The End

So, she’s dead. She certainly changed our world, but, personally speaking, I’m not convinced she improved it. For me, Elvis Costello’s song: Shipbuilding is the perfect summary of that time.

Craig Murray, while he personally found her quite likeable, sums her up rather well:

…she was a terrible, terrible disaster to this country. The utter devastation of heavy industry, the writing off of countless billions worth of tooling and equipment, the near total loss of the world’s greatest concentrated manufacturing skills base, the horrible political division of society and tearing of the bonds within our community. She was a complete, utter disaster.

The Guardian’s editorial, while praising her, also damns her:

She was an exceptionally consequential leader, in many ways a very great woman. There should be no dancing on her grave but it is right there is no state funeral either. Her legacy is of public division, private selfishness and a cult of greed, which together shackle far more of the human spirit than they ever set free.

Her legacy lives on.

Addendum. I’ve never been a fan of Russell Brand. He has always struck me as someone that I would cross the road to avoid. And yet, in this well-written piece, he has touched upon something of the awful ambivalence of Thatcher. I stand corrected about him. However, I still find it difficult to feel warm about her. As Francis Sedgemore says, “There are occasions when one can and should speak ill of the dead”.

Addendum II. Norman Geras makes my feelings succint,

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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4 Responses to The End

  1. Matt Healy says:

    Margaret Thatcher never was my favorite person, my own political views are considerably to the left of hers. Here in the US I have voted for every Democratic candidate for President since Carter. I voted against Reagan in both his elections and four times I voted against George Bush (though in retrospect George Bush The First was a lot better than his utterly awful son.)

    However, in the 1970s when I was a teenager my father was a Visiting Professor in the UK and I got to see first hand how the unions were wrecking the British economy. There were power outages due to coal miners striking. Our car, made by the nationalized company British Leyland, was the worst car I have ever been in, it made the junk General Motors made at that time look good by comparison. Every week some industry was having a strike.

    In our town even the strip dancers’ union went on strike (the local paper had lots of fun with that strike, headlines like “Union Steward Bares All” were much-needed comic relief from all the grim economic news.). Today the pendulum has swung too far the other way in both US and UK, unions are too weak and workers are getting squeezed, but in the 1970s the UK unions were arrogant and refused to accept economic reality. Those unions created the conditons that made somebody like Thatcher necessary. Because it was either unwilling or unable to confront those union, the Labour Party made Thatcherism possible.

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Matt, agreed, the unions were dinosaurs, unable to adapt. And also concur that the pendulum has swung too far. The film “Made in Dagenham” is illuminating in many ways. Not only for the stone age views of the unions, but also for the tactics of the employers. For a brief moment, it seemed as though the pendulum was coming to an optimistic position. Then Thatcherism took over.

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