98for98 The century in photographs: today 1987

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Indy Lifestyle Online
The sight of Lady Olga Maitland campaigning on behalf of the Conservative Party for the Bethnal Green & Stepney seat (unsucessfully, as it turned out), brings The Independent's photo-history to 1987. Giving the government its third consecutive term with a commanding parliamentary majority, the Tories' landslide victory in the June general election returned Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to office in a run of electoral success not seen since the 19th-century.

In the aftermath, while Thatcher looked forward to a fourth term in 1992, Labour leader Neil Kinnock faced facts and declared that the party must undergo a fundamental self-examination in order to entertain any hope of election. The Tories rode to victory on the back of the property boom and stock market success. One property, measuring just 11 feet by five feet six inches and put up for sale at pounds 36,500, met with interested buyers who were thought to have been attracted by its Knightsbridge location.

The North of Britain lagged well behind the South in the property boom, however. In London, the average house price stood at over five times the average annual salary, compared to a factor of between two and two and a half in the North. In such a ruthless economic climate, it came as no surprise that advertising agencies identified a new demographic trend: the Yuppie. Young, upwardly-mobile professional types under 25, who apparently valued materialism over compassion, yuppies quickly adopted as a badge of pride the label coined for themby appalled social commentators: Thatcher's Children.

The party in stocks and trades came to an abrupt end in October, however. Black Monday, October 19, saw London's worst stock market crash this century. Heavy selling on Wall Street the previous Friday, and in Tokyo in the hours before London markets opened, confirmed fears that the international bull market which had prevailed for the last five years was heading for a fall.

In London, the value of publicly-quoted companies fell by 10 per cent and the Dow Jones Index closed the day at more than 20 per cent down. The government's privatisation programme immediately faced jeopardy as city institutions pleaded for the proposed BP flotation to be halted. Symbolically, if not chronologically, the Eighties had come grinding to a halt.

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