Monday, 8 April 2013

THATCHER 1925-2013

OK, let's get the sensibilities out of the way first.

If you had only nice things to say about someone you knew personally when they were alive, it is not wrong but probably it is unpleasant to say nasty things about them when they are dead, presumably because they can't respond.

As I didn't know Mrs Thatcher personally and I rarely said anything nice about her when she was alive, I see no particular reason for doing so now that she is dead. 

What do I feel? Well, nothing. I wasn't even going to write anything about her until Panda Paws indicated that she hoped I would.

Mrs Thatcher was a divisive character one of the most divisive I can think of. Although it's fair to say that a poll in 2011 (above), showed that more people felt she had been good for Britain than thought she had been bad.

That she changed Britain there is no doubt. That it needed some change at the time, there is also no doubt. But in my opinion her change was all wrong. And perhaps in a way, this poll illustrates at least one reason why Scotland should be an independent nation. I cannot recall ever, not once, hearing anyone in Scotland say that they were a fan. Ruth Davidson, said that it was time to forget presumably even she wasn't much of a fan. Thatcher may have been relatively popular in England; she was largely hated here. 

And although now she's gone, as at 87 she might reasonably expect to be, her evil lingers on in the form of Blair, Brown, Lamont, Duncan-Smith, Cameron, Hague, Fox... and far too many more to mention...including the odious Osborne. It is unlikely that this government could have done what it has done without the start that she made.

She privatized ruthlessly. Everyone could and should own shares in the utilities and in much more. But she must have known that little people would buy shares and make a quick profit by selling them to the big boys, who would then make a profit by selling them off to even bigger boys, sometimes her husband's friends, sometimes from America or China, which is why water, gas and electricity is so expensive. She sold off council housing, without a thought as to what might happen if the housing bubble burst...precipitating the disastrous affordable housing shortage of today. 

And what did she do with the money? Any ideas?

She certainly had the most repulsive friends. Pinochet, Sadam Hussein (until she went to war with him), President Suharto of Indonesia. She would have no truck with the hope and vision that people foresaw in Nelson Mandela. He was a terrorist. No more. 

She shut down industries, closed down towns, ruined people's lives, and threw whole communities on the scrap heap. For someone who was as clever as she clearly was, it was strange that she thought that she could replace mines, factories, mills and foundries with call centres. In doing it she destroyed a great manufacturing base with heavy and light engineering skills equalled only by those of Germany (which had the good sense to retain its industry) and she wrote off a generation of young people.

She insisted that the only way to progress was to become a low wage economy, but with high rewards for the best managers. Heaven knows that went wrong on both sides!

She favoured an economy based on service industries: finance, insurance  banking. And that wasn't the best idea, was it?

She encouraged greed. Loadsamoney was more than a comedy character; it was what 1980s yuppies were all about. Reaganomics cut and pasted from America, with no thought to whether it was suitable or not for Britain. 

She revived hereditary titles to give her husband a Baronetcy so that her beloved Mark, the arms dealer and revolution funder, as he would never amount to anything much on his own, could be a "Sir!" when his father died.

Recently it was revealed that she was complicit in the police cover up of their own incompetence at Hillsborough.

One thing that she might have done, as the first female leader of a political party in Britain, and the first female prime minister, was to further the cause of equality for women. But she promoted very few women, whether because she didn't think them competent, or because she wanted to be the only woman amongst all these men, I don't know. In the end I imagine that she probably set back the cause of women in politics, at least in the UK, although not in Scotland.

Craig Murray, who knew her personally says that as an individual she was clever and charismatic. However he tells a story on his blog about how, after she stood down and was acting as a paid consultant to a cigarette company, she was prepared to risk lives for money.

Did she do any good? 

As far as i can see, yes, at least one thing. She did more than most to further the cause of independence for Scotland and for that, and that alone, I thank her.

I said earlier that I felt nothing. That's not quite true. I heard somewhere that we are to pay for a ceremonial funeral for her. I have no idea how much that will cost, and of course we will not be told, but I am furious about this waste of money at a time when so many have to go without and that I will personally have to contribute. 

I take comfort though, from the fact that it can only do even more good for the YES campaign.

My friend, James, has managed to find some creditable aspects of her career, and, like the much nicer than me guy that he is, he has chosen to highlight them!

I know that Thatcher is an emotive subject and that feelings run high when talking, or writing about her. Can I respectfully remind you that this is a family blog, read I know by some children, and say that I really would appreciate it if you would moderate the expression of your feelings accordingly. Thanks in advance. :)


  1. A street party v. state funeral.

    I don't want my money going on a state funeral for her, but if it does (and call one Dave will make sure it happens)I want there to be a balance.

    Apparently she is going to be cremated privately.

    Pity. I'd have liked to see her burn...

    I hope the cheeldren won't be too shocked tris.

  2. I would have thought, Conan, that they should just privatise her funeral. PFI it or put it out to tender. Some high value management, low wage company is bound to come in with a knockdown price.

    Did you notice that the BBC initially said that she had died from a strike....? These miners!!!

    I don't think the children will be too shocked. I just hoped to avoid a screed of four letter words describing her and her qualities.


    Nice to see you again. Hope you are felling better adn that things are going better for you.

  3. Former England hooker Brian Moore expressed it best today, in my opinion.

    Those asking why I don't decry Thatcher & her divisive poitics & social agenda - because she died today and I'm not a c***.
    — Brian Moore (@brianmoore666) April 8, 2013

  4. Thatcher's Mean Legacy

    Labour Prime Minister John Callaghan made a token attempt to address these issues by requesting an IMF loan in 1976 to finance tangible industrial re-investment as bridge financing until the UK’s North Sea oil could begin generating foreign exchange. But US Treasury Secretary Bill Simon read him the riot act. IMF and U.S. policy was to provide credit only to pay bondholders, not to build up the real economy. Britain would be advanced loans only if it reoriented its economy to let high finance do the planning.

    The UK became the IMF’s best neoliberal poster child, establishing a comparative advantage in offshore finance in what ultimately would flower as Gordon Brown’s notorious Light Touch that brought about the banking collapses of 2008. In this sense her role was to serve as Britain’s version of Boris Yeltsin, sponsoring the carve-up of centuries of public investment.

    Radio off as the adulation is sick.

  5. That was very clever of Mr Moore to not talk about her er...divisiveness or her social agenda...


    I'm glad he was good enough not to mention it at all! :0

  6. Good article CH.

    It was all downhill from then on... Reaganomics.... geeeee!

    What a mess... but hey, if we get independence on the back of it, I'll drink to Thatcher and the friends she will be reunited with...

  7. Keep the chin up Conan...

  8. I heard that the Baroness went straight down to hell, and has already closed down four furnaces.


    1. Well she had a lot of practice...

  9. Best quote so far. IMO

    The Lady's not returning.

  10. Good programme, CH. Very interesting. and fantastic to be Norwegian.

    And yes, they are all tarred with the same brush... right wing brush! There's no alternative now...except here!

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  12. Pinochet, Hussein and Thatcher - Friends Re-united. Satan asks "Where's Blair?"

  13. Wow a name check in the article, I'm proper chuffed ! Okay a sex change too but hey name check :-)

    My favourite BTL comment so far

    "and in other news Scotland has just broken the world record for the longest conga line"

    My condolences to her loved ones but I LOATHED her and everything she stood for.

  14. I have no strong feelings about Thatcher but as usual have become pissed off with the fawning idolatry she's getting from the usual candidates now that she's dead.

    I was quite young when Thatcher did her work, I have no doubt it was bad though, even at the time I had a sense of it, I think we all looked at the footage on TV of miners fighting with police and thought; what a cow. We also saw images of Scargill and thought; what an arse.

    But since I didn't grow up in a mining community and wasn't conscious of any hard ship at the time; I am some what indifferent from a personal point of view.

    I do see the legacy though, and for that, the blame lies squarely at her door.

    Other than that, there are people in Scotland who loved her. They were on Call Kaye this morning (where else?) They were talking from the Hawick Conservative club, at least that's what they said, to be honest the people sounded quite old so it may well have been a nursing home. The people talking were clearly and demonstrably out of touch, David Cameron has more of a finger on the pulse of Scotland than these old duffers do.

  15. There's an explanation, John:

    "I've sent him to do a few last commissions for me, Your Devilness", says Maggie. "Oh excuse me, I think I see Denis over there, hiding behind that bottle."

  16. Ah PP... Firstly I apologise for your gender change, for which there is no extra charge. I have corrected my mistake!

    Yes, I believe that there was much rejoicing at that news (didn't she use these words over the Falklands/Malvinos) in the streets of Scotland.

    The trouble is, one senile, decrepit old woman has died, and no one rejoices at that. The only thing one could welcome is if her policies could somehow be erased. If the division and greed and strife she left behind her would disappear like they had never happened.

    And that's impossible.

  17. tris,

    Say what you like about Denis but he was a brave soul - well, you would have to be, would you not? I suggested a head-line to the Scotsman "Thatcher dies - SNP accused" but it has not appeared ......yet.

  18. That's fair comment Pa.

    The miners had a case for improved conditions, and in a dangerous and terrible job at the coal facing, doing something which was an absolute necessity for the country, they may have had a case for more money.

    You sum the situation up well though. Scargill, however, was as you say a complete
    arse, and she was a right cow.

    I see you have put yourself through another episode of Call Kaye. You may be shortening your life. Did the BBC balance the adoration of the retired colonels and their memsahibs of Hawick, with a few of their usual contributors? Did the SNP get the blame for finishing her off?

    I tried the BBC world service, hoping that there might be some actual news on there... but I was wrong. And my mum was saying that all the news on the BBC was about her.

    I briefly listened to the Today programme and heard Jim Naughtie and John Humphries getting all choked up about having interviewed her...

    Roll on next week, better weather and some new news.

    I wonder what the evil Cameron will slip out this good week to bury bad news.

    All people under the age of 80 to report to Atos for work trials with Tesco?

  19. Well, yes, John. It must have been a nightmare to be married to her, so I feel a little sympathy for Denis. And I can certainly understand why he spent the best part of his life absolutely blind drunk.

    But he wasn't a very nice man. I remember seeing documentary about him at some stage, possibly when he died, and he repelled me with his racism, and narrow minded British bulldog attitude.

    I was just asking Pa (above), if the SNP has been blamed for this national tragedy yet.

    It was the stress of the possibility of "we in Scotland" becoming "them in Scotland", what done it!

  20. She sent the task force down to retake the Falklands so she did some good. Call me Dave would have just handed them over with a cast iron guarantee of a referendum on something or other sometime in the future.

    She opened the City to the spivs and it's been all downhill since then.

  21. Tris

    I wrote a wee bit on Thatcher and found that I really didn't have that much to say, a bit strange.


  22. Monty: There were opportunities to negotiate, in the Falklands/Malvinos situation. In my opinion, she should have taken them before she risked all these lives and spent all that money on 2000 people that don't pay any taxes to we're all in it together Britain.

    I think Mrs Thatcher went to war because she reckoned that she could beat the Argies and that, in the days before we were war weary from losing in Iraq and Afghanistan, she knew that this would give her flagging government a boost. She was right. It did. Jingoism gone wild and a huge majority, despite her odious domestic policies which hurt everyone except yuppies and fat cats.

    But I'd certainly agree that she laid the paving stones for the idiotic free-for-all that the City of London became and which ruined the country. And the sale of the century which leaves us now at the tender mercies of Electricity and Gas companies who couldn't care less about people freezing to death, as long as they make a profit.

    Good old Tories. You can depend on them to look after themselves

  23. By far and away Mrs Thatcher’s best work was done when she struggled with the pie and soft fillings department at Lyons and was part of the team that successfully developed Mr Whippy ice cream....after that it was all downhill. I’m not glad she is dead and I’m not sorry she is no longer alive but I do note that she is as divisive in death as she was in life. All I will say is that it’s a shame she never stuck it out at Lyons using her genius to manufacture ghastly tasting, cheap desserts and pie fillings that could be flogged off at a premium to those gullible enough to be taken in. That did not metamorphose into her political career!

  24. Bruce.

    Good piece. I've left a comment.

  25. OMG Munguin... I see the news is still all about Thatcher.

    yeah, mr Whippy Ice Cream... 75% air and just as tasty.

    That sounds about like her.

  26. The oily and disgusting eulogies from every one and their dog have Mrs Thatcher down as the be all and end all of everything from culture to women’s rights. The falling over each other to fawn over the memory of a divisive ideologue is really quite unpalatable. When at the end of the day I defy anyone to actually come up with something she did that would stand up to reasonable scrutiny as of benefit to humanity and not even of the world but just of these isles. She never stopped to consider the consequences of her policies in the medium to long term and they have been disastrous. But then that is nothing new for politicians and political parties from Westminster, their narrow minded short term agendas have seen some utter disasters from the squandering of our Marshall aid on an H bomb that didn’t work very well and nearly blew Cumbria off the side of the country because the Americans had been rude to Ernest Bevin to the Beeching cuts of Macmillan that Wilson said he would reverse and didn’t and so on the list is extensive!

  27. Yes Munguin. Put with your usual panache.

    You're bang on though!