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Migrants of the British Diaspora Since the 1960sStories From Modern Nomads$
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A. James Hammerton

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781526116574

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526116574.001.0001

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Thatcher’s refugees and Thatcher’s beneficiaries: discretionary migration in the 1980s

Thatcher’s refugees and Thatcher’s beneficiaries: discretionary migration in the 1980s

(p.82) 3 Thatcher’s refugees and Thatcher’s beneficiaries: discretionary migration in the 1980s
Migrants of the British Diaspora Since the 1960s

A. James Hammerton

Manchester University Press

This chapter scrutinises the paradox in the 1980s of the coexistence of flourishing discretionary migrations of affluence with deep recession and unemployment accompanying Thatcher government reforms. Some migrants labeled themselves ‘Thatcher’s refugees’, describing flight from austerity while pursuing new opportunities for self-improvement and mobility overseas. There was also a surge in migration of ‘professional and managerial’ classes, often attracted to inner-city living or to rural or coastal locations with emphasis on lifestyle changes and ecological values. Thatcher’s refugees coexisted with Thatcher’s beneficiaries, supporters who attributed success in Britain to government policies, and seized initiatives in new fields like Information Technology, easily adapted to global mobility. ‘Migration on a whim’ draws on stories illustrating the powerful emergence of casually adopted mobility in pursuit of ideological or political interests, global adventure and personal quests for transformations in lifestyle, love and spirituality. These could be effected successfully by tertiary educated migrants easily able to adapt their qualifications to demands of new countries and to satisfy restrictive visa qualifications. Their ease of mobility also translated readily into more cosmopolitan outlooks, skeptical of national loyalties and adopting ‘citizen of the world’ identities, attitudes that would deepen in the 1990s.

Keywords:   recession, Thatcher’s refugees, lifestyle, Thatcher’s beneficiaries, Information Technology, tertiary educated migrants, visa qualifications, cosmopolitan, citizen of the world, identities

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