dead. With the exception of Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher was the only modern era British politician whose mere mention by name could divide opinions so strongly.
As I write this I am close to the centre of Manchester. The big match (United v City) is on and I am looking down at some students letting off fireworks and celebrating the passing of Mrs T.
I will not be celebrating the death of Mrs Thatcher as these students are, none of which will remember her as PM, nor will be I be mourning her passing as my opinions on this controversial Prime-minister are divided.
We should be grateful to Mrs Thatcher for her determination and inspirational leadership during the Falklands conflict. Had the Labour Party been in power in 1982 we would have lost the islands for ever as Michael Foot would never have gone to war to liberate the Falklands. Mrs Thatcher was also a credit to Britain on the world stage. She and Ronald Reagan made an impressive double act and both played a key role in helping bring about the end of the Cold War.
Thatchers defeat of the hard left trade unions was something I admired her for at the time. Not because I am an opponent of trade unions, trade unions have been a force for good in times gone by and still could be with a leadership who put British workers rights ahead of their Internationalist agenda, they were a crucial factor in bringing about reforms which helped save millions of workers from exploitation and poverty. However by the 1970's the unions had been totally infiltrated by Marxist agitators (as most still are today) and when the Thatcher government of the 1980's broke the power of the unions many people celebrated.
On the downside the Thatcher years witnessed the decimation of traditional industries. She was an enthusiastic proponent of free trade and globalisation. Whereas other countries subsidised industries to ensure their long term survival the ethos of Thatcherism was survival of the fittest and few if any subsidies. This policy meant vast swathes of our manufacturing base disappeared. Thatcher shifted Britain away from being a traditional manufacturing based economy into an economy reliant on banking the service sector. Had it not been for the lottery win of the century courtesy of the natural resources of the North Sea the Thatcher years would brought about total economic ruination.
Another aspect of the Thatcher years which I truly resented was the selling off of our 'family silver' via privatisation. Everything from gas, electricity, water to railways was fair game as far as the Conservatives at that time were concerned. We, the little people were given sweeteners and encouraged to buy a couple of hundreds of pounds worth of shares during in the sell off of our national assets in return for a quick buck when we sold them on. The real winners were the monied classes who made unimaginable millions during this time. We are still feeling the pain of this policy today as we all suffer extortionately high bills as a result of the 'for profit' nature of the multinational conglomerates who own our utility companies.
This is only a very brief insight into my thoughts on Margaret Thatcher and her legacy. The subject is worthy of far greater study but unfortunately time is against me so I will conclude by asking if any TC readers have strong opinions regarding Margaret Thatcher? If so, please keep it decent and respectful.