Thatcherism has been built on a body of right-wing academic ideas. Particularly important to this study are those ideas concerning the re-orientation of the role of the state, as these would be expected to have a major impact on planning. Whether or not this has happened is the focus of later chapters. In this chapter the ideas of the most influential academics, particularly Friedman and Hayek, are explored. Their reasons for proposing less state intervention and their views on the acceptable residual functions of the state are outlined. The chapter then turns to the issue of how these ideas have been absorbed into the political arena, concentrating on the work of Keith Joseph and Mrs Thatcher who laid the ideological foundations for the 1979 election campaign and the subsequent ‘rule’ of Thatcherism. The main themes of the chapter are incorporated into a conceptual framework to guide the analysis in the rest of the book.