The last quarter of a century, from 1979 to 2007, has been eventful for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The year 1979 brought major changes to the United Kingdom, in particular when the political climate altered radically with the coming to power of the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher following the disastrous "Winter of Discontent," which was characterized by economic woes and labor unrest. In 1997, the political climate shifted once again when the New Labour party won a landslide victory and the government was run by the left-leaning centrist, Tony Blair. The period witnessed conflicts raging both at home and abroad, it saw the premature death of a princess, and, more positively, the reemergence of the UK economy.The A to Z of Contemporary United Kingdom
seeks to present the events, people, and trends of the last 28 years and to help explain the current state of the United Kingdom. Knowledge of this is vital to understanding the society, politics, personalities, and actions that are shaping the country right now. This is done through a chronology dating from 1979 to the present, an introductory essay, a bibliography, and over 700 cross-referenced dictionary entries on significant persons, places, events, institutions, and organizations, as well as the political, economic, social, cultural, and religious facets.