There will no doubt be wild celebrations in parts of Islington, Bristol and bastions of the Guardian reading Middle Classes tonight. After a long illness. Margaret Thatcher has died of a stroke today. This death will divide the nation.
I am watching the BBC’s coverage and it ignores her achievements totally. It is spiteful and worthless reporting. The left will blame her for all sorts of matters and will delight in her demise. Already I see tweets saying “the witch is dead.” Expect a torrent of tasteless and unpleasant comments and myth perpetuation over the coming days. Thatcher had that effect – she polarized opinion.
That the left hated her with such a passion was down to the fact that she delivered so much of what the left claims as its own ground. And so the left claims to represent “women” but Thatcher showed that a woman could rise to the top based on ability and without positive discrimination. The left claims to look after the poor. But whereas Milliband, Brown, Blair etc are all solidly working class, it is the Tories who have delivered the leaders from truly humble origins (Heath, Major and above all Thatcher).
The left keeps its client state poor. Thatcher gave opportunity to that client state to get a better life: to earn more based on work and ,merit by breaking Union power and abolishing collective bargaining; to own their own home via council house sales, to save more by cutting taxes. That was revolutionary and Britain needed a revolution because in 1979 after the Winter of Discontent, Margaret Thatcher took control of a country on its knees: bankrupt and with no sense of national pride. Thatcher faced opposition from a left determined to keep the poor poor and from patrician Tories who did not wish to upset the status quo. Bravely she drove through change in society by ensuring that the State did less not more.
She was not always right. In her early career it was she who did away with large numbers of grammar schools. I suspect she regretted that. She did not stand up to Mugabe in his early years when the mad old kook could have been stopped. Again, I sense that she regretted that. But on the big calls Maggie was right and that is why the Left cannot abide her.
All those Guardian readers celebrating today were, if my age or older, proudly wearing CND badges and trooping off to Greenham during the cold war. Folks like Tony Blair, Paddy Pantsdown and Baroness Ashton may pretend otherwise but the lefties were wrong about how to win the Cold War while Maggie Thatcher and Ronald Regan were right. Many of those same lefties would have caved into the Argies in 1982. Thatcher stood firm, although some of those around her wobbled. For her it was a matter of principle. Thatcher was right about the ERM and the Euro. She was branded an out of touch nationalist for her views but her views were based on pure economics and she was once again right. She was right. The deluded lefties were wrong. History is on squarely her side.
In parts of the North they say that they cannot forgive her for closing the coal mines and other State subsidised rust belt industries. But the same folk lambast today’s politicians for bailing out the banks. Thatcher understood that there is no such thing as the Government’s cash. There is money paid over by the taxpayer and that cash cannot be wasted. Subsidising an industry which just cannot make a profit, whatever the industry is waste. It is taking money from those who are creating wealth and paying it to others who are not. Whether the recipients are bankers or miners Thatcher understood that such an action was wrong.
Today’s conservatives do not dare cut Government spending or taxes or foreign aid because they are afraid of being confrontational. They have forgotten what principle means. Thatcher never forgot principle and based every decision about it.
Margaret Thatcher was without doubt the bravest politician of the 20th century. She was without doubt the most principled politician of our lifetime. She was a truly amazing woman. And she was right about almost everything.
To celebrate any death shows that you have no heart. We should pity those who celebrate the passing of Margaret Thatcher. This woman shaped the lives of a generation. She saved the UK from the bankruptcy and humiliation of the 1970s. She engineered a renaissance of Britain which all of her successors have done their best to dissipate.
Our greatest leader, Margaret Thatcher 1925-2013 RIP