The recall of parliament to pay tribute to Margret Thatcher might have turned into the predictable “She was lucky to know me” Tory love-in had it not been for Glenda Jackson. So awesome is Glenda’s speech that no comment is needed from me!
People often say that you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead, an opinion, particularly where public figures are concerned, that I’m not sure I agree with. What people say about you after you’re gone is largely determined by what you choose to do whilst you’re alive: nice people are remembered fondly and those who choose to be unpleasant are often vilified.
So how will we remember Margaret Hilda Thatcher born October 13 1925, died April 8 2013? Everyone will have an opinion I’m sure but lets consider the facts.
Thatcher’s first and greatest gift to this country is without doubt unemployment. Previous governments considered full-employement an absolute necessity, she considered it an inconvenience. She changed unemployment from evidence of a failing government to a respectable and somewhat desirable situation: “a price worth paying”, a way to keep wages down. In 1983 I worked for £3.50 an hour. In 1993 a friend of mine took a job, doing exactly the same thing for £3.50 an hour. 10 years of Tory government, massive profits for the wealthy and the lowest paid still on the same wages.
Unemployment soared as she dismantled the UK coal, steel and shipbuilding industries. Miners, some of the hardest working people in the country, were branded “the enemy within” because they wanted to work and support their families. Whole communities have been thrown on the scrap heap. Many of those workers are now part of the generational unemployed.
I grew up in Lowestoft, Britain’s most easterly town. A place where men worked in the fishing or shipbuilding industries. There is no fishing now and shipbuilding and construction firms are have just been derelict sites since the 80s. Now we have minimum wage chicken factories. Maggie created a whole class of jobless men and forced women back into the workplace.
No wonder Maggie considered unemployment, “a price worth paying,” she expected the victims of her policy to pay it, it’s almost like medieval practice of the condemned man paying his executioner.
Next she gave us The Great British Sell-Off, BP, gas, electricity, water, BT, railways and busses. Prices for all of these have soared as foreign owners milk the british public.
She flogged off our council houses without ever intending to replace them.
To Maggie profit was the great deity, people were just consumables to be used and discarded as required.
Then there was the most unpopular policy of any government ever: the Poll Tax. Whilst most political commentators state her euro-phobia as the reason for her eventual downfall I have always believed it was the Poll Tax.
She considered Nelson Mandela a terrorist, supported the racist apartheid regime of South Africa.
“Black Monday” wiped billions off the nation’s reserves when we were forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism as a result of her leading us into it a too high a rate of interest.
Many people have said that at least she stood by her guns, but look where her pointed them? It’s easy to stand by your guns if you point them at the weak and those unable to defend themselves.
People say we have a lot to thank her for and that’s true:
If you are unhappy about energy and water firms (mostly foreign owed) ripping you off, thank Maggie selling them off.
If you are angry that there are whole families where no-one works, thank Maggie for ending full employment.
If both you and your partner have to work just to be on the bread line, thank Maggie for making profit more important then you.
If you or your children cannot get on the housing ladder, thank Maggie for the 80’s housing boom that started this endless cycle of spiralling house prices.
If you are one of the two million on the housing waiting list thank Maggie for selling of the council houses.
The Iron Lady might be gone but we will never forget her, not least because we will still be paying for her legacy for generations to come.
“Why have we got today fathers who have never worked?”
Former Conservative minister
It would appear that Lord Tebbit is losing his memory in his old age.
Well Norman it’s like this.
During the 1980’s, when you were Minister of State, Maggie, with your help, set about dismantling both the mining and manufacturing industries. We were told that the service sector would swell to provide jobs for those hard-working men and women you had thrown on the scrap pile. To help them you even scrapped the minimum wage.
The result: three million unemployed, low paid workers not receiving another pay rise until the next Labour government re-introduced the minimum wage and worst of all a whole generation of workers who haven’t worked since! Your solution was to tell your victims, “Get on your bike.”
So to answer your question, we have fathers who have never worked because of you, personally. You destroyed their livelihoods and then blamed them for it. You made them unemployable and then said they were costing too much. You even pushed them onto disability benefits, not because there was anything wrong with them, but to just to hide what you had done.
What is even more worrying is that you are at it again. You’re back with the, “Get on your bike,” message. Maggie’s favourites have already suggested the scrapping of the minimum wage – granted just for under 25’s at the moment but you’ve got to start somewhere. Cameron is looking to flog off everything.
The country is set to return to the 1980’s without a shoulder pad or big hair do in sight!
In the words of Victor Meldrew, “I don’t believe it!” Today The Guardian reports that Margaret Thatcher is likely to join such luminaries as Lord Nelson, Gladstone and Churchill by being granted a state funeral.
Why I ask? Thatcher’s list of achievements is prodigious and includes: stealing milk from primary school children; devastating manufacturing industry; destroying the coal industry and hence turning the midlands into a social wasteland. Let us not forget the poll tax, the CSA, the wilful destruction of community and the creation of the, “I’m alright, Jack,” society. No list of Thatcher’s achievements would be complete without mentioning the sinking of the museum quality General Belgrano, which can only be described as an act of terrorism perpetrated by a British Prime Minster.
At this rate we’ll be having a state funeral for Mugarbe next!