Disabled citizens and the neoliberal turn in Britain
The phenomenon commonly labelled as the neoliberal turn represented a key transitional moment in the history of the welfare states in Europe and beyond. It revealed both certain common characteristics and peculiarities confined to a number of individual states. This chapter focuses on the repercussions of this shift from the perspective of disabled people in Britain, where it coincided with the rise to power of Margaret Thatcher’s conservative government in 1979. It draws on the hitherto unexplored archival records of the Secretariat of the International Year of Disabled Persons held in the University of Liverpool Special Collections & Archives. The chapter utilizes a range of “grey materials” – leaflets, pamphlets, newsletters of voluntary organizations – many of which are available in the virtual Disability Archive UK maintained by the Centre for Disability Studies at Leeds University; and interviews with activists which have been published in lesser-known outlets.