The 1976 IMF crisis was a seminal event in modern British political and economic history. The seeds of the crisis were sown by the huge OPEC oil price shocks of 1972-3 leading to the potential meltdown of Britain's already weakened economy and seemingly confirming Britain's headlong decline as a major political and economic power. The government was seen as going 'cap in hand' to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to head off disaster - an image which became a long-lasting political icon. Kevin Hickson has mined vital original source material, including interviews with leading players, to probe government economic thought and practice. He questions much received wisdom, especially that the crisis caused a basic shift to monetarist orthodoxy and right-wing economic liberalism - commonly known as 'Thatcherism' - and embraced by successive governments including New Labour.