Sunday, 28 April 2013

Thatcher may be gone, but remember – her cruel influence lives on in the Labour Party

Article by John Pilger, published in the New Statesman on April 25, 2013. without permission, but because everyone should read it.


  1. Labour came into power in 1997 and systematically deconstructed Thatchers social policy legacy, her constitutional legacy, and her poverty legacy. And reversed her lassies-faire economic legacy.

    So to claim we are 'Thatcherites' in terms of policy or ideology is simply childish nonsense.

    Labour introduced UK wide devolution, reversing 18 wasted years of Tory constitutional obstructionism (a position supported by anti-devo SNP remember).

    Labour reversed the vile section 28 law, and pushed forward anti-hate laws, equality laws, EU convention on human rights, and working time directives - plus civil marriages. As a gay youngster I owe a heck of a lot to Labour (including legalisation btw).

    Labour raised tens of thousands of kids out of absolute poverty, and millions from relative poverty. Through policies of REDISTRIBUTION via tax credits, EMA - making work and education pay. Making up for 18 years of Tory underinvestment in the public services which matter.

    And reversed her lassiez-faire economic policies by introducing a minimum wage (and as already mentioned, making work pay decent wages, and preventing exploitative excessive working hours).

    Labour delivered. What have the SNP done except oppose devolution, then change their tune? Except undermining Scottish Labours anti-sectarianism legacy via a do-nothing policy followed by stupidity like the anti-songs laws (try enforcing that past the Euro court of justice!)

    I vote Labour, and am god damn proud of it! To claim Labour is the 'same' as the Tories is to highlight your true ignorance of your own recent political past.

    1. Would love to see your links to back up those wild irrational assertions or was self delusion part of your Uni curriculum?

  2. OK Dean. I won't even go near answering your comment about my ignorance.

    But remember this is not my work, I made no comment here... This was someone else's opinion. And it was your leader in England who called her a 'feminist' and a 'hero'... neither of which she was. She hated women. In all her time in government she had very few in any ministerial position. And she's only a heroine to the likes of Norman Tebbit.

    How could Miliband say that?

    And he "honoured her achievements"... which ones?

    I wouldn't deny that Labour gave us devolution. Mind, as I recall, they did so under duress from the Council Of Europe (and Blair said that he would ensure that the Scottish Parliament had no more power than a parish council, which, I assume is something they have in England with no power.

    He did reverse the laws regarding Section 28 (although Labour and the Liberals did it far earlier in Scotland without the encumbrance of the house of Lords.) Of course that was to be welcomed. She took a sledgehammer to crack a nail about that. She left a generation of kids unable to seek advice, and teachers unable to stop homophobic bullying. Silly bitch.

    I'm not sure about raising kids out of poverty. They changed the definition of poverty and the gap between rich and poor widened in their 13 years. A very sad outcome, specially following 17 years of that load of nut jobs.

    I agree that they introduced the minimum wage and I applaud that. Not to have minimum amounts was a scandal. People worked for less than a pound and hour and the government (taxpayer) had to subsidise them, or let them starve. When Mrs Thatcher abolished the Wages Councils and their right to set minimum rates for jobs in their industries, sometime in the mid-late 80s, the minimum wage in the catering trade was £3.50. When Mr Blair reinstated it 10 years later; it was £3.60. Worse, some people's wages came down, or stayed static!
    It is the European Union that introduced working hours legislation and indeed most health and safety.

    The SNP did resist devolution at first. They were about independence, and I suspect that, like Labour they thought that devolution would kill the desire for independence. They were wrong to resist it, as were the Tories. They were wrong to suspect it would stop the independence movement in its tracks. They were wrong to resist it. But it was not what they were about.

    In Scotland, Labour, in tandem with the Liberal Democrats (and most of the good legislation emanated from them) introduced many progressive laws on care of the elderly and education and health.

    Blair didn't do the same thing in England, where there was no other influence on the government and a massive majority, plus a huge Labour influx into the House of Lords ensured that he ran an elected dictatorship.

    He sent his London people to Edinburgh (including Mandelson and Lance Price) to ensure that Dewar did what Blair wanted. They came "à capuchon", as it were, so that the press at Edinburgh airport would not recognise them.

    There are good things, but there are bad many...from Labour's years.

    So even people like Ed didn't mind that most of the repressive legislation that she passed was left in place. They reversed virtually nothing. Trade Unions shackled; the City set free to do whatever it wanted, including plunge the country into a financial crisis through ignorance, incompetence and greed, that it will possibly never recover from.

    And Gordon Brown. All the understanding of high economics and the financial acumen that you would expect from someone who got his history doctorate by writing a thesis on the Labour Party.


    Whist I realise that if you are leader of the opposition you probably can't stand up in parliament and call a recently dead Thatcher a wicked old cow, even if she was; you can't do a Glenda Jackson (a proper Labour person). But he could have avoided this sickening sycophancy. It turns my stomach.

  3. Labour abandoned the poor when Bliar came to power. Twice resigned slime like Mandleson had it right...being comfortable about getting filthy rich. They all became millionaires and lords while the poor scrambled to survive on tax credits. Their wages too low without them to survive in 'Cool Britania'.
    Maggie said in her autobiography that one of her greatest achievements was producing a Bliar....says it all....oh have I mentioned Iraq ?

    1. Ye Monty... Maggie was proud of Blair.

      And No didn't mention Iraq...

    2. Also forgot to mention PFI which our great grandchildren will still be paying for, taxing the sick in hospital car park fees, tuition fees for students, bankrupting the country, selling off our gold for buttons, bailing out the banksters, knighting the banksters, being americas poodle, killing thousands in incompetent hospital trusts, smearing opponents, smearing supporters, failing to provide our troops with protective armour, sneaking in to sign the lisbon treaty and removing our last freedoms, opening our borders to 3 million 'to rub the right's nose in it', producing the 2008 climate bill which will pour £800Bn into the great global warming swindle, dumbing down our education system so that you can get a degree in star trek.....etc etc

  4. To my mind it is the height of arrogance - in line with Labour politicians Davidson, Foulkes, Martin, Murphy etc etc - to accuse someone of "ignorance" for holding a different view-point!

    1. A bit silly, John, I thought.

      I didn't really want to go on and on about Thatcher, although I doubtless go on and on about Thatcherism for a long time, but Cynical Highlander brought this article to my attention and I was shocked.

      I knew about the miners; I knew about trades unions; I knew she shut down industry and I knew that she sank the Belgrano, and took away a third of the OAPs' incomes, but there was a lot that she did that I didn't know. Her and Reagan. Kids starving for the want of milk powder, when there was a milk lake in Europe

      It makes my flesh creep.

      I have to say I was a bit amazed at the results on the Wings poll. It was probably little Munguin with his paw on the vote button all night. He did it recently with that poll for Mrs Lamont... blasted animal (Munguin, not Mrs Lamont!).

      I'll have to take away his ipad!

      Thanks guys...

  5. Tris,

    I noticed that Munquin's Republic featured prominently in the poll for favourite political blogs! Well done, perhaps ignorance is bliss after all!

  6. Part One


    Thanks for posting the article, a timely reminder to how much of a cow and coward Thatcher was. For anyone in Labour to support this monster shows that the Labour Party died after Michael Foot, possibly even before that.

    Dean you aksed what the SNP had achieved so far, even with no powers, well they sorted out the scandal that will last a lifetime that is PFI. McConnell should be in court for that alongside Wallace, but no he's in the Lords getting fat and Wallace likes to dictate to Scottish Courts. They are doing the bidding of Longshanks even today. The SNP have ensured that there is no compulsory redundancy in local councils they control, thank the stars for that as I beleive I would be on the scrapheap if Dundee were controlled by Labour.

    The Council Tax freeze has been a huge help given that Westminster supported by Labour have frozen my wages and frozen the one benefit I receive. Without that Labour would have went mental in places like Dundee and Glasgow and I and many others would be really really really struggling than just really struggling. There are others but you know what they are even if you wish to deny them.

    The question you need to answer Dean is are you willing to be ruled by a Conservative Government or coalition with UKip or whoever against the wishes of the Scottish people. This illusion you have of Labour being a) socialist and b)good for the country is just plain wrong. I have agreed with a couple of things you have said previously but on this you and every Labour supporter in Scotland need to be clear. If you don't make an informed choice you are dooming us all and our children to a decline that we will never recover from.

  7. We have a chance, one chance, to shape our country into a place that even you might want to live in. If you believe in social justice, if you believe in ending poverty, if you believe in people succeding on what they know not on who they know, if you believe in caring for the vulnerable, if you believe in protecting children, if you believe in the NHS and education, if you beleive in not fighting illegal wars and are against nuclear weapons. If you believe in honesty and decency then you will vote YES because YES will give you a chance to shape that.

    But if you believe in greed, if you believe in un-earned privilege, if you believe in attacking the poor and vulnerable, if you believe in children going hungry and getting fed by foodbanks, if you believe in wasting money on weapons that will kill millions that we will never ever fire, if you believe being ruled by people you didn't vote for in a country that couldn't care less, if you believe in private health care and private education, if you believe in coming out of europe and soup kitchens, if you believe in high unemployment to support slave wages then you vote NO and you vote Labour. But you remember that if you and other Labour voters across Scotland vote NO then you doom us all, you will be allowing for everything above to come to play in Scotland. You will doom my kids and your kids to never ending poverty and lack of hope in a country that will be so deviod of fight and self estemm that it might as well have another vote and end the Scottish parliament and rename Scotland England as Michael Moore says it is already.

    Dean I am not asking you vote YES for me but I am sking you to vote YES for all the children in this country who don't have a vote or a voice or don't have access to the privilege that will let them succeed in life. I am asking you to vote YES for all the elderly, the poor and the vulnerable who need someone to stand up for them, I am asking you to vote YES so that people like Cameron, Clegg, Osbourne, Miliband, the Windsors, Lamont, Moore , Alexander, Cable get told enough is enough it's our country too and not yours to play with. I am asking you to vote YES because it's the right thing to do.

    If none of that convinces you, if none of what anyone says on here, Tris etc, demonstrates to you the natstiness and evil of the current system then I hope you can sleep at night, I hope that when millions are crying in the event of a no vote in desperation and the things we have said come to pass that you can rest easy in your Labour Party because I won't be able to sleep at night and I will cry at the loss of the one chance to start to make it better, to make it right for my kids and all the others.


    1. Heartfelt Bruce.

      Once again, as with many of your posts, I feel inadequate to a real reply. But I'll try for all that.

      I agree that this is our one chance to change our country that has been on a downward trajectory for a long time.

      There are risks involved as the No campaign continually point out, but there are more risks in staying.

      The UK economy is shot through. Since 2008 both Labour and the Tories have tried, their way, to restore it to some sort of health and nothing has happened, except the poor have got a lot poorer and the rich a lot richer.

      The problem with Britain seems to me to have been caused by government (and parliament) and the financial services sector. As far as I can see the only people to be unaffected by the crash and continual recession (or as many people call it...depression).

      The subject of the article dies in the Ritz, having stayed there for months (you'd have thought that one of her kids had a spare room). A suite at the Ritz costs more per month than even an MP earns in a year. So Maggie did alright out of the mess the country is in.

      On the other hand the number of people visiting food banks has more than doubled in the last year... and Iain Duncan Smith has only just started.

      Better Together with this? Well Labour can't sort it, and the Tories can't sort it, and there isn't anyone else.

      So... if for no other reason, then for the economic one, we need to set ourselves free.

      Scotland, according to all the figures from respected international organisations would be in the top ten of rich nations.

      And it's not all down to oil and gas, although that will make a huge difference. We can pay our debts while putting the country back together. (Maybe we could start with potholes before my car disappears down one.)

      And Scotland won't be big and important. It won't be able to blow Moscow off the face of the Earth. It won't sit at the top table. Our First minister won't be summoned to Washington for a summit (and instructions).

      Even if we wanted it (and some of us probably do) it is not going to happen. It will be like Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Ireland... no one will pay much attention to it.

      As a result our ministers and our money can be put towards providing health education, transport, comfort in old age, proper social security, not the embarrassing "scrounger" label pap that the UK has.

      If we say no, god help us. All of Europe, indeed all the west is facing a hard future as the centre of gravity shifts to India, China, Brazil, Russia, South Africa.

      But it will be worse for countries like the UK who will go on trying to be big shots until the very last minute when someone tells them to sit down and butt out.

      Dean, when you read about kids starving for want of nutritious milk and Maggie saying no, because Reagan's man told her to, do not for one second think that, had the situation been Blair and Cheney, that Blair, good catholic that he is, would not have done EXACTLY the same thing.

    2. Bliar / Brown kept putting off the EU ruling on equal rights for agency workers tris. I remember my time as an agency worker. Sacked with 6 hrs notice. Half the pay of contract staff. Watching other agency workers on the computer at break times trying to juggle their tax credits and wondering whether to pack it in and go back on the dole. The dangling carrot of equal rights for agency workers kept me in jobs when I should have quit sooner. As it happened employers got around the EU ruling by laying off workers within the 3 months period reqd for equal rights and then re hiring them. Or someone else if they wanted.
      Liebour liked the idea of a dependent client state who would vote for them to keep their taxpayer funded benefits rather than putting the onus on businesses to pay proper wages. All wages have collapsed for the poor since the open door policy on immigration was introduced. Immigrant workers can afford to work for half the wages because they don't have the overheads. Even berry picking has been taken by immigrants as they're the only one's who can now survive on the low wages offered. And big business paid Liebour good money to keep this gravy train going for themselves.

    3. Tris

      I totally agree with you. I was kinda thinking having read Deans point of view that maybe the time is coming, possibly in the new year, for the YES Campaign to start adding what no means to their message. Maybe laying it on the line and taking a negative leaf from the BT campaign is the way forward. Say to people in the no camp if you vote no this is what we think will happen and let the BT supporters try to deny it. Talk about the NHS being stripped, talk about cuts to social security, talk about change to the Barnett formula, talk about no further devlolution, talk about being forced out of europe, talk about the south east of england. Let the NO campaign defend that.

      Maybe the time is coming to get down and dirty, play them at their own game. I know I have had enough of the people who are in denial and if we can't persuade them maybe we just have to point out to them what they will be forcing on our country and make it clear that the responisbilty and the blame will lay with them forever and will be talked about for generations to come.

      I know I wouldn't wanmt any grandchild of mine asking why I allowed their country to be destroyed and their legacy ruined when I could have made it better.


    4. I think of them Monty as a pile of chancers on the make.

      Blair in particular is, I think, even more repulsive that Cameron, because, although Cameron tried to give the impression that the nasty party was gone and the nice cuddly underdog loving Tories were here, we all knew from the first time the toffee nosed nob opened his mouth and the golden spoon fell out that it was a pile of lies.

      With Blair we actually felt, to begin with, that was a chance that he was telling the truth...OK, I know. Daft! But he masqueraded as a human being. Sneaky b******d.

  8. Yes, Bruce. I think that the campaign may have to start doing that.

    Of course we can't actually prove a lot of it, but for sure the health service will be privatised and social security will be reduced.

    As I'm typing this I am hearing on STV news that sufferers of motor neuron will have to prove that there is nothing that they can do before being allowed benefits.

    As MN is a progressive disease that leaves people, in the end, unable to move anything at all, the likelihood of anyone employing them, particularly in a climate where there are no jobs and there are hundreds of thousands of people looking for jobs, is small.

    What kind of country is the UK when lords pick up £300 a day regardless of how little they do, and pay no tax on it because it is called expenses, although clearly it isn't.... and people with a horrible sentence of death hanging over them are hounded into Job Seeking (and a lot less money) when there is virtually NO chance of them getting a job.

    Who could be proud of living in such a country?

  9. I find it difficult to believe that any intelligent person actually thinks the Labour party is a socialist party anymore.

  10. LOL Socialist Juteman... Don't make me laugh that hard. They aren't even allowed to use the word in case it scares the living bejesus out of the Home Counties.