Author Topic: Margaret Thatcher  (Read 16957 times)

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Online Taman Tun

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #30 on: April 11, 2013, 12:18:29 AM »
Nice work, Thaiga.  I could launch into a diatribe about some of these non-entities but I have to go to in the morning.  Just don't get me started about Peter Tatchell.
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Winston Churchill


  • Guest
Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #31 on: April 11, 2013, 12:30:47 AM »
I think, given the strength of feelings, a statue in Trafalgar Square would get the same treatment as Sadam's in Iraq.

I'm surprised by the volume of angry comments against her but I have to agree with the general view that she was bad for Britain. The outpouring of critical comment shows how strong are feelings in Britain, even after many years. The Establishment should take note of this before offering those out of work today the spectacle of an expensive public funeral. She should have only a private family burial. Mark will be equipped to fire a salute if he so wishes. I think he would because his mother did much to promote his business while she was in office.

Offline Roger

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #32 on: April 11, 2013, 01:09:22 AM »
Saf - I agree about the Trafalgar Square statue - surely not a good idea (and undeserved anyway).
It seems to me that strong feelings come from all across the political spectrum - surprising after so many years.
MT's help to young Mark was not a pretty sight.
The quotes in Thaiga's post are though, largely from a motley crew and I agree with TT about Peter Tatchell certainly.
But MT was IMO, one of the most divisive and one of the worst PM's, of all time.



  • Guest
Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #33 on: April 11, 2013, 07:32:15 AM »
I agree, Roger.

Much of the comment in support of her refers to her battle with Scargill. I suspect that the two of them had been separately briefed but were working to the same agenda. People should remember, though, that she also attacked the ambulance drivers ( 'No more than bus drivers', or words to that effect) and the firemen. People hold those occupations in as high a regard as they do any other and her vitriolic verbal attacks on them may well have been a turning point in the eyes of many citizens.

Te 'motley crew' have as much right to express their views as anyone else and what they say may have more credibility than her bum lickers' words.

Bliar will probably be the next one for such criticism. Remember that he too rode rough shod over the Cabinet as well as taking Britain into two disastrous conflicts on the orders of Bush and on the bass of a pack of lies.

Offline Roger

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #34 on: April 11, 2013, 08:36:21 AM »
Hi Saf. Yes Blair, having engineered the deception of Parliament and the People in taking us into the second war in Iraq, must rank alongside Maggie as a truly disastrous PM - I had great hopes for him when he was first elected.
The Chilcott Inquiry is understandably, taking forever and a day - in July I believe they start to give 'right to respond' to criticisms before moving on to the final report.
Moving back to the position that TT seems to take, I want to put the view forward, that hooligans and anarchists who behave in a criminal way and those who indulge in gratuitous abuse, come from all parts of the political spectrum.
And TT, an apology for using the word 'plonker' in an earlier post - unparliamentary language ! I'm watching too much Del Boy !


  • Guest
Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #35 on: April 11, 2013, 09:37:59 AM »
I haven't seen images of any riots but I assume from posts here and elsewhere that they have taken place.

The illegal actions of a few do not detract from the opinions of many others.

Online jivvy

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #36 on: April 11, 2013, 10:31:55 AM »


  • Guest
Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #37 on: April 11, 2013, 10:41:09 AM »
A biased article that ignore the damage down by her de-regulation of the financial services market and the misery suffered by may ordinary people. Today's ills in the UK follow from her actions.

Offline thaiga

Re: Witch is Dead is on track to reach No.1 + the dead parrot
« Reply #38 on: April 11, 2013, 12:59:25 PM »
Well she did have a sense of humour

DING Dong the Witch is Dead is on track to reach No.1 in the UK charts next week as part of a musical anti-tribute to Margaret Thatcher.

In death, the former Prime Minister is proving to be every bit as divisive as her reign was in life, with many mourning the passing of a woman they saw as a strong and brilliant leader while others see her legacy in very different terms.

Margaret Thatcher does the Dead Parrot Sketch

10 iconic moments of margaret thatcher's career.  here

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Online Taman Tun

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #39 on: April 11, 2013, 06:38:14 PM »
OK Roger, apology accepted.  You will now have to submit to a bollocking from The Speaker.
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Winston Churchill

Online Taman Tun

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #40 on: April 11, 2013, 07:08:53 PM »
I am surprised that there is yet no comment on this thread about a comparison between Margaret Thatcher and Churchill.  I only mention this because I want to add a completely O/T detail.  As I understand it Winston Churchill was drunk throughout World War 2.  One day, in the House of Commons, he was rebuked for his drunkenness by Labour MP Bessie Braddock.  Churchill came back with the finest one-liner of all time:- "Madam, in the morning I shall be sober but you will still be ugly"
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Winston Churchill

Offline thaiga

Re: Thatcher statue in Westminster 'will be given go-ahead'
« Reply #41 on: April 11, 2013, 07:13:20 PM »
A new statue for Baroness Thatcher has moved a step closer after Westminster Council indicated they would give a green light to plans.

The official responsible for planning at Tory Westminster Council has said he and his colleagues are "very up" for a statue of Lady Thatcher in the borough, and suggested putting it in Parliament Square or outside of the Ministry of Defence.

The indication that the council would give planning approval comes after a growing number of calls for Lady Thatcher to be immortalised.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, former Cabinet minister Lord Tebbit, Conservative Peer Lord Ashcroft and a number of Falklands veterans have all said she should be publicly honoured in the heart of the capital.

Prime Minister David Cameron has indicated that he welcomes the suggestions, which will be considered in due course.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has also refused to dismiss the plans, saying on his LBC call in show: "Of course she is a polarising figure, she is a controversial figure, I'm not going to begrudge her supporters the right to advocate there should be some statue."

Westminster City Council Deputy Leader, Cllr Robert Davis, said the council would "look favourably" on anyone coming forward with a genuine proposal.

“I think that the council would be very up for it," Cllr Davis said.

“We would have to consider that planning aspects, but it is really a matter of where it would be and what it would look like.

“The principle is something that the majority of the council would approve of.”

The next step would be for individuals to form an organising committee and then find donors, and a sculptor to create the memorial to the Iron Lady.

Cllr Davis echoed Mr Johnson’s comments that the most appropriate place for any statue would need researching, although initial suggestions included the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square.

He said: “I actually think that Parliament Square may be more appropriate, or maybe outside the Minsitry of Defence, there is room for more statues there. Let’s look at all the options, let’s find out what it is going to look like.”

The Chair of Planning Applications Sub-Committee explained that once a committee had finalised their plans then an application would need to be submitted and decided upon by the council, who would also need to be provided with a “dowry” to maintain the artwork.

Cllr Davis added: “I think that Lady Thatcher is absolutely deserving of a statue. She was given the freedom of the City of Westminster in 1991, it is a very rare honour. She is one of our honorary freeman, so we obviously think very highly of her."

The only other Prime Minister to be granted the honour was Winston Churchill.

Lord Ashcroft, the Conservative peer, businessman and philanthropist, has said: “Exceptional people deserve exceptional recognition. Baroness Thatcher made an extraordinary contribution to British politics and British life.

“It is therefore appropriate for her to receive an outstanding public acknowledgement of the nation’s gratitude for all that she has done."

He joined MR Hammond, Commander John Muxworthy, a Lt Commander on the SS Canberra during the Falklands conflict, and Lord Tebbit in suggesting that Trafalgar Square would be a fitting home for a memorial. .

However, the space is managed by the Greater London Authority, and a spokesperson said that it is “not suitable” as the arts programme already in place is set to continue for several years.

The Mayor has vowed that his “office will do all it can to help find a suitable high profile site for a statue that reflects the indelible mark she has left in the service of our country”.

Lord Ashcroft’s second suggestion of a memorial in Westminster echoes that of UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who said that it would ““show the outside world that we view her as an important political figure”.

Mr Hammond has agreed that it is “very appropriate to have a memorial” in the centre of London.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline Roger

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #42 on: April 11, 2013, 09:31:05 PM »
These plans may be reviewed after the Funeral is held - I suspect hooligans across the political spectrum may indulge themselves.
I can think of a suitable high profile site in London for the MT statue.
On the top of Canary Wharf - it's high and she cannot be seen.

Online Taman Tun

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #43 on: April 12, 2013, 01:32:11 AM »
This is Boris Johnson in The New Statesman:-

“…there is an interesting psychological difference between left-wingers and right-wingers. On the whole, right-wingers are prepared to indulge left-wingers on the grounds that they may be wrong and misguided but are still perfectly nice. Lefties, on the other hand, are much more likely to think right-wingers are genuinely evil.”
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Winston Churchill


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Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #44 on: April 12, 2013, 08:45:17 AM »
I am surprised that there is yet no comment on this thread about a comparison between Margaret Thatcher and Churchill.  I only mention this because I want to add a completely O/T detail.  As I understand it Winston Churchill was drunk throughout World War 2.  One day, in the House of Commons, he was rebuked for his drunkenness by Labour MP Bessie Braddock.  Churchill came back with the finest one-liner of all time:- "Madam, in the morning I shall be sober but you will still be ugly"

Yes, he was, apparently, a nasty piece of work. Did he not suggest that starving miners families in the '30s eat grass?

Offline Roger

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #45 on: April 12, 2013, 09:12:00 AM »
TT.  I like Boris and don't think he is evil at all. Lefties too can think Righties are wrong and misguided but perfectly nice.
SAF, I don't think we should be too hard on Winston. But I hadn't heard the quote about the 'grass' before ! shocker.


  • Guest
Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #46 on: April 12, 2013, 10:23:16 AM »
I think that Boris is a breath of fresh air in British politics.

Churchill, on the other hand, was a typical old school Tory who nothing of working class life.

During the War, he had a walkabout in London the day after a bombing raid. Walking , cigar in mouth, up to a group of ladies who were rescuing what they could from a bombed house, he said something like, 'We shall prevail'. The very appropriate response went something like, 'It's OK for you. You weren't here'.

Offline thaiga

Billy Elliot audience gives go-ahead to Thatcher song

Theatre-goers at a West End production of Billy Elliot voted overwhelmingly to keep in a song celebrating Margaret Thatcher's death hours after she died.

The second act of the musical, which is set during the miners' strike, begins with the song Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher, which has lyrics that refer to celebrating the death of the former prime minister.

The audience on Monday night were asked to vote on whether to keep the song in.

Only three people voted against the song being performed.

A Billy Elliot insider said that the vote was taken seriously and debated until it was decided that it would be best to put it to a democratic vote.

"It was a near unanimous verdict to keep the song in and go ahead.

"It was an electric show," they added.

Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher contains the lyrics: "We all celebrate today 'cos it's one day closer to your death.

"And they've brought their fascist bootboys and they've brought the boys in blue, and the whole Trade Union Congress will be at the party too.

"And they'll all hold hands together. All standing in a line cos they're privatising Santa this merry Christmas time, so…

"Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher, may God's love be with you. We all sing together in one breath.

"Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher, we all celebrate today 'cos it's one day closer to your death."

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline Roger

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #48 on: April 12, 2013, 01:26:44 PM »
Hey Saf - an interesting anecdote indeed - I can identify with Churchill's stance in making that comment. He had so much to handle and so many difficult decisions to lead and take, it was necessary for him to stay a bit remote and determined rather than wearing his heart on his sleeve - after all, he was surrounded by tragedies on a daily basis.
Keeping his determination and inspiration to lead the whole nation in the battle against the odds, was rather more important.
Strong leaders (and people) often have very strong faults - illustrated in both WC and MT !

Offline Roger

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #49 on: April 12, 2013, 01:39:00 PM »
Thaiga - the BE song IMO, has been in poor taste all along but is beyond the pale (and inaccurate) at the moment ...... I enjoyed the Billy Elliot film and don't remember the hardships getting as personal as they appear to be in the Musical.
I don't really agree with the BBC playing the 'Ding Dong' song until after the MT funeral - the song has no other context than MT at the moment.
Have a good Songkran !

Offline thaiga

Re: Margaret Thatcher ♦ Anti-Thatcher 'party' draws hundreds
« Reply #50 on: April 14, 2013, 11:36:26 AM »
LONDON - Hundreds of opponents of Margaret Thatcher trooped into Trafalgar Square on Saturday evening for a rain-soaked celebration of the former British prime minister's death earlier this week.

A protester wears a mask depicting former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a "party" to mark her death on Saturday.

Former coal miners involved in the year-long strike against the Iron Lady's government in the 1980s joined far-left activists and students to drink to the Iron Lady's demise.

An effigy of the former Conservative leader was carried through the crowd beneath Nelson's Column, complete with her trademark string of pearls and bouffant hair made from orange plastic bags.

There was a strong police presence for the demonstration, after trouble erupted at several impromptu street celebrations following Thatcher's death from a stroke on Monday at the age of 87.

But the atmosphere was more street carnival than riot, with people of all ages -- many of them barely born when she left office in 1990 -- dancing, playing tambourines, blowing whistles and horns.

Five people were arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly or for inflicting grievous bodily harm, police said.

Several of those attending said they were also planning to protest at Thatcher's funeral on Wednesday by lining the processional route and turning their backs when her coffin goes past.

The ceremony will fall short of a full state funeral but it will involve 700 members of the armed forces and be attended by the queen among 2,000 global political figures and celebrities.

The former premier's daughter Carol Thatcher earlier said she was bracing for a "tough and tearful week".

The Trafalgar Square event was organised on social media sites and driven by a call two decades ago by some of Thatcher's opponents to hold a party on the first Saturday after her death.

The square is one of London's biggest tourist hubs and the scene of a riot in 1990 against the poll tax, a deeply unpopular local levy which contributed to Thatcher's fall that year.

Among the crowd on Saturday were ex-miners from the north of England, who saw their communities devastated in a wave of pit closures during Thatcher's 11 years in power from 1979 to 1990.

David Douglass, a former miner and member of the National Union of Mineworkers from Yorkshire, said he was "very pleased" at news of Thatcher's death.

He said she was a "terrible woman" and added: "We're absolutely furious at this image that is being presented on television, that the whole country is in mourning."

Sigrid Holmwood, a 34-year-old Scottish artist living in London, came well-prepared for the rain with a special umbrella reading "ding dong" on the front.

A song from the hit musical the Wizard of Oz, "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead", has become a rallying cry for anti-Thatcher sentiment since her death and has shot up the singles charts this week.

"I came here today, I wouldn't say to celebrate, but protesting against millions of public money being spent on her funeral when there are (government spending) cuts that affect the sick or the disabled," Holmwood told AFP.

Elsewhere on Saturday, some fans of Liverpool football club held up anti-Thatcher banners at a Premier League match reading "We're gonna have a party" and chanted "Maggie's dead, dead, dead".

-- Thatcher 'left detailed instructions' --

Police are mounting a major security operation for Wednesday's funeral, when Thatcher's coffin will be taken to St Paul's Cathedral through streets lined with members of the armed forces.

The ceremony itself will be carried out in line with strict instructions left by the former premier herself, according to the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

It said she requested that Cameron, as prime minister of the day, read a passage from the Bible but did not want any political eulogy. She also asked that her favourite hymns be sung.

Thatcher's 59-year-old twins Mark and Carol were out of the country when their mother died at London's Ritz hotel, where she spent her last months, but returned home this week.

Carol Thatcher told reporters outside the family's plush home in central London on Saturday that she had been moved by the "magnificent" tributes to her mother from around the world.

"I feel like anyone else who has just lost a second parent," she said, referring to the death of her father Denis in 2003.

She added: "I know that this is going to be a tough and tearful week, even for the daughter of the Iron Lady."

Thatcher's death has sparked fierce debate about her legacy in Britain.

Her admirers credit her with helping to end the Cold War and reinvigorating the British economy after decades of decline.

But left-wing opponents accuse her of pushing a ruthlessly individualistic agenda and putting millions out of work with her radical free-market reforms.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline Roger

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #51 on: April 14, 2013, 01:17:41 PM »
I think MT funeral is on Wednesday next - it won't be a pretty sight. IMO.

Offline thaiga

Re: there is no respect any more
« Reply #52 on: April 14, 2013, 01:29:15 PM »
Margaret Thatcher dead: The vile outpouring of hate shows there is no respect any more

So sad that an old lady's memory is being rubbished by armies of two-bob anarchists

didn’t much like my country last week because I saw a side to it that was ugly and coarse and cruel.

Maggie Thatcher wasn’t even cold before the tsunami of hatred crashed through the plaudits like a poison riptide. “The Witch is dead”, “Rot in Hell”, “Rejoice, Thatcher is dead” said the vile banners, even though many of those brandishing them weren’t even alive when Thatcher was in power.

And how ironic that the people screaming she’d wrecked the country and wrecked their lives still had enough money to buy champagne to drink to her death, to shout that they hoped it was a painful and degrading one.

Still, they followed the mob, sheep-like, shouting that someone had told them she was a bitch... and so they were glad she was dead.

I never voted for Thatcher and there’s nothing wrong with detesting her policies (some people have every right to) but don’t dance on her face, don’t drink to her death. It’s puerile and stupid and says more about the people doing it than the woman they’re vilifying.

What kind of country are we when people rejoice that an old lady had a stroke and died?

Unlike a lot of those baby-faced protesters – and the professional rabble-rousers egging them on – I was born into one of the mining communities that Thatcher’s policies decimated. I lived among the men whose livelihoods she stole and worked in communities that had the lifeblood sucked out of them when the pits and the shipyards shut.

And while for many of those men unemployment was a lifelong shame that ate away at their souls, I never heard any of them talk about Maggie Thatcher the way some of those louts did last week. Yes, some of them hated her policies, but they never allowed her to rob them of their dignity, their inherent decency. A lot of those men belonged to the old school who “didn’t speak ill of the dead”. And had they been alive today they’d have been appalled at the vitriol heaped on a frail old woman who hasn’t been politically active for two decades and who lost her mind years ago.

Thatcher’s biggest crime back then wasn’t shutting down dying industries (and the mines WERE dying). It was not thinking through what the people she threw out of work would do afterwards and then doing nothing to help them rebuild their lives. That WAS a crime.

As for those pits people talk of so romantically, show me one mother who’d want her son to work a mile underground in that dankness, one  wife who’d want her husband bent double for eight hours at a stretch in 3ft coal seams while his lungs were eaten by coal dust.

Have those people screaming about pit closures ever watched a man die of black lung (pneumoconiosis)? Because I have and it isn’t pretty. Don’t they know Scargill is every bit as responsible for the death of the pits as ­Thatcher because of the strikes he called without balloting his men... men who hated him a darn sight more than they hated Thatcher.

My family lived through those strikes where you never knew from one day to the next whether you’d have light or heating or coal. My dad, a lifelong Labour voter, even voted for Thatcher in 1979 because as he said: “She’s a bloody leader, Carole, and we need a leader to get us out of this mess.”

And the men who swept her into power in ’79 WERE the workers – with an unprecedented swing of 11 per cent of skilled workers and a nine per cent swing of unskilled... the same kind of ordinary northern working people 55 per cent of whom were STILL saying last week Maggie was our best-ever PM. So not every working-class person hated Thatcher. The facts say otherwise. But this isn’t about what she did. It’s about what WE’RE doing to her memory.

Yes, free speech is our right, but does it have to involve calls to “p*** on her grave” because that shames us all in the eyes of a world Thatcher taught to respect us? And it’s not just the cruelty that’s been shocking – it’s the unbridled sexism. Never have I seen a male politician vilified or called the foul names she has been.

Yes, there were things all of us disliked about Thatcher, but it’s foolish to deny she was a political colossus with bigger balls than all of our politicians today put together.

And how sad that her memory – any old lady’s memory – is being rubbished by armies of two-bob anarchists who’d sell their granny for a bit of media attention. These people haven’t just trashed Thatcher. They’ve trashed one of our last taboos – that you don’t speak ill of the dead. Now, there is no respect for the dead. And soon there’ll be no respect for anything.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline Roger

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #53 on: April 14, 2013, 01:39:11 PM »
Yes Thaiga It's hard to disagree with most of that. ATB

Offline Roger

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #54 on: April 14, 2013, 01:51:51 PM »
Good afternoon Thaiga and Happy Songkran from the Chaopaya Inn.
The last post about MT from the Mirror was good - but painful reading.
But I wonder if it would be possible to acknowledge the source of the script at the start of the post as a convention on the BB - being dim I often read the whole thing and was thinking it was you !
Just a thought. ATB.

Offline thaiga

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #55 on: April 14, 2013, 02:15:57 PM »

My dad, a lifelong Labour voter, even voted for Thatcher in 1979 because as he said: “She’s a bloody leader, Carole, and we need a leader to get us out of this mess.”

not me i'm afraid ( carole )  enjoy yourself :cheers
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Offline Roger

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #56 on: April 14, 2013, 02:50:51 PM »
Thanks for the thread Thaiga. OK - written by Carole Malone in the Daily Mirror and I agree with her largely.
Just a helpful suggestion though, I think it would be a helpful convention to attribute to the Writer at the beginning of the post.
Changing tack, John Cooper QC made the point on Friday's 'Any Questions', that because allegedly, the 'Ceremonial' MT funeral costs the taxpayer £8 million, then the public have the right to demonstrate if they wish. The resulting applause was very loud.
Thanks - off to brave Songkran now !

Online Taman Tun

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #57 on: April 14, 2013, 02:55:35 PM »

With tributes from across the world hailing Baroness Thatcher’s life, Louise Armitstead (Sunday Times) explores the profound impact that she had upon the UK and its economy
When Sir Winston Churchill died in 1965, there were a total of four tribute speeches in the House of Commons. When Parliament was recalled last week, seven hours was set aside for MPs and Lords to pay their respects to Baroness Thatcher.

There were statesman-like tributes from all three party leaders about Britain’s longest serving prime minister of the 20th Century, and long speeches praising her personal qualities – courage, conviction, patriotism and humour, all laced with a little glamour.
Lord Ashdown, no fawning fan of the Conservative leader, described Lady Thatcher as the “greatest prime minister of our day”. David Cameron said she had “saved” Britain.
From around the world the tributes came. President Obama commented that America had “lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty”.
From Russia’s Mikhail Gorbachev to Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, Lady Thatcher was hailed as a transforming leader. “The amazing Margaret Thatcher,” said Steve Forbes, the chief executive of America’s eponymous publishing house. “We desperately need more leaders like her.”
Lady Thatcher certainly aroused strong opinions. For the Left she became a hate figure, a scapegoat for a creaking social-democratic consensus that by the 1970s had left the dead unburied and uncollected rubbish piled high in Trafalgar Square.
“Thatcherism [wrought] the most heinous social and economic damage on this country, on my constituency, and on my constituents,” said Glenda Jackson, the Labour MP and former actress.
“We were told that everything I had been taught to regard as a vice, under Thatcherism was in fact a virtue: greed, selfishness, no care for the weaker, sharp elbows, sharp knees.”
Six days after her death, the battle is over Lady Thatcher’s legacy to a nation that in 1979 was drifting towards a divided and bitter also-ran. In 1990, when she reigned, Britain had rediscovered its mojo.
This has not been about merely acclaiming, or criticising, the life of a former prime minister. Rather, the death of the Iron Lady, famed for her leadership in a crisis, has brought into sharp focus the handling of today’s problems – political, social and, above all, economic. Lady Thatcher came to power when Britain was the “sick man of Europe” and administered tough medicine with radical consequences. Free markets, privatisations, Big Bang and a refusal to support failing industries were the core of her political philosophy.
The memories are emotive because Britain, now teetering on the edge of triple-dip recession, faces a profound choice: to tackle today’s economic malaise with Thatcherite principles or reject them once and for all.
Should Britain resurrect monetarism and “live within its means”, or spend its way out of recession? Is quantitative easing dangerously interventionist or providing vital support? Did deregulation of the City cause the financial crisis? Has privatisation gone too far? Should the Government support some industries, or none? Should Britain quit Europe, cut taxes, and sell council estates back to the people who live in them?
And what is to be done about two-speed Britain, where London and the South-East leave the rest of the country struggling to keep up economically? Is there room for a “regional policy”?
The powder keg under the debate is that Lady Thatcher never sought popularity if she thought her policies were right. How true would that be today?
“If she’d waited for consensus nothing would ever have happened. She saw what needed to be done and did it,” said Lord Howard of Lympne, the former home secretary.
Tony Blair agreed, with some distinctly Thatcherite advice to the Labour Party in the New Statesman: “The paradox of the financial crisis is that, despite being widely held to have been caused by under-regulated markets, it has not brought a decisive shift to the Left.” He added: “We have to be dispassionate even when the issues arouse great passion.”
To listen to the vitriolic anger of Lady Thatcher’s opponents last week would be to imagine she exploded like a rocket on an otherwise peaceful and prosperous nation. But how many of the revellers at last week’s “death parties” would be able to cope, let alone be happier, in the Britain of 1979?
Back then, people had to wait six months to get a telephone, were banned from taking more than £50 abroad and were at the mercy of union leaders for jobs.
The economy was crippled by rampant inflation, punitive taxes and a 98pc levy on investment income that crushed entrepreneurial initiative. In 1977, Britain had to accept a handout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), like Greece or Cyprus today.
The Government owned the telephones and railways, but also British Airways, Thomas Cook and Pickfords. Each was paralysed by inefficiency and bureaucracy, “customer service” was a little-known skill. A once proud industrial base was crumbling with low productivity, over-manning and a reputation for poor quality goods.
A total of 29m working days were lost to strikes in 1979, compared with 2m in 1990. Power cuts were standard and industries were limited to a three-day working week to conserve energy. The candle was almost a unit of currency.
Successive governments wrung their hands and pursued policies of conciliation with the unions, which basically meant capitulation. The demands from increasingly militant leaders grew; more money, more pay or paralysis.
Last week, the BBC, which Lady Thatcher disliked for its Leftist world view, replayed films of violent picket lines and repeated the epitaph that she was “divisive” because she apparently tore mining communities apart.
The decline had started long before. Harold Wilson, the Labour prime minister, closed 251 coal mines. Lady Thatcher closed 154. Despite the claim LadyThatcher abandoned “rustbucket industries”, Britain’s manufacturing production rose 7.5pc during her premiership.
Lives were upturned and jobs were lost and Lady Thatcher, like many leaders since, failed to come up with replacement employment in the mining areas of Wales and north-east England.
Despite this heavy price for some, few that lived through the 1970s regretted that Lady Thatcher reclaimed Britain from controlled labour and delivered a semblance of market discipline to the world of business.
The unions weren’t the economy’s only shackles. Britain also suffered from a collective crisis of confidence.
The post-War, post-Empire consensus was to “manage the decline”. Prevailing economic attitudes were protectionist, provincial and very unambitious. The City was dusty and anachronistic and the nation increasingly looked to the Government for sustenance.
Into this twilight-zone – half civil war, half stupor – Lady Thatcher thrust her two passions that shattered the status quo; a hatred of socialism and a love of Friedrich Hayek, the free market economist. “Without economic liberty there could be no true political liberty,” she told European leaders in 1979.
In her vision, Britain was to be transformed into a nation of business leaders and wealth creators, unencumbered by the state, and with no need for reliance on it either.
Her mixed success has led some to conclude her ideology was a failure and others to lament that the policies were never fully implemented.
At the start, Lady Thatcher’s economic policies pushed Britain into a painful period of adjustment. George Osborne has been attacked for a 0.3pc contraction in the economy. In Lady Thatcher’s first two years GDP shrank 3.5pc and unemployment rose by a million.
Her government, under the chancellorship of Geoffrey Howe, attacked hyperinflation with blisteringly high interest rates, raised from 12pc to 14pc in 1979 and then to 17pc in 1980. Manufacturing was hard hit and the recession at the beginning of the 1980s was the worst since the Great Depression.
Yet herfirm stance and radical action have led to demands for Mr Osborne to do the same. In Lord Howe’s first Budget in 1979, the top rate of income tax was cut from 83pc to 60pc (it was later cut to 40pc) and the basic rate was cut from 33pc to 30pc.
The moves sent an unmistakable pro-business, pro-aspiration message. Cameron and Osborne have tried to do the same with the cut in corporation tax, but the reality is that this is a minor levy in the morass of other business taxes that remain.
Thatcher’s mantra was that businesses created wealth, not governments and the privatisation of state-owned industries was one of her most lasting legacies.
State ownership of businesses, in Britain and abroad, had been the dominant practice since 1945. A sell-off was originally planned as a cash raid for the Treasury, but by the time Lady Thatcher left office, it had snowballed into a philosophy that swept across the world.
Between 1984 and 1991, 33 major companies were privatised in what the old guard, such as Harold MacMillan, called “selling off the family silver”.
Associated British Ports, British Airports Authority, British Airways, British Gas, British Steel, British Telecom, 17 electricity companies and 10 water and sewerage companies left public ownership.
According to the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), the state companies went from costing the Treasury an average of £300m each a year in subsidies to contributing between £3.3bn and £5.8bn a year in corporation tax from 1987 onwards.
British Steel needed £1bn of Treasury support in 1980 on a turnover of £3bn, earning itself a place in the Guinness Book of Records for inefficiency. Soon after privatisation it was profitable and contributing £200m a year in taxes.
British Telecom had a £300m cash injection in 1980; in 1995 it paid £1.1bn to the Exchequer.
The consumer also benefited. By 1995, domestic gas prices fell 25pc and commercial gas costs were 50pc lower. Telecoms charges fell by 40pc and airport charges dropped 10pc.
State-run companies accounted for 10pc of the UK economy in 1979, a figure that has fallen to just 2pc today and the programme is not yet complete. The Royal Mail is the latest to join the queue and there have been calls for a further sell-off of state assets from the Met Office, to Channel 4 and the London Underground.
The M6 toll road is a test case for proponents of road privati-
role model and the belief she instilled in the nation with her deep, unmoveable and authentic belief in enterprise.
Which is not to say that I ever heard the word “entrepreneur” spoken by Baroness Thatcher or anyone else growing up.
Unlike in today’s world of Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice, building a business wasn’t a reality TV staple in Baroness Thatcher’s Britain. Nor were successful entrepreneurs hailed as rock stars.
As a young person, my store of successful entrepreneurial role models included Sir Richard Branson and that was about it. So how did Baroness Thatcher encourage me to become an entrepreneur without lionising entrepreneurs? By doing something more fundamental: lionising work and grit.
In today’s world we can forget that entrepreneurship doesn’t come from TV shows or celebrity entrepreneurs at the doors of Downing Street. While our current Government has introduced the Start-up Loans scheme and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme, we lack people who truly understand the conditions that need to exist for an entrepreneurial culture to be created.
The distribution of loans or development of tax schemes for entrepreneurs will not change the attitudes and attributes of the current generation and without this we run the risk of never reaching our full potential as a truly enterprising nation.
Glamorising the lifestyles of successful entrepreneurs will not push people to found businesses, because founding businesses isn’t glamorous. It’s a slog and an immense amount of work.
With every bone in her body Baroness Thatcher represented the real qualities and behaviours entrepreneurs need for success and in her passing we have lost someone who has had, and will continue to have, a huge impact on the thinking of many members of my generation
Our leaders influence the psyche of developing minds. It is a pity that our current generation will not have Lady Thatcher’s real-life model of persistence and true work ethic.
This is a woman who was famous for surviving on four hours of sleep and who was barely ever seen to take a vacation. The lesson was clear – you get out what you put in. It is undeniable that all of us enjoy “chillaxing” and embracing “date nights”, but sadly this does not and will not build successful businesses.
It will not take you up the career ladder and it will not develop our country into something we can all be proud of. When the top person works so hard, you learn that there’s a lot in hard work. Dangling money and success infront of young people not only fails to convey to them what entrepreneurialism is really about. It also does nothing to instill the determination that building a business demands.
How can we give people determination and actually create the additional entrepreneurs Britain needs? You can only become a role model, as Baroness Thatcher did, by embodying aspiration and steely nerves, and then you get out of the way.
The Britain Baroness Thatcher built welcomed immigrants like my family and me. The country she created promised that those who moved here would be able to build a life; the culture enabled and empowered new arrivals who understood that no matter where they came from or who they were back home, it was possible to reach their dreams through hard work. Everything, we felt, was achievable if we only took responsibility for ourselves.
Baroness Thatcher revealed the truth that anyone can do it regardless of your gender or where your journey began. I believe the way to encourage an enterprise culture is to surround our current younger generation with people who, just like Baroness Thatcher, just got on and did.
Sahar Hashemi founded Coffee Republic in 1995 with her brother, Bobby, and Skinny Candy confectionary in 2005. into a booming global banking hub.
Lady Thatcher viewed the old boys of the City with the same contempt as the some of the dinosaurs of the Tory party; as her adviser Lord Bell said last week, she would have “profoundly appalled” by the greed and contempt exposed by the financial crisis. “She probably would have let the banks go bust, it was what the markets were asking for,” he said.
At her core, Lady Thatcher wanted to resurrect the market and rediscover capitalism.
Archie Norman, the chairman of ITV, said: “She restored the idea that free enterprise was a socially legitimate activity. She rebalanced the argument for capitalism and created confidence and belief in the social worth of entrepreneurship.”
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Winston Churchill

Offline Roger

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #58 on: April 14, 2013, 03:25:22 PM »
Obviously strong feelings around. For me, despite nominally sorting out the Trade Unions a little, her Governments blew the proceeds of many 'Privatisations' of debatable merit and the North sea oil revenues, leaving Industry widely shattered - that was not a problem as we had 'services' to rely on. Industry never recovered. MT was IMO a disastrous PM.

Online Taman Tun

Re: Margaret Thatcher
« Reply #59 on: April 14, 2013, 04:26:01 PM »
There is much talk of erecting a statue of Baroness Thatcher, but not much agreement on the location.  Margaret was a warrior and was not afraid to take on the battles that the menfolk were afraid of..just like our very own Ya-mo.  A plinth and statue next to Ya-mo would be very good.
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Winston Churchill