Saturday, 13 June 2009

10 crimes of Thatcher (and, yes, I do know she’s broken her arm)

I have refused to join my Facebook friends in the Facebook group ‘Street party when Thatcher dies’. I don’t see any death as a cause for celebration, especially as I get closer to my own! In any case, I feel that Margaret Thatcher’s advancing dementia rather cheats them of any pleasure they could feel at her demise. Margaret Thatcher today is not the Margaret Thatcher we all knew and hated.

I realise that Margaret Thatcher is a sensitive topic in Barnet, but when all, in this 30th anniversary of her government’s beginning, are eulogising her contribution to society (ha!), I have to remind myself and my readers of all the harm she has done.

Here is my top 10 crimes of Thatcher. If I have missed any, or if you would like to argue why some of these things are actually good, please leave a comment. Likewise, if you would just like to castigate me as heartless and insensitive. I will write more about each crime of Thatcher in blogposts over the next few days, making a start today with no.1. But, first, here is the list:
1. Propping up apartheid
2. 16- and 17-year-olds denied benefits
3. Warmongering
4. Anti-union laws
5. Poll tax
6. Mass unemployment
7. Privatisation
8. Section 28
9. Deregulation
10. Tony Blair
1. Propping up apartheid

Thatcher supported US President Ronald Reagan’s policy of ‘constructive engagement’ with the racist South African regime under apartheid. The kindest interpretation of this is that Reagan and Thatcher did not believe that opponents of apartheid could bring it down, or replace it with something better - this was the period of the Second Cold War, and they feared a Communist takeover in South Africa. The harshest interpretation is that they were soft on apartheid. They branded the majority political representative of South Africans, the African National Congress (ANC), a terrorist organisation; and vetoed United Nations sanctions against the apartheid regime. Either way, they gave comfort to the apartheid rulers and read the political situation very wrong. In 2006, during a visit to Nelson Mandela in South Africa, David Cameron disowned his Party’s former leader’s stance on apartheid.

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