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Election Battles 1945-1997
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1987: Three on the trot for Thatcher
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1987: Davids_smiling
Owen and Steel - the Alliance's joint leaders

Watch and listen 1987
The BBC takes stock the day after the election
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Michael Heseltine resigns from the cabinet
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Margaret Thatcher: “I hope to go on and on”
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Norman Tebbit, on the “Thatcher factor”
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Kinnock the Movie
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The Alliance unveils its campaign battlebus
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Margaret Thatcher was leading the Conservatives into an election for the third time. For Neil Kinnock it was his first campaign as it was for the Alliance’s unstable joint leadership of Liberal David Steel and the SDP’s David Owen.

Thatcher’s advantage in terms of experience weighed heavily against Kinnock, who had no experience of holding high office, let alone of being prime minister.

But although she was a vigorous campaigner she was for many a divisive figure, seen as aggressive and uncaring.

And Neil Kinnock did have his advantages for Labour. Under his leadership it was able to press ahead with modernisation, and now had a figurehead - unlike Michael Foot - it was confident it could sell to the electorate.

Kinnock - a Welshman - was also able to inspire his own troops, and his gift for oratory, which showed a passionate and eloquent commitment to social justice, was also a great asset to Labour.

But his attempts to take steps onto the world stage faltered after awkward trips as opposition leader to America, a country were 'Maggie' could always be sure of a warm welcome.

Meanwhile, confusion reigned in the Alliance camp.

David Steel - if he had to choose between the two - would have preferred a Labour government to a third Thatcher term. But David Owen was firm in his conviction that Labour was unelectable.