chapter  2
24 Pages

John Major’s Conservative Governments

Chapter 1 advocated caution in identifying particular historical moments as watersheds at which a signifi cant policy change can be identified. Nevertheless, the period of John Major’s premiership from 1990 to 1997 was certainly signifi cant in terms of many sport policy developments. In some ways this was surprising given that, more generally, the period of the John Major governments is widely recognised as one in which there was little change in the substantive policy agendas inherited from the previous Conservative administrations led by Margaret Thatcher. Taylor (2006) suggested that Major, in fact, cemented much of the legacy of the Thatcher years. Moreover, partially due Major’s more pragmatic style and the political pressures facing him (Kavanagh 1994), the overall approach to policy was ‘ad-hoc, fragmented and piecemeal’ (Taylor 2006, p. 119). In the particularly relevant area of welfare policy, assessments of policy under the Major government were of ‘stagnation’ (Alcock 1997) or ‘drifting’ (Atkinson and Savage 1994).