Thursday, 11 April 2013

Enough Already: Too Much Praise For Thatcher

Following on from my reminder four years ago: 
I guess I am not the only person who has been angered perhaps even sickened by the incessant coverage of the death of Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013).  I am sure it will drag on until the actual funeral on 18th April.  At least some of the media acknowledge that she was a 'divisive' politician.  However, few seem to point out that whilst 28% of the population think she was the best prime minister Britain had, many of the majority utterly despised her and all that she stood for.  Her greatest success is probably to have survived until a government was elected that actually made hers look moderate in some respects.  Thatcher denied the existence of society whereas Cameron clearly believes in it and is driving very hard to restore the pattern it had in the mid-19th century if not earlier.

I am sickened that there is to be a military-style funeral for Thatcher.  It is called a ceremonial funeral rather than a state funeral; this is the style that was introduced for Princess Diana and the Queen Mother.  The Queen is attending, so the difference to a state funeral is minimal.  The military involvement seems particularly inappropriate as Thatcher's policies led to the death and mutilation of British soldiers in an unnecessary war which was carried out primarily for her personal electoral benefit.  There are people who are dead who would have been alive if Thatcher had not been elected.  They did not receive a ceremonial funeral.

There are millions of people whose lives have been wrecked because of Thatcher.  Generally they are not the people who are asked to comment, though I am glad that there has been some coverage from former coal-mining villages and from MPs willing to speak out against her.  Whole communities were wrecked by her policies.  Thatcher aimed to destroy the coal mining industry right from the beginning of her regime and stock-piled two years' worth of coal for the purpose.  Her policy not only drove up unemployment and the associated costs in police overtime payments and social benefit for those made jobless, but also put Britain's fuel security at risk.  We face a large challenge in providing enough energy in Britain and are having to pay for expensive gas, simply because of the fuel policy of the Thatcher years.

Thatcher praised greed and rewarded those who exploited others.  The selling off of utilities to companies that make vast profits and provide an ever declining service at rising costs were another direct Thatcher policy which we are still suffering from even today.  The risky adventurism of the financiers of the City of London freed and encouraged by Thatcher led to the dire economic circumstances of today which continue to lead to unemployment and the destruction of the lives of millions.

Thatcher promoted the privatisation of public services at local authority level and created the marketplace in the National Health Service which directly led to the death of patients in locations such as Mid Staffordshire and right across the health service due to 'super-bugs' allowed to persist through insufficient hygiene by private cleaning companies.  The compulsion to have the cheapest service ironically fuelled the demand for cheap migrant labour which the Conservatives now feel is a problem themselves.  Without Thatcher they would not be facing that challenge.

Thatcher's policies through the compulsory selling of social housing has led to the homelessness we see today, not simply people living on the streets but families jammed into unhealthy bed & breakfast hotels across the country.  This is a costly way to house people.  They are not tenants; they suffer ill-health because the conditions are poor and they cannot eat well.  Living in a council house was never luxury but it did not push adults and especially children into the difficult situations they are with the current policy on housing.

I could just keep going on and on about how much Thatcher damaged Britain and the lives of millions of people living here.  Cameron follows a different form of Conservatism to Thatcher as he does not even both to try to reach out to ordinary Conservative voters and has seen a rapid reduction in the police and armed forces that were strongly supported by previous Conservative governments.  Yet, despite all Cameron's praise for Thatcher, his government is having to deal with many social and economic problems created by her government.  The things they whine about are a legacy of her smashing up of British society as it had been developing.  She left a legacy which still impinges on us thirty years later in so many bad ways.  Yes, some people have prospered, but they were the privileged anyway and would have done well whoever was in office.  Their prosperity, however, clearly provided no benefit to Britain as it is a more dangerous, poorer and more unhealthy place than it was in 1979.

Given this record and all that Thatcher rained down on this country, I guess no-one will be surprised that I find it impossible to listen to any comments about how 'impressive' she was.  She had rigid ideas that have meant misery for millions of people even after she left office and no doubt for years, probably decades after her death.  If I believed in Hell I know she would be there answering for all of her crimes.  Unfortunately in this secular world, it is just those who have suffered as a result of her policies who have to keep reminding society actually what has been inflicted on them and whose fault it was that of Margaret Thatcher.


Jonathan said...

I suppose a military funeral is appropriate for a war monger.

Anonymous said... from the Wilson Coup Blog..what I now think, is that it was not so much a plot to get rid of Wilson but more of a campaign to get a Tory PM..have a look at what the nineteen twenty-two folk had been up to at the time and for about 8 to 9 years preceeding and of course, who put all this to bed in a statement to the House,6th May 1987(HC Deb 06 May 1987 vol 115 cc723-32).