Friday, November 23, 2012

Thatcher: A Pre-Obituary

I reposted this after the Thatcher Day fiasco. (Sign the petition against it).

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She isn't dead yet but this is in anticipation of all the praise the Iron Lady will receive when that blessed release finally does come.

I may be wrong, but I suspect even the worst of the official obituaries will be along the lines of the "well, I didn't agree with her politics but she was a great politician/she got things done" kind of sycophantic drivel that opposition politicians will come out with. I don't particularly care for a politician that simply "get things done". It has to be the right things. Things in which the consequences for everyone are at the very least taken into account.

Bollocks to those obituaries I say, but I can only hope people writing them remain true to the way they felt when she did hold power. The Milk Snatcher (as she was sometimes known) was almost certainly the worst thing to happen to this country since that other crazed daemon, Oliver Cromwell.

Mrs. Thatcher got us all caught up with creating yet more "record" profits for worldwide corporations that exist purely for their bottom lines. Yes, these corporations made some people rich but it wasn't the ones working ridiculous shifts.

And to do what? To stuff the faces of people who apparently have the desperate need for a burger at 1 in the morning. The belief that they need a burger is most probably fed by advertising and the alcohol they just consumed in a pub chain owned by another large corporation. A burger produced in what amounts to a factory in which animals go in one end and meat comes out the other, mirroring perfectly the consuming process by which meat goes in one end and ... well, you get the picture.

Of course, Mrs. Thatcher didn't introduce global corporates into Britain. That was happening anyway. But she taught people to love the mentality that the bottom line is what matters; that growth is what counts; that a bigger profit this year than last year is the only thing to aim for. Of course, what far more experienced people were telling her was that growth and inflation aren't really that different, especially if that growth isn't based on real commodities but on "added value". All added value means is I'm going to charge you an extortionate amount for this sandwich, but I'll smile when I'm handing it to you. The recent economic strife has taught us that rather harshly.

Mrs. T Used all the means at her disposal both legal and illegal to get her way. She disguised soldiers as policemen during the miner's strike. That was wrong and she knew it. Had she brought the army out against the people that would have been the end of her political career. The fact she disguised them as policeman tells me she was willing to ride roughshod over democracy because she thought, wrongly as it has turns out, that manual labourers were no longer needed and that we somehow needed to become a "service economy".

She was hypnotised by the utter nonsense idea, verging on a religion, known as reaganomics, that was circulating amongst decision makers at the time. It relies almost in it's entirety on something called trickle-down economics which suggests that if you reward the high earners in society by lowering their tax bills that, as if by magic, the extra money in the economy would find it's way into the pockets of the poor. Of course this is nonsense. The rich don't spend much more money on everyday things than anyone else, as it turns out. It also is completely amoral. It doesn't take any account of how the rich make that money. The fact they made it by reducing other's wages arguably had the reverse effect. Sadly the U.S. Still seems to enamoured of this idea.

And it wasn't just reaganomics that hypnotised her but the man Reagan himself. She worshipped him, as the notorious hand on coffin incident demonstrated. Yes, it was partly for show, but why did she have to show herself to be that close to Reagan in the first place? Her Infatuation with Reagan brought Britain into an embrace with the US which caused us to ignore relationships with other countries with whom we had much more in common. Firstly Europe. Imagine a Europe that had the full bodied support of a strong nation like the UK and the reputation of the pound behind it. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the commonwealth. Imagine, in this Information Age, where distance is almost meaningless to many businesses if we had put the same amount of energy into our relationship with Australia with it's healthy economy and all the tie-ins to all the other emerging pacific nations that would have given us.

It's not that we shouldn't have a relationship with the U.S.A. A relatively young nation like the States needs the tempered hand of a more mature nation that has been where it now is. During the Thatcher years our foreign policy consisted almost entirely of our relationship with America and the Falkland incident. She Insisted on calling it a war but that was politically motivated hyperbole.

She Is not entirely to blame, of course. Blair entrenched the entire Thatcher economic model. Indeed, I could even say Thatcher was up-front about her economic goals. Blair smuggled the politics of the Iron Lady back into the country in a nice looking suit. An expensive Armani suit at that.

Unfortunately, Mrs T used our diversity against us. She played north against south, rich against poor, Scottish against English and her peak capped skeletal henchman Tebbit was even ocassionally wheeled out to play the race card. Tebbit (he's not dead yet either) was a particularly nasty piece of work that the Tory party seemed to have hanging like barnacles on it's putrifying underbelly during the 80s. I have a particularly horrible recollection of him tearing apart a woman from a homeless charity telling her "the homeless should look after themselves". There, sadly, doesn't appear to be a clip of it anywhere on the internet.

Milk Snatcher
Most significantly she set back women's rights by a generation. Being one of the first nations on earth to have a female leader should have been a fantastic moment for a country like the UK and the world as a whole. Instead we got this person who had all the bad elements of the male leaders that already existed with none of the good qualities that the best male leaders do have. She also had none of the qualities that a good female leader could have brought to the table. An ability to listen, an ability not to be driven by her penis (Thatcher was, of course) and an ability to fight for the optimal compromise in a situation rather than try to dominate.

Under her leadership this country lost it's way. Under her leadership the army was brought out against it's own people. The unions could have easily been sorted out with compromises but she felt she had to make a point. Under her leadership we saw the race riots, some of the worst in-fighting between Britons since the civil war. Under her leadership we saw billions of pounds spent on a "war" defending around 300 people who, for a 10th of the price could have be repatriated and given a house and a large trust fund each. Under her leadership the number of people for whom there was no work rose to 3 million, that's 3 million people who wanted to work but weren't able to. Under her leadership the seeds of our current economic failure were sown. How demoralising.

So no, don't believe any of the snivelling obituaries that will be out there. They are written by the very, very small number of people who had something to gain from riding on her coat tails.

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After the opening ceremony of the London Olympics I felt that the genius Danny Boyle managed to sum up what Britain really could be like. We are indeed a mongrel nation. See my short blog post on the subject.

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