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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Margaret Thatcher. Consensus: divisive

 I only know Margaret Thatcher through the media. As a NZ child in the early 80's the only events involving Thatcher that I can recall was the Falklands War and the Brighton Bombing. The general image in NZ, at least from a child's perspective at the time, was of a determined and ferocious leader very much in control - and as such was generally respected, if not admired. She had won a war decisively, survived the IRA attempted massacre of her government, and in one of her first challenges had sorted out the wind-up of Rhodesia. She was The Man.

We are undoubtedly drawn to strong leaders, and from afar it is foreign policy that figures first in our perception rather than their domestic policies. So all the trauma and flak of the miners strikes and the neo-liberal free market reforms in Britain went under my radar: I didn't know, I didn't have an opinion. However as I grew up, and as Thatcher's reign continued, I began to get a clearer, more three dimensional image of who she was and where she was coming from. In this latter period the poll tax riots, distancing themselves from what is now the EU, cosying up to Pinochet, and the consequences of mass unemployment and the closing down of traditional industries became prominent issues marking out the legacy of Thatcherism.
I first formed a negative opinion about Thatcher when she made some remarks as she came out of a Commonwealth meeting that was discussing sanctions on Apartheid South Africa. It wasn't the concurrence she had (and that was held by other conservative governments of white countries including NZ under Muldoon) that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist, rightfully imprisoned by the Afrikaaner regime - it was about the effects of the sanctions proposed.

I can't recall the exact comment verbatim; but in her glowering, patronising, tone she said the sanctions - which were about restricting imports of South African gold - wouldn't do anything, would have little effect. I think she said it would be "very, very, very" insignificant. I'm not sure if it was just the way she said it, with that awful intonation of hers like she was scalding and lecturing, but from what she said she was supporting the Apartheid government and was undermining the group's own sanctions. For me that was a turning point. She became a complete hell bitch Nazi from then on. And everything I've seen or read since has confirmed this. She was on the wrong side a lot of the time.

One of the best accounts - OK, only accounts - I've read of Thatcher is from Alan Clark's diaries. He's an absolute acolyte of hers and the sexual-power admiration he frequently cites is equated to Bodicea. He describes a mesmerising figure kept in a bubble of yes-men and how she became detatched, before eventually being done in by her own fickle Cabinet.  She would be rated as one of the most successful British PM's, but also one of the most divisive. Check out the Guardian's articles today:
Tributes pour in for Margaret Thatcher
Parliament recalled from recess as world leaders pay tribute to one of the most divisive figures in modern British politics .
Thatcher's dark legacy has still not disappeared
Days before he died in 2003, Guardian columnist and Thatcher biographer Hugo Young wrote an epitaph for the prime minister who changed Britain forever
Lady Thatcher will be honoured with a funeral of a scale not accorded to a former prime minister since the lavish spectacle of Winston Churchill's state funeral half a century ago – and much of the cost is expected to be borne by the taxpayer.
Downing Street announced that Britain's first female prime minister would receive a ceremonial funeral, with gun carriage, military procession and a service at St Paul's Cathedral, in the style of the funerals of Diana, Princess of Wales, and the Queen Mother.
One rung below a state funeral – as normally accorded to sovereigns – a ceremonial funeral requires the consent of the Queen, which has been given. There will be no public lying in state, at Thatcher's own request.
One Whitehall source said: "It will look and feel like a state funeral to all intents and purposes."
Thatcher was understood to fear that a parliamentary bill, which would have to be passed to permit public funds for a state funeral, could prompt a divisive debate.
No, she wouldn't have wanted to be divisive!


At 9/4/13 1:57 pm, Blogger myr lock said...

Yeah, she was a man. No woman is capable of such barbaric behaviour.

At 9/4/13 5:38 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was alive through those Thatcher years. Ding dong the wicked witch is dead. It isnt often someones painful & ignominious demise brings happiness but I,m dancing for joy!

At 9/4/13 8:14 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thatcher and her best pal Pinochet who without she could have not win so decisively the war in Malvinas, so she goes to his rescue when Judge Garzon have him arrested for genocide and torture in London early 2000.She had him free under a pretext with the support of Labour and he escaped international justice.She was a collaborator,an accomplice,and she will never be respected. Hope she rots with Augusto "Daniel Lopez " Pinochet

At 11/4/13 6:54 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need a smack in the pudding muncher


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