Thatcher dead

Reuters: "Britain's only woman prime minister, the unyielding, outspoken Thatcher led the Conservatives to three election victories, governing from 1979 to 1990, the longest continuous period in office by a British premier since the early 19th century."


    1. I was going to ask, “is the consensus ‘good riddance’?”, but you beat me to the first comment by two seconds.

      1. Amid all the cries for her not to be given a state funeral (she won’t be, but will get a “ceremonial” one instead – gah) I believe that now would be a prudent time to point out the estimated publically-funded £3 million cost of the service and quote Frankie Boyle:

        “For that amount of money you could give a shovel to every person in Scotland and we would dig her a hole so deep we could hand her over to Satan personally.”

        1. It will be a huge risk to hold any kind of public funeral service for her. There are still a lot of people who harbour enough hatred to be spitting and hurling abuse at the hearse. Actually, it sounds like fun. I hope they do!

          1. The last non-royal or royal associate to get a public blow-out was Churchill. I don’t think that doing one for Thatcher is even on the radar.

    2. She was a facist witch in my book. But to be fair to her, she went about her business openly without any hidden agendas. Unlike the smarmy Blair, who is somehow deluded enough to believe he’s a ‘good’ Christian man despite all the lies and murderous war crimes. I hate them both.

      I think Blair was so bad that he may have softened some people’s memories of Thatcher.

      There are whole mining communities in Britain that will never forgive her though.

      1. She never made any secret of her desire to divide to achieve power conflating her personal desires with the general good.
        She had the fucking audacity to quote Francis of Assisi on the steps of number 10 on the night of her election.”Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair may we bring hope…. There is now work to be done.”She was a bitter, twisted, hateful woman, and over and above the ramifications and consequences of any particular beliefs or policies, that division, and the fear which it creates, is her true legacy from which we are still suffering.

        I live in Brixton and people here were out partying last night.

      1. Wow. Beautiful and timely. Intriguing.

        Personally I find the Blackmagic Design camera announcements *completely* overshadow the death of any politician, no matter how nasty: http://www.blackmagicdesign.comThey are the new exciting design company to replace Apple. My iPhone just got really boring. See: Pocket Cinema camera (snicker) and 4K Super35 cinema camera (woohoo!). Insane. I already own a 2.5k version. God, I’m happy! 

        1. I tell you, it was the first thing to cross my mind when I heard the news. I thought, “is it wrong? Shameful to think this of the dead?” And then, I thought of those who lost their lives defending a streak of birdshit in the South Atlantic, the destruction of mining communities, the heroin casualties, and the contemptuous and contemptible political calculus.

  1. I expect her immediate Reaganization by the right.  You know, everything she did was awesome, let’s rename Heathrow and every other highway after her, etc.

    1.  No: true Reaganization would have been to do all that BEFORE she died. Because somewhere deep down inside they knew that history would not be kind to their idol, so the memorials had to go up ASAP.

      1. Even though it took them a while, the Russians finally realized the error of their predecessor’s ways and restored St. Petersburg’s name after almost 70 years homage to Lenin.  Maybe someday in the distant future, Amerika will revert to Turtle Island and the word Reagan will provoke a ‘what’s that’?

    2. I expect her immediate Reaganization by the right. 

      And by NPR. I caught their elegy this morning, and it made me a little sick. I’d quote some of it, but I’d just get sick again.

    1. Same question applies to Dubya and his scumbag accomplices. Lying through your teeth to your “supporters”, and jerking them around through fear and economic manipulation can keep some pretty damned unsavory types in the catbird seat for as long as they please….

    2. The early years of Thatcher actually went pretty well, and the previous government had left a horrendous mess which she was lionised for dealing with.  And she was popular with the rich and powerful. 

      She won her second term essentially for free, Bush-style, on the back on the Falklands War and the 80s boom economy, although in honesty the defeat of Labour in the previous election was so thorough that they weren’t mounting a strong challenge.  (To be fair, she also had a strong cabinet – many of whom she stabbed in the back later.)

      Her third term was by a narrow margin, owing more to clumsy political missteps on the part of the opposition parties than mass public support for Thatcher.  By this point she’d thoroughly alienated a lot of the public, but the party still had strong support in traditional Conservative areas.  When she left office, it was more because the party and cabinet realised she was dragging them down and kicked her out before she could wreck the next election for them.  (Sadly, this worked, and we got a disastrous extra five years of Major.  Although, one can’t help wishing the Republicans had followed the same model.)

      1.  You are factually incorrect about the early years going well for Thatcher. She was highly unpopular because her policies were disastrous. The thing that made Thatcher was the Argentine invasion of the Falklands. We forget that it was the Thatcher government’s withdrawal of Royal navy patrols in the region that was generally seen as the reason General Galtieri fet emboldened to invade.

    3. Because of the way the electoral system works in the UK. The last time she was voted in as Prime Minister I believe she had just 39% of the popular vote, meaning 61% of the people who voted didn’t vote for her.

      1.  Exactly like Canada’s current right wing asshole of a Prime Minister.  By an accident of design, our country is going down the crapper.

    4. Somebody must have voted for her, allot….

      The only people who voted for her were Tory MPs.  The PM isn’t elected by the general populace.

      In simple to understand terms:  the PM is elected like John Boehner was elected, but gets Obama’s power.

        1. No doubt true, but it’s still horribly imprecise to talk about people “voting for her” in the same way that people would vote for a US President.

      1. But many voters have the party leader in mind when they vote for the local member. I don’t know about the UK but here in Australia candidates can have their party printed on the ballot paper, so voters know who they represent.

    1. Sure, I get that, but I mean general aswell. Nowhere do you hear a positive word ever said about Thatcher.

      Atleast with Bush you can look to Fox news and conservative America, you can tell some people liked the guy.

    1. You may be In the minority here with that opinion… for my part, I never really experienced the country with her in power. I learned a few rhymes about her when I was growing up in Ireland, but my (conservative British) father seemed to think she was a great leader. When my family moved to the UK under Major I realised it wasn’t a view that many people shared.

  2. She rose from being a grocer’s daughter to the highest elected UK office, smashed the stereotypes of what women can achieve around the world and played a massive role in ending the vast and oppressive Soviet regime – perhaps the most oppressive the world has ever seen.  One of the reasons so many on the left (in the UK at least) hated her so much was because she did so many things that they failed to do.  

    1.  I’m not sure the left in the UK was really that into removing social safety nets, persecuting the poor, gutting the NHS, destroying British industry and devastating the most economically-deprived areas of the country in an ideologically-driven fool’s errand that is almost single-handedly responsible for the problems facing the UK today. I could be wrong though…

      1. Well I guess Labour under Blair and Brown removed some of these hardships … no wait … ummmm….

        1.  If you think New Labour was anything other than an extension of Thatcherite policies, you’re very misguided. As Ken Livingstone put it, “New Labour was Thatcher’s greatest legacy”, and one of the reasons we no longer have a functioning two-party system was Blair’s capitulation to her neo-liberal politics. They can both rot in hell.

          1. Not at all, it’s excactly my point.

            That is how significant her impact was that she turned Labour into a miniature version of hers.
            Of course this will atract a lot of hate.

            Here a pciture from the weekend in Bethnal Green if you want to see what is left of the left in Britain today.

      2. Removing the social safety net – how and in what way?  The UK spends millions on welfare today – its a key topic of discussion at the minute.  Gutting the NHS?  How exactly – it provides medical care, free at the point of delivery, just as it did before and after Thatcher.  Destroying British industry – again, in what way?  Do you seriously believe Britain would be better as a nation if the taxpayer subsidised steel smelting, or car manufacturing?  There are certainly thinks people do take issue with – I think the poll tax, for example, is one of the worst political mistakes of the 1980s – but lets take issue with things she actually did…

        1. Care in the community? Widespread theft (sorry, privatisation) of public industries that resulted in a select few becoming obscenely rich while services declined, became more expensive and employment tanked? Approaching 3 million unemployed as “acceptable” in her hurry to turn Britain into a service economy and, more importantly, gut the unions?

          I take it you’ve never been outside of London at any point in the last twenty years; try telling me that quality of life in the North in the early nineties was improved by the end of subsidies for industry. What exactly do you think the Miners’ Strike was about?

          This article is (understandably) quite partisan but well worth a read:

          1. Brought up in the North East, went to a comprehensive school there in the 80s, but hey, don’t let me get in the way of your jumping to conclusions.  While we’re at it, don’t let me get in the way of putting people with mental health problems and learning difficulties in asylums (which is what care in the community sought to address, as well as saving £)  Think we’ll have to disagree on privatisation, but I’d note that many more pits were closed under Labour, than under Thatcher – blaming her for the demise of coal production is fantasy – it just concluded on her watch.  Were you going to explain how she gutted the NHS and removed social safety nets?

          2. Meanwhile, perhaps those on “the left” whom you deride as disliking Thatcher “because she did so many things that they failed to do” had other, more legitimate reasons for disliking her (some of which you’ll even find in the comments here), but, hey, don’t let me get in the way of your jumping to conclusions.

          3. Privatisation of public industries that resulted in a being actually able to get a telephone installed? Prices dropping?
            The Unions (admittedly not helped by bad management) and nationalisation killed British Industry. Thatcher rescued what could be rescued and put the rest out of its misery.

            You think the 80s were bad? Read up about the 70s.  Three day weeks (sounds better in theory than in practice). Power cuts. Winter of discontent…..

    2. I’m not saying that she didn’t do some useful and effective things, but her legacy is also a wave of economic destruction in less wealthy areas and a conviction among current politicians (almost across the spectrum) that neo-liberalism is the solution to all problems.  Also, she was pretty pally with the Chilean and South African regimes, so let’s not paint her as a universal fighter for freedom.

    3. Unfortunately, she found some time in her busy schedule to support the Khmer Rouge and quietly lobby that same vast and oppressive Soviet regime to stay in Germany as long as possible…

      1.  Let’s not forget branding Nelson Mandella a terrorist and supporting the apartheid policies of the ANC…

        1. The ANC is the post-apartheid ruling party of SA.  She did call Mandela a terrorist but always said that apartheid was morally wrong.

    4.  Many of the former British colonies had elected a female head of state long before her.

    5. And that’s all good, isn’t it? As long as you forget about her domestic political achievements, she can be admired.

      But she also resurrected the class system, broke the unions, and destroyed the steel and coal industries (coal not to save the environment, but purely for her grocer’s daughter’s, Randian ideology). Harold Macmillan, an ancient Tory, and former PM, spoke of her privatization programs with dismay, saying it was like selling the family silver. And where did the money go? Tax cuts for the rich.

      The switch to financial services as the mainstay of the British economy was her doing. The cost of that is yet to be paid in full. While the changeover was happening, North Sea Oil, “Brent Crude”, both enabled the switch in generating capacity from coal to oil (facilitating the destruction of the mining industry and requiring a bitter confrontation with the mineworker’s union, whose pithead communities were destroyed) and the revenues again contributed to the tax breaks given to the wealthy – which could not be sustained without cutting social expenditures. There was not only universal health care, prescriptions, dentistry, and vision care were free too. I still have a pair of my wire-rimmed NHS glasses from about 1980.

      The likes of historian Andrew Roberts, who sold his family’s business in order to pay for champagne and the school fees for his kids, will now be trotted out to paint a picture of the glorious ’80’s, when he sank punts on the Cam to re-enact the sinking of the Belgrano.

      I would rather tramp the dirt down.

    6. “You’re just jealous” is a very childish argument.  People on the left disliked her because they disliked her politics, not because they had anything against her personal struggles and rise to power.

      1. Both she and Ronnie Raygun. Funny, that. Does being mean make one more susceptible to it?

    1. That’s understandable – she had dementia for a while and was pretty effectively out of the news (except when various members of the British media made longing jokes about her being dead).

  3. Let’s not forget that the folks who produced Doctor Who in the 80s wanted to bring down the Thatcher regime. Every other baddie was an older, tough as nails, coldhearted woman. Lenny Henry made fun of this:

    1. Despite being in power for over a decade, the quality of Dalek stories under Thatcher was particularly weak.

      1.  That’s because Daleks were largely genderless and it was more important for the writers that they focus on criticising the exact power structure. In interviews, they literally say that they wanted to bring down the government. This was the time of the Rani and several other one off women villians (in the Happiness Patrol, Silver nemesis, Battlefield, etc for example).

        1. I hadn’t known about that at the time, and, as a teenager watching in the U.S. it probably wouldn’t have meant that much to me anyway. Even though the two stories featuring the Rani were, I thought, pretty poorly written, as a character she was fascinating to me because, up to that point, the Time Lords seemed to be an almost exclusively male club. Even though she was a villain she was also very much an equal of the Doctor and the Master.

          Around that same time–which would have been during Colin Baker’s tenure–I remember Doctor Who Magazine throwing out the idea that the next Doctor might be played by a woman. I thought, “Cool, why not?” but I was shocked by how strongly some readers argued against it. Now I’m even more disappointed to think that, even if it were a possibility, the show’s writers never would have let a woman be the hero.

  4. Thatcher were a huge inspiration in Sweden when we started a slow dismantling of government monopolies and reversed an about 50 year long trend of steadily higher taxes and centralised political control.

    During Swedens industrialization from about 1860 we had several generations that started cooperatives in many areas, boths socialistic cooperatives and other like local banks. After the second world war when the social democrates had a long period of power they made their own cooperative systems into government systems for everybody and it worked out fairly well. Unfortunately did its success diminish other initiatives, cooperations and companies and it cost a lot in tax money wich became a problem when tax hikes, 1970:s oil crisis and and new global competition made our economy stagnate. All kinds of government systems were during that period also handed over from the old-time can-do generation of socialists to a new generation of more ideological leaders who were raised by parents who were full time politicians. We had large and increasing efficiency problems in our government and economy.

    Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were critical inspirations for trying another direction. State monopolies were split up to create markets, government powers were rolled back and we hade some huge successes with it but also failures.

    I suspect that one major difference between us and the US Republicans were that we actually meant to fix efficiency issues by creating real markets with competition and we also reacted to the next economical crisis by ballancing the government budget and start saving to handle the next crisis wich happened to be the crash of 2008. Our government were not our enemie, our governmet were broken and we used your trends as inspiration to fix it.

    Now we need to fix the markets that dont work well and people will hopefully initiate new cooperatives and start companies where old companies and our government cant give the right service. This is however complicated by global systems that work poorly. I wish more countries had a we-realy-got-to-fix-this culture for serious problems that is shared by both right and left wing. Btw I am right wing and like socialistical cooperatives as long as no one is forced to join, such are an obvious part of a truly free market.

    Thanks again Margaret Thatcher!

    1. It’s true. The Republicans believe so fiercely that “government doesn’t work” that they’re willing to serve as the example just to feel vindicated.

  5. I’m surprised at how much I’ve actually been looking forward to this day.

    I feel pretty good about it. She was, honestly, a horrific person. Happy now because we can, as a society, move on from her corrosive political motives, and work towards a better world, where we can work to live (relatively) equally and without the division and dehumanising spite that she and her party drilled into our country.

    First this, and a vote for Independence…Scotland can finally step out of the shadows of the past.

    1. You couldn’t work towards a better world because an 87 year old woman sufffering from dementia hadn’t passed yet?
      Sound kind of like a cheap excuse to me.

      1. I think as a symbolic death (as well as a literal one) of one of the biggest proponents of free market capitalism, I think its fair to say it helps to draw a line in a way that wasn’t possible before. This is over time, mind. First we’ll have to listen how the medicine was apparently good for us, cause after all, it’s only been a couple days past the largest overhaul of the welfare state since its inception…Something she could have only dreamt of doing. I’m up for anything that helps us to move onto a better state of affairs.
        When I think of an 87 year old woman suffering from dementia, alone, I also think of other 87 year old women (and men) suffering from dementia (and other illnesses) who rely on the NHS and the welfare state to help them get by and get help. Which this woman, and her party have consistently tried to dismantle in the name of economic ‘balance’. 

        The irony of her funeral being publicly funded is sickening.

        1. You are aware that the biggest proponents of free market capitalism now reside in Communist China are you?
          I suspect it won’t simply go away just because you want it to.

          1. The biggest proponents of actual free market capitalism can probably be found in Estonia, big corporations seems to prefer corporativism wich China exells at, actual competition is scary…

  6. Who died?     well after 9-11 2 Iraks libya Bush 1+2 Tony Bliar Klinton Obummer [me drones?]who can even remember the once cuddly tango of Ronnie and Maggie?

    Anyone who still had a country at the start of the Eighties is who   [jobs industrial base pride etc…]

    will Margaret Hilda play tiddlywinks with Qaddafi in heaven?

    1. Please don’t tell me that she’s going to start wandering around with Meryl and Goldie.

    1. That wasn’t a cake; it was a three decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwich with arsenic sauce.

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