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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

goodbye to all that? « Previous | |Next »
April 10, 2013

Thatcher is being reinvented by the conservative movement as the woman who saved Britain from the left , and a conviction politician who was a leader above politics. They are rewriting history in terms of them being the winners.

RoweDThatcher.jpg David Rowe

Winners because the power of the trade union bosses was broken; sold public housing to the tenants who occupied it; denationalized industries and utilities; established the primacy of the deregulated market and the ethos of individualism. This, the narrative goes, reversed Britain's long-term economic decline by restoring the power of capital and shifting the structure of the economy away from manufacturing --de-industrialisation---towards financial capital.

It's a narrative hard to maintain after the global financial crisis, the market inequality and the economic depression in the UK--the dominance of finance in the economy and the failure of bank regulation flowed from Thatcher's belief that markets should always be left to themselves. This was a capitalism of self-regulating markets, a strong but minimal central state that backed their rule and an antagonism to democracy.

The narrative is being reworked by current conservatives who are using the economic crisis as a chance to reshape everything--especially rolling back the welfare state. Like Thatcher they assume no responsibility to minimise social disruption or to create new jobs and industries.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:22 PM | | Comments (5)


When I lived in the UK in the winter of 1976/77 there were no homeless people living in central London.

The horrifying stories of homeless people in London post Thatcher's election make the place sound Dickensian. I have not returned.

Jacqueline Rose in The Guardian comments that:

In the teeth of unemployment and recession, she knew all about uniting the nation by means of war. She knew – it was one of her assets – how to excite her people through fear. She rejoiced – her word – in military victory, as if, like Shakespeare's Coriolanus, she were only too aware that violent patriotism was the best way of making an unjust ruler secure.

This funeral will not just accord her a display of respect, which many of us passionately believe she does not deserve; it will repeat the pomp and circumstance, the parade of military prowess, that habitually serves to gloss over the ugly side of state power, the human cost of war.

Gary, the long essay by Michael Hudson featured on Alternet is worth a read - its puts everything into perspective. Margaret Thatcher Was a Privatization Pioneer.

How many years did Blair's New Labor have to reform anything they didn't agree with?