Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Mrs Thatcher Gave Us Nasty Medicine

George Galloway outdid himself in uncouth loutishness by commenting on the death of Margaret Thatcher : "Tramp down the dirt."
Notice the sexist sub-text there - "tramp" is an insulting world for a woman, a synonym for "slut" and many other sexist terms were applied to Mrs Thatcher in her time. B**ch, c**t, the whole lot.
I never voted for Mrs Thatcher and I never liked her style, but I was younger and more ignorant then. Having grown up in a world where there were strikes and bombings on the news every week, I regarded that as normal. I did not realize that Britain, once a world power, was going downhill faster than a snowball on skis.
To understand Mrs Thatcher's career . and her historical importance  - which is immense  - you have to realize that the Labour movement in Britain had already failed when she was elected in 1979. Of course you can't expect Labour supporters to admit that, but it is true. The Labour movement had broken down completely, as large and powerful unions defied the decisions of a series of Labour Prime ministers. Jim Callaghan could not handle the unions that were reducing the country to chaos any more than Edward Heath could do. They were both ineffectual. The country was in a state of dysfunction, torn by incessant strikes and crippled by inflation. When Thatcher came to power, inflation was running at more than 20% and the cycle of inflation-strike-inflation was spiralling out of control.
        The Labour movement had got to a point when union bosses would not obey an elected Labour leader, so there were only two alternatives: either a takeover of the country by those union bosses, or an assertion of power by the elected government that would break the power of the unions. Sad indeed, when the unions had once fought to improve the life and conditions of the really poor, exploited masses. They had, but that was 1909, not 1979. A lot had changed in those 70 years.
        It is often said that Mrs Thatcher did not have the votes of more than 50% of the electorate. Actually, no British government since World War 2 has had the votes of more than 50% of the electorate. All of them have been voted in using the FPP system, and those who object should not have recognized Tony WMD Blair as PM either.
         Mrs Thatcher did not cure all the ills of Britain and she did not always make the right decision. However, there is no doubt that she has been demonized unjustly by the socialists who are bad losers. They blame her for shutting down the coal mines. In fact, Harold Wilson came to power with a coal industry employing 590,00 and making huge losses. He started the programme of pit closures and he shut down 93 pits in total. He was closing a pit a week at one point. Mrs Thatcher inherited an industry employing just under 200,000 which was eating up tax-payers' money in subsidies. She closed 22 pits. The industry was already dead.  Ten years after the tragic and bitter miners' strike of 1984, very few of the men who took part in it said that they would want to go back down a mine.
          Crushing the unions was not a nice thing to have to do and I would not like to have to carry out such a programme personally. But here are two personal memories of what was going on in the 1970s:
"My uncle was an apprentice engineer at Rootes /British Leyland at Linwood, he caused a walk out one Friday afternoon when on the final check over of a particular car he noticed an indicator bulb was defective... He changed it and caused the electricians to take the hump and walk out on strike which closed the plant for the day. That was the craziness of the time which Thatcher seems to be blamed for by left wing idiots."
"My Grandad worked at a factory where a development meant wood had to be attached to metal. The metal-workers union and the wood-workers union each went on strike claiming it was not their responsibility to work with the other material. Thatcher gave British industry a chance. The Unions killed it."

    Mrs Thatcher was respected around the world and she made Britain respected again for a short time, perhaps the last time. Undoubtedly she was the greatest leader that Russia had in the 20th century and millions of people in Eastern Europe regard her as a heroine who stood up for their rights. Mikhael Gorbachev has commented on her death, "Margaret Thatcher was “a great politician and an exceptional person who helped end the Cold War." The programme of multi-lateral nuclear disarmament that NATO and the USSR carried out in her time was a genuine step forward for peace in the world. Lady Ashton never got one nuclear weapon scrapped. Lady Thatcher, arguing from a position of toughness and strength, did. During the Reagan-Thatcher era, while left-wingers sneered and jeered, the capitalist economy produced the whole computer revolution. Desktop PCs, software for businesses, schools and social media. Mobile phones, CDs and all those things that revitalized the economy were not invented or marketed successfully under a socialist system run by the likes of Arthur Scargill or Lenin.
   Margaret Thatcher also provided a generation of girls with an inspiring role-model, proving that women could go all the way to the top if they concentrated on doing their job, not on being sexy or popular (as the magazine culture teaches girls to be).
    Without a doubt, Mrs Thatcher was ousted from the leadership by her own party because of her euro-scepticism. She made a speech at Bruges pointing out the dangers of creeping euro-federalism and within a few months the Brussels bootlickers had organized a leadership coup.
     So  - two cheers for Mrs Thatcher and a big boo for all those who haven't got the courtesy to say one good thing about this remarkable woman even at her death.

NB A friend tells me this:  The Left loved to call Mrs Thatcher the "milk snatcher". The Labour government withdrew school milk from 11-18 year-olds in 1968. When the Heath government followed this by withdrawing it from 7-10 year olds the left reacted with rage. Yet we know that without Thatcher's protest it would have been taken away from the 5-7 year olds as well.

1 comment:

  1. Our small business was having some installation work done by a firm of engineers from Coventry together with our own staff. This would be the late Sixties.

    The supervisor from Coventry spotted something going wrong, picked up a spanner and adjusted it. Then he went rather pale and asked me anxiously "Is this a union shop?"

    His instinctive, knowledgeable help could have caused a costly major stoppage if we had been a union shop. We weren't so all was well.

    Later I started to develop a machine for automatically dispensing milk replacer to baby calves. The development became impossibly expensive in the engineering firm we used. After it got past the very basic stage, every single modification had to go back to the drawing office to be redrawn before the engineers would pick up a file, a hacksaw , screwdriver or soldering iron to make the change. We gave up.

    There was a strong risk that, if we had moved the work elsewhere to a non-union shop and the comrades found out , the rest of our business could have been "blacked" and brought to a standstill.

    Mrs T put a stop to that sort of thing - something which British governments had dodged since the Fifties. Unfortunately, much of British industry was past saving by the time she did it.