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Thatcher’s greatest achievement ~ it’s not what you think

Many more eloquent writers with first hand experience will have eulogised Baroness Thatcher, and rightly so.  The Falklands, the privatisations, the tax cuts, the near destruction of the trade union movement as an effective political force and the enormous economic turnaround have all been well covered as has the poll tax.  Most commentators have either missed or minimised the financial deregulation that made London the financial capital of the world, and the revenue this generated.  Neither should achieving public sector debt repayments (sic) as opposed to today’s endless borrowing and QE be forgotten.

And most commentators be they natural allies, conservative opponents or indeed members of the Labour party have behaved with decorum more or less.  Most have, one or two vile specimens have not.

Case the first, would be the cretinous socialist worker types who were dancing on the streets.  Most could barely have been alive at the time, this is purely thoughtless Pavlovianism.  It doesn’t make it right, just brainless.

Case the second would be the people in former mining communities.  Now it is certainly true that pit closures would and did devastate pit towns.  But this seemed to me to be more or less unavoidable.  The raison d’etre for the towns was the mine.  When the economic case for the pit goes, so frankly does the town.  Some interviewees could not get past the hatred, most had not moved on*.  They were fat, indolent and unemployed.  The media talked about their shorter life expectancies.  Yep, no exercise, crappy diet, smoking and boozing will do that.  Hardly the Lady’s fault all these years later.  I felt sorry for them.  Betrayed by their erstwhile leaders, they were effectively living in the past, wishing for a bygone era that will never return.  They will die bitter.

Case the third, Gerry Adams.  I guess when you are a former bomber it is unrealistic to expect decent behaviour, or even a straight response.  We got neither from this scumbag.  He made a statement about how Thatcher had allowed the hunger strikers to die.  That slightly understated his own responsibility and was to put it mildly, disingenuous.  He also skipped right past his friends attempt to murder her in Brighton.

Case the fourth, and the worst by far in some pretty rum company, Neil Kinnock.  This two-time whining failure made some ludicrous sixth-form type remarks about how the poor got poorer under Thatcher.  Needless to say they got much, much richer but such a stranglehold on reality perhaps explains why the people of the UK said ‘No’ to Neil, twice in succession.  And despite all the money sucked from the public teat for him and the entire family, he still wasn’t happy.  And then it struck me, perhaps the Lady’s greatest achievement was kicking out Callaghan, obliterating the ludicrous Michael Foot and trouncing Neil “two-time-loser” Kinnock**.  Keeping these hoons out of Downing Street may indeed have been her best.

* Of course I appreciate this was not a representative sample.  Those who had moved on, had in all probability, left the area.

** Yes, I appreciate it was Major who beat Kinnock second time around.  I itself a tribute to rank incompetence, being beaten by the grey man.

30 Comments

  1. Barman says:

    Sadly Kinnock and his wife have become multi-millionaires courtesy of the European gravy train…

    …and most of the current politicians see them as a role model rather than Thatcher.

  2. macheath says:

    “betrayed by their erstwhile leaders…”

    The Sunday Times this week reported that Derbyshire has only four current members of the National Union of Mineworkers and three of them are officials who are claiming a combined salary of nearly £250,000.

    ‘The officials say they have no intention of reducing their pay before the local NUM is handed over to a charity later this year.

    “Our pay is set by national guidelines. We take no more than our entitlement.”‘

  3. Sam Duncan says:

    “It doesn’t make it right, just brainless.”

    The more I think about it, the more I realise how pathetic it is. After thirteen years of Labour government, and twelve of limp-dicked managerial Toryism-in-name-only, they still feel the need to blame a Prime Minister who left office before most of them were out of short trousers for the mess we’ve got into since. It’s sad, really.

    It also strikes me that she’s a much more important figure to the Left than she is to the rest of us.

  4. RAB says:

    The usual scum were on the streets last night. We even had a riot here in Bristol when the celebrations turned more ugly than they already were. But the irony, no irony is too weak a word, the absurdity of it all was that 99% of those celebrating and rioting were not even born when she left office, let alone knew first hand how she temporarily (until New Labour spent their inheritance) turned this country around and put the Great back in Britain again.

    I was born in South Wales in the 50′s. Main industry… Coal Mining and Steel making. I remember being given a lift home by a colleague when the Miners Strike of 84/5 was reaching its inevitable conclusion. My lift was a terrible old lefty lamenting the break up of communities and the cruelty of Thatcher.

    Well I said, I grew up in South Wales, and until coal was discovered in the 19th Century the Valleys were farmland and Cardiff was a village of 1800 souls. The Coal turned it into a Klondike and people rushed in from all over Britain and beyond to get rich and better themselves (quite a lot of Italians, and thank God for the Bracci’s cafes and the Ice Cream and coffee they brought with them).

    But now I said the coal has run out and has been bordering on the unprofitable for a long long time, not suddenly in 1984. My Grandfather was Procurements Manager of Bedwas Colliery. He was about to retire when the Labour Party Nationalised the mines in 1948. The Govt begged him to stay on to see them through the transition, because the people they were parchuting in to run the industry didn’t know a pit-prop from a toothpick, a pick from a shovel or a Davey Lamp from a torch. He finally retired when he was 70.

    And that’s what you get when you put all your eggs in one basket. If your one and only industry goes tits up and starts to make a loss (and they were very close to running at a loss even in 1948) then of course the community is devistated unless it can find new ways of earning a living. Various Govts tried to inject industries into the Valleys with bribes and tax concessions. Sony and Panasonic even Hoover came, but they didn’t prosper really, and a pretty much all gone again. But the communities are still there simmering in their hatred of Maggie who was merely the messenger of the bad news that had been coming for a mountain of years before anyone had ever heard of her, and almost to a man collecting the dole.

    Unlike the enterprising workers who flooded in, in the late 19th century to take advantage of the jobs on offer, the Welsh Valleys communities have not flooded out elsewhere. They just sit there bearing their grudges and resentment, getting stoned and pissed on benefits. Not unable but unwilling to get off their arses and move on, unlike their ancestors.

    It really is unbelievable the Myth Maggie has become for the Left isn’t it? Even to those unborn when she governed.

  5. RAB says:

    Oh and lest we forget indeed…

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2306092/Margaret-Thatcher-dies-The-woman-saved-Britain–verdict-3-historians.html

    I lived through the pre- Thatcher years. The power cuts, the three day weeks, the Nationalised decline of this country with inflation at 30% Marxist Union thugs demanding 40% wage increases. Top level of income tax at 83%. The dead unburied and the garbage in the streets at six feet high…

    She destroyed this country you rent seeking Leftie assholes? Did she? did she really?

  6. Tony Hand says:

    “She destroyed this country you rent seeking Leftie assholes? Did she? did she really?”

    Hmmm maybe you should ask yourself that question when you next open your utilities bills.
    While you’re about it, perhaps you’d like to defend her association with Pinochet then.

  7. Stonyground says:

    “Case the first, would be the cretinous socialist worker types who were dancing on the streets…Case the second would be the people in former mining communities…Case the third, Gerry Adams…Case the fourth…Neil Kinnock…”

    I think that it was Norman Tebbit who said, “Don’t judge a man by his friends, judge him by his enemies. I’m very proud of my enemies.”

    I think that Mrs. T would have every reason to be proud of hers.

  8. RAB says:

    My Utilities Bills are entirely down to the here and now, not a Prime Minister who left office 23 years ago Tony. Oh and the preposterous Green Stealth taxes that have been added by Bills passed by both the old Labour Govt and the gormless Coalition; all under the goosestep of the EU of course.

    And her relations with Pinochet was Prid Pro Quo, as I said over at Samizdata. He and Chile were very helpful to Britain during the Falklands war. Radar information, safew havens for our Special Forces and intelligence on the Argentine Junta.

    Now then would you like to explain Galloway’s indifaticable love of Saddam Hussain, or Tony “straight kind of guy” Blair’s sucking Gaddaffi’s cock?

  9. JuliaM says:

    “It really is unbelievable the Myth Maggie has become for the Left isn’t it? Even to those unborn when she governed.”

    They prefer to curse the dark than to get off their arses to light a candle…

  10. John Galt says:

    We survived the three-day week by moving from our 3-bed semi into the small caravan sat on our driveway which was entirely run off bottled gas, even the lighting. So despite the three day week hitting us during a bitter winter, we got by.

    It left an abiding memory though and many ordinary working class men and women were glad when the unions were tamed. The coal miners were badly used by the unions and paid the price for it during the 84/85 miners strike under that Marxist scum Arthur Scargill.

    The way the miners strike was handled was unfortunate, but what else could Maggie do? They had brought down the Heath Government in 1974 and there plans for 1984 were a virtual rerun. The only thing they hadn’t counted on was Maggie’s preparedness.

    Maggie was very lucky in her enemies, Arthur Scargill was ideal for her, being a dyed-in-the-wool communist of the old school. He hasn’t improved with age as his recent court case with the shattered remnants of the NUM demonstrated.

  11. RAB says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the clown Scargill and comb-over King of Coal, thought this was a documentary, such was the razor sharpness of his wit and sense of humour. Fred Kite could have been modelled on him…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3a9OAvqyjn0

    Now I hear he is suing what is left of the Miners Union (all six of them) to retain his grace and favour flat in London for life at their expense. As LittleJobbie says, you just couldn’t make it up. Yet who gets it in the arse for the end of our mining industry, him or Maggie?

  12. John Galt says:

    “Now I hear he is suing what is left of the Miners Union (all six of them) to retain his grace and favour flat in London for life at their expense.”

    He’s already lost the case in December unless he decides to appeal.

    King Arthur vs NUM (Link)

  13. Mr Ed says:

    Why was there no great rush to set up business in the ‘close-knit’ former mining communities and to provide employment? Was it an irrational prejudice against hiring militant, unionised workers with a taste for violence? Was it an irrational concern that they might prove inflexible and set in their ways?

    The best thing that could have been done would have been to sell the miners (not a Union or co-operative) a share in ‘their’ pit for £1 each. 2,000 staff = 2,000 shares and see if they could have developed the mines into profitable enterprises by adapting. One of many tricks missed.

  14. RAB says:

    Ta for the info John, and Oh Goody! the Courts haven’t gone completely doolally yet.

    What a sad vicious little man he was/is. His wife left him too, just like Fred Kite’s in the movie.

    He was asked during the Strike that seeing as so many Pits were now running at a loss, how many would he consider closing. None of them he answered. Yep that’s Marxist Economics for you.

  15. Paul Marks says:

    “Tony Hand”.

    If you think the state can run things like telephone companies better than private enteroprise can you are an idiot.

    As for Pinochet.

    I am sure that Mrs Thatcher opposed his rigging of the exchange rate of the Peso to the Dollar – “fixing exchage rates” never works. And I would include N. Lawson’s “shadowing the D. Mark” in that.

    Rigging the Peso exchange rate is what you are upset about is it not?

    Rather than his killing of the bunch of Communists who themselves wanted to murder millions of human beings.

    You would not have any personal reason for being upset about the killing of Communists would you?

  16. Paul Marks says:

    As for Margaret Thatcher.

    The 1986 Single European Act was a terrible mistake – it led to a tidal wave of regulations.

    But Mrs T. was told it was about “free trade” and “internationalism” – never trust the establishment, the “great and good” are neither.

    The Lawson “shadowing the D. Mark” was happening at the same time.

    The other two big mistakes came right at the start – in 1979.

    Accepting the outgoing Labour government spending pledges (on government sector pay and so on) – that made the world slump much worse in Britain than it need have been (although no Keynesian will understand that).

    And not hitting the unions on day one (because James Prior and the other “wets” would not fight), the failure to remove the (STATE GRANTED) powers from the unions led to the doubling of UNEMPLOYMENT.

    But if anyone thinks that any other leader around in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1979 would have better on controlling government spending, or in taking on the unions – they are kidding themselves.

    And, as the wets got pushed out, so (after about 1983) government spending started to get under control – and some (not enough – but some) labour market reform (removal of GOVERNMENT GRANTED union powers) did happen.

  17. John Galt says:

    But Paul, the argument over the Tory “wets” was about consolidation of power. It took from the point of declaring she would stand for the leadership in 1975 to the second election in 1983 to establish herself as both leader and then PM.

    Until then the “wets” (who were mainly Heath-lite one nation tory’s) like Jim Prior and others were a necessary evil.

    Thatcher only gained the leadership because Airey Neave as well as being a decorated war hero was also a crafty bastard and persuaded Maggie to run after being unable to persuade several other senior figures to run.

    Maggie’s campaign was pitched as being a stalking horse candidate to get rid of Ted Heath in the first round in the hope that more acceptable candidates came forward in the second round. Airey downplayed Maggie’s support in the first round to increase the likelihood of a knock-out blow to Ted in the first ballot.

    Results

    In the end, Maggie won, but it wasn’t a foregone conclusion at any stage.

    Equally, it took several years of PR polishing and failed Labour policies to make her even marginally electable. The 1979 General Election was a considerable swing from Labour to the Tories, but with a majority of only 43 seats, it was no landslide.

    Equally, even after the 1979 election, few elected Tory MP’s could be classed as free-market radicals. She was still in a minority in her own party.

  18. Jenny Else says:

    please please please you clever pro-Thacherites can you give me a one/two liner ‘put down’ to put on my Facebook page in reply to the ‘she blighted the lives of millions caring nothing for the weakest in society’ I have received’. I read your words with interest but am not nearly eloquent/knowledgeable enough to join in!

  19. CountingCats says:

    Jenny,

    What I put elsewhere, at this site of hate filled morally superior progressives.

    “Yep, this is exactly the sort of baseless myth so many progressive hatemongers use in order to justify the bile and venom they spew at anyone who doesn’t join their fantasy world. Pity there isn’t a shred of truth to it, isn’t it?”

  20. RAB says:

    Dear oh lor Cats, you have much more patience with Progressive leftie retards than I.

    Jeez that hypothetical woman is something else eh? As for the Belgrano direct them to statements made by Argentinian Admirals. They had no beef with sinking the Belgrano, they regarded it as a legitimate target at a time of war. No sour grapes from them. And as to Churchill being a war criminal, he wasn’t even friggin Prime Minister when the War started, and you couldn’t play Marquis of Queensbury rules with the Nazis now could you?

  21. John Galt says:

    One of the guys I knew in later life was a junior officer on an unnamed submarine during the Falklands conflict.

    They sighted the Argentine carrier Veinticinco de Mayo, but couldn’t get clearance to shoot.

    Bloody unfortunate in my opinion.

  22. Mr Ed says:

    Letter in Spanish from an Argentine Admiral (Chief of Naval Staff in the 1990s) to an Argentine newspaper saying, inter alia, that to call the killing of the crew members of the Belgrano murder is to denigrate their memory as sailors who died doing their duty, and that the position of the Belgrano did not indicate that it was withdrawing from the War, and that it presented a threat to British ships, further that they understood that any of their ships or aircraft that presented a threat could be attcked, in or out of the Total Exclusion Zone. (total referred to all vessels, not merely Argentine ones).

    http://www.lanacion.com.ar/700676-cartas-de-lectores

  23. RAB says:

    The son of one of my CO’s in the Crown Court died in the Sheffield. He was a lovely lad just starting out in life and so proud to be doing the job he did. He didn’t get a chance to be Steven Seagal though, he really was just the cook.

    I do not forget and I do not forgive…

  24. John Galt says:

    “I do not forget and I do not forgive…”

    Why should you? The Falklands conflict was a classic, almost definitive opportunistic war of aggression to try and seize the territory of a sovereign nation.

    No different to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

  25. Paul Marks says:

    John Galt.

    The Wets should have been hit early and fast.

    Mrs T. believed that having these people in the cabinet would tame them – it never did.

    Even in 1990 they were still plotting against her. Indeed it was they (not the M.P.s who voted for Mrs T. in the 1975.

    But this is not just about one person……

    Because the Wets were not hit at once (because people like James Prior were given high office – from which they could block reform) vast numbers of people became UNEMPLOYED.

    People always talk about the risk of attacking – and there are terrible risks. But the risk of NOT attacking is also terrible.

    As for Airey Neave – if only he had lived.

    If the Reds (in the shape of the Marxist terrorists from Ireland) had not blown him to bits – things might have been different.

  26. Paul Marks says:

    RAB – only those who suffer the injury can forgive. The dead are not around to forgive.

    We are supposed to admire people who (for example) say “I forgive the men who raped my daughter to death” – but do not admire such people, I despise them.

    Also where is the repentance?

    The Argentine government to this day claims the Falklands (a place that has been British since before Argentina even existed).

    There is no repentance – the only thing they are upset about is losing. And they continue to try and undermine the people of the Falklands in every sneaky, cowardly way they can.

    So there can be no forgiveness.

  27. John Galt says:

    “Moscow was always going to give its official backing to Argentina. But in private it was another matter. After delivering one particularly stiff complaint, the senior Soviet official concerned said quietly from behind his hand: ‘When are you going to drive those bastards into the sea?’

    - Christopher Mayer

    The Argentines have been a joke country amongst the rest of the South American countries since Peron. Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner is just the latest in a long line of comic opera presidents and politicians. Sure, her neighbours speak of an end to colonialism and of South American solidarity, but behind her back they acknowledge she’s a batshit crazy primadonna using Las Malvinas as a distraction from economic collapse and political corruption at home.

    Even if the mad bitch wanted another invasion, Argentina no longer has the ability or the money to do so. The days of Juan Perón tripping over gold bars in government offices are long gone.

  28. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    @ Paul Marks ~ We are supposed to admire people who (for example) say “I forgive the men who raped my daughter to death” – but do not admire such people, I despise them.

    Quite. I simply cannot understand such an attitude. If anyone ever seriously laid their hands on my son it would result in their death, ideally in a prolonged and medieval way. I reject the concept of forgiveness and regard vengeance as entirely legitimate as it was before late 19th century Christianity.

    Simply asking the state to arbitrate for you in this can be regarded as a pointless, impotent appeal to a higher authority. The state really doesn’t care very much about pleb-on-pleb violence save for the really serious stuff it can’t ignore, or if you use rude words about someone’s ethnicity.

  29. Single Acts of Tyranny says:

    “Churchill being a war criminal”

    You can only reasonably judge a man by the standards of the day. Thus these attempts to call say Henry V a war criminal are ridiculous. You could argue he violated the code of chivalry and have a good argument, but you can’t say he breached the then unknown Geneva convention.

    Similarly Churchill certainly did engage in area bombing and he had only the fig leaf of an inadvertent German attack on London as casus belli. That said, the Germans had destroyed Rotterdam so they were hardly innocents and thus the question is a complex one. Too much for the mind of some who prefer slogans and cartoon bad guys to thinking.

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