Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Taking Thatcherism To Task


(via J.M.G.)

The wonderful actress Glenda Jackson, MP for Labour, has a thing or two to say about Thatcherism and the tributes to the memory of the Iron Lady.

5 comments :

  1. I do not think that it is Thatcherism that is irritating everyone from the center - left in the U.K. about the plans for the remembrance of Thatcher.

    People simply do not want her memory eulogized without any controversy.

    When Ronald Reagan, similarly conservative, died in the United States the expressions of sympathy for him, and the participation in a magnificent state funeral, was done by Democrats and Republicans. Very little if any vitriol was said about Reagan. Reagan was liked by many Americans, even those who did not agree with him. He was a gentlemen and sought out compromise with Democrats.

    The British are notoriously stiff lipped and respectful of their public leaders. Protesting and berating the dead is simply not a very British thing to do. So what is going on here?

    Thatcher clearly is credited with three things in the U.K. -- first, reviving a moribund economy and greatly improving the average standard of living during her tenure. Second, she made the decision to retake the Falkland Islands against wanton Argentine aggression by a nasty Junta. It was the right thing to do at the time. Third, she was one of the very first female heads of government of a major world power.

    So why the opposition?

    Thatcher, unlike Reagan, was not perceived as a likable individual by anyone except those who directly agreed with her right wing principals. She was nasty and domineering in cabinet meetings, and hectored and showed absolutely no respect for anyone who disagreed with her. She was racist, anti-gay, and anti anyone who did not look like what she considered to be socially acceptable.

    She was simply not a very likable person -- unlike Reagan who was. I will not use bad words to speak of the dead, and have some respect for Thatcher (in terms of turning Britain around), but to be quite frank about it, the one word that comes to mind when describing her is best reserved for use around a breeding kennel.

    I look forward to watching her funeral on television, I like big events and the British do funerals such as this so well. I think the British people, even those who dislike her, will bite their lips next Wednesday and show respect for the most part. But Thatcher is paying the price for showing a complete lack of respect for anyone who did not kowtow to her power and belief system, as effective as it was for solving certain problems.

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  2. It was an excellent speech by Glenda Jackson. I had forgotten how the shop doorways of our cities were filled by the homeless during her reign.

    Whilst Thatcher was disliked personally, the real hatred that so many feel years after she left office is not because of who she was but WHAT SHE DID. She ruined lives, destroyed communities and exalted distinctly non British values like greed, selfishness and materialism. I have never known the British ever celebrate the death of anyone, other than criminals, but many, many people's reaction was : Rejoice.

    She won three election victories because the opposition was hopelessly divided. She never got more than 45% of the votes and in the end, her own party threw her out, because they considered her such a liability.

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  3. I would say that the basis of Thatcherism - and Reaganomics - when it comes to their economic ideal is more or less to mimic the evolutionary theory of "survival of the fittest" on human society. This rough and hardline approach means to benefit the rich, wealthy, talented and gifted in the hopes that giving these groups as much liberty and leash as possible will lead to a trickle down of wealth and opportunity to those at the bottom of the food-chain. It is basically an extremely cynical approach which leads to an uneven distribution of the burden of the economic policies and leaves the poor, weak, disenfranchised and less fortunate to fend for themself as best they could.

    One of the most obvious reflections of this aspect of Thatcherism was the need of "putting the trade unions in their place" and thereby undermining the working classes ability to protect itself from exploitation.

    In my opinion Mrs. Thatcher's economic politics may have "saved" the U.K's economics but it did so in the worst possible and a totally unacceptable way.

    As for the Falklands war, it was - as wars often are - a way to divert British public attention from the conditions at home and the domestic split within the population by providing a common enemy outside the country to go to war with and conquer.

    I believe that Ms. Jackson's summary of the era of Thatcherism is to the point and an excellent summation of what that it resulted in.

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  4. May she rot slowly over eternity in hell...

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  5. I admired Glenda as an actress... I love her even more as a politician!

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