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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The day after the night before.

Hitler – For better or worse, he shaped our lives.

That's a quote from the comedian StuWho in reference to some of the comments being made in the aftermath of the news that Margaret Thatcher has now managed to wriggle free from her mortal coil.

It's very apt in my opinion.

There seems to be a battle going on in the media, and across the social networking territories, with many scrambling to write her footnote in the history books.
His reaction to this has been to highlight how flimsy the support for her is in some quarters.
Instead of being able to shed some light on the positive influences she exerted over the UK, the best that some can come up with is that 'no matter what you say you can't deny she changed our lives', and of course they are correct in saying that.
Unfortunately they are missing out 'for the worse' though.
Context is everything.

Look about today and on the one side we have those who would wish to maintain a factual record of Thatchers time as the premier of this land (largely negative), and on the other there are revisionists who are trying to paint a rosy image of her (Canute style).
It is really a fight between fact and fiction, and to be frank none of us will be able to say who will reach the finish line first.
It will be future generations opinions - shaped from the history books - that will hand the winners rosette over.

So what will they say?
Well if much of the media have their reporting on the news carried on into the future, then most will look back on her as the first female prime minister, and possibly consider her an extension of the suffragette movement, an example of gender equality having its day.
Maybe they will see her as a warrior, a modern day Boudica, who took on the might of Argentina and sent them home with their tails between their legs.
Then there will be the soundbites that could be misconstrued.
'This lady is not for turning' sounds firmly positive and evokes an attitude of maintaining a correct stance in the face of those who would wish to steer the ship towards the rocks doesn't it?
However when you take it in the context of the speech, she was actually referring to refusing to accept liberalisation of the economy, even though her policies had led to unemployment rising to 2 million.
Will it be promoted by history as such though?

We have to be careful and ensure that it does.

To tell the truth is not to attack an individual.

The truth is this.

She took over when unemployment was at a record low and kick started a recession that ended in 1982 with unemployment exceeding 3 million.
Between 1979 and 1982 over 2 million manufacturing jobs were lost in the UK.
Manufacturing dropped by a dizzying 30% from the figure it was at just prior to her reign as premier.
She supported apartheid and stated that Mandela was a terrorist while offering the hand of friendship to Pinochet.
She despised our European brethren and made her feelings about the mainland very clear as she exerted her disdain for Mitterrand and Kohl publicly and privately ensuring that every introduction of policy was fraught with issues regardless of their worth.
She overseen national industries sold over to the private sector.
Ushered in the sale of social housing stock.
Introduced cheap labour to employers through employment schemes.
Manipulated the unions into a fight and in winning it took away hard won workers rights.
Used the police as a cosh on the citizens of this country.
Created social disharmony and division among the populace.
And in some peoples opinions allowed the Falklands argument to escalate to allow her to then become a war time leader.
Regardless of the opinions she did issue the order to sink the Belgrano while it was outside the maritime exclusion zone and while the government were in receipt of a peace plan that conveniently hadn't been read until after the attack on the ship had taken place.
She introduced the regressive poll tax.
Presided over riots in our cities.
She demonized teachers and social workers alike.
Then there is the miners.
The treatment of those who worked in one sector of this countries industry was akin to the tactics used to ethnically cleanse areas sans the actual murdering of them.

Do I really need to go on?

All of this in the face of 'no matter what you say you can't deny she changed our lives'.

There is quite literally dancing going on in the streets and parties being held.
This is the reaction from people that is normally held when word of a loathed dictator has died reaches them.

Instead of calling it disrespectful the reasons behind the action should be considered.

What did Thatcher give this country, and what did she take away?
We are still reaping the seeds that she had sown, just lift your heads and look around.
This is Thatchers legacy to us all.

1 comment:

  1. Occupy London
    Remembering Margaret Thatcher

    1. She supported the retention of capital punishment
    2. She destroyed the country's manufacturing industry
    3. She voted against the relaxation of divorce laws
    4. She abolished free milk for schoolchildren ("Margaret Thatcher, Milk Snatcher")
    5. She supported more freedom for business (and look how that turned out)
    6. She gained support from the National Front in the 1979 election by pandering to the fears of immigration
    7. She gerrymandered local authorities by forcing through council house sales, at the same time preventing councils from spending the money they got for selling houses on building new houses (spending on social housing dropped by 67% in her premiership)
    8. She was responsible for 3.6 million unemployed - the highest figure and the highest proportion of the workforce in history and three times the previous government. Massaging of the figures means that the figure was closer to 5 million
    9. She ignored intelligence about Argentinian preparations for the invasion of the Falkland Islands and scrapped the only Royal Navy presence in the islands
    10. The poll tax
    11. She presided over the closure of 150 coal mines; we are now crippled by the cost of energy, having to import expensive coal from abroad
    12. She compared her "fight" against the miners to the Falklands War
    13. She privatised state monopolies and created the corporate greed culture that we've been railing against for the last 5 years
    14. She introduced the gradual privatisation of the NHS
    15. She introduced financial deregulation in a way that turned city institutions into avaricious money pits
    16. She pioneered the unfailing adoration and unquestioning support of the USA
    17. She allowed the US to place nuclear missiles on UK soil, under US control
    18. Section 28
    19. She opposed anti-apartheid sanctions against South Africa and described Nelson Mandela as "that grubby little terrorist"
    20. She support the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and sent the SAS to train their soldiers
    21. She allowed the US to bomb Libya in 1986, against the wishes of more than 2/3 of the population
    22. She opposed the reunification of Germany
    23. She invented Quangos
    24. She increased VAT from 8% to 17.5%
    25. She had the lowest approval rating of any post-war Prime Minister
    26. Her post-PM job? Consultant to Philip Morris tobacco at $250,000 a year, plus $50,000 per speech
    27. The Al Yamamah contract
    28. She opposed the indictment of Chile's General Pinochet
    29. Social unrest under her leadership was higher than at any time since the General Strike
    30. She presided over interest rates increasing to 15%
    31. BSE
    32. She presided over 2 million manufacturing job losses in the 79-81 recession
    33. She opposed the inclusion of Eire in the Northern Ireland peace process
    34. She supported sanctions-busting arms deals with South Africa
    35. Cecil Parkinson, Alan Clark, David Mellor, Jeffrey Archer, Jonathan Aitkin
    36. Crime rates doubled under Thatcher
    37. Black Wednesday – Britain withdraws from the ERM and the pound is devalued. Cost to Britain - £3.5 billion; profit for George Soros - £1 billion
    38. Poverty doubled while she opposed a minimum wage
    39. She privatised public services, claiming at the time it would increase public ownership. Most are now owned either by foreign governments (EDF) or major investment houses. The profits don’t now accrue to the taxpayer, but to foreign or institutional shareholders.
    40. She cut 75% of funding to museums, galleries and other sources of education
    41. In the Thatcher years the top 10% of earners received almost 50% of the tax remissions
    42. 21.9% inflation