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Author Topic: UK: Margaret Thatcher  (Read 8091 times)
Peter
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« on: November 27, 2003, 10:10:52 pm »

OK, so I have read some of the arguments about the former PM that have started up on other threads where it is clearly off topic, and recommendations were made to bring in a bright Tory to help fight the Socialists on the basis of some experience in UK Politics.

Here I am! For the record I am a card carrying member of the Conservative Party and a member of the Tory Reform Group. The latter obviously puts me at odds with some of her policy and there are parts which I think she was wrong to pursue.

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She wasted oil revenues on balancing the budget

Balancing the budget is a rather important part of fiscal policy (something that GW might try learning!)

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failed to impliment her "vison"
I would not agree: She reined in the trade union movement and retook control of British Industry; She allowed people to own their own homes; Overcame the dependence of many on the welfare state; Britains economy went from being the sickman of Europe in 1979 to one of the strongest today because of her economic reforms. Need I go on?

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never understood economics
Pretty sure that Maggie understood economics, having been Shadow Chancellor and presiding over the rebuilding of the British economy after the shambles of the late 70s.

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the Poll Tax
I know a lot of socialists had quite a few problems with this, mostly because it cost them more. The reason it was her downfall was that she had picked one fight too many with her cabinet and her backbenchers, even if the policy itself had merit

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Section 28
I am not here to defend the indefensible, on this one I concur with your judgement that it was not a good policy.

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the death of Mining communities
The mining communities died because they refused to mine coal because they wanted to extort more money from the government. So, when she would not come to the table, they died because they did no work and she found other sources for coal and energy.

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the worst recession since the '30's and 3 million unemployed(the highest ever).
I am no economics expert, but I am pretty sure that her reforms have had much greater long term benefits than continuing with the system of corpratism and selling the country out to the unions every couple of years.

Margaret Thatcher is the longest serving PM in living memory, she stood up to the Soviet Regime, and they obviously feared her, apparently they had a fearsome name for her. She stood up for British sovereignty by retaking the Falklands.

Look forward to your replies, and please keep the insults checked.
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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2003, 04:50:16 am »
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I completely agree that Britain desperately needed overhauling from the 1970's. A lot of her economic reforms in hindsight were actually very good. The thing I dislike intensely about Margeret Thatcher and the 80's Tories in general was their stance on social issues. They liberated the nation economically, but stifled it socially. They introduced all manner of horrid policies (section 28 etc.) and made some dreadfully racist remarks (Norman Tebbit's famous remark about cricket stands out to me). They also came across as generally vindictive and downright hostile to the poor and unemployed. I remember well Norman Tebbit telling unemployed people to get on their bikes and find a job, right after his government had closed down most of the UK's heavy industry. How callous is that? If they had pursued a different social policy rather than the rabidly reactionary, racist, homophobic, people hating one they adopted I might have a more favourable attitude.
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Peter
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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2003, 06:22:46 am »

I am inclined to agree with English that the Thatcher administration pursued necessary economic policy, but that its social policy was, to put it mildly, somewhat lacking.

How Lord Tebbit is still allowed in the party is beyond me; yep I am one of the plotters who would not mind seeing the back of him!! Section 28 as previously discussed was IMO a stupid idea.

Unlike English, however, I can forgive the party because there are many elements of it that  have moved on and joined the 21st century, although not all I will openly admit. However I find that sort of policy more palatable than the daftness of some Labour MPs who hark back to the socialism of the 1970s as continuing to be the solution to our problems.

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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2003, 08:36:19 am »
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Sorry, the dire social policies of the Thatcher government continue to leave a sour taste in my mouth even today. This is one reason I would be reluctant to vote Tory. That said, there are a number of Conservative polititians who I believe are excellent MP's. Ken Clarke, Micheal Portillo, Tim Yeo and Boris Johnson I could quite easily vote for, since their politics aren't that disimilar to my own. Sadly however, the party at large still seems to consist mainly of Daily Mail reading 'Norman Tebbits' and 'John Redwoods'. Certainly comments suggesting the return of the death penalty doesn't help!
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2003, 12:59:47 pm »
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O.K then here we go:

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Balancing the budget is a rather important part of fiscal policy (something that GW might try learning!)

The only reason why she used the oil money to balance the budget is because she made a mess of the economy. Oil was used to paper over the cracks of economic stupidity.

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I would not agree: She reined in the trade union movement and retook control of British Industry; She allowed people to own their own homes; Overcame the dependence of many on the welfare state; Britains economy went from being the sickman of Europe in 1979 to one of the strongest today because of her economic reforms. Need I go on?

Well... seeing as her goal was monetarism, she failed. Her vision of 19th centuary economic liberalism sans the social side, was never implimented. She Failed.
BTW it's absurd to say she made the U.K's economy strong. Check out some statistical yearbooks etc and don't believe what the media tells you.

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Pretty sure that Maggie understood economics, having been Shadow Chancellor and presiding over the rebuilding of the British economy after the shambles of the late 70s.

Not true.

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I know a lot of socialists had quite a few problems with this, mostly because it cost them more. The reason it was her downfall was that she had picked one fight too many with her cabinet and her backbenchers, even if the policy itself had merit

The Poll Tax was UNFAIR and morally wrong.

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I am not here to defend the indefensible, on this one I concur with your judgement that it was not a good policy.

Good for you.

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The mining communities died because they refused to mine coal because they wanted to extort more money from the government. So, when she would not come to the table, they died because they did no work and she found other sources for coal and energy.

What she did to the Mining communities was pure evil.
No other argument is viable(and I'm not defending "King Arthur", I think he's an arsehole. He was right but he went about it completely the wrong way)

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I am no economics expert, but I am pretty sure that her reforms have had much greater long term benefits than continuing with the system of corpratism and selling the country out to the unions every couple of years.

Her "reforms" acheived nothing but a credit "boom" and a huge recession. 3 Million. I'm going to repeat that until it sinks in.

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Margaret Thatcher is the longest serving PM in living memory

And? What's that prove?

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she stood up to the Soviet Regime

So did every British P.M during the Cold War.

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She stood up for British sovereignty by retaking the Falklands.

Although it was her idiotic decision to remove the patrol boat that left an open goal for the Argentinians to start with...

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Look forward to your replies, and please keep the insults checked.

I see no reason to insult you.
I will insult the Grantham Ripper though.
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Richard Hoggart 1918-2014
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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2003, 08:35:15 pm »
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Let me just say that Margaret Thatcher is perhaps the most hated international figure within American socialist circles, so she's stirring up passion on both sides of the Atlantic. Let's start with her extreme low points: the Community Charge and Section 28. The Community Charge was too much for even the most free-market absolutist Tories, because any tax which has the primary effect of oppressing the poor must be rejected by anyone of good will. To say that Richard Branson should pay as much as the lower classes in Sedgefield, Rhondda, and the Jarrow is lacking in common sense and despicably unreasonable. Section 28, however, continues to gall me. If a person of ability can be precluded merely because they take a male lover shows what little stock Thatcherites put in their own beliefs. They think a person should advance if they work hard and make good. But they place a caveat in that if someone admires others of the same gender. Norman Tebit was about as repugnant as they come. If places like Brixton are burning to the ground, perhaps it's not being done for kicks. Perhaps young people don't have a job or university to get up for in the morning, put their energy into, and come home tired and feeling good about being productive in the evening. Comments like the "Cricket Test" one seem to indicate the increasing prescence of British Fascism. As for the mining communities, Maggie should have helped their plight, even though some pits really needed to be closed because we can't compromise the environment. Socialists, from Olof Palme with his nuclear energy plan that led to his defeat by Thorbjorn Faldun in 1976 to British Laborites today, often fail to realize that if we lose our air, land, and water, we lose our lives. The Falkland Islands War was indefensible. Fighting to defend the last remnants of imperialism and racism, concepts that cost millions their lives, was irreconcilable with apparent wisdom in the year of grace, 1982. The sinking of the General Belgrano was also a war crime that should have had her before a tribunal in The Hague. She's just a miserable harpy that should save time and energy by having a dance floor installed on her grave.
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« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2003, 07:40:46 am »
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the Poll Tax
I know a lot of socialists had quite a few problems with this, mostly because it cost them more.

I can't help but think that this may be deliberately worded in a specific way as to provoke an angry response, but either way, it's a classic example of a Tory rewrite of history.

Take off your blinkers for one moment and look at the reality of the situation; the poll tax was grossly unfair. With such a portrayal as the one above you are patronising people from lower income backgrounds who unjustly would have had to pay the equal amount as, say, someone earning twice as much. And for what? For the priviledge of living. Which is basically what it was. The financial implications of the poll tax pale, they mean nothing, compared to the sheer vile principle attached to it.

Furthermore, it wasn't so much the policy itself which caused rancour, but Thatcher's arrogant and unconsolidatory demeanour throughout.

It didn't work in the 14th century when it was first installed (and it caused riots then), so how could anyone possibly conceive that it would work in this day and age?

It must be very comforting to imagine that it was just Socialists who opposed this policy, but the Poll Tax demonstrations, as with the Iraq protests, attracted people from all walks of life.

You also appear to be implying that people opposed the Poll Tax for purely selfish reasons. Perhaps some did. But others, unlike most Tories, have a simple sense of fairness and cannot stand to see the weakest members of society being bullied by the strongest. The poll tax was another symptom of such excessive Darwinisn, which Thatcherism often encouraged, and which has no place in a modern civilised society as far as I'm concerned.

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The reason it was her downfall was that she had picked one fight too many with her cabinet and her backbenchers, even if the policy itself had merit

It caused riots, for crying out loud!

As for the rest of your post, Realpolitik already addressed everything that's necessary, and possibly better and more eloquently than I could have done (I don't necessarily share his hatred of Thatcher though; you'll be pleased to know I generally don't regard her as the Medusa figure she is often portrayed as).
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« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2003, 07:44:20 am »
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Actually UK coal is high quality stuff and is at the lower end of enviromental damage.
No Lignite(ie: brown coal) see?

King Coal has just recieved a blood transfusion(the government has just given the coal industry a lot of money. In the long run up to 300 jobs will be gained! It might not look a lot but it's the first good news for the coal industry since Tower Colliery was saved)
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Richard Hoggart 1918-2014
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« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2003, 01:43:49 pm »
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Coal cash secures 4,000 jobs
 
The government says more than 4,000 jobs in the UK coal industry have been saved thanks to a 52m investment package.
A dozen projects at coal mines in Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire, Yorkshire and South Wales have been given extra cash to work reserves in inaccessible areas.
Private coal firms will get up to 30% of development costs as part of the new Coal Investment Aid scheme (CIA).
Energy Minister Stephen Timms said the move would not only preserve existing jobs for up to five years, but will also create a further 300.
He said that despite difficult times in the last decade, there were encouraging signs for the future of the industry.
The selected pits have three months to accept the funds.
Mr Timms said: "I am delighted to announce this substantial investment, which will help to preserve and create jobs in our coal industry and help secure the future of mining to 2008 and beyond.
"The Coal Investment Aid scheme aims to unlock the potential of coal reserves which may otherwise remain unworked by providing a large chunk of the investment costs.
"If taken up, the award winners will see a total investment of 175m for the UK coal industry.
"The announcement demonstrates that, despite some difficult times in the past, there are encouraging signs for the future of the coal mining industry in the UK."
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Richard Hoggart 1918-2014
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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2003, 05:55:35 pm »
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Margaret Thatcher still creates a lot of controversy, which in a way is the mark of an effective leader.  While she is hated in socialist circles, she is a conservative deity.

I am a great admirer of Margaret Thatcher.  She took over Britain at a time that socialism had run it into the ground.  Nationalized industries were losing money hand over fist, and unions were preventing the creation of an advances or efficiencies that would allow the hemhorraging of money to stop.

Margaret Thatcher saved the British economy, and converted Britain from the sick man of Europe to one of the strongest economies there today.  It is a testament to her economic policies that her opponents have largely adopted them.

I also think that her pursuit of the Falkland War helped hasten the end of the Cold War.  She sent a clear message to the Soviets that the west was awakening from its malaise of the 1960s and 1970s, and would stand up to aggression.  This was a very important message to send at that time, far more important than who ran those islands.

Together with Ronald Reagan, Thatcher signified the revitalization of the west, after a decade of malaise, decline and defensiveness.
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« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2003, 05:38:06 am »
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Margaret Thatcher still creates a lot of controversy, which in a way is the mark of an effective leader.  While she is hated in socialist circles, she is a conservative deity.

You lot in a coma then?

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Margaret Thatcher saved the British economy, and converted Britain from the sick man of Europe to one of the strongest economies there today.  It is a testament to her economic policies that her opponents have largely adopted them.

At the risk of repeating myself...
Thatcher's economic policies resulted in 3 million unemployed(it's about 900,000 at the moment. Go figure) and the worst recession since the '30's.
Her attempt to replace Keynesian economics with Monetarism failed miserably.
She did NOT leave Britain a stronger economy AT ALL. Just look at a few statistical yearbooks and adjust for wasted oil money.
Labour have not adopted Thatcherite economics. They are orthodox Kenyesians.

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I also think that her pursuit of the Falkland War helped hasten the end of the Cold War.  She sent a clear message to the Soviets that the west was awakening from its malaise of the 1960s and 1970s, and would stand up to aggression.  This was a very important message to send at that time, far more important than who ran those islands.

Wilson, Heath and Callaghan all stood up against the U.S.S.R. It was something all British P.M's had done from the beginning of the Cold War to it's end.

Re. the Falklands War see my remark about the patrol boat.

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Together with Ronald Reagan, Thatcher signified the revitalization of the west, after a decade of malaise, decline and defensiveness.

If shattered cities, depressed mining and steel producing regions, 3 million unemployed, a raft of bigoted legislation, economic stupidity etc. can be classed as "revitalization"...
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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2003, 11:33:50 am »
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Margaret Thatcher's dogmatic commitment to the free market prevented her from seeing the forest for the trees. When she was going about controlling inflation by controlling income taxes and the money supply, she failed to notice that the British economy was suffering under a tripled unemployment rate, at its peak 14%. Similar figures were to be seen during the poll tax imbroglio. When she privatized British Steel, she had her ruthless aims of turning a profit in mind rather than the fact that British Steel had served its nation's people before her extreme Monetarism. Actions such as that made her the most unpopular PM since polls were taken early in her term. Such extreme incompetency would indicate that both Michael Foot and the leaders of the Alliance would be better choices for leading the nation, as would Neil Kinnock, Jim Callaghan, or anyone else you could think of in the Labour, Social Democratic, or Liberal parties.
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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2003, 01:45:35 pm »
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Except for Militant who were basically her mirror-image.
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Richard Hoggart 1918-2014
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« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2003, 05:05:28 am »
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The Poll Tax was despicable. Let us not forget who introduced it however! Micheal Howard! Some good things did come out of the 1980's, the unions for example definately needed sorting out. In the 70's it got to the stage where they would demand a walk out just because the coffee machine was broken. It was completely ridiculous. Overall however, I would say her contribution to British society has been negative. Had I been old enough in 1983 I would have definately voted for Micheal Foot, even if he did attend a funeral in a duffel coat!
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« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2003, 10:38:26 am »
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Some restrictions on the Unions were nessessary... but she went too far with the GCHQ ban(now reversed).

What should have been done was making ADR easier for the Unions to use.

And it's not just Hecht who has form for despicible Acts... Liam Fox helped to filibuster a private member bill on disabled peoples rights.
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Richard Hoggart 1918-2014
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« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2003, 12:09:14 pm »
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...and people say having a woman as a President would solve all our problems.  SHEESH!!

I must say, I went into this discussion not knowing much about Thatcher, for one I wasn't very interested at the time, when she was PM, in politics.  It's nice seeing a good ol' debate over this.  So far, I'm leaning more toward Pete, however that little slash on GW wasn't nice. Wink
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« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2003, 05:43:13 pm »
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As Tory leader she delivered Tory majorities.  That was her job, and she did it well.

Was she nice?  Probably not all the time.  But as someone famously once said, if you want a friend and you're in politics, buy a dog.

She's a legend.
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« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2003, 04:21:06 am »
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She's evil.
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Richard Hoggart 1918-2014
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« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2003, 06:08:08 am »
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I would second that!
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