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The Death of Nelson Mandela, BBC Over-reaction and the Thatcher canard

Tom Winnifrith
Friday 6 December 2013

I regard the late Nelson Mandela as a hero but the media coverage of his sad demise is somewhere between OTT and nauseating.

Why is he a hero? Apartheid was an evil regime and he played his part in its overthrow. He wasted the best part of his life in prison for the cause but the same could be said for many who stand up to evil. For me his heroism was in his actions post-Apartheid. 

I could understand had he been bitter but if he was he hid it well. The way he showed forgiveness, compassion and was reconciliation embodied, was truly heroic. Moreover – in stark contrast to those now running the ANC – when gaining power he did not plunder the State’s coffers for personal gain as he could have done.

For anyone of my age Mandela truly was a hero of our era.

However, as the UK suffers the worst storms in living memory and one or two other things happen which might not please the BBC (the most upbeat Autumn statement in years), the wall to wall coverage on Mandela’s demise at the expense of all other news is OTT. Having listened to the same soundbites about ten times today I gave up on the news and will only start watching it again in a few days when the Mandela-fest has eased.

But the worst part of it is the excuse it has given the BBC and other twisted and deluded lefties to rewrite history and bash the Tories, notably Margaret Thatcher.

Radio Two today carried interviews with two “black activists”. The stupider of the two recalled a tale from her primary school where a new white South African teacher was abused for calling herself an African back in the 1980s. The moron presenter ended that section with the comment “I am sure that debate will continue.” I somehow doubt that Mandela would have approved of such explicit racism as he urged n agenda of reconciliation. 

As an aside her assertion that Mandela ensured that black South Africans gained the vote thanks to Mandela “for the first time in several hundred years” went unchallenged. Please tell me in tribal Africa of 1650 did they have proportional representation in multi member constituencies with women only short lists or was it a first past the post system? For heaven’s sake do these fools know no history at all?

The marginally less stupid activist started a rant about how Thatcher branded Mandela a terrorist as she refused to fight apartheid. Well not quite old boy. You might recall that when Mandela left prison the first world leader he called – to say thanks for her intense behind the scenes lobbying – was …Thatcher. The Tories opposed sanctions on South Africa on the grounds that it would not break the regime but would just hit the poor hardest. 

There were some Tories who branded Mandela a terrorist. He engaged in and supported terrorist activities. Technically it was in one view correct. I happen to think that such activities were morally justified by the evil of apartheid and that the tag freedom fighter is more appropriate. I am afraid that there were some in the Tory party who probably did support apartheid although no senior figures held that view. The 1980s Tory view was to push for a smooth transition which, in the end, is what happened and in good part that was down to pressure from Thatcher’s Britain.

As with so many issues in the 1980s the easy line to take ( “I’d rather be red than dead so ban the bomb”, “lets carry on subsiding massively unprofitable mines”, “lets cave into the Argies”, “lets impose sanctions on South Africa”) may not have been popular and allowed the liberal elite to paint Thatcher as an uncaring extremist. But in the end Thatcher was proved right on all of those issues and on South Africa, as Mandela knew full well, no other world leader pushed harder for a smooth and peaceful end to Apartheid than Margaret Thatcher.

Mandela acknowledged this.  The BBC has never accepted that and its choice of guests in its wall to wall coverage today shows that once again.

Mandela was a truly great man. But the media coverage of his demise is a reflection on the inherent bias of the liberal media classes not of Mandela’s greatness. 

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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