Thatcher - Britain's most-hated prime minister

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Margaret Thatcher, who the Morning Star describes as the most hated British prime minister of the 20th century, died yesterday.

Victims of her attacks in the 1980's against workers and their allies showed little sorrow. Celebrations actually happened in communities across the UK.

The strongest satisfaction upon hearing the news of her death took place in former mining and industrial towns ravaged by the policies of her Conservative Party (the Tories).

In 1984 there were 170 working coal mines in Britain employing more than 170,000 people when Thatcher drew up a "hit list" of mines it would close. The ensuing strike against job losses pitted the striking miners and their union, the National Union of Mineworkers, against the Thatcher government and its police. Chris Kitchen, general secretary of the NUM, told BBC yesterday that, "unfortunately, for the vindictive acts she did to the mining community, I'll not be shedding a tear at her demise."

Thatcher sent 5,000 police in to attack the 10,000 striking miners with scores of injuries resulting. "She used miners as a political springboard. She knew what she was doing and it was a horrible way to do it," Daren Vaines, a former miner, told the BBC. In coal country Thatcher is remembered as the person who took nationalized publicly controlled industries and sold them off to private bidders, tossing workers out onto the scrap heap. She branded the striking miners "the enemy within."

No wonder the bar parties last night in Yorkshire, North Derbyshire, Durham, Northumberland, Scotland, south Wales, Kent, Lancashire and Nottinghamshire!

The ex-miners in Yorkshire began celebrations early.

One of them said: "We meet in the club every Monday afternoon. We'd been putting a bit of money by for when she popped her clogs.

"One of the lads waked in, told us she was dead and tipped the money out onto the table."

Among the Yorkshire celebrants last night was Mick Appleyard, a former miner and union official. "She killed my village," he said. "Sharlston [in West Yorkshire] is now a low-wage, menial wage economy, for those who are lucky enough to find jobs. Our young people are on the streets. There's nothing for them. They turn to drugs and drink because there is nothing else."

Thatcher didn't limit her attacks on workers to ordering police to smash the heads of miners. Showing contempt for all of Britain's poor and for immigrants in particular she pushed hard for institution of a national poll tax. The fewer voters the better, she thought, in a chilling preview of the voter restriction efforts of her GOP admirers here in the U.S. decades later. The ensuing riots against the poll tax, replete with images of cars burning in London's Trafalgar Square, were watched live in the homes of millions around the world.

Then there were the U.S. Cruise Missiles pushed by the Reagan Administration that she so willingly stationed in Britain and the infamous headline - GOTCHA - in the Sun. The headline referred to the torpedoing of the Argentine cruiser Belgrano. The boat, filled with a crew of Argentine boys, was sunk while in full retreat from the Falkland Islands. The boys were dead and Thatcher gave the thumbs-up signal to the British press.

The singer Morrisey, the former Smiths front man, tore into Thatcher's legacy in an open letter. "Every move she made was charged by negativity." Morrisey said. Thatcher was "barbaric" and a "terror without an atom of humanity," he added.

Morrisey writes: "She destroyed the British manufacturing industry, she hated the miners, she hated the arts, she hated the Irish freedom fighters and allowed them to die (Ten Irish freedom fighters on a hunger strike starved in the infamous Maze prison during her tenure), she hated the English poor, she hated environmental protectionists, and she was the only European leader who opposed a ban on the ivory trade."

Perhaps the worst thing about her death, many progressives around the world feel, is that her policies haven't died with her.

The austerity policies she put forward are being applied in Britain and Europe today and they are being pushed in the U.S. too. Ten million more are unemployed in Europe today than at the beginning of the current economic crisis, due to these austerity policies.

Just days before Thatcher's death in Britain, members of Parliament made deep cuts in welfare programs and tax cuts were approved for the United Kingdom's wealthy.

The flood of positive media stories about her now that she is dead follow major efforts to make her look good that were already underway over the last several years. Maria Margaronis writes in the Nation how the Meryl Streep movie, "Iron Lady" and how recently released Falkland War archives that show Thatcher in tears at the prospect of the death of British boys were attempts to make her look more "human" and therefore make her policies more acceptable.

The major media, its corporate backers and many governments are heaping praise on the now dead "Iron Lady." She is being adored as a near-saint who made millions realize that it was capitalism, not unions and socialism, that is the way forward.

Millions of workers and their allies around the world, however, know better. Her demise is not a cause for their concern any more than it is for the people in the bars in Yorkshire. What they are concerned about is ensuring that Thatcherite policies go the way of the "Iron Lady" herself.

Photo: Police clash with striking miners picketing outside Britain's National Coal Board's area headquarters at Doncaster in South Yorkshire, March 27, 1984, as the strikers stepped up their efforts to bring working pits to a standstill. (AP Photo)

 

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  • Watched a TV program the other day and it showed Liverpool where in areas there are empty housesrotting away,for sale at £1. The comentator said this happened about 30 years ago in the Thatcher era.Without a sgahow of doubt she destroyed Liverpool and practically the whole of the UK. Another grim reminder of what she did. The Tories feel proud of her so does Cameron? Then god help the UK and all of us here.

    Posted by Laurence Sacco, 09/18/2013 1:20am (1 year ago)

  • Just put her down to the devil himself she proved she had the same qualities and destroyed millions of hard working families and businesses. She was a highly egotistical b---- and listened to no one even her own party. If they spoke against her she sacked them.The pole tax, highest interest rates on record massive inflation, riots, homes repossessed, suicides through debt, mass unemployment, mass resentment of those who came out smiling ( her capitalists) tried to wipe out Liverpool, threw miners out of work and other industries gave no hope to all, spitting her own party with disgust and hatred of her. Even then they they were so embarrassed at her, they threw her out.
    Some would strongly disagree with this but then they were the lucky ones who got though hell with her, the rest of the hard working people in the UK went down.

    It is the high profile civil servants who actually run the country which ever party is in power and they get the Prime Ministers to their dirty work Well she was certainly was very pleased to do it and expected some sort of stardom for it. Well she got her just rewards, dying alone in some very upmarket hotel at probably tax payers expense a hotel which many will now never want to visit. Even her children were not with her at the last.

    Posted by Laurence Sacco, 09/13/2013 1:28am (1 year ago)

  • No she is not dead. She lives in every one of the Tory party in my opinion. They think she was great but the truth is they are hiding their great disgust at what she did.

    She was not evil she was the devil himself.

    Highest interest rates on record, destroyed the miners lives, bankruptcies, homeowners left in the streets, moral at its lowest even her own ministers shut their mouths or were removed.

    She spend her last days in the Ritz probably at tax payers expense. After all she was a well groomed puppet doing the higher civil servants who run this country dirty work and enjoyed it the bitch

    I and millions have no regrets at her death but she is still alive in theory in every conservative. They look in the mirror and see a reflection of her.

    Posted by Laurence Sacco, 08/25/2013 5:33am (1 year ago)

  • From what I have read it seems that her cuts were to save the country from bankruptcy. I don't see how that is a bad thing. privatizing the coal industry seems like a smart idea honestly, If the company cannot support itself then there are some serious issues afoot. take the USPS, it is losing tons of money but since it is part of the gov it continues on. I say cut it loose and if it fails it fails. UPS and FEDEX do just fine on their own and they are private companies.

    Posted by Murica, 05/07/2013 4:14pm (1 year ago)

  • Thatcher was in my opinion a wicked lady who drove herself to destroy the miners, the steel industry and in fact even her own voters with the highest interest rates on record caused by her boom to bust years.There were thousands of decent members of the public had their home taken away because they could not pay their mortgages for being unemployed. Thousands of companies and individuals going bankcrupt and suicicides through her polocies. She even sacked MP's who did not agree with her. Still in the end her own part through her out.

    She deserved a bad send send off she cared about no one just herself.

    Just remember she may be dead but has been reincarnated in the likes of Cameron in my opinion who thought she was wonderfull but he was a boy in short trousers when she was around and did not have to live through hell. He in millions of opinions is covering up her wicked polices for the sake of the Tories credibility.

    Posted by Laurence Sacco, 04/19/2013 1:35am (2 years ago)

  • Ding, dong
    the witch is dead
    which old witch
    the wicked old witch
    Ding, dong
    the wicked old witch is dead!

    And I'll drink to that!

    Posted by John Whiskey, 04/09/2013 11:34pm (2 years ago)

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