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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Amid all the suffocating claptrap celebrating Margaret Thatcher in the media, only the British themselves seem able to provide a refreshing hit of brisk reality. Over here, she is the paragon of principle known as the “Iron Lady,”  devoted to freedom, democracy, and traditional values who bolstered the West against encroaching darkness. Over there, she is seen clearly as a class warrior, whose chief accomplishments involved busting unions and breaking the post-war social contract.

Promoting the economic doctrines of the far right – whose eager acolytes in the Tea Party today revere her – Thatcher helped to hasten the decline of the venerable English village whose values she claimed to represent. “There is no better course for understanding free-market economics than life in a corner shop,” she once wrote, recalling her upbringing in the little grocery store that her father operated in the town of Grantham. But as a left-leaning British writer observed acidly, her “free-market” policies “led to the domination of small-town life by supermarkets and other powerful corporations.”

In the hometown she left behind, factories were shuttered and coal mines closed, owing to her policies – which may be why not so long ago, the vast majority of the town’s residents expressed opposition to erecting a bronze statue of her.

Indeed, much as she emphasized her humble roots – a theme echoed constantly in the American media – the less romantic fact is that Thatcher’s path to 10 Downing Street was paved with the fortune of her husband Denis, a millionaire businessman. It was not an image that matched her self-portrait as a hardworking grocer’s daughter, but it turned out to be the template for the policies she pursued as prime minister – cracking down hard on unruly workers; cutting aid to the poor, even milk for children; and privatizing public services for better or worse, but always to the benefit of the financial class.

At the same time that she and her ideological companion Ronald Reagan were smashing labor on both sides of the Atlantic, with lasting consequences for equality and democracy, they voiced support for workers in Eastern Europe, where unions rose up against Stalinism and Soviet domination. Workers’ rights were to be defended in the East, and abrogated in the West.

  • adler56

    She was an ass just like Ronnie Raygun

    • docb

      Every issue and failure in the GB economy and culture can be laid at thatchers feet.. She was a commoner who affected a posh accent to fake the peerage of which she was never a member!

      The reoub baggers are attempting the same thing in the USA from austerity to union busting to gay bashing, to wage and access to opportunity blocking! Stop the basta now!

    • Independent1

      What’s unfortunate is that millions of Americans can’t seem to grasp the enormous damage that Reagan’s nonsense ideas have inflicted on our country. I was far from a fan of his during his presidency and have become a far less fan as I’ve learned of the suffering he has inflicted on the American people’s with many of his nonsensical ideas – Ideas unfortunately, that did not stop when he left office, but some of which have been championed by every right-wing wacko that is not only broadcasting on the airwaves but also with many who have unfortunately attained to public office. Even with the presidents who have followed him, who have both pressed too far in promoting many of his ridiculous notions, and in the process have pushed America to the brink of ruination – none bigger examples than George Bush and Dick Chaney, who by pushing Reagan’s failed economic policies to the extreme, not only grossly overriched the already rich and in doing so have greatly increased the struggles of nonwealthy Americans to even come close to attaining their dreams.

      • The weird thing is that Reagan himself was starting to back away from it before the Alzheimer’s started to kick in.

      • The first time I was eligible to vote was the 1980 Presidential Election and I voted for Jimmy Carter because I know better than to vote for a republican president. I knew his Reaganomics plan was complete and utter nonsense the first time I heard it. Trickle down economics is a complete and utter failure and can not ever succeed because the rich are only interested in getting richer by any means possible and keeping every penny. Nothing ever trickles down!

      • holyreality

        You describe a zombie policy that died, has been dead, but keeps coming back biting us. This zombie has no brains thus must eat such to survive.

        GOP brains are good food for this beast, while this cult of personality that Reagan effected lingers on.

  • Some years ago, I bought a copy of the collected V for Vendetta. (No, *before* the Wachowskis did the movie treatment of it)

    Each Author’s preface before the graphic novel itself bears reading. At the time, Thatcherism was the big thing, and Alan was straightforwardly depressed by it. Among other items noted, he mentioned how, in one speech, Margaret waxed eloquent on the prospect of eliminating homosexuality as a concept in Britain.
    Read that again.
    Now, Obama has to support the alliance of the United States and Britain. It’s just one of the political necessities. The problem is the casual racism of certain British leaders makes that difficult. Before his views evolved, Winston Churchill was a rather vicious and vocally racist conservative. Coping with leadership during World War II tempered it, but it sure didn’t change the past.
    It is unfortunate that Americans cannot seem to celebrate a man’s achievements without whitewashing his history, and it frankly shortchanges the achiever in my view. Don’t do this with Thatcher.

  • charleo1

    I think probably the best that can be said of any leader, when one looks
    back, after a certain amount of time has passed to allow the policies they
    enacted while in office to come to fruition. And see, if their town, or city, or
    State, and Country, or the world, is a better place, because of their having
    charted a wiser course. Or a more prosperous, or, safer one, or, expanded
    opportunity, especially in the lower incomes. “The least among us.”
    What we can say of Thatcher’s England, is some are much better off,
    because of her policies, But, England’s working class, and her working
    poor, in particular, have borne the brunt of Margaret Thatcher’s economic policies.
    Thatcher, like her soulmate, Ronald Reagan, in the U.S. Both came from decidedly, working class roots. And, both, after rising to the pinnacle of power in their respective Countries, promptly sold out out families, just like the ones they had grown up in.
    And both, undoubtedly recognized, in their positions, the ability to improve, and,
    empower the lives of those, who’s daily struggles they understood, perhaps better
    than anyone. To have held such a powerful, office. Yet, their decisions, in both
    their cases, was to betray those from where they came. And seek the seductively
    easy, and personally rewarding path, of empowering those already powerful.
    And further enriching, and serving at the behest of those, with legions of servants
    already. So, as of yesterday, Britain’s, “Iron Lady,” and the United States’ “Gipper,”
    have yet another circumstance in common. Their lives are over, their records
    complete. As Reagan himself ask. Are we better off? Have the lives of the people improved? Many are still enthralled with the economic policies Of Reagan, and Thatcher. Both inherited slow, and sluggish economies. Both cut taxes. Mainly for the rich. Both spent prodigiously, to stimulate their economies, and both grew the size of their governments. And, left office with historic levels of public debt.
    Maybe, we should thank them. Or, maybe for our own good, we should take off
    the rose colored glasses, and look at the results. Both did everything within the
    power of their offices to destroy unions, and the ability of labor to collectively
    bargain for better wages. Causing overall wages to fall. Both sought to privatize

    public service. And both set into motion the restructuring of their economies, that
    has created, a disparity of wealth, and incomes, and a lack of upward mobility,
    not seen since the depression era, now some 80 years ago. And, the equities, are more pronounced today, in the U.S., than many pre-industrialized nations. In our
    case, almost entirely, because Ronald Reagan once came our way.

    • idamag

      Under Margaret Thatcher, unemployment rose to an all-time high.

      • charleo1

        As we know all to well. Policies that drive down wages,
        also cause unemployment. Unemployment of course, drives
        down wages. So, why would anyone, not already rich, support
        lower wages?

  • SaneJane

    This unholy duo gave the whole world a shove down the chute and we continue to slide even today.

  • JDavidS

    Thatcher was a poison whose effects are still felt by the average British worker. One could convincingly argue that she was the first “Tea Party” troll.

  • montanabill

    Heaven forbid anyone should promote self-reliance. We all know that only government can take care of us.

    • charleo1

      We hear a lot of talk from the pampered, upper crust, about good
      old fashioned, up by their boot straps industriousness. In fact, I
      never met a Republican that wasn’t born in a log cabin, he
      hadn’t personally built himself. Now, as far as relying on the govt.
      The Govt. is among the rich man’s most reliable, handmaidens. His staff
      of accountants, finds for him, every available advantage. If he wants
      an advantage his accountants can’t find. His staff of lawyers, simply
      writes it up, all proper. And his lobbyists, usually a former politician,
      his Daddy knew, and took care of for years. Takes it up to a grateful
      Congressman, who’s always more than happy to help out a dear friend,
      that’s always been so generous to him. Now, thats the kind of self reliance,
      up by your bootstraps, I could get used to!

      • montanabill

        Clear to see you have not made yourself a success. And if that is what you truly believe, you never will.

        • charleo1

          Now Bill. No need to make personal assumptions.
          Just because I pointed out a little wart on your
          rich conservatives, don’t depend on the govt.
          malarky.

          • lana ward

            Obama and the dems want us all to be slaves on the Government plantation–and now half of us are there. What a sad shape our once self reliant people have become!!! Thank you Obama!!

          • montanabill

            What he was seeing was more a figment of his own imagination based on nothing more than class warfare propaganda.

        • idamag

          Oh, get off it. I am sure your arm is quite agile from patting yourself on the back. If I wanted to be rich, I could have been rich. You have to have sort of a monomania in that direction. More power to you if that was your goal in life. It wasn’t mine. I worked from the time I was 18 until the time I was 68. All during my working years I had time for Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4H, and PTA. After my children were grown, I served diligently on a Human Rights Organization in my local community. My reward is not going to be the bottom line on a P & L Sheet, but trying to leave the world better than I found it. You get your jollies your way and I will get my jollies my way.

          • charleo1

            Man’s natural proclivity, to do first for oneself, assures his survival.
            Man’s ability to move beyond his own needs, to those of his mate,
            insures the survival of the species. Man’s progression to altruism,
            is the final step towards immorality. I truly believe, if a person has
            no other goal, than to leave the world a better place than they
            found it. They could choose no better goal, in which to fulfill
            their destiny. And if we must first dream a thing, before we can
            make it real. I can think of no better dream to have, than that!
            Okay, I’m a Liberal. Your post inspired me. Thank you!

          • plc97477

            Your riches are much more than those who trod on others to fill their coffers.

          • montanabill

            You suffer from victim mentality with the invalid assumption that people must tread on others to be successful.

          • old_blu

            Very well said idamag, I don’t need to be rich with money to be happy as well, and I have never understood why someone thinks they do need money to be happy, there are many ways to be successful and not all are monetary, sounds like you have done a great job at being successful, congratulations to you.

          • montanabill

            If that is so, old_blu, why then the need for demanding higher taxes and more government intrusion into our lives? The vast majority of us have the free will and the capability to choose the life we want. So why, then, is it necessary to demand that some supplement the chosen lifestyle of others?

          • old_blu

            Ahh, you got me wrong bill I have planned for my life I plan on being comfortable when I retire, and until I die, but that’s not how I measure success, and from what, and all the post’s that I have read of your’s I think that is how you do measure it. (if I’m wrong I apologize but that’s how you sound, and I think that is what idamag is saying) I know it cost money to run a country I don’t mind paying my taxes, I also don’t mind helping people that are in need of help. I don’t know how to decide who needs it or not.

          • montanabill

            And, obviously, neither does the government.

          • charleo1

            You want lower taxes? Do like our allies all over the world do.
            Find a Country willing to spend half of it’s discretionary income
            on it’s military. Then sign a treaty of protection with them. If we
            were really concerned about taxes, that’s what we’d do. Of
            course, that would preclude a bunch of NeoCons, not being
            able to go all over the world, launching unnecessary wars.
            But, would that be such a bad thing? If you want to see real
            Govt. intrusion, try being a woman, and going thru a Govt.
            ordered, vaginal probing. Let me tell you something, compared
            to that, the Govt. don’t intrude in your life at all. In fact, since
            it is very rarely about just you. Why don’t you try considering
            something, or someone, besides yourself? At least once in
            a while.

          • montanabill

            Why do you automatically assume that since I don’t like my government taking and spending money on useless socialist programs, that I don’t have regard for anyone else? That is simply a foolish and completely wrong assumption.

          • plc97477

            Oh I get it now, you are a comedian.

          • idamag

            Same old same old. You use government services just like everyone else does. Governments take revenue to run. That is why we tax. Your obsession with your money makes you short sighted. Let’s make an analogy and see if you can understand it. If the total amount of money available to a nation was $100 and you had $99 of that, it means that the $1 left over would not allow the other 99 people to get rich. Kapeesh?

          • plc97477

            Taxes are the cost of civilization. In order to be civilized we need to pay for the honor. Since you are not civilized you would not know that.

          • montanabill

            Taxes are quite necessary to pay for the things government is tasked with doing. However, when taxes are used to pay people for not working, pay for their health care, pay for their food, pay for phony disabilities, pay for private parties at the White House. The government funds programs to promote video games, chocolate, and to revamp a scuba-diver’s web site. $30 million to help Pakistani mango farmers, nearly 3/4 of million to build an IHOP in an underserved community, that happened to be one of Washington’s more desirable neighborhoods, about $600 million in the last 5 years to pay retirement and disability benefits to already dead government workers, $100,000 for a celebrity chef show in Indonesia, 3/4 of million to bring television to Vietnamese villages, … frankly there simply hundreds of examples. So why don’t you and other liberals first work on eliminating wasteful spending before you continue your demands that other people need to pay more taxes to fund all this nonsense. It is not a cost of ‘civilization’!

          • holyreality

            Wow,

            Your post shares a bit more of your stinginess than you should, the roots point to deep within your darker self.

            Who cares if government helps useless (to your selfish definition) nonsense? If you hate government so much I hear Somalia has nice sunny days most of the time. They have no wasteful spending, their business climate is cutthroat, literally. Perhaps you could go to Ayn’s utopia?

          • montanabill

            The reality is you have no idea how much I contribute to useful charities. The reality, as I have stated many times, is that I don’t hate government when it fulfills its proper role. That role is not to be a caretaker. That is our job, to take care of ourselves and our neighbors. If you don’t care what kind of nonsense the government spends money on, it is probably because you don’t pay enough in taxes to care. Normally I’d estimate a 50% probability that you are on the receiving side, but since you are a liberal, that probability is much higher.

          • holyreality

            It is none of my business what charities get how much from you.
            This reminds me of a dirge we sang at Catholic Mass during Holy Communion, “Whatsoever you dooooooooooo To the least of my Bro otherrrrrrrrrrrrzzzzzzzzz That you do unto Meeeeeeeee”
            The fact that you project the meme of “the receiving side” shows yet more of your psyche than you realize.

          • BDC_57

            I say if you don’t have friends and family and all have is money you are not happy and on come left sight and bitch about the government like Montana bill you are not happy.

          • montanabill

            Kudos to you. I see no conflict between helping your community while being as self-reliant as possible. I and my family have been equally active supporting Scouting, Little League, Youth Symphony and local colleges. None of that, however, precluded preparing, working and building for our own futures.

  • adriancrutch

    Reagan never got over the FACT that he was a second rate actor and that Bonzo got the billing. I didn’t think I’d ever see the CCR lyrics come true from 1970 “Actors in the Whitehouse” from Ramble Tamble. But Reagan was just what Dr. Mengele ordered when he was elected Savoir of the Rich!

  • exdemo55

    Mr Cameron today led tributes from around the world, calling the former Tory leader “a great prime minister, a great leader, a great Briton” as while mourners left flowers outside Lady Thatcher’s house in Belgravia, London.
    Lady Thatcher died at The Ritz, where she had been staying
    The Prime Minister said: “Margaret Thatcher didn’t just lead our country – she saved our country.
    “Margaret Thatcher took a country that was on its knees and made Britain stand tall again.”
    He added: “We can’t deny that Lady Thatcher divided opinion. For many of us, she was and is an inspiration.
    “For others she was a force to be defined against. But if there is one thing that cuts through all of this – one thing that runs through everything she did – it was her lion-hearted love for this country.”
    The flag at Downing Street flies at half mast
    Mr Cameron was in Spain at the start of a European tour to push for a more flexible EU when the news broke but immediately cut short his trip.
    Buckingham Palace added: “The Queen was sad to hear the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher. Her Majesty will be sending a private message of sympathy to the family.”
    US President Barack Obama said that America would “never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan” and that she had “with moral conviction” helped to shape history.
    Newly elected and in Downing Street with husband Denis
    Former Labour prime minister Tony Blair called the ex-PM a “towering political figure” who exercised a huge influence over Britain and the world.
    “Even if you disagreed with her as I did on certain issues and occasionally strongly, you could not disrespect her character or her contribution to Britain’s national life,” he said.
    “She will be sadly missed.”
    Lady Thatcher in a tank in 1986 at British camp near Hamburg
    Former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major described his predecessor as a “true force of nature” and a “political phenomenon”.
    “Her reforms of the economy, trades union law, and her recovery of the Falkland Islands elevated her above normal politics, and may not have been achieved under any other leader,” he said.
    Lady Thatcher, who made history by becoming Britain’s first female prime minister in 1979, had become increasingly frail over the last decade.
    She suffered several small strokes in 2002 and was advised not to accept further public speaking engagements.
    ‘Milk snatcher’: Lady Thatcher is remembered for removing free school milk
    Her apparent fragility when she did appear in public, especially after the death of husband Denis in 2003, led to frequent bouts of speculation about her health.
    But MPs and friends who saw her regularly said she remained alert and interested in politics and she was not known to have deteriorated notably recently.
    The former leader was admitted to hospital shortly before Christmas where she underwent an operation to remove a growth from her bladder but was allowed to return home before the New Year.
    With David Cameron at Downing Street in 2010
    As prime minister from 1979 to 1990, she has been credited with transforming a nation in one decade and putting Britain back among the leading industrial nations of the world.
    Loved and loathed in equal measure, she crushed the unions and privatised vast swathes of British industry as she led the Tories to three election victories.
    She was nicknamed the Iron Lady by a Russian journalist in 1976 for her opposition to Soviet communism.
    ‘Shoulder to shoulder’ with US president Ronald Reagan
    The moniker stuck and privately she was thought to enjoy it. It also became the title of the 2011 biopic for which Meryl Streep won an Oscar.
    Lady Thatcher was also memorably described by the then French president Francois Mitterrand with the back-handed compliment that she had the “eyes of Caligula and the mouth of Marilyn Monroe”.
    But perhaps the defining moment of her career will be the decision to send a taskforce to the Falklands on April 2, 1982 after Argentina invaded.
    In Stanley, Falkland Islands, in 1983
    Despite her toughness, few will forget the pictures of Lady Thatcher leaving Downing Street for the last time with her husband, Sir Denis – tears in her eyes.
    A woman who believed in hard work, she was the daughter of grocer Alfred Roberts and gained a degree in Chemistry at Oxford University, where she became president of the university’s Conservative Association.
    Her first job was as a research chemist but in February 1951 she was adopted as Conservative candidate for Dartford and at a dinner that day she met the wealthy and divorced businessman, Denis Thatcher. They married later that year.
    With son Mark (L) and daughter Carol (R) at her husband’s funeral in 2003
    He supported her during her unsuccessful campaigns for the seat and during her studies to become a barrister. She qualified in 1953, the same year she gave birth to twins Mark and Carol.
    Lord Bell said Mark is currently in Barbados, while Carol is in Switzerland. Both will be back in Britain for their mother’s funeral.
    Lady Thatcher had been staying at the Ritz at the invitation of its owners, David and Frederick Barclay, as her Belgravia home was not properly equipped for her recovery from illness.

    • idamag

      I also watched the demonstrations where they were singing, “Ding, dong, the wicked witch is dead.”

      • exdemo55

        Totally tasteless and disrespectful behavior. Can you imagine the right throwing a party to celebrate the death of a lefty? I can’t, and I hope you don’t condone what they did.

        • Ever watch your own self-righteous heroes. THEY DO IT ALL THE TIME.

  • Budjob

    Maggie Thatcher was nothing more than a fascist BITCH!!

  • Mentallect

    Thatcher’s own town repudiates her just like Paul Ryans’. Trust those who know them best.