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Election Battles 1945-1997
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1983: Maggie's landslide
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Overview
Battlefield
Campaign
Personalities
Issues
Results
1983: Thatcher and Fowler
Thatcher faced a weak and divided opposition

Watch and listen 1983
The election results from BBC Radio News
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Kinnock on the Falklands Factor
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Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher announcing the election date: "You'll have difficulty in keeping up with me"
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Party leaders on the campaign trail
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Mrs Thatcher speaks after her landslide victory
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What they spent
Conservatives
£3.8m
Labour
£2.55m

If you go between four and five years you are cutting and running. If you don't decide, you are dithering. If you continue the whole year you are clinging to office
Margaret Thatcher on the timing of the election

When the election date was set for 9 June 1983, the pollsters at least were certain that a Thatcher victory was inevitable.

Perhaps a more interesting fight would be the battle between Labour and the Alliance for second place.

Since going down to Thatcher’s first election victory in 1979 Labour had changed leaders and marched firmly to the left.

Leading the party into his first and last election battle Michael Foot fought a poor campaign, lacking in organisation as well as the necessary money, not to mention a series of policies that the voters could not support.

The Alliance, although more measured in its pitch to the voters, also suffered from a lack of funds, and Roy Jenkins, its "prime minister designate" fared badly in his role as figurehead.

By contrast the Conservatives under Cecil Parkinson ran a highly professional operation.

Money was not a problem, new computer systems were invested in and new techniques such as direct mail were employed to good effect.

And stiff measures were taken against complacent Tory voters when around 1,000 copies of the Labour manifesto were bought and distributed to supporters to help remind them what a Labour government might entail.