (mostly in the
South). Tactical voting has always been fairly widespread in Britain.

BTW, I don't know what Peter implies when he says people 'held their noses'
when they voted Thatcher, 'given the alternatives'. At the last French
election, some people held their noses and voted Chirac - the alternative
was Le Pen. Surely neither Labour nor the Lib Dems were ever as disreputable
as that?

> I kept
> thinking at the time that absolutely nothing could have helped the
> "yes/yes" vote more than Thatcher running up there to urge Scots not to.

Apparently even the Scottish Tories shared your analysis. They politely
tried to dissuade her from visiting Scotland, but they failed to stop her -
much to their dismay...

Yours,

RaphaŽl
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