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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Thatcher: A Political Career Undeserving of State Approval.

Margaret Thatcher Gallery
Margaret Thatcher Gallery (Photo credit: Loco Steve)

Today, as the UK government spends £millions of taxpayers’ hard earned cash on a funeral for Margaret Thatcher, I feel I must somehow register my disapproval. The political leaders have no interest in public opinion on this issue, and, indeed, they usually ignore real public opinion.
I’m indebted to Ms Julie Ann Pickles, who placed the following list on Facebook, where I found it. We don’t know the originator, and I wouldn’t normally reproduce a written work without permission from the author, but this list has now been published on so many websites and forums that it’s become ‘in the public domain’. However, I’d like to thank the original source, whoever you are.
Margaret Thatcher was the most divisive political leader the UK has ever known, amongst the tears, overblown sentiment, selective memories and sycophancy, it might be worth remembering the following:

1. She supported the retention of capital punishment
2. She destroyed the country's manufacturing industry
3. She voted against the relaxation of divorce laws
4. She abolished free milk for schoolchildren
5. She supported more freedom for business (and look how that turned out)
6. She gained support from the National Front in the 1979 election by pandering to the fears of immigration
7. She gerrymandered local authorities by forcing through council house sales, at the same time preventing councils from spending the money they got for selling houses on building new houses (spending on social housing dropped by 67% in her premiership)
8. She was responsible for 3.6 million unemployed - the highest figure and the highest proportion of the workforce in history and three times the previous government. Massaging of the figures means that the figure was closer to 5 million
9. She ignored intelligence about Argentinian preparations for the invasion of the Falkland Islands and scrapped the only Royal Navy presence in the islands
10. She introduced the poll tax
11. She presided over the closure of 150 coal mines; we are now crippled by the cost of energy, having to import expensive coal from abroad
12. She compared her "fight" against the miners to the Falklands War
13. She privatised state monopolies and created the corporate greed culture that we've been railing against for the last 5 years
14. She introduced the gradual privatisation of the NHS
15. She introduced financial deregulation in a way that turned city institutions into avaricious money pits
16. She pioneered the unfailing adoration and unquestioning support of the USA
17. She allowed the US to place nuclear missiles on UK soil, under US control
18. Section 28
19. She opposed anti-apartheid sanctions against South Africa and described Nelson Mandela as "that grubby little terrorist"
20. She support the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and sent the SAS to train their soldiers
21. She allowed the US to bomb Libya in 1986, against the wishes of more than 2/3 of the population
22. She opposed the reunification of Germany
23. She invented Quangos
24. She increased VAT from 8% to 17.5%
25. She had the lowest approval rating of any post-war Prime Minister
26. Her post-PM job? Consultant to Philip Morris tobacco at $250,000 a year, plus $50,000 per speech
27. The Al Yamamah contract
28. She opposed the indictment of Chile's General Pinochet
29. Social unrest under her leadership was higher than at any time since the General Strike
30. She presided over interest rates increasing to 15%
31. BSE
32. She presided over 2 million manufacturing job losses in the 79-81 recession
33. She opposed the inclusion of Eire in the Northern Ireland peace process
34. She supported sanctions-busting arms deals with South Africa
35. Cecil Parkinson, Alan Clark, David Mellor, Jeffrey Archer, Jonathan Aitkin
36. Crime rates doubled under Thatcher
37. Black Wednesday – Britain withdraws from the ERM and the pound is devalued. Cost to Britain - £3.5 billion; profit for George Soros - £1 billion
38. Poverty doubled while she opposed a minimum wage
39. She privatised public services, claiming at the time it would increase public ownership. Most are now owned either by foreign governments (EDF) or major investment houses. The profits don’t now accrue to the taxpayer, but to foreign or institutional shareholders.
40. She cut 75% of funding to museums, galleries and other sources of education
41. In the Thatcher years the top 10% of earners received almost 50% of the tax remissions
42. 21.9% inflation
And my own contribution:
43. She encouraged the philosophy of greed, promoting this quality as a good thing and driving the excesses that produced the current financial mess.

As a result of her philosophy, embraced with enthusiasm by following politicians and the leaders of big business, we are now in the current financial mess. Our now privatised railway system is a complex joke with so many different ticket options most members of the public have no chance of getting a fair deal. Our utilities are in the hands of profit making companies that care more about shareholders than about the service they should be offering the public. Many of our schools no longer have playing fields, adding another barrier to reducing the obesity epidemic that’s largely the result of youth inactivity. We import coal from overseas, at great cost to the environment, because most of our own coal mines have been closed. We have a housing crisis, largely caused by her refusal to allow local authorities to use funds raised from the sale of council houses to build more social housing. As a direct result of this shortage of reasonably-priced housing, the cost of property in the country has soared to the point where first time buyers are put into great debt and most families spend a huge proportion of their income on rent or mortgage repayments, robbing other industries of potential purchasing that might otherwise have rescued us from the recession.

Cameron’s government is blind to all this. His sycophantic pandering to the tainted memory of a politician we could have done very well without is a sickening display of the insensitive nature of his political stance. He has no understanding of the realities of life for the vast majority of families struggling in the current financial mire caused by his friends in the banking industry. And he has the brass neck to complain at those of us who disapprove of his spending millions on the funeral of the person who was the root cause of our current problems. A much better way to commemorate this death would have been to spend the millions on the disadvantaged in society. That, at least, would have been some small compensation for the millions of people Margaret Thatcher damaged and destroyed by her policies during her time in office.
 For other anti views, see the following links: http://pitchfork.com/news/50372-morrissey-blasts-media-coverage-of-margaret-thatcher-anti-thatcher-protests/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2013/apr/13/margaret-thatcher-protests-cuts-live
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/margaret-thatcher-funeral-cost-row-1836360
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/margaret-thatcher-funeral-growing-anger-1821652
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2013/apr/16/margaret-thatcher-funeral-10-million
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/bishop-rt-rev-tim-ellis-warns-that-10m-costof-margaret-thatchers-funeral-is-asking-for-trouble-8572587.html

I could go on, but you get the picture.
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