Let’s remember Maggie for what she really was… a tragic failure
PUBLISHED: 02:06, 14 April 2013 | UPDATED: 02:06, 14 April 2013
I suspect that Margaret Thatcher would not have much minded the wave of spiteful, immature loathing unleashed among foolish, ill-mannered people by her death.
She knew perfectly well that nothing can be achieved in politics without making enemies, though it is important to make the right ones.
I am not myself a worshipper at the Thatcher Shrine, but anyone who can make foes of Michael Heseltine, the Soviet Communist Party, Arthur Scargill, Left-wing teachers by the thousand, The Guardian newspaper, the Church of England, Jacques Delors, the BBC, Salman Rushdie and Glenda Jackson simply cannot be all bad.
The only thing that would have annoyed her would have been the lazy ignorance of most of her critics (and quite a few of her admirers too). They have not done their homework, as she always did.
They loathe her because of her voice, her old-fashioned manners and style of dress, her hair. They loathe her because she looked as if she lived in a neat, well-tended suburb. They feared her as bad, idle schoolchildren fear a strict teacher.
Many of them, half-educated Marxoid doctrinaires, scorn her out of a pseudo-intellectual snobbery that is the curse of our school system. They think they are cleverer than they are. Few of them know anything about her or her government.
Alas, if they did, the spittle-flecked Left would probably dislike her a good deal less than they do. For her 11 years in office were a tragic failure, if you are a patriotic conservative. She was an active liberal in economic policy, refusing to protect jobs and industries that held communities together.
Was privatisation so wonderful? Personally, I think British Telecom is just as bad – in a different way – as the old Post Office Telephones. The privatisation of electricity, and the resulting dissipation of our nuclear skills, is one of the reasons we will soon be having power cuts. The hurried and mistaken closure of the coal mines is another. Lady Thatcher’s early embrace of Green dogma (repudiated too late) is another.
And this country still has the biggest nationalised industry in the world, the great, over-rated NHS. It also has huge armies of public-sector workers in quangos and town halls – only these days they are condom outreach workers or climate change awareness officers.
At least the old nationalised industries actually dug coal, forged steel and built ships. And at least the old industries provided proper jobs for men, and allowed them to support their families. Young mothers didn’t need to go out to work.
Income tax has certainly fallen. But indirect tax is a cruel burden, and energy costs are oppressive. The ‘Loony Left’ ideas she tried clumsily to fight in local government have now become the enthusiastically held policies of the Tory Party.
As for council house sales, that policy was in the end a huge tax-funded subsidy to the private housing industry, a vast release of money into the housing market that pushed prices up permanently and – once again – broke up settled communities. What’s conservative about that? And why, come to that, didn’t she reward the brave Nottingham and Derby miners, who defied Arthur Scargill, by saving their pits?
She was a passive, defeatist liberal when it came to education, morality and the family. In 11 years she – who owed everything to a grammar education – didn’t reopen a single one of the grammar schools she had allowed to be closed as Ted Heath’s Education Secretary.
She did nothing significant to reverse or slow the advance of the permissive society – especially the State attack on marriage through absurdly easy divorce, and the deliberate subsidies to fatherless households.
She loaded paperwork on to the police, and brought the curse of ambulance-chasing lawyers (and so ‘health and safety’) to this country. She introduced the catastrophic GCSE exam into schools.
In foreign policy, she made a lot of noise, but did little good. It was her diplomacy, and her determination to slash the Royal Navy, that made the Argentinians think they could grab the Falklands. True, she won them back, or rather the fighting services did. But they should never have been lost in the first place.
Brave as she was at Brighton, she still began the surrender to the IRA that was completed by Anthony Blair. It was all very well standing firm against the Soviet menace, safely contained behind the Iron Curtain by American tanks and nuclear missiles. It was another thing fighting off the incessant threats to our liberty and independence coming from the EU.
SHE realised, a few months before she was deposed, how great the European danger was. That, I think, was why she was overthrown by the ‘Conservative’ Party. But for most of her time in office she allowed the EU to seize more and more power over this country and its laws. Had she been as great as she is held to be, we would not be in the terrible mess we are now in, deindustrialised, drugged en masse by dope and antidepressants, demoralised, de-Christianised, bankrupted by deregulated spivs, our criminal justice system an even bigger joke than our State schools and 80 per cent of our laws made abroad.
I really could not have said it better myself……..