Re: Maggie Thatcher died today
She was an extraordinary person in the genuine meaning of the word, that there are just not many like her - her single-mindedness, her sense of purpose and her ability to ride the political currents long enough to change Great Britain more than any Prime Minister since Attlee, and set the tone for the generation or two that followed. She changed the politics of this country.
This in itself is a record that should be acknowledged.
It's true, though, that I consider her politically legacy a largely negative one, and many of the eggs that hatched on her watch, those chickens have come home to roost.
Light touch financial regulation, greed is good and an embrace of short-term profiteering kicked off under her and led inexorably to the financial crash, whose effects continue to work through.
Privatising the energy companies with inadequate quango regulatory structures leading the situation now where they scalp the population with energy prices that take no interest in ability of people to pay.
Selling off social housing and actively preventing it being replaced, leading to the explosion in house prices and dreadful shortage of affordable housing. Abolishing rent control, leaving tenants vulnerable to the landlords who can cash in, and a £20 billion housing benefits bill that the Government pays to those landlords to help keep people in some form of housing.
Demonisation of the poor, disabled as feckless scroungers is common in the UK now but its first outing was under Thatcher - her Government was the harsh, uncaring side of politics. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer.
I could go on and on, but suffice to say, many of the problems the UK faces today have some or all their roots in Thatcher's government and the inability or unwillingness of Governments since to tackle the problems that these policies created. This Government pushes policies she started to extremes even she might have baulked at, and is even less concerned with the consequences on peoples' lives. The Children of Thatcher learned their lessons too well.
She was Prime Minister when I grew up and her Governments policies had a profound effect on my childhood. She was a fascinating woman, a towering figure, and she fascinates me to this day. But I don't like her. She was humourless, she was someone who fixed her views on the way the world worked early in life, and who never, never reconsidered those views, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. She was lucky in the enemies she faced, from Ted Heath, to Galtieri, to Arthur Scargill and Ken Livingstone, and she was able to write history that made her the hero.
Her passing will be mourned my many, celebrated by some, and met with chilly indifference by a good many others. Out of those three, I find myself in the third group. Thatcher herself hasn't been in power for a very long time and her last years were a struggle with illness and trials - on a human level I sympathise with that and at least that is now over. Thatcher hasn't been the problem for a long time. Thatcherism still lives on in the UK, and that is the problem. It if was a solution to the problems of the 1970s, then its implementation ultimately led to the problems of the 2000s, and if offers no solutions to the problems of now - and yet our politics is as wedded to Thatcherism as it ever was. The UK is a grim place now, and not because a towering Prime Minister has passed, but because her politics has not.
Last edited by scoobs; 04-08-2013 at 09:10 PM.