I jumped for joy on November 28,1990 when Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher got evicted….
I can still recall on November 28, 1990 walking into a café in Cornwall in the west of England and picking up a newspaper with the headline that Margaret Thatcher had resigned as Prime Minister.
I leapt into the air with both arms raised. It was a spontaneous response. “She’s gone. At last, she’s gone,” I shouted.
Yesterday, Baroness Thatcher died aged 87 in London’s lushest hotel, the Ritz Hotel, where she had lived for the past few months – a fitting symbol of the gap between rich and poor in contemporary Britain.
After 11 years as the PM, the sharp, cutting, self assured mind of Baroness Margaret Thatcher gradually deteriorated until she became barely recognisable, a forlorn figure with all semblance gone of the control that she exercised over her Ministers, her party and over the country while in office.
One’s heart reaches to her and her family and friends as they witnessed her spending the last year’s of her life suffering with dementia unable to connect with others or remember basic necessities. Her daughter, Carol Thatcher, reported such painful details in her book though government and media hid the information as much as possible from the public.
Yesterday, I watched BBC television news parade the powerful and rich who proclaimed how she transformed British life and changed the world. A handful of politicians and public figures engaged in muted criticism of her policies that brought so much anguish and despair to workers and unemployed.
If the television, radio and written media reflected public opinion then only 50% of the commentaries on Thatcherism would support her policies and 30% would either condemn or criticise while the rest showed ambivalence about what the Thatcher era inflicted on Britain. BBC did not go to the extreme of a North Korean eulogy of a passing of their leader but the sheer number of plaudits gave the feeling of a propaganda machine rather than reporting in a balanced way the views of all the population.
Some of us remember Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s policies such as:
Her determination to preserve nuclear weapons even as other countries negotiated against them.
Her unwavering support for the policies of President Ronald Reagan to serve US war mongering interests above all else.
Her waging of war on Argentian armed forces over the Malvinas/Falklands Islands while the UN negotiations were taking place, and the sinking of the Belgrano battleship as it headed away from the battle zone.
Her right wing ideology of the so-called Free Market which generated the greatest wealth gap between rich and poor in a century in Britain.
Her support for the South African government and her references to NelsonMandela and ANC as terrorists.
Her belligerent and arrogant attitude to the European Union.
Her claim that there no such thing as society – only individuals and indiviudal families.
The mounted and armed police assaults on the miners that led to the destruction of the mining communities.
She slashed public expenditure, cut taxes for the rich while unemployment increased to three million and all the hardship that went with it. Top rate of income tax went from 83% to 40%.
She brought in legislation to destroy unions rather shift to the Scandanavian/German model of unions.
Through privatisation, she handed power over to the banks and corporate sector while allowing the collapse of much of UK’s industry. Politicians told us ad nauseum that there was no alternative. The Labour Party failed the poor and the unemployed in and out of office as they failed to change any Thatcherite policies.
While recognising the benefit of council house occupants having the opportunity to buy their house, she allowed massive unemployment with countless numbers losing their homes.
Like a mediaeval monarch, she tried to force through Parliament the Poll Tax where everybody paid a fixed amount of tax for their home rather than based on the value of the property. It meant the poor would pay to support the rich property owners. It was the final straw. Her own party got rid of her. She lost her job and got evicted from the Prime Minister’s residence. Rough justice.
In recent years, she faded from public view. A stroke ended her life yesterday. RIP (Rest in Peace).
May Thatcherism come to an end.
May all beings live with wisdom and compassion