Many puffins seem to be big fans of Margaret Thatcher. I have to agree that she was the best Prime Minister since WW2 and was very patriotic. So good was she that all subsequent ones have been frankly rubbish. The only one who got anything done was Tony Blair and what he got done has resulted in our decline.
It is over 30 years since she was forced out by the dog strangler and his pals but she gets the blame for many ills especially from those on the left of the political divide.
As for the milk snatcher label the left hang on her, free milk for children at school was introduced to combat rickets which was rife in the 1930s and 40s. By the 1970s people could afford milk for their children and so it was basically superfluous. It is yet another of the left’s soundbites that has stuck.
The highlight of her time was victory in the Falklands, much of the rest of her tenure was mediocre at best. This article will list a few of her bad points and point out why her triumph in the South Atlantic has been bad for us in the long term.
When she took power inflation was rampant and the unions were out of control. The unions were eventually crushed and inflation eventually came down. Initially the War on Inflation as we kept hearing was being cured by massive increases in interest rates. For the first couple of years of her reign companies were shutting down and going bust in record numbers as the BBC gleefully reported every evening carefully adding up the number of people losing their jobs. The popularity of the Tories was in Joe Biden territory and things looked bleak for the next election even with Michael Foot and his soon to surface longest suicide note in history as the opposition.
We were constantly told we were responsible for this inflation by being greedy bastards. As we suspected then and know now, governments control inflation not the people. The inflation was initially caused by Ted Heath printing money like Billy-oh for the 1974 election. His Chancellor, Anthony Barber, was known as the Demon Barber as the printing presses whirred. Labour couldn’t believe their luck when they won that election and just kept printing more money. There then followed the second half of the seventies when we had inflation of banana republic proportions. As far as the government being responsible for inflation, the proof if any was needed, was when the Bank of England was set inflation targets ! Not under their control they say.
Along with the mess of the Trade Union inspired winter of discontent, this was Margaret Thatcher’s inheritance. Seemingly unable to reduce government spending, inflation roared ahead and things were looking bleak. Unemployment was rising like crazy leading to ridiculous fiddling of the way unemployment was measured. In fact Thatcher was responsible for introducing the bennies culture. It was better to put people on welfare than define them as unemployed.
My biggest complaint about this period was that while busily presiding over a decimation, or worse, of British Industry, the Tories did very little to mitigate its consequences. We were left with some places in the North effectively destroyed and these places have not forgotten how they were treated.
Now we come to the Falklands War. The Argies invaded and we kicked them out. It was a close run thing and next time we will have no chance to retake them. Our best defence is that the Argies don’t seem to be in a position to go on the offense,
Having survived the treachery of the BBC, our forces were greeted as heroes on their return and having punched Johnny Foreigner on the nose, Margaret Thatcher’s popularity was in the stratosphere. Most, if not all, of the current generation of politicians learnt this lesson that biffing Johnny Foreigner was very popular when successful and makes the protagonist a legend. We will return to this later.
One of Thatcher’s never ending soundbites was “We do not negotiate with terrorists”. Well have I got news for you. Negotiations were underway with the IRA for most of her time in office. We have negotiated with such people time after time over the last couple of hundred years. It think they were right to talk though I do not agree with the solution they reached. It got on my nerves then, Heath had been talking to them in the seventies and no doubt the Wilson and Callaghan administrations did the same.
Margaret was finally finished on the pyre of the so called poll tax and the enmity of many of her male colleagues especially the aforementioned dog strangler. She had led us into the First Gulf War but was ousted before hostilities started and it was finished by John Major. Major is not remembered for his part in that War unlike Thatcher’s Falklands triumph.
To return to the South Atlantic. As I mentioned, our politicians have taken the political reversal in fortunes to heart. They all seem to think a foreign military adventure will bolster their popularity and credentials. Tony Blair had the two Balkan disasters, the Second Gulf War, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan to his credit. Five times he ordered troops in, more than any other PM in history. Gordon Brown fortunately did not order any interventions.
CallMeDave famously intervened in Libya with the disastrous consequence that Europe is being flooded with Africans fleeing their continent, the mad Ghadaffi had promised to control this. Theresa May was too busy betraying us in other ways. Boris Johnson has not started any foreign adventures and actually oversaw our final withdrawal from Afghanistan though he probably wants to do something in Ukraine.
Tony Blair and CallMeDave have then started foreign interventions and it is my fervent belief that both were conscious of the Thatcher effect. Hankering after the reflected glory of our military is disgraceful especially when all Prime Ministers since 1990 have done little but reduce our military budgets until we are today left pretty much defenceless.
For the future we have the insane Liz Truss threatening the Russians with a nuclear war and others desperate to intervene on the ground and in the air on behalf of Ukraine. A sure sign of madness. All wars are bad.
I cannot blame Margaret Thatcher for what she did in the Falklands, it was a magnificent success but I can blame all the other Thatcher wannabees who are gagging to start fighting other countries.
As for her legacy. Many of us believed that she had destroyed the Labour Party and smashed the Unions. The Labour Party has managed to keep going though under Keith it may not be as successful as it hopes. The Unions were very quiet for a long time but are flexing their muscles again. We even have inflation rearing its ugly head again, no doubt we will get the blame yet again because it couldn’t possibly be the government’s fault could it.
Referring to punching Johnny Foreigner on the nose is an oversimplification. The Falklands War was very popular here because it was looked upon as defending our land. Politicians being pretty thick have not really understood that part of the equation. None of the subsequent military campaigns were at all popular, we even had millions demonstrating against Iraq. Not that Tony Blair took any notice of that, he really was a war-monger ably abetted by Alkie Campbell.
© well_chuffed 2022