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The Iron Lady has rusted away
April 8, 2013 5:10 AM   Subscribe

Margaret Thatcher has died following a stroke her spokesman Lord Bell has said. Details are still coming out but the Iron Lady of British politics was and is a divisive figure even today. She will probably be best remembered for her role in the coal miner's strikes and the Falklands War. Her life in pictures is already online. The obituaries have been written for some time.
posted by Mezentian (1501 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite

 
We'll laugh the day that Thatcher dies.

But you know what this means? Chumbawamba's final release will be out soon.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:11 AM on April 8, 2013 [25 favorites]


I celebrate no man or woman's death. But I will not mourn this one.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:12 AM on April 8, 2013 [87 favorites]


In Mr. Costello's words.
posted by rolo at 5:12 AM on April 8, 2013 [15 favorites]


My husband is going to see Tony Benn at the Nottingham Playhouse tonight.

Man, that is going to be some party.
posted by Katemonkey at 5:12 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Man, 2 comments and I've already been beaten to Hefner?
posted by anagrama at 5:13 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I agreed with none of her politics but she was a great woman and I'm sad to hear of her passing.
.
posted by double block and bleed at 5:13 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


The Iron Lady has now rusted.

Vale. And good riddance.
posted by taff at 5:13 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Woop woop. No dot, and absolutely no regrets about feeling like that.
posted by jaduncan at 5:14 AM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]




Thatcher: so loathed not a single . was given that day

(Well, for her politics, anyway)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:14 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


As was predicted in the previous Metafilter thread there are parties breaking out across the UK, including one in Glasgow's George Square.

Some random bits:
Not Sensibles - I'm in Love With Margaret Thatcher

I'm waiting for Mark Steel's take, personally. He, like many, hated Thatcher.
posted by Mezentian at 5:14 AM on April 8, 2013




Does one take a bus to the pearly gates?
posted by molecicco at 5:15 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


She lived long enough to note the failure of austerity and a post-Kenysian model, but I doubt she was aware of it.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:15 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm going to go with Frankie Boyle's words on this.


I remember the 80s in Scotland; she should be launched into the sun so that her corpse isn't violated.
posted by NiteMayr at 5:15 AM on April 8, 2013 [15 favorites]


Damn. All these music references make me wish I had titled this post:
Only The Good Die Young. Thatcher Dead at 87.
posted by Mezentian at 5:15 AM on April 8, 2013 [57 favorites]


She is someone where, if I thought it would do any good, I'd be dancing and singing that she is dead. All I can think is that she lived a long, rich, easy, honored life - with a comparatively flattering propaganda movie about her just recently - off of destroying so many people's lives. Just a monster, right up there with Reagan and Kissinger. If she'd died in, say, 1983 I'd have shouted it from the house tops but what's the point now?
posted by Frowner at 5:16 AM on April 8, 2013 [19 favorites]


.
posted by davidmsc at 5:17 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


She rode in on a strike and out on a stroke.
posted by pracowity at 5:17 AM on April 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


Mezentian: "As was predicted in the previous Metafilter thread there are parties breaking out across the UK, including one in Glasgow's George Square."

I'd imagine the handwringing Tory reaction to that, plus the recent revelations about its funding, will be the nail in the coffin for the Better Together campaign.

Ugh, someone's going to say 'state funeral' soon, I can feel it.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:19 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm going to have a small bottle of milk.
posted by hawthorne at 5:19 AM on April 8, 2013 [55 favorites]


.
posted by jquinby at 5:20 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hope no one celebrates your death the way you are celebrating hers.
posted by double block and bleed at 5:20 AM on April 8, 2013 [26 favorites]


She may be physically gone but Thatcherism is the political landscape now in Britain, in every speech and every reform, a toxic, radioactive legacy that will probably never go away.
posted by brilliantmistake at 5:20 AM on April 8, 2013 [36 favorites]


Yeah, Thatcher's dead, but her monstrous ideology lives on with all three main parties, as can be seen by the sickening way in which Labour just this weekend has attempted to knive the unemployed in the back.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:20 AM on April 8, 2013 [42 favorites]


Double Block, I home no one impoverishes your nation and destroys it's institutions like she did. She really hated the people
posted by NiteMayr at 5:21 AM on April 8, 2013 [42 favorites]


[Guys, please don't be as awful as possible here? There is more to say than "I'm glad" or "the witch is dead," etc., and we don't need 10,000 cheap snarks.]
posted by taz at 5:21 AM on April 8, 2013 [21 favorites]


I hope no one celebrates your death the way you are celebrating hers.

I hope I never destroy the infrastructure and social fabric of a country.
posted by Acheman at 5:22 AM on April 8, 2013 [212 favorites]


Thatcher Fucked The Kids

I heard about her death during the panel show Q & A, which is running an all-female panel. Tweets from audience members called her a 'feminist icon' and 'The Iron Lady'. It was a bit odd, since the audience is usually pretty left-wing.

I think for people of my generation she's either a random Distinguished Older Figure or someone Alan Moore and Elvis Costello hated. Is there a good primer for what she did?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:22 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Dear Scotland,

So we all have heard the news. I'm sure that the queue to perform certain acts upon Mrs. Thatcher's grave is already quite long, and I would not want to advocate any unfairness. However, circumstances being what they are, I hope you will agree that Mr. Banks ought to be moved near the front of the queue.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:23 AM on April 8, 2013 [90 favorites]


Yeah. I'm not taking too much joy in her death, probably because she never affected me directly, but so many people I know are heading out to dance on her grave it's... well .... it's almost intoxicating.

I'm seeing a level of hate for her I rarely see for Western leaders. Even Bush Jr.
posted by Mezentian at 5:23 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hope no one celebrates your death the way you are celebrating hers.

Oh, we don't celebrate her death; we mourn her life. So much better had her obituary read: "pionering female food chemist, inventor of the soft scoop ice cream dies".
posted by MartinWisse at 5:23 AM on April 8, 2013 [93 favorites]


Now, about that state funeral and austerity cuts...
posted by popcassady at 5:24 AM on April 8, 2013 [15 favorites]


I celebrate no man or woman's death. But I will not mourn this one.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:12 PM on April 8


By Christ, I do. There'll be some celebrating chez Decani this week, and no mistake.
posted by Decani at 5:24 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


What Twitter (and probably every other social media site on the Internet) will look like when Thatcher dies.

Taking a glance at this thread and my feeds, yeah, it's pretty accurate.
posted by fight or flight at 5:24 AM on April 8, 2013 [22 favorites]


Ivan Lewis @IvanLewis_MP

Hoping all Labour supporters will respond with dignity + respect to news of Baroness Thatcher's death. Our thoughts with her family+ friends
posted by ambient2 at 5:25 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now, about that state funeral and austerity cuts... Hand out shovels in Govan and watch that hole hit the center of the earth in no time.
posted by NiteMayr at 5:25 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm seeing a level of hate for her I rarely see for Western leaders

Not since Reagan died, anyway.
posted by jquinby at 5:25 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Guys, please don't be as awful as possible here?

Some of us are British. Some of us had families destroyed by the destruction of the industrial north. Some of us are even Scottish and recall the imposition of the poll tax over the absolute opposition of the Labour-voting Scots. It's personal.
posted by jaduncan at 5:25 AM on April 8, 2013 [210 favorites]


.

But with a *, in recognition of her role, with Reagan, in bringing neoliberalism to the Anglo-American world, and its destructive impact that is with us to this day.
posted by Cash4Lead at 5:25 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tweets from audience members called her a 'feminist icon' and 'The Iron Lady'.

Yeah, that's because a lot of mainstream feminists seems to have confused "getting in leadership positions no matter their policies" with actual feminism. Thatcher of course was far from feminist.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:26 AM on April 8, 2013 [44 favorites]


Now, about that state funeral and austerity cuts...

I'm sure to preserve her legacy, the funeral will be contracted out to the lowest bidder.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 5:26 AM on April 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


I wish she and Reagan were both still alive and that their policies had died instead.
posted by DU at 5:26 AM on April 8, 2013 [71 favorites]


No matter how much I hate the MeFi habit of flooding threads with full stops, and no matter how much I think Thatcher buggered up this country, I'm depressed and sickened when Mefites celebrate the death of anyone.
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 5:27 AM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


Independent has published its obit

And reminds us of Thatcherism today. Can you live on $83 per week? (UKP51).
posted by Mezentian at 5:28 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here's hoping she's remebered along with her true equals and friends like Augusto Pinochet.
posted by Len at 5:28 AM on April 8, 2013 [25 favorites]


Please stop the moralizing and let people be. Their reactions are as legitimate as any. She died a natural death at almost 90 so it's not like the bad vibes got her.
posted by Tarumba at 5:29 AM on April 8, 2013 [58 favorites]


R.I.P., Iron Lady.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:29 AM on April 8, 2013


Probably over-exerted herself trying to do a jig to celebrate the new welfare reforms. Good riddance.
posted by Jakey at 5:30 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if one voice was suddenly silenced and millions of voices cried out in joy. I fear something awesome has happened.
posted by fullerine at 5:30 AM on April 8, 2013 [28 favorites]


With respect to Scottish feelings on Ms. Thatcher, I saw a British show where the possibility of a state funeral for Ms. Thatcher was being discussed and the following comment was made by Frankie Boyle:

“For 3 million you could give everyone in Scotland a shovel, and we could dig a hole so deep we could hand her over to Satan in person”

I can't think of too many public figures who have created such a unified loyal opposition.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 5:31 AM on April 8, 2013 [110 favorites]


Probably over-exerted herself trying to do a jig to celebrate the new welfare reforms.

It's odd, ATOS had only recently declared her fit to return to the Lords front bench.
posted by jaduncan at 5:31 AM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Is this where I link to an Elvis Costello song?

Good riddance, gotta say.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:32 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]




inventor of the soft scoop ice cream

Even that was a ploy to fill ice cream with air so that less of it could be sold for the same price. And she was no friend to feminists of any colour.

She began as she went on: a bitter, parsimonious and cruel woman. She gets no period from me.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 5:32 AM on April 8, 2013 [19 favorites]


She presided over the systematic and deliberate destruction of communities, the death of British industry, and the culture of greed that has turned Britain into the mean-spirited country it is today, and we're the ones being awful? Please.

My home town went from comfortable to a drug-addled ghost town in the 10 years she was Prime Minister, and she treated my country like a testing ground. Under the circumstances, we're being extremely reasonable.
posted by daveje at 5:33 AM on April 8, 2013 [61 favorites]


Mark Steel has tweeted:
What a terrible shame - that it wasn't 87 years earlier
As Davina would say, "Let's have a look at your best bits." To start with "No sanctions - Nelson Mandela is a terrorist."


And this one made me laugh when it shouldn't've:
Shame, just when she'd been found fit for work too.
posted by Mezentian at 5:33 AM on April 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


I've been waiting so long to post this. Finally, that day has arrived.

Pete Wylie's The day that Margaret Thatcher dies (NSFW)
posted by Mister Bijou at 5:33 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Some of us are British. Some of us had families destroyed by the destruction of the industrial north. Some of us are even Scottish and recall the imposition of the poll tax over the absolute opposition of the Labour-voting Scots. It's personal.

I think it's absolutely fine to point all of those things out. But a one line, "Ding! Dong! The witch is dead" adds nothing to the conversation about her life and impact on the world.

As an American, I remember the Spitting Image puppet and the comparisons to Reagan...so there's much to learn about her.

For as reviled as she is with some people, there are others who undoubtedly voted Conservative in the 1980s and kept her in power.
posted by inturnaround at 5:33 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


So we all have heard the news. I'm sure that the queue to perform certain acts upon Mrs. Thatcher's grave is already quite long, and I would not want to advocate any unfairness. However, circumstances being what they are, I hope you will agree that Mr. Banks ought to be moved near the front of the queue.

I hope that cemetery is well irrigated, and that everyone from position 20 back or so is issued with waders.
posted by Jilder at 5:33 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]




Is there a good primer for what she did?

For a start, there's what she did to the industrial north of England, basically condemning an entire generation to welfare, dismantling the coal mines, the shipping industry etc. She destroyed the unions, shackling the right to strike.

She waged war against anybody who wouldn't have fit in with the Tories idea of fifties Britain: people of colour, LGB (let alone trans) people, young people, lefties, the disabled.

She sold off all the best bits of the nationalised industries, BT, British Gas, etc, not to mention council housing.

She opened up the City, deregulating the stock markets, with the effects we know.

She denied the very idea of there being anything like a society and did her best to make sure there wasn't.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:35 AM on April 8, 2013 [87 favorites]


Her ideological heirs are currently leveraging the murder of children to advance their assault on the welfare state and common decency, should you need any context for where the feelings about her peacful release after a long life are coming from.
posted by Abiezer at 5:36 AM on April 8, 2013 [23 favorites]


I feel like Johann Hari has a point:
Fellow lefties! Please don't gloat. Our objection to Thatcher was her horrible lack of compassion; we shouldn't show same lack of compassion
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:36 AM on April 8, 2013 [19 favorites]


No dot from me.

I live in the shadow of Thatcherism here in Glasgow, Scotland. I see her everywhere I look. She's not dead because she's in every single atom around me: the closed shipyards, the destroyed unions, the trap of poverty, and the disenfranchished kids on the street corner.

No dot from me, at all.
posted by kariebookish at 5:36 AM on April 8, 2013 [57 favorites]


It takes a special person to inspire this kind of feeling:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=x-4FJcnX0i8
posted by cincinnatus c at 5:37 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


So, American MeFites who are feeling offput by the reaction here...imagine for a moment how the blue would be reacting if Dick Cheney had just died.
posted by dry white toast at 5:37 AM on April 8, 2013 [22 favorites]


Who takes all the glory, and none of the shame...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:37 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Her ideological heirs are currently leveraging the murder of children to advance their assault on the welfare state and common decency,

Context for the story of Shameless Mick, his wife and her lover who killed six of their dozen kids.
posted by Mezentian at 5:38 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Expected reaction is expected.

I grew up near a mining town, and that town was pretty much destroyed by the Miners strike. I don't remember it, but I remember being told about the TV rental man sitting in our kitchen crying at his destroyed livelihood. I remember orange backed donkey jackets and free coal if you knew who to talk to.

But I also remember the Conservatism that my parents displayed in the '80s. I was young and pretty sure that Thatcher was the worst thing possible, but they remembered three day weeks and the unions running rampant. My father never once blamed the loss of his job in the Steel Industry on Thatcher. He blamed Labour. He bought Green, checked his groceries fastidiously to ensure the country of origin wasn't South Africa (something that got him heckled pretty strongly), and he hated Foot and voted for Thatcher.

I'm sad about this in the same way that I'm always sad when someone I've heard of has died. I can't bring myself to mark her passing with a full stop, but it feels like something has been lost all the same.

Of course - My facebook and twitter feeds are going to be filled with idiots in their 30's and 40's celebrating. I don't really like that.
posted by zoo at 5:38 AM on April 8, 2013 [17 favorites]


Not since Reagan died, anyway.

I didn't recall half this much of an angry response to Reagan dying. Yes, there was some, but I'm honestly a little surprised at just how much vitriol is flying -- and I know lots of people in the UK, and I know just how badly Thatcher treated them.

Well, a little surprised, except for the reaction from Scotland. They were fucked so hard and repeatedly by the Thatcher/Major government that I'm not surprised at all about it.
posted by eriko at 5:38 AM on April 8, 2013


imagine for a moment how the blue would be reacting if Dick Cheney had just died.

Funny you should mention that. My exact thought, no lie, when learning of Thatcher's death was "please, Cheney next".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:39 AM on April 8, 2013 [20 favorites]


I don't know what it means that I first learned about her death on Tumblr, being old myself. Still, good for you though, being bold and headstrong and standing up for your right to be as horrid as many men before you.
posted by moody cow at 5:39 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think anyone reflecting on her political tenure, her ideology, or the results of her policies as being something they detest, or felt the repercussions of, are celebrating the death of a flesh-and-blood human. But it's a hard forest to unentangle.
posted by panaceanot at 5:39 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I feel like Johann Hari has a point:

Johann "War on Iraq supporting plagiarist" Hari hasn't gotten a point if he sat on it. He's just doing his usual scold routine for the benefit of his rightwing followers.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:40 AM on April 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


I didn’t like her; I never voted for her; her & her party’s policies hurt me and did great damage to the town where I grew up. I blame & condemn her for that, but also the 40%+ of the electorate who voted for her party in the elections she won. She deserves plenty of opprobrium but at the same time she enacted a popular will: she gave the majority what they wanted.
posted by misteraitch at 5:40 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


As an American, I remember the Spitting Image puppet and the comparisons to Reagan

Of course. The British remember more, hence our different reaction.
posted by jaduncan at 5:40 AM on April 8, 2013 [35 favorites]


Until Daryl fires a crossbow bolt into her skull, I refuse to believe she's finally gone.
posted by Wordshore at 5:41 AM on April 8, 2013 [28 favorites]


She deserves plenty of blame but at the same time she enacted a popular will: she gave the majority what they wanted.
She'd never have got in in 1979 without the SDP spilt and even in the post-Falklands landslide never took a majority of the popular vote IIRC.
posted by Abiezer at 5:43 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


imagine for a moment how the blue would be reacting if Dick Cheney had just died.

Ah. Now I get it.
posted by double bubble at 5:43 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


whoa, I have totally not been paying attention. I thought she was already dead.
posted by Sleeper at 5:44 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


she gave the majority what they wanted.

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard." - H. L. Mencken

The Economist, Blighty blog - The Lady Who Changed The World - "This is a crucial time to hang on to Margaret Thatcher’s central perception—that for countries to flourish, people need to push back against the advance of the state. What the world needs now is more Thatcherism, not less."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:45 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I didn't recall half this much of an angry response to Reagan dying. Yes, there was some, but I'm honestly a little surprised at just how much vitriol is flying -- and I know lots of people in the UK, and I know just how badly Thatcher treated them.

So I was raised in the US by a British parent. Margaret Thatcher Is Evil was high on the list of things it was important I learn. This was covered when I was maybe six and my mother read me some history of Britain. Reagan was just some guy who used to be president until I was maybe 12. I think people hated Reagan less than half as much.
posted by hoyland at 5:45 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm reading that Downing Street have confirmed that Thatcher will get a state funeral of the same status as Princess Diana and the Queen Mother.

Hmm, wonder if we'll get a day off work.
posted by fight or flight at 5:45 AM on April 8, 2013


As I'm an American, I was indeed going to stay out, but then I saw this -

But with a *, in recognition of her role, with Reagan, in bringing neoliberalism to the Anglo-American world....

....and had to simply say that if what she and Reagan were pitching really actually was neo-liberalism, I'll blow a herd of caribou in Times Square.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:46 AM on April 8, 2013 [15 favorites]


I'm going to suggest that folks maybe take advantage Metafilter chat: https://chat.metafilter.com (FAQ here: http://faq.metafilter.com/#281) for remarks that are mostly just sort of quick jokes and one-liners, and Metatalk for general fighting with each other and meta conversations about the discussion.

Nobody is saying you need to say nice things, but some substance would be good. A huge thread full of the same jokes repeated over and over isn't great.
posted by taz at 5:47 AM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: "Neoliberalism is a political philosophy whose advocates support economic liberalization, free trade and open markets, privatization, deregulation, and decreasing the size of the public sector while increasing the role of the private sector in modern society."
FPP, mine.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:48 AM on April 8, 2013 [22 favorites]


There's always a reason to be especially vile and nasty about female politicians, and there's always a good reason for doing so. For what it's worth, I thought Margaret Thatcher was inspiring: she didn't come from the right sort of family or go to the right school, but she fought her way to the top of the Conservative Party and you could see there was no figure in British politics who could hold a candle to her.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:49 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you can't make political comments in a thread about the death of a politician, what's the use? But please, let's have a bunch more "." posts. Fill it up.
posted by waitingtoderail at 5:49 AM on April 8, 2013 [24 favorites]


As an American who was alive and of sentient age when Thatcher and Reagan were doing their best to do their worst, I remember feeling somewhat ashamed for feeling lucky that I live in the U.S. at the time and not England, because at least Reagan wasn't as smart as Thatcher (though growing up convinced I was going to die in a nuclear holocaust was no picnic). Both culturally and economically, it seemed to me that she did far more damage than he did.
posted by rtha at 5:50 AM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


that if what she and Reagan were pitching really actually was neo-liberalism

"Liberal" isn't being used in the American sense here. "Liberal" meaning privatization, deregulation, etc. In Australia, for example, the right-wing party is known as the Liberal Party.
posted by spaltavian at 5:50 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Right now, Reddit and Twitter are looking way classier than Metafilter.
posted by Leon at 5:50 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Reagan died in 2004 -- before Twitter, before Facebook was an international phenomenon, before such a large percentage of the global population was online. Don't think for a moment the anger wasn't there; it just wasn't so visible as a collective response.

Also -- Reagan was more charismatic than Thatcher and, unlike the British Prime Minister, was directly elected by his constitutents. He wasn't somebody who got to be appointed leader purely on the basis of the indirect selection of local representatives (in before you say "Electoral College" -- that's not what I mean). As such, there are a lot more Americans who don't, say, carry the resentment of having elected him accidentally as the consequence of putting the local politician he preferred into office.
posted by ardgedee at 5:51 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Not since Reagan died, anyway."

I was kind of appalled to see how venerated Reagan was when he died, and since. No politician on either side of the aisle will say a freaking word against Reagan, at this point.

I was an Anglophile kid growing up in the US, so even though Thatcher never affected me personally I knew all the really cool, smart people in the UK hated her guts. They hated her so much that you just knew she was really worth hating.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:51 AM on April 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


she didn't come from the right sort of family or go to the right school, but she fought her way to the top of the Conservative Party and you could see there was no figure in British politics who could hold a candle to her.
I've heard similar sentiments before and then you look at the present Bullingdon Club dominated cabinet and wondered if she ever stopped to think that it was in fact the post-war Labourism she despised that had enabled a brief burst of social mobility she then proceeded to close back down.
posted by Abiezer at 5:51 AM on April 8, 2013 [42 favorites]


I honestly wonder how many of the people who are "going to have a party when Maggie Thatcher dies" are, in fact, going to have a party.
posted by Flunkie at 5:52 AM on April 8, 2013


Prediction: somebody is going to rue the day they authorised a nauseatingly expensive rage-magnet extravaganza right after the NHS and DLA changes came through. Rue. The. Day.
posted by Acheman at 5:52 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


The differences between Reagan and Thatcher are actually interesting. Reagan always played the genial fool, the kindly old man who'd still knife you in the back, but could be kind on a personal level even to his victims. Thatcher was much more vindictive, lacking in compassion, never kind but always in attack mode.

Furthermore, the context in which both operated differ strongly. There never was the strong consensus in the US about the cradle to grave welfare state that there was in the UK, there never was the same sort of strong union movement that needed to be broken down for Reagan to be able to achieve his goals. Granted, he did fire all the air traffic control directors, but Thatcher spent the better part of 1984 in bitter conflict with the mining unions, where you actually had families starving because they had been on strike for so long.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:53 AM on April 8, 2013 [15 favorites]


Thatcher and I are no where near each other on the political spectrum, but I'm too young and too American to really feel something about her. A solid nod to shattering some glass, though.
posted by asciident at 5:53 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


When God closes a door, he opens a window. When he takes away Roger Ebert, he also takes away Margaret Thatcher.

On the other hand, Ebert was like a tree that could have kept bearing fruit. Thatcher was more like a 500-lb bomb that went off thirty years ago. Doesn't much matter if you sweep up the debris now and throw it away. It did its damage thirty years ago and hadn't had anything to offer since.
posted by Naberius at 5:54 AM on April 8, 2013 [30 favorites]


a person is only evil when a respectable tv personality tells me they are evil.
posted by ennui.bz at 5:54 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Renoroc at 5:55 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


we shouldn't show same lack of compassion

People fucking die. She didn't die of starvation, illness due to poor healthcare, depression due to horrible life situations such as unemployment or extreme poverty, and she certainly wasn't captured and killed. What is there to be compassionate about? That she didn't live 100 years?

How about being compassionate towards people who did suffer unemployment, depression, poverty and now just want to feel some sort of closure? Is there no compassion for them?
posted by Tarumba at 5:55 AM on April 8, 2013 [157 favorites]


Ah. Now I get it.

It's more like this. It's true that Thatcher changed many things. The UK was a different country when she left, and it was a nation that was starting to give up on many of the principles of caring for all citizens that had been regarded as societal duties even by traditional Tories. She heavily pushed that forward, literally claiming that there was no such thing as society.

The government did this by removing legal rights to protest, and systematically reduced the power of many of the institutions that were designed to protect the interests of the working class whilst violently policing the protesters that remained.. They also greatly reduced the stock of social housing, fought to make welfare harder to obtain, and fought against feminism, LGBT rights and worker's solidarity.

The UK PM is both effective head of the executive and Parliamentary majority leader, and thus has an incredible amount of personal power. Thatcher was a particularly powerful leader of the party, and chose to use her power to destroy unions and reduce social provision, and many of us mourn the aspects of society and public benefit that she chose to damage without even making a pretence of replacing them.

That's why I think that what she did can't be forgiven, and why people are correct that the currently closing libraries and increasingly for-profit NHS can be traced back to her personally.
posted by jaduncan at 5:55 AM on April 8, 2013 [68 favorites]


I honestly wonder how many of the people who are "going to have a party when Maggie Thatcher dies" are, in fact, going to have a party.

She's barely dead but I've already been invited to two. There's a lot of English and Scots refugees who emigrated to Australia during the Thatcher years, so there's not a lot of love for her down here either.
posted by Jilder at 5:55 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I guess it's hard to people outside the UK (and/or of a generation that can't remember how divisive and vicious she was) to grasp just why perfectly reasonable people might feel a degree of pleasure on hearing about someone's death. I think she's had the last laugh, with the current deconstruction of the welfare state and demonisation of anyone who might rely upon it, not to mention the capitulation of the 'Labour' party to free market idealism.

But anyway, just for today, my punctuation of choice to mark her passing is

!
posted by spectrevsrector at 5:56 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Right now, Reddit and Twitter are looking way classier than Metafilter.
Good job you can't see my house then.
posted by fullerine at 5:56 AM on April 8, 2013 [31 favorites]


So many things I could say but for now I'll just point out that in Grantham, he home town and where I spent my late teens, the big private employers (ie not the council or the local hospital) in the 70s/80s were a couple of world leading manufacturing companies, now it's a couple of bog standard supermarkets... that's her legacy.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:58 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Classier" is a hilarious remark in a thread about Margaret fucking Thatcher dying.
posted by aramaic at 6:00 AM on April 8, 2013 [34 favorites]


Right now, Reddit and Twitter are looking way classier than Metafilter.

ABC has switched over to the BBC feed, and even the BBC are ... struggling to maintain balance. Not so much the presenters, but the guests. Many, many guests hated her. They lived her era.

So far I have heard a painter (political allegiance unknown), a man (burn the witch party) and a former minister and Lord (well, she did some good things party).

In context with this thread its quite interesting.
posted by Mezentian at 6:00 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Right now, Reddit and Twitter are looking way classier than Metafilter.

Seriously? You must be following a very sheltered group of twitter people, then...
posted by Wordshore at 6:02 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


If you can't make political comments in a thread about the death of a politician, what's the use?

The objection was not to political comments, the objection was to "good riddance" types of one-liners.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:03 AM on April 8, 2013


The objection was not to political comments, the objection was to "good riddance" types of one-liners.

Yeah, let's have another thread with 150 periods in a row. Those are much more substantive.
posted by spaltavian at 6:05 AM on April 8, 2013 [67 favorites]


[If you guys want to discuss Mefi versus Reddit and Twitter, or complaints about moderation, Metatalk is the place for that. There's already a post.]
posted by taz at 6:05 AM on April 8, 2013


To respond to far upthread: if you haven't read about the miners' strike that was basically Thatcher's defining moment, it's simply unbelievable. Troops, police infiltration, people getting shot - it's like the 1968 Democratic convention, or one of the landmark US strikes in the late 19th/early 20th century where they called in the Pinkertons and fired on women and children and so on. All the more unbelievable, too, in a country not accustomed to the same police violence against regular people as the US.

And it was poisonously, disgustingly ideological.

And of course, there's all her famous utterances about no such thing as society, only individuals.

Admittedly, she sort of crystallizes in one person the ideological struggle of her class in that period - the incredible violence in Ireland, the disgusting hatred of immigrants from the UK's former colonies, the smug greed and wastefulness of the aristocracy....

I think also people hate her so much because that was the last time that there was a real coherent left, the last time that there was moral traction to criticize someone. Look at the way we all lie down when Clinton cuts welfare and Obama moves to cut social security and whatever disgusting, vile, sickening thing that Blair or Cameron or Clegg or Boris Johnson did/do. Thatcher and Reagan and Kissinger and their ilk and hangers on were like a large-scale McCarthy movement - they aimed to break the popular will and ruin the welfare state, and because they were willing to use any means at hand, they succeeded.

And we'll have to see old people starving like it's 1850 before the Old Age Pension, and children growing up with no chance at all in the world, and a vomitous, smug, poison-pot amount of smirking from the rich people who have theirs already, until the times turn and then we'll just have to do all the work of the labor movement all over again.

If Thatcher and her ilk didn't actually achieve a boot stamping on a human face forever, it wasn't for lack of trying.
posted by Frowner at 6:06 AM on April 8, 2013 [171 favorites]


Thatcher on feminism: "I hate feminism. It is a poison."
Thatcher on Mandela: "He is a terrorist."
Thatcher on General Pinochet: "Welcome."

Fuck her, and the horse she rode in on.
posted by the_epicurean at 6:06 AM on April 8, 2013 [126 favorites]


If you want to annoy her ghost, the best way is to ignore it.

She's obviously a potent symbol, but I think her effectiveness is otherwise a little overstated. She was remarkably lucky in many respects, not least in having belligerent fools (Scargill, Galtieri) as her most conspicuous enemies.
posted by Segundus at 6:07 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I hate Dick Chaney with fiery passion but I won't celebrate his death, either. I am old enough to remember her, even if was from a distance. My respect for her was only for shattering a ten foot thick glass ceiling in a time when men still ruled over everything with an iron grip.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:07 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]




All the talk of feminism and glass ceilings actually produces a bitter laugh... there's no way she could have got to were she did without marrying a millionaire.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:09 AM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


Reagan died in 2004 -- before Twitter, before Facebook was an international phenomenon, before such a large percentage of the global population was online. Don't think for a moment the anger wasn't there; it just wasn't so visible as a collective response.

But there was metafilter: compare and contrast...
posted by ennui.bz at 6:09 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


> So, American MeFites who are feeling offput by the reaction here...imagine for a moment how the blue would be reacting if Dick Cheney had just died.

I'm an American MeFite and I'm downright thrilled by the reaction here. Though it's true I'll be even more thrilled when Cheney goes, since he wrecked my house rather than the house of my friends across the water.
posted by languagehat at 6:10 AM on April 8, 2013 [38 favorites]


She was a woman ahead of her time. There's nothing she did that political leaders around the world aren't doing today; they're just doing it in a more stealthy and underhanded manner. At least she was open about it.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 6:10 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's okay, Double Block and Bleed, I'll lift an extra glass in your honor when Cheney goes.
posted by Naberius at 6:10 AM on April 8, 2013


"England prevails."
posted by tyllwin at 6:11 AM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


All I'm saying is that the woman was sufficiently horrible that both Elvis Costello AND Morrisey wrote songs about being glad to see her go.
posted by mephron at 6:11 AM on April 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


Such a horrible person that when Stephen Fry tweeted something neutral, my respect for him just dropped.
posted by Yowser at 6:12 AM on April 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


This was the best consequence of Thatcher's premiership. Very important to me as a teenager, especially one born on the day the Falklands started.
posted by mippy at 6:12 AM on April 8, 2013


Owen Jones on Thatcher-hate in the Indy a few months ago:
"But the right refuses to understand why, more than two decades after she was deposed, Thatcher is still despised by a large chunk of the population [...] Perhaps if a Labour government had reduced the prosperous middle-classes of the Home Counties to mass unemployment and poverty, and stockbrokers desperate to save their livelihoods had been chased by police on horseback through the City of London, they would understand the bitterness."
posted by Catseye at 6:13 AM on April 8, 2013 [50 favorites]


Thatcherism articulated, in populist format, something very base at the heart of the British psyche. As an ideology it served as a cover for naked, self-aggrandizing class warfare on the part the British elites for many years. Anyway, instead of a dot, I leave Robert Wyatt/Shipbuilding and The Specials/Ghosttown.
posted by carter at 6:13 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:14 AM on April 8, 2013


Stroke is just trying to make up for all the wrong it's done us over the years.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:14 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Shame she died 30 years too late, though.
posted by davemee at 6:15 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I agree that it's probably crass to simply make one-line "good riddance" comments here, so I will say in all honesty that I believe it's important to remember and honor the dead for whatever noble things they might have done during their lives; and I know who I will be remembering and honoring today.
posted by koeselitz at 6:15 AM on April 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


The obituaries have been written for some time.

To be fair, this is common practice with major public figures, ailing or no. I used to work in subtitling for BBC news (amongst other things - we did Paul O'Grady as well) and both Radio 4 and BBC TV kept extensive obituary files. The Radio 4 ones were exhaustive and contained both people I didn't think would be sufficiently famous to have their deaths announced on the radio and people of whom I was unfamiliar, but the BBC ones were mainly the Royal Family, ex-Presidents and Prime Ministers, and celebrities who were rumoured to be on the turn (at that time, we had Elizabeth Taylor and Amy Winehouse). Most of them were completely scripted; it was a surreal experience watchign the One upstairs and seeing people talk posthumously about Thatcher in clips recorded months or years before she died.
posted by mippy at 6:16 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


All I'm saying is that the woman was sufficiently horrible that both Elvis Costello AND Morrisey wrote songs about being glad to see her go.

Morrissey who once called every Chinese person a 'subspecies' because a history of socioeconomic strife has led some small number of them to eating what are traditionally domestic household pets in the West.

This is much less a defense of Thatcher than it is the fact that I could never get into the pity party that was Morrissey so ignore me and carry on.
posted by dubusadus at 6:17 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


And of course, there's all her famous utterances about no such thing as society, only individuals.
The even more telling quote I think is that "economics are the method, the object is to change the soul" - the priority really was to destroy the collective sensibilities of post-war society. Her claim was that it was stultifying individual endeavour or whatever, but if you look at the figures for wealth distribution what it really meant was re-establishing a total class dominance that had been somewhat eroded by successive reformist administrations in the preceding three decades she derides there.
posted by Abiezer at 6:17 AM on April 8, 2013 [19 favorites]


Odd that such an apparently universally loathed figure was able to remain in power for so long. I wasn't aware that elections were suspended during the period of her dictatorship.

Re: the comparison to Dick Cheney, he was one of the primary instigators of a pointless war in which tens of thousands of innocent people were killed. Thatcher was a proponent of economic policies that were apparently harmful to many people, and not so bad for some other people.
posted by JeffL at 6:17 AM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


She never did tell us how it feels.
posted by DecemberBoy at 6:17 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Condolences to her family and loved ones.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:18 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


She was a woman ahead of her time. There's nothing she did that political leaders around the world aren't doing today; they're just doing it in a more stealthy and underhanded manner. At least she was open about it.

Let's say that's true. Are we supposed to lower our standards of what is right and wrong because all politicians do it? Shouldn't we be even more mad at her for starting the wave of disgusting politics?

The reason she was open about her ideology was because she had no shame, not because she was particularly honest.
posted by Tarumba at 6:18 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Apparently she spent her final days in the Ritz... I'd laugh but I'm too busy puking
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:18 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Condolences to her clutch and broodmother.
posted by emmtee at 6:19 AM on April 8, 2013 [29 favorites]


She was a woman ahead of her time. There's nothing she did that political leaders around the world aren't doing today; they're just doing it in a more stealthy and underhanded manner. At least she was open about it.

It's not just that - it was her actions that in part enabled them to do it.

This is something that I think a lot of us who have lived less than forty or fifty years maybe do not get (and it is something that burst like a revelation upon me, actually, when reading the history of the eighties). We don't really see, because we haven't lived long enough, that times and ideological consensus really do change, and that big historical moments really do push things one way or another.

It's true that larger forces shaped the UK than just Thatcher's individual will - the seventies were pretty tough no matter what. But when faced with the world financial crisis of the seventies, Thatcher, her party and their ideologues responded by breaking every aspect of the popular will that they could, and by supporting really terrible, dangerous, vile people on the global economic periphery. In the UK, they couldn't actually, say, bring in tanks to kill the opposition and install a dictator, but they could support that kind of thing in Chile. They couldn't actually put the Pakistani-British in homelands and just let them out to work, but they could support that kind of thing for Africans.

Attacks on council housing are what paved the way for today's "if you have a spare bedroom and you're receiving benefits you're a scrounger and should be kicked out of your home". Attacks on the welfare system then - which some people thought were sort of reasonable - were not an end in themselves; they were the first part of an actual intentional ideological campaign to get us where we are today, where ordinary working people are in much more danger from poverty, job loss and sickness than they were in, say, 1982.

And none of these people were fucking stupid! They weren't just bouncing from "oh, let's attack benefits here and see what happens" to "let's make speeches hating on immigrants". They had think tanks and long term plans, and they wanted to get us where we are today, and because they had the guns and the cops and the law and the money, and because naive soft people thought that all they wanted was a 'reasonable' reform of unions or benefits, they got us here.

Never trust them! Never. Nothing they do is just about what they say it is.
posted by Frowner at 6:20 AM on April 8, 2013 [168 favorites]


The rejection comments from ICI in 1948 about her, are exactly why she spoke her mind on the subject.

This woman is headstrong, obstinate and dangerously self-opinionated
posted by the_epicurean at 6:20 AM on April 8, 2013




three blind mice: I always suspected the vitriol was, at least in part, because she was a woman who didn't behave like a woman was supposed to. None of the others (even Tebbit) were ever attacked with such viciousness.
posted by Leon at 6:21 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Margaret Thatcher Is Evil was high on the list of things it was important I learn.

Oh, in primary school - I was born in 1982 - we used to sing rhymes in the playground: 'Margaret Thatcher, chuck her up and catch her, squish her, squash her, there's Margaret Thatcher [show pencil line on hand]', and 'Maggie Thatcher, you know what to do - pick her up and flush her down the loo. If she pops out, bang 'er on the head, GLORY GLORY Maggie Thatcher's dead/'

She died a frail old woman, and celebrating the death of any person is unclassy, but to a large proportion of those who lived in Britain in the 80s, she was so reviled that five year olds knew her name and sung about how much they hated her while skipping.
posted by mippy at 6:21 AM on April 8, 2013 [28 favorites]


> I always suspected the vitriol was, at least in part, because she was a woman who didn't
> behave like a woman was supposed to

Dream on. Nobody gave a shit about her sex because she was demonstrably as hard as nails. It was her policies that invited the hatred.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 6:22 AM on April 8, 2013 [43 favorites]


The link to the coal miner's strike and Falklands War mentions neither.
posted by furtive at 6:23 AM on April 8, 2013


Leon - your're looking for that. I loathed Tebbit just as much. There's no evidence the hatred had anything
to do with their respective genitalia.
posted by ciderwoman at 6:23 AM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


This is much less a defense of Thatcher than it is the fact that I could never get into the pity party that was Morrissey so ignore me and carry on.

No, no, that was kind of part of what I was saying, that she was such a polarizing person that people of such differing points of view found her horrible. I can't stand much of Morrisey's music, honestly.

And then she had admirers who apparently still pop out of their holes in there wainscotting and complain about Marxists.
posted by mephron at 6:23 AM on April 8, 2013


To quote scarabic in that Reagan thread: "For fuck's sake, people, compassion is not about approaching wealthy, immoral power figures with gentle grace." And to quote myself:
I actually have no problem with the conservatives who voted for Reagan, loved him, and are now mourning him. He was their guy, and they're doing what they should be doing. I do have a problem with the idea that people who hated him and everything he stood for should stand around with their hand over their heart looking solemn because he was, you know, a president. A celebrity. Somebody whose full-page photo from Time was in people's lockers. Really, this culture has gotten very childish.
posted by languagehat at 6:24 AM on April 8, 2013 [87 favorites]


It is terribly sad for her family of course; although somewhat fitting that she had the type of long drawn out death that most people say they fear most - losing her mind one day at a time. I worry though that all the polorising around her, as a person, distracts fromt the fact that her ideology still exists and is enacted on by so many others. She acted as a sledgehammer in the UK and I feel the right has learned from that and instead moved towards the subtle cut of a thousand small changes in government programmes.

I was at a political action organising event this past weekend where lefties from Toronto were gloating over every foot-in-mouth thing Mayor Ford has said; in many communities the politicians also share his views (and attempt similiar policy changes) but do it with better spin and more subtlety. Focusing - and hating - on the main figures does a disservice to the the Left as it allows the Left to be dismissed by the majority and ignores the smaller changes that right-wing governments create, that build upon themselves to the same result as a sledgehammer over a long span of time.
posted by saucysault at 6:25 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


JeffL: "Odd that such an apparently universally loathed figure was able to remain in power for so long. I wasn't aware that elections were suspended during the period of her dictatorship.

Re: the comparison to Dick Cheney, he was one of the primary instigators of a pointless war in which tens of thousands of innocent people were killed. Thatcher was a proponent of economic policies that were apparently harmful to many people, and not so bad for some other people
"

Then there's the small matter of Thatcher and the Falklands War, which could and should have been avoided, and was coincidentally a major reason for her re-election.
posted by Jakey at 6:25 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


["Marxistfilter" derail deleted. Metatalk for that.]
posted by taz at 6:25 AM on April 8, 2013


Odd that such an apparently universally loathed figure was able to remain in power for so long. I wasn't aware that elections were suspended during the period of her dictatorship.

No one is *universally* loathed. Hell, even ol' Adolf still has plenty of admirers.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:26 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


At 36 years old and American, I'm a bit too young to've been able to fully appreciate her vileness. Like others, a lot of my first impressions of her came from the punk songs I grew up on, both British and American (Jello Biafra: 'This song is dedicated to Dianne–banker butt-licker Margaret Thatcher-Feinstein, the dragon-lady with no fucking heart', though I guess that's more of a slam on Feinstein than Thatcher but whatever). Later on, as I grew interested in the history and being of things outside of my own isolated circle and I read about Thatcherism and its impact on not just the UK but a good chunk of the world, her figure cast an almost supervillainesque shadow over all that should be right and good in this world, especially when combined with those of Reagan and Kissinger and all their cronies and ilk. They were the Bad Guys, there was damn good reason for it, and not a tear was shed around these parts today.
posted by item at 6:28 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


always suspected the vitriol was, at least in part, because she was a woman who didn't behave like a woman was supposed to

I love how it's the greatest desire for rightwingers to somehow "prove" the left is actually racist and/or sexist, as if their audience is totally unfamilair with real life.
posted by spaltavian at 6:28 AM on April 8, 2013 [48 favorites]


It is terribly sad for her family of course

I don't know...I have some pretty terrible people in my family, and it makes me sad to hear that they go on living, being terrible. I try to always be a kind, caring person, but my compassion in those circumstances lies with the victims of a terrible person's very existence, whether their servants, siblings, or the thousands of people whose lives were destroyed by her.
posted by nevercalm at 6:28 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of her government's works, section 28 of the Local Government Act 1986.

"(1)A local authority shall not—
(a) intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality;
(b) promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship."

Look at that clause, Americans. That's merely why same-sex couples would be a group so implacably angry with the government of that time...or, indeed, just people who care about equality.
posted by jaduncan at 6:31 AM on April 8, 2013 [31 favorites]




double block and bleed: "I hope no one celebrates your death the way you are celebrating hers."

Thankfully, I wasn't a complete evil fuck who destroyed the lives of millions, so, yeah, I kinda doubt it. I might have one or two people who celebrate, but I try not to. Now - if I were in power, on the other hand... well, yeah, I would have enemies, and they probably would celebrate if I got my way. I would have no regrets to that.
posted by symbioid at 6:32 AM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Might be sad for one of her family in that Mark will never get a job again without her to smooth the passage, I suspect. Not that he needs one now he's a freelance coup enabler or whatever it is.
posted by Abiezer at 6:32 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Such crap being written today. Keep deluding yourselves with your vile lies.

Some of us remember the"winter of discontent".
posted by Hugh Routley at 6:32 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


No matter how much I hate the MeFi habit of flooding threads with full stops, and no matter how much I think Thatcher buggered up this country, I'm depressed and sickened when Mefites celebrate the death of anyone.

That makes me wonder how vile somebody has to be before you allow that some might celebrate their death. The dead have no feelings. Those of us left behind should be allowed to vent some of our residual anger.

I don't know why Reagan and Thatcher both became such powerful leaders but their poisonous legacies live on. Were they just figureheads or did they personally affect history? I'm not enough of a modern historian to know. I lived through the 70's and 80's and I carry bitterness in my heart for both.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:34 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Wonder who will take her empty room at the The Fletcher Memorial Home for Incurable Tyrants and Kings. I nominated this guy.
posted by any major dude at 6:34 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Requiem for Thatcher
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:34 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a powerful thing when your abuser dies
posted by Greener Backyards at 6:34 AM on April 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


Some of us remember the"winter of discontent".
That would be the period when trade union membership increased greatly as they were seen to be defending something for once. It was a polarising moment, it's very true, but the right has mythologised it far more than the left.
posted by Abiezer at 6:34 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Some of us remember the"winter of discontent".
Some of us remember the decades of selfish evil which followed.
But, I assume you've got yours.
posted by fullerine at 6:34 AM on April 8, 2013 [15 favorites]


Anyone who takes milk from the mouths of poor children gets no praise, no water when the thirst comes, no shelter from the sun, and God willing, no admittance from Peter.
Maggie, Maggie, Maggie...OUT! OUT!! OUT!!!
posted by photodegas at 6:34 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


She lives in in spirit in the form if the current govement.

Please send Ghodtbusters.
posted by Artw at 6:35 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


So farewell to the first politician since 1381 to introduce a tax on suffrage.
posted by tel3path at 6:36 AM on April 8, 2013 [29 favorites]


. for the lives that Thatcher and people like her have destroyed and continue to destroy.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:36 AM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Well I'm celebrating her death because everyone knows that she committed her worst crimes against Britain and all humanity when she became a frail 80-year old. And those crimes involved failing to display any individual endeavour or self-reliance due to her so-called "ill-health".

It absolutely disgusts me that this wonderful Prime Minister, whose policies promoted and encouraged achievement, progress and individual self-determination, would turn her back on all those enlightened values as soon as she became an 80 year-old with health problems. I mean at the end she often just lazed about in bed or in hospital, rather than getting up and being Prime Minister of something. An utter betrayal of all she stood for, and of what made this country great.

I wept openly when she was ousted as Prime Minister - it was an utter tragedy for the nation. But now she's dead, I must stay true to my strong conservative values by pissing all over her grave. A grave that WE, the taxpayers of Britain, will probably have to pay for! Shameful.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 6:36 AM on April 8, 2013 [48 favorites]


Anyone remember when Britain sought a loan from the IMF? Remember factories closing down because they had no electricity? Public parks being used as council tips because the rubbish workers were on strike? Unburied corpses being stacked in warehouses because gravediggers were on strike? Food rationing because lorry drivers were on strike? People dying of cold because the coal miners were on strike? No? Well, you must have been too young to remember Britain before Margaret Thatcher.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:37 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Odd that such an apparently universally loathed figure was able to remain in power for so long.

Just like Reagan. A mystery of mathematics. Universally loathed, but democratically elected.

I think that everyone who focuses on Thatcher forgets the 1970s. Stagflation, inflation, pollution, war. Reagan and Thatcher didn't just take over. They were invited in by economic disaster.

1970s Britain: 'Families were forced to tighten their belts and contend with high inflation'

"The 1973 oil crisis prompted the three-day week in 1974 and in total more than 9 million days were lost to strike action under the Conservative government of Edward Heath. This was followed by high rates of inflation in the mid Seventies, which in turn caused strife among trade unions amid concern that wages were failing to keep pace with the cost of living."

It was like the slow choking death in America under Carter, only in the UK it was worse. The misery culminated under a Labour government in 1979 in the winter of discontent.

The unions gambled and lost. Thatcher, universally loathed, was democratically elected not because everyone believed in conservatism, but because Labour had run its course and there was no where else to turn. Thatcher did what she said on the tin. She broke the back of the unions and for that Marxists universally loathe her, but that hardly makes her universally loathed.
posted by three blind mice at 6:38 AM on April 8, 2013 [15 favorites]


I don't know why Reagan and Thatcher both became such powerful leaders but their poisonous legacies live on.

The ugly truth is that, while the rich make money when every boat gets raised, they consolidate power when the playing field tilts more in their favor. So those who control the thoughts of capitalism will always create false legacies of those that bend the values of democracy to help them aggregate power and eliminate competition.
posted by any major dude at 6:38 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Keep deluding yourselves with your vile lies.

Ironically, you have posted this just below where I have pasted a specific discriminatory clause in legislation as an example. I believe it was David Cameron who said that it would be "anti-family" to remove it.
posted by jaduncan at 6:39 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


There are few people about whose death I can feel celebratory. Thatcher is none of them. She acted with deliberate malice to destroy parts of British culture that were valuable.

She was an unapologetic class warrior and dies on a day when she would be happy - we've seen the destruction of the NHS, callous disregard of disabled people, and cruelty to people in social housing.

In t he spirit of offeing songs - although Billy Bragg and Frank Turner speak for me the only sensible response to the death of someone opposed to justice and compassion and who is clearly winning at the moment is to turn and fight for a better future. So rise up, George and wake up, Arthur, time to rouse out from your sleep.
posted by Gilgongo at 6:40 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah - I think the "Thatcher Destroyed Industry" narrative misses where the UK was in 1979. Rampants strikes, blackouts, demarcation, inflation up at 30%. The Labour party was in freefall, and industry was on its knees.

The above linked "Ghost Town" was probably more of a product of post-war socialism going wrong than Thatcherism. Hanging all the countries ills of the time on this one person seems historically naive at best.
posted by zoo at 6:40 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I believe she has gone to a special place.
posted by unSane at 6:42 AM on April 8, 2013


(Not necessarily better)
posted by unSane at 6:42 AM on April 8, 2013


That is the mythologising I mean, Joe - even the need to go to the IMF turned out to be a Treasury "error" in accounting that only emerged subsequently. There was a crisis in the 1970s, but by all sorts of measures the country was by no means one step from utter collapse as we're lead to believe.
posted by Abiezer at 6:42 AM on April 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


"If Margaret Thatcher is re-elected as prime minister on Thursday, I warn you. I warn you that you will have pain – when healing and relief depend upon payment. I warn you that you will have ignorance – when talents are untended and wits are wasted, when learning is a privilege and not a right. I warn you that you will have poverty – when pensions slip and benefits are whittled away by a government that won’t pay in an economy that can't pay. I warn you that you will be cold – when fuel charges are used as a tax system that the rich don't notice and the poor can't afford.

I warn you that you must not expect work – when many cannot spend, more will not be able to earn. When they don't earn, they don't spend. When they don't spend, work dies. I warn you not to go into the streets alone after dark or into the streets in large crowds of protest in the light. I warn you that you will be quiet – when the curfew of fear and the gibbet of unemployment make you obedient. I warn you that you will have defence of a sort – with a risk and at a price that passes all understanding. I warn you that you will be home-bound – when fares and transport bills kill leisure and lock you up. I warn you that you will borrow less – when credit, loans, mortgages and easy payments are refused to people on your melting income.

If Margaret Thatcher wins on Thursday, I warn you not to be ordinary. I warn you not to be young. I warn you not to fall ill. I warn you not to get old."

Neil Kinnock
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:42 AM on April 8, 2013 [105 favorites]


What a pathetic thread. What prosperity Britain has today, it owes to Thatcher. When she came to power, the lifeblood of the British economy was being strangled by trade unionism and three decades of postwar socialism. Can you imagine a Britain that today subsidizes hundreds of thousands of coal mining jobs, sucking money from the productive parts of the economy to do so? Policies like that will eventually bring a country to its knees. The Coal Miners' Strike was the defining event in postwar Britain, and if it hadn't taken place, Britain would look a lot more like Greece than Germany today. Thatcher is hated by large numbers of people who felt entitled to live and work as they had always done, irrespective of whether it continued to make economic sense. Thus, you have people condeming her upthread for "the destruction of the industrial north". Thatcher didn't destroy those jobs. If anyone destroyed them, it was people like Arthur Scargill, who made industrial employment in Britain as confrontational and uncompetitive as possible. If you're convinced that you're fighting a class war, your workplace is probably not going to be a particularly productive one.

Thatcher saved the British economy, and thus saved Britain from international irrelevance. The fact that socialism is dead in Britain today is a testament to the wisdom of her policies. No political party in Britain wants to go back to Britain as it was in the late 1970s.

Her resolve in defending British soveriegnty in the Falklands against Argentine agression played a major role in bringing down the military dictatorship in that country. She saw the wisdom in keeping Britain at arms-length from Europe, both for political reasons (not losing British democracy to the EU), and economic ones. Her principle was denounced as inflexibility, but the Euro will bring down Europe, while Britain, if it can keep its debt under control, will propser.

Her stand against Republican terrorism is Northern Ireland - meaning concerted military and intelligence action - brought the IRA to the negotiating table, and today we have peace in Northern Ireland. That can't all be laid at her feet, but a less resolute leader would have projected weakness, instead of ensuring strength. How many people would give a scheduled speech a few hours after their hotel was blown up with them in it?

We'll never see her like again in our lifetimes. Let's hope we don't need to.

.
posted by Dasein at 6:43 AM on April 8, 2013 [18 favorites]


She broke the back of the unions and for that Marxists universally loathe her, but that hardly makes her universally loathed.

You've got your story and millions of Brits have theirs.
posted by crayz at 6:43 AM on April 8, 2013 [22 favorites]


My condolences to her family.

And may her politics go with her into the grave.
posted by Foosnark at 6:44 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yeah - I think the "Thatcher Destroyed Industry" narrative misses where the UK was in 1979. Rampants strikes, blackouts, demarcation, inflation up at 30%. The Labour party was in freefall, and industry was on its knees.

But the thing is, you can have, like, a recession or a depression or a shift in the global economy without being like "hey, it's time for disaster capitalism! let's use this moment to break the unions and attack the weak!"

The point isn't that the eighties in the UK would have been paradise without Thatcher; the point is that she and her party used a difficult time as an opportunity to divide and conquer, and to make things much, much worse for people who were already struggling. That is why she was a terrible, monstrous person and why people hate her. If it were just that she presided over a recession, people might think she'd made a lot of mistakes and it was stupid to have elected her - look at Hoover, a perfectly competent administrator when not president and now a byword for bad judgment - but it wouldn't be like this.

It's one thing if a tragedy happens and you lose your industry and your town falls apart; it's another if someone engineers that tragedy to make money and then takes away as many strands of the safety net as they can.
posted by Frowner at 6:45 AM on April 8, 2013 [50 favorites]


When you walk down the unusually quiet terraced street of a Nottinghamshire (ex)pit village, with a resident who lived there most of his life.

And, as you walk, he points out individual houses. "He killed himself ... he killed himself ... they just left one night, no-one knew where ... became an alcoholic and drank himself to death ... he killed himself as well."

And you reach the end of the street, turn the corner, and see the remnants of what used to be the main, the only significant employer, the one place around which the village thrived and revolved. The coal mine, closed even with large deposits of coal still to be dug out. With no source of employment put in its place.

Then you'll know why there's so much vitriol, anger, relief and release at today's news.

(RIP Reg Smith, 1941-2008, who saw his village live, and then die. You were more worthy of a state funeral than she will ever be.)
posted by Wordshore at 6:45 AM on April 8, 2013 [92 favorites]


The OPEC Crisis affected the country for a winter. Thatcher simply diverted this misery to the 75% of the country which wasn't the South East for decades. She bought the votes of the homes counties with the blood and despair of the rest of us.

Mourn your God if you wish, I will not.
posted by fullerine at 6:46 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Her stand against Republican terrorism is Northern Ireland - meaning concerted military and intelligence action - brought the IRA to the negotiating table, and today we have peace in Northern Ireland.

Okay, NOW I'm going to say that "if this is true I'll blow a herd of caribou in Times Square."

Thatcher's policies in Northern Ireland actually worsened relations, and if anyone was responsible for bringing the parties to the negotiating table it was Bill Clinton, in undoing the damage she had done.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:46 AM on April 8, 2013 [55 favorites]


The Coal Miners' Strike was the defining event in postwar Britain, and if it hadn't taken place, Britain would look a lot more like Greece than Germany today.

Right because Germany doesn't do government-subsidized industrial/energy policy and instead refounded their economy around one city's casino capitalism.
posted by crayz at 6:46 AM on April 8, 2013 [36 favorites]


Mourn your God if you wish, I will not.

Hyperbole much?
posted by zoo at 6:47 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


zoo: "Yeah - I think the 'Thatcher Destroyed Industry' narrative misses where the UK was in 1979. Rampants strikes, blackouts, demarcation, inflation up at 30%. The Labour party was in freefall, and industry was on its knees. The above linked 'Ghost Town' was probably more of a product of post-war socialism going wrong than Thatcherism. Hanging all the countries ills of the time on this one person seems historically naive at best."

From the excellent story in The Independent that Catseye linked to above:
Britain’s industrial ruin was unavoidable, Thatcher’s apologists argue. Industry was inefficient and crippled by union bullyboys: Thatcher’s Chancellor Geoffrey Howe told me he “often questioned the suicide note of much of British industry”. But it was sabotage. First, the abolition of exchange controls allowed the City to thrive at the expense of other parts of the economy. Then they allowed the value of the pound to soar, with interest rates hiked to 17 per cent, making borrowing – crucial for manufacturing – prohibitively expensive.

Sir Alan Budd advised the Thatcher government and feared they “never believed for a moment that this was the correct way to bring down inflation”, but rather it was a highly effective means of increasing unemployment, “an extremely desirable way of reducing the strength of the working classes”. Working-class communities were trashed – and, in some cases, never recovered – because of an ideological crusade.

Reflecting on the miners’ strike a few years ago, even Thatcher’s right-hand man Norman Tebbitt accepted that “the scale of the closures went too far”, with the result that “many of these communities were completely devastated”. As Jack Straw noted last week, Thatcher’s government needed “the police to be a partisan force” during such industrial upheaval, creating a “culture of impunity” in the police force. At Orgreave – with the support of the mainstream press – the miners were blamed for the Battle, until years later the police force was forced to cough up hundreds of thousands in compensation. And it was the same force – dubbed “Maggie’s Boot Boys” – that smeared those who had died because of their own incompetence and contempt for working-class people at Hillsborough.
posted by koeselitz at 6:48 AM on April 8, 2013 [64 favorites]


hawthorne: I'm going to have a small bottle of milk.

Grow up mate. Have a white russian.
posted by biffa at 6:48 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


http://www.isthatcherdeadyet.co.uk/

Aw man, I'm going to have to find a new homepage now too.
posted by anagrama at 6:48 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Frankie Boyle on the subject of her state funeral at the 1:00 mark (SLYT)
posted by GallonOfAlan at 6:49 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dasein: "What prosperity Britain has today, it owes to Thatcher."
The housing bubble and financial disaster, and the fallout therefrom, can be traced directly to the Thatcher policies of the sell-off of social housing (and explicit ban on rebuilding) and the great financial deregulation. Some fucking prosperity. Or, rather, prosperity for some.
posted by Jakey at 6:49 AM on April 8, 2013 [19 favorites]


         ,)
     ,`/ |\
     /  `/ |
   (,_,/  /
    `___, \
         \ \
        / , \
       /,  \ \
       \`   `.`.
        \ \   \,`,
       -`-'    -'	   

posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:49 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I knew we would get the big lie of the right turning up - that in the 70s the UK was some sort of economic basket case that Thatcher rescued...

I'll just cut and paste from an earlier post...

On average the rate of growth went down under Thatcher from what it has been during the 70s. See here. Plus there was a big recession in the late 80s, early 90s just after she departed so the economy was hardly robust.

The idea that she (and Major after her) left Britain leaner and fitter is just a fallacy. They left it emaciated and gutted. Well paid, unionised manufacturing jobs - that allowed people to spend and create a decent economy - were replaced by low paid insecure service jobs - where people had to live on loans and credit. And the new jobs were just as state-subsidised as the so call clapped out nationalised industries ever were, what with lowered taxation on employers etc.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:49 AM on April 8, 2013 [32 favorites]


Thatcher's policies in Northern Ireland actually worsened relations, and if anyone was responsible for bringing the parties to the negotiating table it was Bill Clinton, in undoing the damage she had done.

In fairness, a lot of the credit would have to go to Major here. By no means am I a Conservative (as can be seen upthread) but in the early 90s both Major and Blair recognised it was worth talking to the IRA leadership. Clinton helped, but wasn't the primary driver.

It was, however, the failure of the 80s Thatcher approach that led everyone to conclude that a negotiated peace was needed.
posted by jaduncan at 6:50 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Thatcher was a towering presence on the world stage, and the world is diminished with her loss. If I could give a thousand dots, I would.

.
posted by DWRoelands at 6:50 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank you, jaduncan; I was unclear as to how big a hand the recent parties had, but I was forDAMNsure that Thatcher didn't do jack-diddley.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:52 AM on April 8, 2013


We'll never see her like again in our lifetimes.

This is true. Many of the ritual objects were damaged in the first summoning.
posted by emmtee at 6:54 AM on April 8, 2013 [117 favorites]


I'm just so grateful that a full Bugle is recording this week. I don't think Thatcher will get a fuckyoulogy, but it's going to be worth listening to.
posted by gladly at 6:55 AM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


"She's only been gone 4 hours and she's already managed to shut down 5 furnaces."
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:56 AM on April 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


It's interesting that 4chan's /pol/ is absolutely covered in multiple threads about her death and generally being in the "pro" death camp.

Given the relative youth of the 4chan population as a whole, that says quite a lot.
posted by adipocere at 6:57 AM on April 8, 2013


UK folks who were around back then: What was the left's counterpoint to what Thatcher was providing? That is, what was Labour / the other parts of the press proposing to deal with the apparent crisis that she came into address?
posted by Going To Maine at 6:58 AM on April 8, 2013


Well at least she's been reunited with her friend Pinochet.
posted by Artw at 6:59 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


EC, knowing the type of women you like I will predict that you will find reading about Mo Mowlam incredibly inspiring. She largely led the initial post-97 NI negotiations, got cancer halfway through, and lost her hair. She reacted to this by taking her wig off whenever she needed to disarm people (pun not intended), and was generally an amazing woman who was able to win even paramilitary leaders over to peace in one-to-one discussions.
posted by jaduncan at 6:59 AM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


What was the left's counterpoint to what Thatcher was providing?

The left was in a shambles, but that doesn't mean there weren't alternatives to what Thatcher did.
posted by unSane at 7:00 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


A remarkable typo.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:02 AM on April 8, 2013 [18 favorites]


adipocere

See Fearful Symmetry's post
Neil Kinnock, leader of the Labour Party (opposition)
posted by the_epicurean at 7:02 AM on April 8, 2013


Too soon.
posted by Jehan at 7:03 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jaduncan: thanks. I'll admit that my perspective on that particular political situation is rather uniquely biased (a best friend in County Cork who is very pro-Union, but who also has an uncle in a special anti-terrorism unit of the Gardai and thus is very anti-militance).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:03 AM on April 8, 2013


No, I'm not trying to be confrontational. I'm just another American who only has a second hand understanding of Thatcher (not even having seen the biopic). I'm working my way through the articles mentioned in the thread, but it's taking a while...
posted by Going To Maine at 7:03 AM on April 8, 2013


What was the left's counterpoint to what Thatcher was providing?
Welshmen, unfortunately not big vote winners in the South East of England.
posted by fullerine at 7:05 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Rust never sleeps.
posted by saladin at 7:06 AM on April 8, 2013


Where there is love, let me sow hatred;
Where there is pardon, injury;
Where there is faith, doubt;
Where there is hope, despair;
Where there is light, darkness;
Where there is joy, sadness.

posted by sgt.serenity at 7:06 AM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


Just like Reagan. A mystery of mathematics. Universally loathed, but democratically elected.

The thing is about Thatcher is that she was heavily loathed in the UK because almost 60 percent of the public voted against her every single time. The 3 party system in the UK ensures that the ruling PM is someone that the majority of the public dislikes. The fact that Thatcher went on to overstay her welcome and left under the shadow of advocating highly unpopular regressive taxes mean that even the minority of the British populace who supported the Conservatives went on to conveniently "forget" that they had ever supported them in the first place.
posted by deanc at 7:06 AM on April 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


Rejoice! Rejoice!
posted by Grangousier at 7:06 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


What was the left's counterpoint to what Thatcher was providing?

Not Kinnock. Are you even joking? Kinnock was later.
It was Michael Foot in those early days and unSane is right in saying that The Labour Party were in utter disarray. You had splinter parties like the SDP, but the whole thing was an utter shambles.
posted by zoo at 7:07 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thatcher worked very hard to make sure Pinochet never faced justice for killing thousands.

She actively tried to undermine talks between the South African government and the ANC that lead to black South Africans being allowed to vote and Mandela being freed.

She privatised water in the UK and overseas. This lead to many being unable to have access to clean water.

She destroyed industry just to undermine the unions.

She brought in the wholly regressive poll tax that overwhelmingly hit the poor hardest.

She brought in "care in the community" and gutted mental health provision leaving thousands of vulnerable people without help or support.

She deliberately underfunded the NHS in an effort to destroy it.


Good riddance. Sad this couldn't have happened 30 years ago.
posted by Sternmeyer at 7:07 AM on April 8, 2013 [25 favorites]


How many people would give a scheduled speech a few hours after their hotel was blown up with them in it?

Oh. Julia Gillard!
posted by de at 7:08 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's interesting that 4chan's /pol/ is absolutely covered in multiple threads about her death and generally being in the "pro" death camp.

Given the relative youth of the 4chan population as a whole, that says quite a lot.


No shit the youth are in the "pro" death camp! We've grown up free from the context of having to live through difficult times under idealistic forms of government. If you're younger than, like, thirty, then about the only politics you know is the sort where one party or other is shrieking about the myth of society, the horrors of welfare, the glories of individualism, and everything slowly turns to shit whilst the people who are supposed to be on the "other side" are quietly acknowledging (deludedly or not) that they can't even act against that horrorshow of a mentality because there're enough idiots in the world that sensibility hasn't got a chance in hell of working.

We live in the world that was formed by people like Thatcher, and we see what that world is like. All the angry people yelling on TV about how terrible things are – maybe some of them are stupid enough to blame liberals for their feeble attempts to restore some sort of civilization to civilization, but if you have sensory organs and some sort of pattern-recognizer in your skull you can make a pretty direct correlation between "this is what we are doing and this is how fucked the results are". I can understand the people who sympathized with Thatcher – they lived in a world where ideals were not quite so abstract, yet countries still suffered, and they have concluded that it was the ideal that caused the suffering. Young people have no such excuse. The only young people who possibly like Thatcher are some combination of ignorant, lied-to, or too apathetic to care about whether the world in their head is the world that actually exists.

I don't know a hell of a lot about Thatcher, but you don't really need to know much to despise her. She wasn't delusional and pathetic like, say, Ayn Rand; she clearly and eloquently articulated her beliefs, so that you only need about a sentence out of her to realize that she was a wretched person. Another sentence, off Wikipedia, to learn that she was in control of England for far too long of a time, and you can cheerfully wish her a merry time in hell without any further ado.
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:09 AM on April 8, 2013 [52 favorites]


You had splinter parties like the SDP, but the whole thing was an utter shambles.
It pretty much was the SDP split that got her in the first time - even with the supposed horrors of the late 1970s, absent that the Labour government could well have been returned. Begs all sorts of questions, of course, including why the split happened, but again puts a lie to this idea that cometh the hour cometh the woman I reckon.
posted by Abiezer at 7:09 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can you imagine a Britain that today subsidizes hundreds of thousands of coal mining jobs, sucking money from the productive parts of the economy to do so? Policies like that will eventually bring a country to its knees.

I can imagine a Germany that provides huge subsidies to keep coal mining jobs if that is any help. The current subsidy to keep germann coal mines open is €3bn a year. Back in Thatcher's time is was about the same once you took into account the kohlpfennig subsidy to the electricity sector and the support to the steel sector to burn domestic coal (Storchmann, Energy Policy, 33 (2005) 1469–1492). Why? Because Germany recognises that putting a straightforward dollar value on everything is not the totality of industrial policy. Germany's not really on its knees yet though.
posted by biffa at 7:09 AM on April 8, 2013 [43 favorites]


What was the left's counterpoint to what Thatcher was providing?

Hugo Young's "One of Us" describes Labour at the time as "the absent enemy". Labour was simply falling apart, split by the SDP, saddled with an ineffectual leader, and torn apart by internal fighting. The lack of an effective or coherent opposition allowed Thatcher to enact her policies much more easily than would have otherwise been the case.

There were some aspects to the Tories economic and political programmes that were driven by the times, and would have been followed by any government in office. I've read claims that the Labour Party recognised that there was a serious issue with union power, that it was a cause of economic problems, and that there were plans within the party to rein in the unions to some degree if they were re-elected in 1979. What marked out the Tories was their overt class warfare, hostility to the entire idea of the labour movement or to the postwar consensus, and utter indifference to working communities and industries. There would have been pain under Labour too, but more of a soft landing.
posted by daveje at 7:10 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Seems that a similar agenda was followed by government in the UK and US in the 70's and 80's. But it seems like in the US there were a lot of strong parties, some moving publiclly, some moving behind the scenes, to accomplish conservative goals, while in the UK, a lot of that got funnelled through M. Thatcher, who was one very public advocate.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:13 AM on April 8, 2013


ROU_Xenophobe: "I hope you will agree that Mr. Banks ought to be moved near the front of the queue."

Can somebody please explain the context of this?
posted by schmod at 7:14 AM on April 8, 2013


Long live free enterprise!
posted by Redfield at 7:14 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


'We now live in a country in which John Major is our greatest living politician.' Armando Iannucci on Twitter.
posted by jonnyploy at 7:16 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:18 AM on April 8, 2013


As Jack Straw noted last week, Thatcher’s government needed “the police to be a partisan force” during such industrial upheaval, creating a “culture of impunity” in the police force.

Not that Jack "boot" Straw has much room to talk, but yes, the police.

My wife, who was of a working class lace curtain Irish Liverpudlian by way of Plymouth background, used to tell the story of how her and her dad went to a family reunion a few years after the mining strike and ran into a couple of cousins who told them of all the overtime money they'd made as coppers during the strike and how they'd "teased" the strikers, many of whom after months of striking were more than skint, by waving ifty pound notes at them. That was the last time her father or her ever spoke to them.

The mining strike was a great time to be a cop: all the work you could want, with overtime pay, and little to no check on your worst bullying behaviour; in fact a bit of the old violence was positivily encouraged.

It's not that the police before (Liddle Towers, Blair Peach) had been any less political or less of a tool of the governing classes, but it was never as naked, as extreme as in the eighties. Not just the strikes, but also the race riots, the poll tax riots, the hassling of political opponents and anybody who didn't fit in.
posted by MartinWisse at 7:18 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Can somebody please explain the context of this?

Iain Banks has long been a strong critic of Thatcher and the Tories, and recently announced that he has terminal cancer, and not long to live. There was a thread a few days back. And appropriately, ROU Xenophobe is also a character in one of Banks' books.
posted by daveje at 7:18 AM on April 8, 2013


Thanks, dajeve & others. The other news articles have also been helpful.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:19 AM on April 8, 2013


Apparently she spent her final days in the Ritz... I'd laugh but I'm too busy puking

She's still in there.
posted by popcassady at 7:19 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I grew up in a mining part of the North of England. I don't know if I can really express the sheer visceral hate of her that my area had. It was something that permeated everything - much the same as mippy upthread we sang playground rhymes about murdering her when we were barely old enough to read. She was, to us as children, almost a literal personification of evil.

Now, bear this in mind: I went to a private school. Every single one of us had parents who were rich, and either right-wing or prepared to compromise on their leftiness enough to send their children out of the state school system. And we sang in the playground about killing her.

The depth, the universality of that hatred is something I've never experienced since.

I'm still a lefty, and as an adult I can justify why I dislike the ideology and what she represented. But my emotional reaction comes from growing up in that environment. And it's a reaction that's raw and visceral and nasty, but it's so deep that it feels like it's something I can no more change than I could change my DNA.
posted by Coobeastie at 7:20 AM on April 8, 2013 [22 favorites]


Listened to BBC World News for a bit this morning:
  • Several minutes of a retrospective of Thatcher's "special relationship" with Reagan
  • Several minutes of Henry Kissinger
  • Several minutes of a conservative MP
  • Several minutes of another conservative MP
  • Something along the lines of "Her supporters say that she saved Britain; her opponents may disagree, but even they admit she was a figure of profound importance"
  • Five seconds mentioning that Mia Farrow has noted that Thatcher called Nelson Mandela a terrorist
posted by Flunkie at 7:21 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]




The Iain Banks comment is a reference to his expressed intention to piss on her grave. He's said this a couple of times. I can't find the quote now, but I remember him being asked about his ambitions, and he said something like:

"When Thatcher dies you'll see me with a twinkle in my eye and a full bladder."
posted by spectrevsrector at 7:21 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


schmod The context is that Iain Banks is a critic of Thatcher and has just made his (terminal) cancer public. He's Scottish and his feelings are shared by many (if not all) of the people in Scotland. The queue referred to is the queue to piss on her grave - this is a commonplace reaction to many people in the UK to Thatcher's death.
posted by Gilgongo at 7:22 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Add to the 'Thatcher's legacy' songs Ralph McTell's The Enemy Within.
posted by Catseye at 7:24 AM on April 8, 2013


The Iain Banks comment is a reference to his expressed intention to piss on her grave.

Also a common Thatcher-dead meme. I made a comment in another thread ages ago to the extent of feeling sorry for the guy who has to remove the 2 meter high crystal of uric acid that's going to build up on her grave each week.
posted by daveje at 7:24 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


www.isthatcherstilldead.co.uk is available!
posted by fullerine at 7:25 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


The queue referred to is the queue to piss on her grave - this is a commonplace reaction to many people in the UK to Thatcher's death.

As Byron put it much earlier:

"Posterity will ne'er survey
A nobler grave than this:
Here lie the bones of Castlereagh:
Stop, traveller, and piss."
posted by MartinWisse at 7:26 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Lovely sunny day today too... looks like Spring's finally arrived
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:26 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apparently, Jeremy Clarkson is inconsolable. He has threatened to throw himself on her funeral pyre.


Don't do it, Jezza! Valhalla isn't real!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:27 AM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I am not celebrating Margaret Thatcher's death, but I am grieved by the life that she led.

For the colossal damage she did to Great Britain, and elsewhere:

.
posted by orange swan at 7:28 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


US politicians seem to be reacting predicably to her death.
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:28 AM on April 8, 2013


Frankie Boyle wrote today, "Thatcher is the reason that the tweets saying you shouldn't joke about her death are riddled with spelling mistakes."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:29 AM on April 8, 2013 [77 favorites]


Privatised businesses have shareholders
who expect to make personal gain
from their stake in essential public services
infested with junior-rat management...
and people wonder where
all the fucking money's gone.

I hate you
I hate you
I hate you
I hate you


The Jazz Butcher, Sixteen Years
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:30 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


"The Iron Lady herself would surely agree that poor taxpayers should not be further burdened in these times of austerity":

Privatising Margaret Thatcher's funeral would be a fitting tribute to her legacy
posted by Mister Bijou at 7:33 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


I didn't want to have to wade into this part, but it seems unfortunate that in all the musical references nobody's mentioned the Mekons yet; "Vengeance" is a fitting tune as it explicitly references this day, but as a song of hope I rather prefer "Robin Hood," though its reference to Thatcher is a bit oblique ("Grantham, hugely petty / riding on her crocodile / 'cross teeming London bridge / paved with blood and gold...")

But of course, as I said above, it's rather important to remember the noble dead. In that spirit, I will be listening a bit to Ed Pickford's fine old anthem "Farewell, Johnny Miner."
posted by koeselitz at 7:36 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Will not miss this one
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:37 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mister Bijou: ""The Iron Lady herself would surely agree that poor taxpayers should not be further burdened in these times of austerity":

Privatising Margaret Thatcher's funeral would be a fitting tribute to her legacy
"

Indeed, it takes a special kind of Establishment brain rot to loudly call for a woman so committed to destroying 'the state' to be accorded it's greatest privilege.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:38 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


I hope no one celebrates your death the way you are celebrating hers.

I hope I haven't been such a shit and bad influence on society by the time I'm dead.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:38 AM on April 8, 2013 [20 favorites]


Oh, and...
posted by Mental Wimp at 7:40 AM on April 8, 2013


If I can mix in beer snobbery with snark for a moment, I think I just found the perfect opportunity to finally crack open some of that Westvleteren 12 we went to get a couple of months back.
posted by MartinWisse at 7:40 AM on April 8, 2013


I disagree strongly with Margaret Thatcher's politics, but there's one hard lesson she taught very well - which is that the opinion of one strong person will always triumph over the opinion of thousands of weaklings. After all, a lot of people will undoubtedly piss on Margaret Thatcher's grave, but she effectively pissed on them while they were alive, and there's not a damn thing they could do to stop it.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 7:41 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


If they have a funeral procession it would be a nice place to kick off an 80s style Summer of Rioting.
posted by fullerine at 7:42 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


UK folks who were around back then: What was the left's counterpoint to what Thatcher was providing? That is, what was Labour / the other parts of the press proposing to deal with the apparent crisis that she came into address?

You mean, what was the Labour manifesto? Well, the 1979 one is here. Broadly, it was arguing for "industrial democracy" - a government-meditated negotiation between labor and management. Also lots of Obama-ish stuff about energy efficiency after the oil shock, and a tentative consideration of fast-breeder nuclear power.

The keys were reduction of inflation and a move back towards full employment, or as near as possible, by encouraging further study, earlier retirement, short working weeks. Also, a "wealth tax" on people earning more than £150,000 a year (lol). However, Labour in 1979 was a pretty limp duck.

The 1983 manifesto is genuinely interesting - Thatcher had managed to recover from unpopularity thanks to the Falklands War, and Michael Foot was being slaughtered in the press as old, bimbling, a trotskyite and so on. The suggestion of nuclear disarmament was seized upon as a preamble to a societ takeover. But the manifesto is angry - it's clear on what it sees Thatcher as doing to the country, and the need to prevent it. The section on telecommunications is interesting as well:
A national cable system will make possible a wide range of new telecommunications services, greater variety in the provision of television, and a major stimulus to British technology and industry. But it must be under firm public control. A publicly-owned British Telecommunications will thus be given the sole responsibility to create a national, broadband network (including Mercury, the new privately-owned telecommunications system for business), which integrates telecommunications and broadcasting.
Despite the general pile-on, and the rise of the SDP, Labour managed a good chunk of the popular vote in 1983, but lost 60 seats. 1987 was about stopping the rot and repositioning that party as free of militant elements, and its leadership as caring friends of the common man rather than cloud-bobbing Fabians. Which sort of worked - Labour recovered 20 seats, on 3% swing, but it wasn't enough, and Neil Kinnock stayed on primarily because of a lack of alternatives.

(The other problem for Labour at this point was that the SDP-LIberal alliance was still sucking up votes from Europe-facing Tories frozen out by Thatcher's staunch Atlanticism, disenfranchised "one nation" conservatives, well-heeled liberals and the like. Labour + the Alliance had far more of the popular vote than the Conservatives, but far fewer seats in parliament, because of the way the electoral map works in the UK.)

After that election, Thatcher was a popped cork. The recession which the Saatchis and the Sun had foretold if Labour were elected arrived anyway, and the Poll Tax gored her fatally. The Conservatives jettisoned her in order to get a new-leader bounce which got them through the 1992 election, but couldn't stop them deliquescing into a rout in 1997.

(You can tell when a government is unpopular in the UK because the gap between election years goes up from 4 to 5...)
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:42 AM on April 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


Apparently she spent her final days in the Ritz... I'd laugh but I'm too busy puking
As a friend pointed out, whose fault it is that she would be more comfortable in a hotel after a stroke rather than a hospital?
posted by bonaldi at 7:43 AM on April 8, 2013 [15 favorites]


.

Rest in peace, Baroness Thatcher, first and only female prime minister of England, Oxford-educated scientist and research chemist, mother, and wife.
posted by corb at 7:43 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Listened to BBC World News for a bit this morning:

God is it nauseating. Even more propaganda-isque than when Mishal Hussain was gushing over Kate Middleton's dress while standing in the middle of Trafalgar Square.
posted by the cydonian at 7:44 AM on April 8, 2013


Too bad Maggie wasn't along, or we'd have saved the Rolls.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 7:44 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


People of London will be dancing on the streets tonight

Brixton Street Party
posted by the_epicurean at 7:44 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Grantham, hugely petty / riding on her crocodile / 'cross teeming London bridge / paved with blood and gold..."

I had always wondered about that line - how obvious it seems in retrospect.

There's also Stand Down Margaret. And that was before everyone was sure how bad she'd be.

And of course, people used to sing Maggie's Farm.
posted by Frowner at 7:44 AM on April 8, 2013



I disagree strongly with Margaret Thatcher's politics, but there's one hard lesson she taught very well - which is that the opinion of one strong person will always triumph over the opinion of thousands of weaklings. After all, a lot of people will undoubtedly piss on Margaret Thatcher's grave, but she effectively pissed on them while they were alive, and there's not a damn thing they could do to stop it.


Sure, but thus ever with tyrants... I don't think that lesson is new.
posted by sweetkid at 7:44 AM on April 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


In case anyone's making a mixtape, here's Mogwai's addition.
posted by echo target at 7:44 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I disagree strongly with Margaret Thatcher's politics, but there's one hard lesson she taught very well - which is that the opinion of one strong person will always triumph over the opinion of thousands of weaklings.

Oh, it's Godwin time then.
posted by Artw at 7:44 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Privatising Margaret Thatcher's funeral

Damn. Missed including the link
posted by Mister Bijou at 7:44 AM on April 8, 2013


I hope that her funeral will be a huge demo against the savage austerity policies her successors are enacting. Let's also note that her City deregulation allowed the casino banks to behave so recklessly before they collapsed, causing the financial system catastrophe that (apparently) requires the current attacks on the poor.

She was long ago irrelevant. But her legacy is vile, and current.
posted by Pericles at 7:47 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


there's one hard lesson she taught very well - which is that the opinion of one strong person will always triumph over the opinion of thousands of weaklings.
That would make more sense if she wasn't really initially effectively a puppet of Airey Neave and various other hard-right Tory men and only got the job due to their internal Tory Party machinations.
posted by Abiezer at 7:49 AM on April 8, 2013


I wish she and Reagan were both still alive and that their policies had died instead.

To be fair, even Arthur Laffer denies inventing the Laffer Curve. So they don't have the hold they once did. Still, it could be better.
posted by atbash at 7:50 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have a herd of caribou for hire.
Anyone interested?

Maybe I should find some Cher fans, who are most confused.
posted by Mezentian at 7:52 AM on April 8, 2013


In a way, this thread is evidence of what an incredible figure Thatcher was. It's been nearly a quarter century since she held power but she has almost passed into legend, like some mythical bogeyman, even to those of us who remember her. And her lingering dissolve has probably robbed us of proper closure; it's too far removed from the damage she did, too large a legacy to erase. Our national psyche probably requires a public execution to fully process her passing. I suggest we wrestle her effigy from Parliament and behead it; it's the only way to be sure.
posted by londonmark at 7:52 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Apparently, Jeremy Clarkson is inconsolable. He has threatened to throw himself on her funeral pyre.

Don't do it, Jezza!


Hey. shut up - let him do what he needs to.
posted by Segundus at 7:52 AM on April 8, 2013 [21 favorites]


Obama and Others Mourn Margaret Thatcher
“With the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend,” President Obama said in a statement. “Here in America, many of us will never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan, reminding the world that we are not simply carried along by the currents of history—we can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will.”
posted by corb at 7:52 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well, you lot mourned Reagan, so, you know...
posted by Artw at 7:54 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


...there's one hard lesson she taught very well - which is that the opinion of one strong person will always triumph over the opinion of thousands of weaklings.

Close it up, no joke can top that.
posted by emmtee at 7:54 AM on April 8, 2013


Well, Obama was hardly going to say 'On the passing of Baroness Margaret Thatcher... thank fuck for that, the Tory bitch', was he?
posted by mippy at 7:55 AM on April 8, 2013 [44 favorites]


Well, Obama would have to say that; any world leader this side of Raúl Castro would be expected to mouth some platitudes for the passing of a former leader of a non-rogue state. Professional courtesy and all.
posted by acb at 7:55 AM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


we are not simply carried along by the currents of history—we can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will.

The problem is when we hand the keys to power with people have courage to bend the currents of history to their will when their convictions are wrong.

I do like soft serve ice cream, though. I'll eulogize George W. Bush for supporting and signing the bill that created the FCC's Do Not Call List when he dies.
posted by deanc at 7:56 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


*sigh* She fucked over the poor in every possible way. I'm sorry when anyone dies, but I can't bring myself to grieve for her. I'm thankful she's in a place where she can't do any more harm.

jaduncan: "They also greatly reduced the stock of social housing, fought to make welfare harder to obtain, and fought against feminism, LGBT rights and worker's solidarity."

Yes.

You know, I've never understood why some people view her as some sort of gay icon. Yes, her government created a very visible, fact-based campaign to educate the public about the dangers of HIV in stark contrast to the complete indifference the US government showed during that time period. But she also was responsible for Section 28, which banned local officials from doing anything that promoted homosexuality or teaching that gay families were acceptable. She hamstrung gay rights groups, promoted a conservative vision of LGBT's and prevented them from also educating their communities about AIDS.
posted by zarq at 7:56 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Having grown up and come of age under a Thatcher government, I have mixed feelings about her passing. I lived close to mining country (Cannock in Staffordshire) and saw the devastation the strike brought to the town. My Dad had a stall on Cannock market and we saw first hand the families scrounging food to put on the table, so we helped where we could. She also took my milk away in school "Thatcher, Thatcher, milk snatcher", although she apparently had misgivings about it. The poll tax riots were a serious misstep and probably laid the foundations of her departure.

On the other hand, she led the country as the first woman Prime Minister and had more backbone than a bunch of subsequent leaders (I'd trade her in her prime for Cameron any day). I'd have rather had her in charge than Tony Blair when Bush II came looking for allies in warmongering. I suspect she'd have told him to get stuffed. My grandparents bought their council house thanks to Maggie, that gave them some security as they grew older and for that I'm grateful.

If I had to grade her, I'd say B+, better action regarding the IRA and less free market economics would have moved her up in my estimations. I think history will treat her more kindly than we do currently.

.
posted by arcticseal at 7:56 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


So my snarky comment about the garlic and wooden stake got deleted. I wonder what the admins would have done if I had said what I really think of the iron witch.

Thatcher was evil personified. I'm not even British and I'm tempted to pick up some champaigne on the way home tonight.
posted by localroger at 7:56 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


One more for the mixtape: Maggie's Last Party - V.I.M.
posted by spoolian at 7:57 AM on April 8, 2013


First woman Prime Minister.

.
posted by alasdair at 7:57 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Some leftist group has stickers calling for a party in Trafalgar Square on the Saturday following her death.

I'm betting there'll be a Tienanmen-level police presence, with anyone with a mohawk or red flag being summarily kettled under national-security laws left over from the Olympics.
posted by acb at 7:58 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]




For the non-British like me wondering about the etymology of poll tax:
The word poll is an English word that once meant "head" - and still does, in some specialized contexts - hence the name poll tax for a per-person tax. In the United States, however, the term has come to be used almost exclusively for a fixed tax applied to voting. Since "going to the polls" is a common idiom for voting (deriving from the fact that early voting involved head-counts), a new folk etymology has supplanted common knowledge of the phrase's true origins in America.
posted by the cydonian at 7:58 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Possibly not that anyone cares, but have been looking around for a link to the thing about the IMF loan being unnecessary I mentioned above - it was something Douglas Wass, then treasury secretary wrote and his book is reviewed here:
Wass observes that the crisis was resolved before any of the measures agreed with the IMF had taken effect: the turnaround was a matter of confidence. Subsequent data showed that public spending had been contained, thanks to earlier measures, especially the 1975 reforms, and that the program's public spending cuts amounted, inadvertently, to "overkill." They were largely cancelled during 1977, without damage to the U.K.'s overall fiscal commitments under the program. In Wass's view, therefore, the spending cuts agreed in the program were important mainly as "totemic gestures" to the markets whose sentiment they transformed.
posted by Abiezer at 7:59 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The weird thing is, we used to get free milk at school. This is after the Thatcher Milk Snatcher stuff. That'll be in 1976 or something. It was pretty disgusting though. I'm glad it stopped.
posted by zoo at 8:02 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's an obscure one for the mixtape: Inner City Unit // Blue Rinse Haggard Robot
posted by bifter at 8:02 AM on April 8, 2013


.
posted by BurntHombre at 8:04 AM on April 8, 2013



First woman Prime Minister.

And, probably, the last. At least while she's in living memory. I know of people who confessed, shamefully, that they voted for her first time round in the hope a woman would do a better job. There will be thousands who will believe, led by her example, that a woman could only do a worse job. And if that sounds like I'm underestimating the intelligence of the public, well, I point you to 'elf and safety', 'baa baa green sheep' and 'EU want to outlaw bendy bananas'.
posted by mippy at 8:04 AM on April 8, 2013


Margaret Thatcher: Ultimate Feminist Icon Whether She Liked It Or Not
She may never have stood up and shouted about women’s rights, but the very fact that she managed to become Prime Minister and is today being remembered as “the outstanding peacetime leader of the 20th century” (not the outstanding female peacetime leader of the 20th century) meant a shift in mindset for both men and women that no amount of feminist rhetoric has ever achieved since in Britian. As the Suffragette’s motto put it: “Deeds not words”.

Once Lady Thatcher took office, suddenly little girls across the UK knew that they too could be the leader of Britain. It wasn't off limits and just a job reserved for men.
posted by corb at 8:05 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm looking forward to an open and transparent bidding process for funeral services, where the innovation and efficiency of the private sector will ensure a dignified and value for money ceremony. An guard of honor of part time G4S security guards in hi-vis vests, lining a toll road. It's quite literally, what she would have wanted.
posted by Damienmce at 8:05 AM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Possibly not that anyone cares, but have been looking around for a link to the thing about the IMF loan being unnecessary I mentioned above - it was something Douglas Wass, then treasury secretary wrote and his book is reviewed here:
Wass observes that the crisis was resolved before any of the measures agreed with the IMF had taken effect: the turnaround was a matter of confidence. Subsequent data showed that public spending had been contained, thanks to earlier measures, especially the 1975 reforms, and that the program's public spending cuts amounted, inadvertently, to "overkill." They were largely cancelled during 1977, without damage to the U.K.'s overall fiscal commitments under the program. In Wass's view, therefore, the spending cuts agreed in the program were important mainly as "totemic gestures" to the markets whose sentiment they transformed.


this isn't really the argument you want to be making though. Its sort of the cri de coeur of the current austerity craze.
posted by JPD at 8:07 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


And mother rabbits would tell their kittens that if they did not do as they were told, the General would get them – the General who was first cousin to the Black Rabbit himself. Such was Woundwort’s monument: and perhaps it would not have displeased him.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:07 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


> The Daily Mash: Northern Britain already hammered.
> posted by fight or flight at 9:08 AM on April 8

Heh. “I would say they were all aggressively drunk within four to five minutes. I think it was the adrenalin rush, combined with the funnels."
posted by jfuller at 8:09 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


My grandparents bought their council house thanks to Maggie, that gave them some security as they grew older and for that I'm grateful.
The right to buy your council house isn't a bad idea, and has had fairly broad support at various times. The problem is that the Thatcher government introduced it in a way that effectively stopped local government from using the money to build replacement houses. The right to buy could have been an integral part of social housing, but instead it was a way of destroying social housing.

The effect today is that housing benefit is sometimes incredibly high, and the government gets to bemoan that welfare is too expensive and unaffordable. The sale of social housing was a one-off policy that benefitted those of a given age, but harms those who come afterward. Much of the 80s economic boom was about liquidating social goods for a shortrun private gain, all the while ignoring the longrun harm that it would do.
posted by Jehan at 8:09 AM on April 8, 2013 [38 favorites]


this isn't really the argument you want to be making though. Its sort of the cri de coeur of the current austerity craze.
Well, the argument's about the bullet point list of 1970s crisis phenomena that meant it was a special time calling for a special woman when in fact it was in many ways cyclical business as usual and the policy response was driven by a shift in ideology rather than some objective necessity.
posted by Abiezer at 8:12 AM on April 8, 2013


Much of the 80s economic boom was about liquidating social goods for a shortrun private gain, all the while ignoring the longrun harm that it would do.

See also: North Sea oil.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:13 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


In times like these it is important to remember the words of Betty Davis: I was taught to speak only good of the dead. Joan Crawford is dead. Good
posted by Ber at 8:13 AM on April 8, 2013 [22 favorites]


Her stand against Republican terrorism is Northern Ireland - meaning concerted military and intelligence action - brought the IRA to the negotiating table, and today we have peace in Northern Ireland.

I'll be polite and say this is incorrect. If anything she prolonged it for her own benefit. If anyone deserves credit its John Major for going to the negotiated table. Blair et al did the arduous process of the Good Friday Agreement but Major was the one who kicked it off, taking considerable political risk talking to terrorists at a time when 'We'll never surrender to the IRA!'.
posted by Damienmce at 8:14 AM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


I'd have rather had her in charge than Tony Blair when Bush II came looking for allies in warmongering. I suspect she'd have told him to get stuffed.

You've forgotten about the sinking of the Belgrano, haven't you?
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 8:14 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


After the Housemartins, but before he was Fatboy Slim, Norman Cook's Beats International recorded another contribution to the playlist: Ten Long Years.
posted by kimota at 8:15 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The sale of social housing was a one-off policy that benefitted those of a given age, but harms those who come afterward.

And if, for instance, you lived in one of those parts of Britain and worked in one of those industries where Thatcher's government considered you expendable, you probably didn't have the chance to buy that council house at a time when it made sense; you might have spent 25 years redecorating and keeping it nice, but you're now being whacked with the bedroom tax because your kids have grown up and moved out, and you can't move into smaller social housing because it was never built.

Thatcher never mourned the futures she killed. I'll take my cue from that.
posted by holgate at 8:16 AM on April 8, 2013 [21 favorites]


Well, the argument's about the bullet point list of 1970s crisis phenomena that meant it was a special time calling for a special woman when in fact it was in many ways cyclical business as usual and the policy response was driven by a shift in ideology rather than some objective necessity.

Well no, that's not what it says. It says the IMF bailout would have been necessary had the new government not come to power and enacted the spending cuts that convinced the confidence fairies (pace Krugman) that "The UK was very very serious about debt reduction." If you follow his logic he is saying it was an objective necessity to cut spending. Just as Osborne and Cameron are saying today "we can borrow so cheaply because the rest of the world now believe we are serious about 'getting our accounts in order'" - which is bullshit of course.
posted by JPD at 8:17 AM on April 8, 2013


articseal My grandparents bought their council house thanks to Maggie, that gave them some security as they grew older and for that I'm grateful.

But, but, but .... no one got thrown out of socially provided housing (providing they paid the rent), and the sale of council housing may have benefited your grandparents but it has led, directly and deliberately, to the situation where people are forced out of their houses because they have a "spare" bedroom and where there is a significant lack of social housing, leading to inflated profits for those who can afford a second house.

Classic thatcherism - benefit for the wealth, loss for the poor and vulnerable, supported by the "I've got mine" selfishness of those blind to systematic discrimination.
posted by Gilgongo at 8:17 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Once Lady Thatcher took office, suddenly little girls across the UK knew that they too could be the leader of Britain. It wasn't off limits and just a job reserved for men.

This reminds me of an Italian Catholic Philosopher whose name escapes me who mocked the bourgeoisie habit of incessently and constantly trying to point out how some thing or another "had good aspects to it." Everything has "something in it that is useful." Lots of people have good things to say about the Soviet Union, too. And Mao finally put an end to foot-binding!
posted by deanc at 8:17 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


There is no question that Margaret Thatcher was a sociopath who made the world markedly worse for everyone but a small minority of the very rich. The damage caused by her policies is still with us, and still ruins the lives of millions yearly.

What we need is a thousand people with the courage and conviction and aggression of Thatcher, to overturn and tear into a thousand pieces her vile legacy and put something good and strong in its place.

That is the best thing that could succeed her: the absolute overturning of everything that she believed in by her betters, the ordinary people she so viciously despised.
posted by lucien_reeve at 8:18 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Anybody else really, really hating the fact that Garth Ennis doesn't have a Twitter account?
posted by kimota at 8:21 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


The day I celebrate Thatcher as a feminist icon -- any kind of feminist icon, no matter how slight -- is the day I accept that the suffering of millions is worth a small and ultimately irrelevant victory. It'll never happen.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 8:21 AM on April 8, 2013 [36 favorites]


Well no, that's not what it says.
I've linked to a review on the IMF site and I very much doubt Wass shares my views either, I wasn't citing them because they agree with me about how an economy should be run.
The point is it was measures taken in 1975 that had achieved what they saw as necessary under the then Labour administration - so the whole "cap in hand to the IMF" talking point is based on a notion of failures by that administration that don't match the historical record.
posted by Abiezer at 8:22 AM on April 8, 2013


Tango Atlantico - newly relevant.
posted by GrammarMoses at 8:23 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


By now, the "list of tweets by youngsters who don't know their history" when an important figure dies is more obligatory than revelatory. But I actually really like this one:

ive not a scooby who margaret thatcher is but my granda seems chuffed. peace
posted by unregistered_animagus at 8:24 AM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Never been a better time to be a champagne socialist
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 8:24 AM on April 8, 2013


Margaret Thatcher, "Speech on Pinochet at the Conservative Party Conference," 1999:
My friends, it's nine years since I spoke at a Conservative Party Conference. A lot has happened since then - and not much of it for the better... Today I break my self-denying ordinance. And for a very good reason - to express my outrage at the callous and unjust treatment of Senator Pinochet...

Make no mistake: revenge by the Left, not justice for the victim, is what the Pinochet case is all about. Senator Pinochet is in truth on trial, not for anything contained in Judge Garzon's indictment, but for defeating communism. What the Left can't forgive is that Pinochet undoubtedly saved Chile and helped save South America...

As he himself admits, there were abuses in the wake of the military coup. And some of these continued. The precise responsibility for what happened can only be judged in Chile. But it is an affront to commonsense, as well as a caricature of justice, to maintain that a head of government must automatically accept criminal responsibility for everything that is done while he is in power - whether he authorised it or not, whether he overlooked it or not, whether he knew about it or not.
posted by koeselitz at 8:26 AM on April 8, 2013 [26 favorites]


You've forgotten about the sinking of the Belgrano, haven't you?
I have to say this is one criticism I don't understand.

I think the Sun's headline was disgusting though.
posted by Jehan at 8:28 AM on April 8, 2013


> My husband is going to see Tony Benn at the Nottingham Playhouse tonight. Man, that is going to be some party.

I notice the event has been cancelled due to illness. I hope for Benn's sake the illness is tomorrow's anticipated hangover.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 8:28 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Margaret Thatcher was a highly intelligent and persuasive woman. I mourn the fact that she used her abilities to transform Britain into a far uglier place to the detriment of millions of its citizens.
posted by grouse at 8:29 AM on April 8, 2013 [15 favorites]


Tramp the fucking dirt down, indeed.

Good riddance.
posted by scody at 8:29 AM on April 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


.
posted by NordyneDefenceDynamics at 8:30 AM on April 8, 2013


If we're collecting songs, to put it politely, inspired by Thatcher, we might as well add one of the high points of 1980s Doctor Who: "The Happiness Patrol". (first episode here... and yes, I'm being totally serious when I say that I'm watching this and thinking, "at least good art comes from bad times.")
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:33 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]




Simple, but powerful, picture from Glasgow of a newspaper board just now.
posted by Wordshore at 8:34 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have to say this is one criticism I don't understand.

It was outside the exclusion zone and sailing away when it was sunk
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:36 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


"I'm ecstatic she's dead." That's too simple.
"She can suffer in hell." No, not quite -
"May she live in the mine of her spirit,
without warmth, without ore, without light."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:38 AM on April 8, 2013 [21 favorites]


Glasgow Evening Times Pic
obit
"History is often kinder to politicians after their death. In the case of Margaret Thatcher, don't hold your breath."
posted by stuartmm at 8:38 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Mrs. Thatcher: Tax-and-Spend Liberal.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:38 AM on April 8, 2013


Charming.

Earlier today, CNN in the US broadcast a picture of Margaret Thatcher. With Jimmy Saville. Holding an NSPCC badge.

(NSPCC = National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children)
posted by daveje at 8:41 AM on April 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


It was outside the exclusion zone and sailing away when it was sunk

and the sinking was designed to make sure the war continued, rather than begin negotiations.
posted by carter at 8:41 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I hope no one celebrates your death the way you are celebrating hers.

I would be proud if my death were celebrated the way Ms. Thatcher's is being celebrated here, just as I would be proud if the Westboro Baptist Church picketed my funeral.

Maggie Thatcher is the reason the UK is not now in the state Greece is in. She saved Britain from Labour, and Labour will never forgive her for it.

God rest you, Ms. Thatcher.

.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:42 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]




Proof positive that not every woman in politics is good for Women in Politics. Good riddance.
posted by weeyin at 8:44 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The exclusion zone is irrelevant, as an enemy ship the General Belgrano could be struck wherever it was found. I'm no supporter of Thatcher, but I think this issue is overblown. I'm happy to hate on her, but I don't find anything here that has substance. Moreover, it takes away from the real problems with her domestic policies.
posted by Jehan at 8:46 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Must say I have similar sentiments to Jehan on that - the whole war was quite possibly avoidable by many accounts and there's something especially awful about imagining a troop ship full of teenage conscripts being sunk, but there were numerous more clearly criminal acts by our armed forces under her administration that get much less press, like the shoot-to-kill policy and collusion with paramilitaries in the north of Ireland.
posted by Abiezer at 8:51 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


The exclusion zone is irrelevant, as an enemy ship the General Belgrano could be struck wherever it was found. I'm no supporter of Thatcher, but I think this issue is overblown. I'm happy to hate on her, but I don't find anything here that has substance. Moreover, it takes away from the real problems with her domestic policies.

Agreed. It was war. An enemy battleship is always a legitimate target in war where ever it may be found.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:52 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maggie Thatcher is the reason the UK is not now in the state Greece is in.

Heh. No.
posted by Artw at 8:53 AM on April 8, 2013 [31 favorites]


Seems like she was way ahead of the curve. If she hadn't imposed her "iron" will England would have been in a similar economic situation as Greece and Cyprus now find themselves in. However I find this quote somewhat applicable to our (USA) current situation...

"How could a leader who was wise make 13 million people pay a tax they had never paid before? It just showed that she was no longer thinking in a rational way," one of her junior ministers, David Mellor, said in a BBC documentary.
posted by Gungho at 8:53 AM on April 8, 2013


Vanity Fair: The Invincible Mrs. Thatcher, December 2011
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:55 AM on April 8, 2013


Gungho: “If she hadn't imposed her 'iron' will England would have been in a similar economic situation as Greece and Cyprus now find themselves in.”

This is simply nonsense, and it's ridiculous that anybody is repeating it as though it were true. Thatcher consistently claimed that the best way to save the economy was to sacrifice employment in the name of stopping inflation - which not only is highly dubious, it has nothing to do with the current situation in Greece and Cyprus, where inflation isn't a problem at all anyway.
posted by koeselitz at 8:56 AM on April 8, 2013 [31 favorites]


It was outside the exclusion zone and sailing away when it was sunk

and the sinking was designed to make sure the war continued, rather than begin negotiations
.

Are you suggesting a state engaged in warfare to move its political interests forward and that it continued that war to the point of its political interests being met? This is why states engage in wars, especially states that have been attacked unilaterally. Why should a far stronger power that was about to obtain its war goals of recovering invaded land occupied by its citizens for 150 years just jump into negotiations to fritter away its upcoming victory? It makes no sense.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:58 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


The most feminist thing Margaret Thatcher ever did was prove to people everywhere that even women can be among the worst people of all time.
posted by grubi at 8:59 AM on April 8, 2013 [52 favorites]


And of course, people used to sing Maggie's Farm.

A version from back when it mattered most c/o The Waterboys.
posted by philip-random at 9:03 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


yeah - I'm apologise to all the americans on this thread who are bemused by the vitriol and think that it's disrespectful to celebrate, but- frankly - fuck that. There have been people out on my street this afternoon singing. Let us have our moment of catharsis.
posted by silence at 9:03 AM on April 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


from the Wikipedia entry on the Belgrano
On May 1, 1982, Admiral Juan Lombardo ordered all Argentine naval units to seek out the British task force around the Falklands and launch a “massive attack” the following day. The Belgrano, which was outside the exclusion zone to the north, was ordered south. Lombardo’s signal was intercepted by British Intelligence. As a result Mrs Thatcher and her War Cabinet, meeting at Chequers the following day, agreed to a request from Admiral Sir Terence Lewin, the Chief of the Defence Staff, to alter the rules of engagement and allow an attack on the Belgrano outside the exclusion zone.[6] Although the group was outside the British-declared Total Exclusion Zone of 370 km (200 nautical miles) radius from the islands, the British decided that it was a threat. After consultation at Cabinet level, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher agreed that Commander Chris Wreford-Brown should attack the Belgrano.[7]
Can we just dislike her for the reasons she deserves to be disliked for? A Junta of generals known for disappearing thousands attacked another country to distract their own people from the crimes they were committing. Thatcher has rightfully earned our dislike. But defending against attackers isn't a reason why.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:03 AM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


The most feminist thing Margaret Thatcher ever did was prove to people everywhere that even women can be among the worst people of all time.

Came in here to say as much. I lived in the north of England for a couple of years while she was PM. She was a force to be reckoned with, and it was hard not to admire that when I was a young girl. But very little of what she did was for good and most of it was rank, naked, selfish evil. Her legacy, like Reagan's, is shameful.

. for those who suffered under her policies, and still do.
posted by immlass at 9:06 AM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


Not only that, but the UK put Argentina under warning on April 23 that it reserved the right to attack warships outside the exclusion zone:
In announcing the establishment of a Maritime Exclusion Zone around the Falkland Islands, Her Majesty's Government made it clear that this measure was without prejudice to the right of the United Kingdom to take whatever additional measures may be needed in the exercise of its right of self-defence under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. In this connection Her Majesty's Government now wishes to make clear that any approach on the part of Argentine warships, including submarines, naval auxiliaries or military aircraft, which could amount to a threat to interfere with the mission of British Forces in the South Atlantic will encounter the appropriate response. All Argentine aircraft, including civil aircraft engaged in surveillance of these British forces, will be regarded as hostile and are liable to be dealt with accordingly.[22]
posted by Ironmouth at 9:07 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Agreed. It was war.

Actually, it wasn't, except in the broadest sense. There was never a declaration of war by either side. The UK argued that attacking ships outside the maritime exclusion zone was justified as self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter. In the period after the war, and the fall of the Junta, sources in the Argentine military have acknowledged that the Belgrano was a fair target, but it's still not universally agreed upon, still. If it had been an actual war, things would have been much simpler.
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:07 AM on April 8, 2013


Maggie Thatcher is the reason the UK is not now in the state Greece is in.

This is just nonsense, in fact you can reasonably draw a line between the rise of the City as the saviour of the British economy under Thatcher and the creation of the economic bubble that created the current global depression
posted by brilliantmistake at 9:08 AM on April 8, 2013 [18 favorites]


Thatcher has rightfully earned our dislike. But defending against attackers isn't a reason why.

There was a far less violent resolution to the Falklands crisis than the one Maggie chose. Her motivations were cynical. Many lives were cut short (British and Argentine) so that she could rally her moribund nation, prove she had balls.

I generally don't believe in speaking ill of the dead, but neither should we unduly praise them.
posted by philip-random at 9:10 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm apologise to all the americans on this thread who are bemused by the vitriol and think that it's disrespectful to celebrate

No worries -- a good number of us are celebrating on this side of the pond, too. Sing an extra chorus for me!
posted by scody at 9:12 AM on April 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


Glasgow City Council asks people not to hold an unofficial party in the city's main square
posted by bonaldi at 9:16 AM on April 8, 2013


[The Belgrano] was outside the exclusion zone and sailing away when it was sunk

British military intelligence reviewed the case after the war and concluded (in a classified report) "that in late April 1982, they intercepted a message sent from naval headquarters ordering the Belgrano and its escorts to a grid reference within the exclusion zone and not back to base as the Argentines later claimed." The sinking has of course become a bloody shirt for the pro-Malvenas wing as well as anti-Thatcherites, but the record shows that it had nothing to do with sabotaging diplomatic efforts. War is brutal and chaotic enough without introducing conspiracy.

On the other hand, the BBC's obituary-linked appraisal of the Falklands War has nothing to say about Chile's covert regional support for UK forces, which gained Chile Thatcher's gratitude (and some old fighter jets, as well as a blind eye to the regime's human rights abuses). There was no good reason, however, for her to have continued to support Pinochet in exile in the 90s.

An objective assessment of Thatcher's realpolitik isn't going to whitewash her reputation any more than it will demonize her. Right now, though, just burying her without one or the other would be a herculean task.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:16 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Let us have our moment of catharsis.

Can't we share? I'd love to see pictures and videos of the spontaneous celebrations so I could feel like I was sharing in the party, however remotely. I'll be raising a glass across the Atlantic, anyhow.
posted by RogerB at 9:17 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Glasgow Council hurriedly release statement about people partying in the centre of Glasgow.
posted by Wordshore at 9:18 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Joe in Australia: There's always a reason to be especially vile and nasty about female politicians, and there's always a good reason for doing so.
Oh, yeah: you're totally getting it. We hate her because she's a woman. Yup.

And we hate Justice "FeelMyPockets Let'sTalkDonkeySexInTheWorkplace" Thomas because he's black.

If it makes you feel any better, my hatred of evil people is roughly equal for white Christian American guys like Cheney, too... or is that proof of my latent anti-father-of-a-lesbian-ism?
posted by IAmBroom at 9:18 AM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Bonaldi, that better be so the Official celebration is properly organised. There is a crowd gathering though and the police are hanging about.
posted by stuartmm at 9:18 AM on April 8, 2013


Earlier today, CNN in the US broadcast a picture of Margaret Thatcher. With Jimmy Saville

Well, they both screwed miners.
posted by IanMorr at 9:20 AM on April 8, 2013 [76 favorites]


Hmm, wonder if we'll get a day off work.

Still got a job, then? Aren't you the lucky one...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:20 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


So I'm back in Glasgow, and this happens. Back at my parents' place, where they still — inexplicably — worship her. Though we grew up upper class, public school and all, there was always the unfairness of the Thatcher years that one Just Did Not Talk About. Such spineless, heartless bastards we were.

Oh, to be in Scotland now that Thatcher's dead ...
posted by scruss at 9:21 AM on April 8, 2013


Wikileaks Cable Captures Margaret Thatcher's Meteoric Rise

For people who want to access this - you can avoid the required sign in by cutting and pasting the link from Google.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:22 AM on April 8, 2013


Joe in Australia: There's always a reason to be especially vile and nasty about female politicians, and there's always a good reason for doing so.

Unless you are pointing out her female sex as a reason to attack her or use female-specific language to demean her memory, then this is incorrect. If she is to be lionized by her supporters today, those who opposed her may also get their say.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:22 AM on April 8, 2013


Webcam of George Square. Looks like there might be about 50 people there?
posted by sagwalla at 9:23 AM on April 8, 2013




Glasgow Council hurriedly release statement about people partying in the centre of Glasgow.

Plus, the Council are still trying to do damage control over the total mess that was the planned George Square renovation, and are still generally perceived as attempting to spend a fortune on turning a public space with a long history of popular gatherings and protests into a venue for commercial 'events' with a design nobody wants. So "no parties celebrating Thatcher's death in George Square, unless you're the organiser of a legitimate event with our permission!" isn't going to go down too well.
posted by Catseye at 9:25 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I guess it's a tiny bit of consolation for Iain Banks.
posted by Artw at 9:25 AM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Joe in Australia: There's always a reason to be especially vile and nasty about female politicians, and there's always a good reason for doing so.

I don't hate her because she's a woman. I hate her because she's that specific woman.
posted by grubi at 9:25 AM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Glasgow Council hurriedly release statement about people partying in the centre of Glasgow.

... while the webcam currently shows people congregating.

Meanwhile, in London, there's a media scrum outside The Ritz hotel as journalists wait for the body to be removed, and the Telegraph newspaper online has closed all comments on all Thatcher stories.
posted by Wordshore at 9:27 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


sagwalla people only really started arriving after 5pm.
posted by stuartmm at 9:27 AM on April 8, 2013


The obituaries have been written for some time.

Yeah, as mippy says above, there is absolutely nothing unusual about this and this shouldn't be taken as an indication of snark or hatred. If you're a well-known public figure (doesn't matter if you are universally loved or loathed) , especially if you are old, major new organizations are going to prepare detailed obituaries for you in advance whether you're expected to end up living years and years more or not.
posted by Bwithh at 9:28 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I never expected to be "rejoice, rejoice" about this, but I can now say that it's like when the press slaps up the mugshots of a convicted mass murderer from decades past. Or Jimmy Savile. I simply never want to see her face again.

(If the British charts are so susceptible to the popular mood that "Let's Get Ready To Rhumble" can be elevated to number one, I'd hope that the good people of Britain can find a consensus candidate to mark the week. My preference would be for this.)
posted by holgate at 9:28 AM on April 8, 2013


I was a teenager in London from 1980-82, during the high years of labor conflict and the closing of state-owned British coal, steel, and transport industries. (Lucky me, I was also there for the explosion of punk rock in response to hideous unemployment and the decline of social welfare and labor power.)

No sorrow, no sadness, not even joy. Good riddance to a nasty piece of work.
posted by spitbull at 9:29 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Peter Tatchell:

“Margaret Thatcher was an extraordinary woman but she was extraordinary for mostly the wrong reasons. So many of her policies were wrong and heartless. Nevertheless, I don’t rejoice in her death. I commiserate, as I do with the death of any person. In contrast, she showed no empathy for the victims of her harsh, ruthless policy decisions.

“Thatcher initiated policies that paved the way for the current economic crisis: the decimation of Britain’s manufacturing base, the get-rich-quick business mentality, the promotion of the free market and the poorly regulated banking sector. This led to imbalances in the economy. The financial sector gained undue influence, with few checks and balances. These distortions were exacerbated by Blair and Brown but Thatcher began the train of events that led to the present economic meltdown.

“In 1988, the Thatcher government legislated Britain’s first new anti-gay law in 100 years: Section 28. At the 1987 Conservative party conference she mocked people who defended the right to be gay, insinuating that there was no such right. During her rule, arrests and convictions for consenting same-sex behaviour rocketed, as did queer bashing violence and murder. Gay men were widely demonised and scapegoated for the AIDS pandemic and Thatcher did nothing to challenge this vilification."

Expresses my sentiments better than I could ever express them.
posted by blucevalo at 9:35 AM on April 8, 2013 [30 favorites]


Sadly, yes, the husband will not be partying with Tony Benn tonight.

Instead, we'll have this on repeat in our house:
Jarvis Cocker - Running The World

And getting depressed, since it's more than likely that 90% of our neighbourhood is going to go sharply downhill due to the Bedroom Tax and the new Disability cuts.
posted by Katemonkey at 9:35 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


whoa, I have totally not been paying attention. I thought she was already dead.

Body catching up with soul.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:38 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Many of the moral lessons from my strict Catholic upbringing stayed with me long after my faith packed its bags and left. One of those lessons that 'stuck' was the one that you never speak ill of the dead, especially the newly-dead.

Sometimes it's easy to do that. This is not one of those times.
posted by deadmessenger at 9:39 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


whoa, I have totally not been paying attention. I thought she was already dead.

Thatcher had been suffering from senile dementia in her final years, so she has been mostly out of the public eye for a long time.
posted by Bwithh at 9:41 AM on April 8, 2013


*
posted by SansPoint at 9:42 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mekons: Empire of the Senseless
posted by ardgedee at 9:42 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


From CBC's archives: Barbara Frum's interview with Thatcher (warning, several ads play before interview). Hostile on both sides.

Side note: Barbara Frum was the mother of well-known conservative David Frum.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:43 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


You can still speak the truth about the dead. You don't have to party on someone's grave to do that.

In this case, the truth is particularly sobering and leaves me not at all in a partying mood.
posted by tel3path at 9:43 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'll repeat a comment I made in a Bush-bashing thread: Some people who do horrible things never get punished, never feel remorse, and live quite long and comfortable lives. This fact twists society and twists people into all sorts of ugly shapes.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:44 AM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Been beaten to it, even with Jarvis, but my own small music recommendation:

La hierba de los caminos

It's a song for working people.

This cover by Victor Jara is relevant - Jara was tortured and murdered by the junta in the Chilean coup of 73, which resulted in (Thatcher's good friend) Pinochet taking power. I'm sure she didn't shed any tears over the coup, or many other things. I won't be shedding any over her.
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 9:46 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


She was a mean human being who enacted economic and social policies that hurt my relatives and forced my immediate family to look for work outside the UK, splitting us all apart. She does not deserve respect, even in death. She gets no dot from me. I am glad – happy, even – that there is one less mean, evil person in the world. We are all better off for her death.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:46 AM on April 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


It's understandable why so many are in partying mood. George Square in the centre of Glasgow is the place to be for those who are. Recent news coverage.
posted by Wordshore at 9:48 AM on April 8, 2013


I'll repeat a comment I made in a Bush-bashing thread: Some people who do horrible things never get punished, never feel remorse, and live quite long and comfortable lives. This fact twists society and twists people into all sorts of ugly shapes.

Both she and they have belief systems coloured by the Just World fallacy.
posted by jaduncan at 9:48 AM on April 8, 2013


We are all better off for her death.

If we have to sit through "the UK would be Greece now without her" I'm not so sure we are better off by her death.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:49 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


If we have to sit through "the UK would be Greece now without her"

Sadly for Prince Phillip, the succession rules ensure this can never be true.
posted by jaduncan at 9:51 AM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'll repeat a comment I made in a Bush-bashing thread

Bush is dead too? Hurrah!
posted by Artw at 9:52 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]




Apparently, as of this afternoon, the centre of Liverpool looks “like bonfire night on Endor”.
posted by acb at 9:54 AM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]




I don't know how anyone could be better off now that she's dead since she wasn't...doing anything for the last few years. I could be missing something.
posted by sweetkid at 9:58 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Frowner: We don't really see, because we haven't lived long enough, that times and ideological consensus really do change, and that big historical moments really do push things one way or another.

The concept you're looking for here is the Overton Window.
posted by atbash at 10:00 AM on April 8, 2013


"One of those rare days when I'm not having to sleep on a moving tour bus, so I decided to treat myself to a lie-in. The phone rang a couple of times in the night, but I ignored it, assuming it was a wrong number. Got up late to find that breakfast had finished and heavy snow had fallen overnight. Headed out onto the streets of Calgary to find coffee. Power up my wifi and what do I find? Thatcher's dead and I've got a dozen emails to answer about her. Not content with destroying the ability of working people to organise in the workplace for decent wages, that damn woman has seriously messed up my day off." -- Billy Bragg, on his facebook page.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:01 AM on April 8, 2013 [39 favorites]


Now That Cher Is Dead
posted by thelonius at 10:03 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Now That Cher Is Dead

Well, ten minutes ago, I would have said "I hated everything about her government and her legacy, but get no joy in her death." Now not even that is true.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:11 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I would give anything to be in Calgary tonight for this Billy Bragg show. I can guarantee you he is going to play his freaking heart out.
posted by oulipian at 10:12 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


I would give anything to be in Calgary tonight for this Billy Bragg show. I can guarantee you he is going to play his freaking heart out.

I confess, I bought a ticket for tonight's show this morning upon hearing the news. Billy Bragg? He's good, but the tix are kind of expensive, and I've seen him before, and it's a busy week. Billy Bragg on the literal day that Thatcher dies? Okay, that's worth it.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:14 AM on April 8, 2013 [40 favorites]


British-American Andrew Sullivan defends Thatcher's record ( curiously, he doesn't talk about her positions on LBGT rights although Sullivan is a high-profile LBGT public intellectual)
posted by Bwithh at 10:16 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lady Thatcher was incredibly popular in France too, as shown in the hit song Miss Maggie by Renaud (lyrics). Last lines: If I'm allowed to stay on Earth / I'll turn myself into a dog / And as a daily lampost / I'll be using Mrs Thatcher. Not everyone in the UK liked the song though.
posted by elgilito at 10:17 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


:-)
posted by w0mbat at 10:21 AM on April 8, 2013


I don't always love Sullivan, but that piece cited above is really, really good in terms of talking about the reasons why unpopular decisions were made.
And so – to take the archetypal example – Britain’s coal-workers fought to make sure they could work unprofitable mines for years of literally lung-destroying existence and to pass it on to their sons for yet another generation of black lung. This “right to work” was actually paid for by anyone able to make a living in a country where socialism had effectively choked off all viable avenues for prosperity. And if you suggested that the coal industry needed to be shut down in large part or reshaped into something commercial, you were called, of course, a class warrior, a snob, a Tory fascist, etc. So hard-working Brits trying to make a middle class living were taxed dry to keep the life-spans of powerful mine-workers short.
posted by corb at 10:22 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Seeing various parties being advertised across social media e.g. this one in Bristol, which also says why.
posted by Wordshore at 10:22 AM on April 8, 2013


You know, I've never understood why some people view her as some sort of gay icon.

Really? Do some people do so?

In 1988, the Thatcher government legislated Britain’s first new anti-gay law in 100 years: Section 28.

Section 28 was a vile piece of legislation.

Boy George's 'kick-ass' No Clause 28.

Good riddance, Thatcher.
posted by ericb at 10:22 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


( curiously, he doesn't talk about her positions on LBGT rights although Sullivan is a high-profile LBGT public intellectual)

If Andrew Sullivan was overly concerned (or really concerned much at all) with how his political compatriots treat LGBT people, he'd be staying the hell away from many of them. That said, the one mention of the word 'gay' in that article seems really out of place. I mean, yes, Blair did inherit Section 28, but that doesn't exactly reflect well on Thatcher.
posted by hoyland at 10:23 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine went to the American School in London in 1985 and 86; I just texted him and asked his thoughts. He just said he posted Gerry Adams' response as his Facebook status because they were "my thoughts exactly".

I just looked them up, and found that they also prove a scathing dissent to some of the incredible "Thatcher worked to heal the Troubles" comments I've seen in here. Here is Gerry Adams' statement.
Margaret Thatcher did great hurt to the Irish and British people during her time as British Prime Minister.

Working class communities were devastated in Britain because of her policies.

Her role in international affairs was equally belligerent whether in support of the Chilean dictator Pinochet, her opposition to sanctions against apartheid South Africa; and her support for the Khmer Rouge.

Here in Ireland her espousal of old draconian militaristic policies prolonged the war and caused great suffering. She embraced censorship, collusion and the killing of citizens by covert operations, including the targeting of solicitors like Pat Finucane, alongside more open military operations and refused to recognise the rights of citizens to vote for parties of their choice.

Her failed efforts to criminalise the republican struggle and the political prisoners is part of her legacy.

It should be noted that in complete contradiction of her public posturing, she authorised a back channel of communications with the Sinn Féin leadership but failed to act on the logic of this.

Unfortunately she was faced with weak Irish governments who failed to oppose her securocrat agenda or to enlist international support in defence of citizens in the north.

Margaret Thatcher will be especially remembered for her shameful role during the epic hunger strikes of 1980 and ’81.

Her Irish policy failed miserably.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:26 AM on April 8, 2013 [19 favorites]


I don't always love Sullivan, but that piece cited above is really, really good in terms of talking about the reasons why unpopular decisions were made.

Did you read the part of this thread where people talked about what life was like under Thatcher as a result of that her policies? What was she doing, saving the savages?
posted by hoyland at 10:26 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


My job at the moment involves calling up poor and elderly and or/disabled Londoners, in order to get them registered for a local authority scheme they said they were interested in. This afternoon, I spoke to an old, rather deaf man from Hackney struggling by on a meager pension, who as I took his details told me: "you're the first person I've spoken to since I saw the news that Thatcher died, and it's a day I thought I'd never see. I'm 89, and I though that evil woman would outlive me." He wasn't happy, he said, too much damage done for that. But he was glad she's gone.
posted by Len at 10:27 AM on April 8, 2013 [35 favorites]


Britain’s coal-workers fought to make sure they could work unprofitable mines for years of literally lung-destroying existence and to pass it on to their sons for yet another generation of black lung

You should be fair and note that it's not as though Thatcher was one to care about safety regulations. Her attitude was that people suffering from the depredations of their situation were not the concern of "society."

At issue was, in Thatcher's mind, that there was a huge problem that people were living "too well" and "too middle class" when their wages and pensions rightfully belonged to the top tier financiers, who were being unfairly denied the wealth to which they were entitled. Now you can argue that Thatcher was right or wrong about this-- some people, such as her, would have claimed that in a proper meritocracy, we would not have as many middle class people whose access to public infrastructure was too good given what they had properly "earned" and that many of the wealthy were being denied the opportunities to accumulate greater wealth that they were being denied. But don't blame the coal workers for wanting to make a decent living in life, even if you think that they "merited" poverty.
posted by deanc at 10:28 AM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Being gay in Thatcher's Britain brings to mind Alan Hollinghurst's 2004 Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Line of Beauty.
posted by ericb at 10:30 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Police reportedly at Monument in Newcastle ahead of the 7pm deathparty...
posted by anagrama at 10:33 AM on April 8, 2013


Did you read the part of this thread where people talked about what life was like under Thatcher as a result of that her policies? What was she doing, saving the savages?

Yes, I read the part of this thread where people talked about what life was like under Thatcher. It mostly seemed to boil down to "And then Such and Such person lost their job, and it made me sad." Also, no free school milk. And less completely unsustainable "council houses". If there are any valid criticisms of Margaret Thatcher that add up to more than "She believed in TANSTAAFL" then I would love to hear them.

From here, it sounds like people are complaining because they used to receive free magical unicorn candy from the skies, and then under Thatcher it didn't fall anymore, while ignoring the fact that there was no such thing as magical unicorn candy - it came from somewhere and there was a cost for it.

The attempt to solve the problem of poverty by throwing money from the skies at it is and has always been doomed to fail.
posted by corb at 10:36 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


ericb: " Really? Do some people do so?"

Oddly enough.

When I volunteered for GMHC in the '90's, Thatcher's policies and attitudes were a frequent topic of discussion. I had coworkers who said that her government had been a lot more open about the dangers of AIDS than the US (which of course was true,) and therefore she had saved innumerable lives.

That was 15-20 years ago. History gives us a different perspective, and of course hindsight is 20/20.
posted by zarq at 10:37 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


i dont remember any whinging hand-wringers when chavez passed
posted by p3on at 10:37 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Both Elvis Costello and Pete Wylie are scousers.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:38 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't always love Sullivan, but that piece cited above is really, really good in terms of talking about the reasons why unpopular decisions were made.
Makes an interesting contrast with the memory of Alan Budd, who was a Thatcher-era policy adviser:
[People] did see that it would be a very, very good way to raise unemployment, and raising unemployment was an extremely desirable way of reducing the strength of the working classes – if you like, that what was engineered there in Marxist terms was a crisis of capitalism which re-created a reserve army of labour and has allowed the capitalists to make high profits ever since.
posted by Abiezer at 10:38 AM on April 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


I was in college when Reagan and Thatcher began at their respective helms. I had ZERO respect for their philosophies then and, amazingly, even less respect now that I'm "older and wiser". Their policies and philosophies were wrong then, and they are wrong now. People are well within their rights to disagree with me, of course, but insisting that I or others who feel like I do must show some kind of respect for people who actively fought against a just world and society is ridiculous.

If doing something right earns you adulation, then doing something wrong should earn you enmity. It's only fair.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:38 AM on April 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


Gerry Adams' being quoted here feels particularly wrong.
posted by zoo at 10:39 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


This mixtape has rapidly turned into a box set.
posted by fartron at 10:41 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't know, I was kind of like, "What? Sinn Fein doesn't like Thatcher? Is there more news of this shocking development?"
posted by corb at 10:41 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


it sounds like people are complaining because they used to receive free magical unicorn candy from the skies

Oh, Lord.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:41 AM on April 8, 2013 [28 favorites]


corb: "From here, it sounds like people are complaining because they used to receive free magical unicorn candy from the skies, and then under Thatcher it didn't fall anymore"

Twelve years on Metafilter. First time I ever spat out my drink in surprise.

You cannot possibly read the depth of invective in this thread and elsewhere and come away thinking that people's beef with her is that she took away their toys? Because wow.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:42 AM on April 8, 2013 [74 favorites]


From here, it sounds like people are complaining because they used to receive free magical unicorn candy from the skies, and then under Thatcher it didn't fall anymore, while ignoring the fact that there was no such thing as magical unicorn candy - it came from somewhere and there was a cost for it.

In fairness, very little in the thread has referred to how sustainable these policies are. You're assuming that the policies that Thatcher got rid of must have been unsustainable from our fairly distant vantage point outside the country.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:42 AM on April 8, 2013


.
posted by Lynsey at 10:42 AM on April 8, 2013


I hear if you throw a carton of milk on a mirror and chant her name three times, she'll appear and close a mine.
posted by emmtee at 10:43 AM on April 8, 2013 [35 favorites]


Here is Gerry Adams' statement.

25-30% unemployment in NI during the 1980s. Youth employment at horrific levels. Both communities were fucked over by it, but the Catholic working class was particularly badly affected. You had lots of young men with too much time on their hands; if you were smart, you got the fuck out as soon as possible, and if you were unlucky, you ended up being given something to do by Gerry's mates -- he can shut the fuck up, frankly -- or by their equivalent on the other side.
posted by holgate at 10:43 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


From here, it sounds like people are complaining because they used to receive free magical unicorn candy from the skies

And you had the gall in meTa to ask for more respectful, considered comments?
posted by rtha at 10:43 AM on April 8, 2013 [84 favorites]


Margaret Thatcher, RIP
posted by homunculus at 10:44 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gerry Adams' being quoted here feels particularly wrong.

He is an elected official in Northern Ireland and thus technically a political figure in the United Kingdom. Why would a quote of his statement be "wrong"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:44 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


From here, it sounds like people are complaining because they used to receive free magical unicorn candy from the skies, and then under Thatcher it didn't fall anymore, while ignoring the fact that there was no such thing as magical unicorn candy - it came from somewhere and there was a cost for it.

At last! Someone who might explain to us "the subtle difference between justice and contempt."
posted by scody at 10:44 AM on April 8, 2013 [18 favorites]


From here, it sounds like people are complaining because they used to receive free magical unicorn candy from the skies, and then under Thatcher it didn't fall anymore, while ignoring the fact that there was no such thing as magical unicorn candy - it came from somewhere and there was a cost for it.

Yeah, this is one of those things you're totally not in a position to comment on. My existence is due to your 'magical unicorn candy'--my parents don't meet without the welfare state. I'm sure I'm far from the only one in this thread for whom that's the case.
posted by hoyland at 10:45 AM on April 8, 2013 [15 favorites]


Perhaps to make it appropriate for a Thatcher thread the comments of Sinn Fein spokespeople could be typed by actors?
posted by Abiezer at 10:45 AM on April 8, 2013 [26 favorites]


Speech at 2nd World Climate Conference, 1990 Nov 6 Tu
But the threat to our world comes not only from tyrants and their tanks. It can be more insidious though less visible. The danger of global warming is as yet unseen, but real enough for us to make changes and sacrifices, so that we do not live at the expense of future generations.

Our ability to come together to stop or limit damage to the world's environment will be perhaps the greatest test of how far we can act as a world community. No-one should under-estimate the imagination that will be required, nor the scientific effort, nor the unprecedented co-operation we shall have to show. We shall need statesmanship of a rare order. It's because we know that, that we are here today.
Interesting.
posted by BobbyVan at 10:47 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


No dot. Plenty party.

Twitter is actually keeping me sane compared to the media's fawning bullshit, with people from Frankie Boyle to George Galloway to Michael Rosen telling it how it is with wit and substance.
posted by colie at 10:48 AM on April 8, 2013


Perhaps to make it appropriate for a Thatcher thread the comments of Sinn Fein spokespeople could be typed by actors?

* snerk * I'm a former stage manager quoting a current lighting designer who was himself quoting Adams, so I actually may have done just that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:48 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


This mixtape has rapidly turned into a box set.

That's probably because I can't think of any other democratically-elected leader who has ever been hated by so many top-shelf songwriters/performers so deeply and so persistently as Thatcher was and is. Reagan is a strong contender, but I just think that a final count would have Maggie ahead.
posted by snottydick at 10:49 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Current pictures from the centre of Glasgow here and here.
posted by Wordshore at 10:49 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


corb: “The attempt to solve the problem of poverty by throwing money from the skies at it is and has always been doomed to fail.”

There is no sense in which Thatcher was trying to "solve the problem of poverty." She was trying to solve the problem of inflation by sacrificing employment. It worked; inflation went down and unemployment skyrocketed. It's not socialism to wonder if perhaps that was a bum deal.
posted by koeselitz at 10:50 AM on April 8, 2013 [37 favorites]


I am sorry she ever lived, sorry she ever held power over anyone else"s life, sorry her legacy still blights Britain and poisons the political landscape. I am not sorry she is dead, in the slightest.

People who suffered because of her. Her. Personally and directly. Will be celebrating. If you were lucky enough not to have suffered because of her, respect the feelings of those who did.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/08/margaret-thatcher-death-etiquette?INTCMP=SRCH
posted by runincircles at 10:50 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Sullivan: So hard-working Brits trying to make a middle class living were taxed dry to keep the life-spans of powerful mine-workers short.

That's bollocks, frankly, and the "hard-working Brits..." line is cant.

The hallmark of the Tory 1980s in the industrial regions of Britain was an utter disrespect for the dignity of work: the idea that people wanted to make an honest living doing something they were good at, and in return receive some decent security in life. Instead, Thatcher's government celebrated the wide-boys and fly-by-nights and schemers and chancers, the people out to make a quick profit. If you'd trained hard for a job and wanted to work that job, you were a dispensable downbeat, a relic, a dead weight on society. Well, fuck that.
posted by holgate at 10:50 AM on April 8, 2013 [28 favorites]


Re: global warming, a broken clock is a horrible way to tell time.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:50 AM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


From here, it sounds like people are complaining because they used to receive free magical unicorn candy from the skies, and then under Thatcher it didn't fall anymore, while ignoring the fact that there was no such thing as magical unicorn candy - it came from somewhere and there was a cost for it.

Corb, I think you'd be far happier in this thread. Or, hell, in that city.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:51 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]




Except the 'free magical unicorn candy' continued to fall, just to the 'right' people in the 'right' jobs

Poverty and Inequality after Thatcher
posted by brilliantmistake at 10:53 AM on April 8, 2013 [22 favorites]


My thoughts are with Tony Stark on this sad day.
posted by zoo at 10:53 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yes, I read the part of this thread where people talked about what life was like under Thatcher. It mostly seemed to boil down to "And then Such and Such person lost their job, and it made me sad." Also, no free school milk. And less completely unsustainable "council houses". If there are any valid criticisms of Margaret Thatcher that add up to more than "She believed in TANSTAAFL" then I would love to hear them.
"Completely unsustainable"? Some councils made a profit from their social housing.

However, you're right, there is no such thing as a free lunch. The Beveridge Report was fair payment for our services. Next time the governing classes want help defeating a dictator, we're going to drive a much harder bargain.
Yeah, this is one of those things you're totally not in a position to comment on. My existence is due to your 'magical unicorn candy'--my parents don't meet without the welfare state. I'm sure I'm far from the only one in this thread for whom that's the case.
Actually, I would never have existed if the welfare state had been around before 1945. My nan only met my granddad when she was farmed out by the workhouse as cheap domestic labor in the early 1930s. Good thing "workfare" existed back then, ey?
posted by Jehan at 10:53 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


My existence is due to your 'magical unicorn candy'--my parents don't meet without the welfare state. I'm sure I'm far from the only one in this thread for whom that's the case.

Assuming this is true, and while I have enjoyed some conversations with you - do you think that your parents meeting is the aim and goal of the state? Do you think that the state was significantly bettered by your parents meeting? Do you think that the average taxpayer, when polled, would say, "Hoyland's parents meeting is totally worth all of the crippling taxes I must pay and the shitty economic state of affairs"?

This is exactly what I'm talking about when I say that it seems people are talking about how people close to them were made sad by a policy, as though that should be our standard for judging how effective or necessary the policy is. The purpose of government is not to make sure no one is sad. Margaret Thatcher did not take a job guaranteeing that no Briton would be sad. She took a job to hold the ship of state together, and apparently by polls was rated the "most competent" PM.
posted by corb at 10:53 AM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]



About Gerry Adams:

He is an elected official in Northern Ireland and thus technically a political figure in the United Kingdom. Why would a quote of his statement be "wrong"?

He's an elected official now, certainly. As someone who was not too far away from the bombers who nearly managed to kill Thatcher back in 1984, he's in a whole different league from those who just want to piss on her grave, and that statement of his would certainly cause a few raised eyebrows.
posted by Azara at 10:55 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


to follow up on the lack of discussion of LBGT rights in the Sullivan piece, here's a brief summary of Thatcher's mixed record on that issue
posted by Bwithh at 10:55 AM on April 8, 2013


apparently by polls was rated the "most competent" PM.

Citation needed.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:55 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Which bit of despised to you have a problem with, corb?
posted by de at 10:55 AM on April 8, 2013


...and an accurate portrayal of Twitter today.
posted by Wordshore at 10:55 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Completely unsustainable"? Some councils made a profit from their social housing.
Precisely - as I understand it (would have to look the figures up) the cost of building was recouped over a couple of decades and rent more than covered annual maintenance and other costs, generating budget surpluses for lcoal government.
posted by Abiezer at 10:55 AM on April 8, 2013


Do you think that the average taxpayer, when polled, would say, "Hoyland's parents meeting is totally worth all of the crippling taxes I must pay and the shitty economic state of affairs"?

Do you think that the invections against Thatcher in here are really nothing more than "Thatcher made me sad"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:56 AM on April 8, 2013 [12 favorites]




From here, it sounds like people are complaining because they used to receive free magical unicorn candy from the skies, and then under Thatcher it didn't fall anymore, while ignoring the fact that there was no such thing as magical unicorn candy - it came from somewhere and there was a cost for it.

Where would we be without you brave, insightful ones who are willing to do the hard, unremunerated intellectual work of mocking and trivializing the real material needs of most people who exist in contradistinction to the the supreme and superseding right of the wealthy and powerful to become ever moreso.
posted by clockzero at 10:58 AM on April 8, 2013 [62 favorites]


ericb recommended Hollinghurst's beautiful "The Line of Beauty". It is a very good novel, but my favourite novel on Thatcherism is Jonathan Coe's visceral "What A Carve Up" (published in some areas as "The Winshaw Legacy"). Where Hollinghurst's novel is bittersweet and decidedly unkind, Coe's novel is angry and defiant.
posted by kariebookish at 10:59 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The purpose of government is not to make sure no one is sad. Margaret Thatcher did not take a job guaranteeing that no Briton would be sad. She took a job to hold the ship of state together, and apparently by polls was rated the "most competent" PM.

No, but she took office on the back of the famous Labour's Isn't Working campaign, then immediately proceeded to sacrifice employment for millions in order to address inflation for her cronies in the City.
posted by Jakey at 11:00 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The purpose of government is not to make sure no one is sad.

I can think of many ( many, many, many) worse philosophies.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:00 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


"She won the hearts of much of the Soviet public in a barnstorming visit in 1987. Complete with a stunning new wardrobe, one aide said she “came on like a modern Tsarina”. Barely two years later the Berlin Wall fell."

That's not odd, that's just absolute textbook state propaganda written by people who don't know they're writing state propaganda.

It's also lining her up subconsciously with Reagan, who apparently made the Berlin Wall come down as well.
posted by colie at 11:00 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think history will treat her more kindly than we do currently.

History massively discounts human suffering.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:01 AM on April 8, 2013 [17 favorites]


Not since Reagan died, anyway.

I didn't recall half this much of an angry response to Reagan dying.


I'm surrounded by a bunch of teabagger idiots, one of whom recently called Obama a chimp to my face. So perhaps my view of my own country is skewed.

But it seems to me that in the States, even at this late date, there are so many people who can't connect the dots between Reagan's policies, Chimp-Cheney and the Koch Brothers. Teabaggers who worry about Obama "taking away my guns" without realizing who's already worked so hard to take away everything else from them.

So, is there a larger segment of enlightened people in the UK? People who've paid better attention? Or is it merely, as others have stated, based upon differences in the societies and attitudes toward government?
posted by NorthernLite at 11:02 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The purpose of government is not to make sure no one is sad.

Some guy called Bentham says hello, although he appears to be rotating in his grave?
posted by jaduncan at 11:03 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Of course Thatcher isn't actually dead... she still lives on in every starving unemployed and/or disabled 'skiver' and every gloating millionaire, today and tomorrow and for the foreseeable future
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:03 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Citation needed.

Thatcher Heads Poll of Most Competent PMs
posted by corb at 11:04 AM on April 8, 2013


corb, your link is behind a paywall.
posted by palomar at 11:05 AM on April 8, 2013


Thanks! Can't read it because of not having an account, but citations are important.
posted by Going To Maine at 11:05 AM on April 8, 2013


Assuming this is true, and while I have enjoyed some conversations with you - do you think that your parents meeting is the aim and goal of the state? Do you think that the state was significantly bettered by your parents meeting? Do you think that the average taxpayer, when polled, would say, "Hoyland's parents meeting is totally worth all of the crippling taxes I must pay and the shitty economic state of affairs"?
Fair play for nailing your colours to the mast. Yes I do think the only legitimate goal of a state is ensuring the welfare of its citizens, be it defending them from external threat or the far more important task of ensuring that they live their lives to the fullest potential material circumstances allow and thus do think those goals would be furthered by the establishment of happy relationships and families.
This was a widespread understanding of the roots of state legitimacy for the majority in the UK in the post-war period and remains so today, but it is bitterly contested politically with people who would rather it served narrower interests, hence the heat of the debate over Thattcher's legacy. She was a key figure in a watershed moment in the turn away from that understanding.
posted by Abiezer at 11:06 AM on April 8, 2013 [43 favorites]




Thatcher on Reagan: "Poor dear, there's nothing between his ears."
posted by localroger at 11:07 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is the song going through my head this morning.
FAREWELL, JOHNNY MINER
(Ed Pickford)

1. Johnny Miner, you were born
Never to see the rising dawn,
Now it's time that you were gone,
So farewell, Johnny Miner.

cho: Farewell Durham, Yorkshire, too,
Nottingham, the same to you
Scotland, South Wales, bid adieu,
And farewell, Johnny Miner.

2. You struggled hard with slate and shale,
Lungs turned black and faces pale,
Now your body's up for sale,
And farewell, Johnny Miner.

3. They promised you the earth some time
To work down in their stinkin' mine,
Now the justice for their crime
Is farewell, Johnny Miner.

4. Cheer up John, it won't be bad:
Unemployment isn't hard -
They'll treat you well in the knacker's yard,
So farewell, Johnny Miner.
It is one of many, many, many that I could be singing this morning.

As a boy I lived in the UK in the times when Thatcher was elected. No one wants to go back to the Britain of the 1970s, but huge numbers of people didn't see the 1980s as an improvement and it's not that anyone should back to those times either.

Margaret Thatcher transformed Britain and thousands died in despair. The faces of those dying might not have changed, but what DID change was that thousands more got rich from that suffering. That is the execrable nature of her legacy - not that she alleviated suffering by breaking the backs of unions, but that she enabled a disgusting amount of economic inequality to benefit the moneyed classes. She did not solve the problems of the 1970s with compassion, equality, fairness or tolerance. She created the conditions for a small group of people to profit from those problems.

No dot from me either. But I'll be singing songs all day, to remember and honour those that faded away in the shadow of her policies of exploitation and steel fisted intolerance.
posted by salishsea at 11:07 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


She took a job to hold the ship of state together, and apparently by polls was rated the "most competent" PM.

She took a job to hold the ship of state together, and is demonstrably the most divisive and despised PM (ever), so much so there's partying in the streets 20 years later with the news of her death.

Why don't you stop goading?
posted by de at 11:07 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Actually, let me back up a bit - corb has asked us this:

If there are any valid criticisms of Margaret Thatcher that add up to more than "She believed in TANSTAAFL" then I would love to hear them.

Others have discussed the Falklands War. I invite you to calculate how much money could have been saved if she had not gone to war.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:08 AM on April 8, 2013


So, is there a larger segment of enlightened people in the UK? People who've paid better attention? Or is it merely, as others have stated, based upon differences in the societies and attitudes toward government?

I believe that Brits (and Europeans, in general) are much more attuned to social class. Since domestic politics are largely class issues, that gives them a leg up on seeing the mechanics of the situation.

In the US we have legions of idiots who truly believe that we are a classless society. Reality notwithstanding, of course.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 11:08 AM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


If there are any valid criticisms of Margaret Thatcher that add up to more than "She believed in TANSTAAFL" then I would love to hear them.

Remind me, have you come to bury Maggs or to praise her?
posted by octobersurprise at 11:08 AM on April 8, 2013


And if you suggested that the coal industry needed to be shut down in large part or reshaped into something commercial, you were called, of course, a class warrior, a snob, a Tory fascist, etc.

Whereas the way we saw it at the time, the Tory Party used the entire resources of the state to crush the labour movement, and to avenge the role that the miners had played in bringing down Heath's government 10 years earlier. Sullivan somehow omits the year long preparation by the Thatcher government, the deliberate stockpiling of coal, the use of the secret services, and the intimidation and brutality of the police. This wasn't about reshaping, this was the state spoiling for a fight.
posted by daveje at 11:08 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


...apparently by polls was rated the "most competent" PM.

So... she made some people happy? And that's a measure of value when you want it to be?
posted by emmtee at 11:08 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


corb et al...

Thatcher publicly and routinely supported right-wing tyrants like Pinochet and the rulers of Apartheid in South Africa.

Why?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:09 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


"She believed in TANSTAAFMilk"?
posted by jaduncan at 11:09 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thatcher publicly and routinely supported right-wing tyrants like Pinochet and the racist rulers of Apartheid in South Africa.

Why?


Because... strongness and hating poors!
posted by grubi at 11:10 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


If there are any valid criticisms of Margaret Thatcher that add up to more than "She believed in TANSTAAFL" then I would love to hear them.

Thatcher was a turning point for Britain, to be sure, but one away from an industrial economy. By the late 70s, England and Scotland had rusty industrial economies, mostly, which needed to change. I don't think anyone honestly thought the UK economy was sustainable, excluding perhaps Scargill, but he was his own special kind of crazy.

Thatcher chose vulture capitalism: a wholesale dismantlement of British industry, while, at the same time taking as many controls off the financial sector as she could. The end result was England (and to a lesser extent Scotland) as a financial sector powerhouse, but a post-industrial, service-based economy. Bank jobs for some, call-center job for everyone else.

At the same time, she lowered the upper marginal tax rates, and raised the fixed taxes, VAT (a sales tax) and, particularly, the poll taxes. Taxes went up slightly and became more regressive.

Under Thatcher, the financial sector did very well indeed, but the workers transformed from having meaningful work to generations of marginal and no employment. A seemingly permanent underclass developed. Houliganism and the virulent racism of the 80s and 90s were symptoms of its rise.

If you want a counter-example look at Germany: Stuttgart and Frankfurt were in similar striaghts to the midlands in the late 70s. Germany did then, and still does depend on coal mining. Germans decided to invest in their economy and are now the industrial and economic powerhouse of Europe. The UK could have had this too, but Thatcher sold it all off for short-term liquidity. Thatcher's solution to famine was to eat the nation's seed corn.
posted by bonehead at 11:10 AM on April 8, 2013 [67 favorites]


> Thatcher Heads Poll of Most Competent PMs

...Of the past 30 years. The number is relevant. Not relevant is whether competence is proof of ideological superiority: One can concede the competence of their opponent while finding contemptible everything they value.
posted by ardgedee at 11:10 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Roundup of classic 80s anti-Thatcher songs for those who didn't hear them in the day.
posted by immlass at 11:11 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


And another former Mouseketeer, and kindred spirit Annette Funicello has also left us today. ..
posted by Danf at 11:11 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Assuming this is true, and while I have enjoyed some conversations with you - do you think that your parents meeting is the aim and goal of the state? Do you think that the state was significantly bettered by your parents meeting? Do you think that the average taxpayer, when polled, would say, "Hoyland's parents meeting is totally worth all of the crippling taxes I must pay and the shitty economic state of affairs"?
Overall tax-take during Thatcher's government was no lower than before. It simply shifted from one group to another.
posted by Jehan at 11:11 AM on April 8, 2013


fwiw, 1 poll. with 30% (a minority) saying she was the most competent.
posted by edgeways at 11:11 AM on April 8, 2013


Citation needed.

Thatcher Heads Poll of Most Competent PMs


Or maybe not. But I thought we weren't measuring likability.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:11 AM on April 8, 2013


Abiezer: “Yes I do think the only legitimate goal of a state is ensuring the welfare of its citizens, be it defending them from external threat or the far more important task of ensuring that they live their lives to the fullest potential material circumstances allow and thus do think those goals would be furthered by the establishment of happy relationships and families.”

Quoted for truth. This is a fair declaration of what I'm about, as well. Hear, hear.
posted by koeselitz at 11:12 AM on April 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


Thatcher publicly and routinely supported right-wing tyrants like Pinochet and the racist rulers of Apartheid in South Africa.

Why?


Because Communisim bad therefore torture and suppression good.
posted by rtha at 11:12 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


I had coworkers who said that her government had been a lot more open about the dangers of AIDS than the US (which of course was true,) and therefore she had saved innumerable lives.

True dat.

And not just AIDS as well. The Thatcher government funded a huge expansion of drug treatment in the UK via the Central Funding Initiative, and an enormous raft of AIDS monies that had a significant impact on keeping HIV infection among drug users low in the UK.

Unlike Liverpool's Trotskyite Militant City Council, who believed that the only rational response to drug use was a policy of abstinence, the Thatcher government embraced a rational, pragmatic response to the issue, supporting and funding a huge expansion of needle exchange and methadone maintenance. Liverpool Militant tried to fob people off with electro-acupuncture and other such woo. And Dame Ruth Runcimann's contributions to Drugs and AIDS policy have been immeasurable.

There were those who said that they did it because their policies on unemployment caused the soaring rates of addiction in the first place. I don't think this is true for a moment. (OK, I do think their policies contributed to the rates of addiction, but I don't think there was that kind of conspiritorial response.)

Rather, I think it was about the number of members of the Thatcher cabinet who were personally touched by addiction in their families. There was the overdose of a Cabinet Member's daughter, Olivia Channon, Cecil Parkinson's daughter who was never out of the media for her heroin exploits. Home Secretary Kenneth Baker's son, works in the drug treatment field to this day.

I honestly believe that their compassion around these issues was grounded in the fact that it touched them personally, rather than for more cynical reasons. This fact tempers my loathing of her and the ideologues she surrounded herself with.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:12 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Sinn Fein party remove 'Thatcher’s grave' t-shirt from online shop: "The t-shirt depicts silhouetted figures celebrating beside Thatcher's headstone. The text on the headstone read 'Margaret Thatcher: Tyrant and Murderer'. Beside the revelers is a sign reading 'Dancers please form an orderly queue'."
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:14 AM on April 8, 2013


Thatcher Heads Poll of Most Competent PMs

...of the last 30 years, a pretty low bar.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:15 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thatcher Heads Poll of Most Competent PMs

...of the last 30 years, a pretty low bar.


So, um, she was the best of what, five? (Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron)
posted by grubi at 11:16 AM on April 8, 2013


it seems people are talking about how people close to them were made sad by a policy

What? No it doesn't. It seems people are talking about how whole communities were gutted with naked glee; thousands were denied the dignity of work and saw their hard-learned skills rendered permanently worthless; Government Ministers gave the thumbs-up to treat gay people as dangerous to children.

Equating all of that with being "made sad" is ridiculously facetious.

(Apart from which, yeah, since when was trying not to make people sad a bad thing?)
posted by penguin pie at 11:16 AM on April 8, 2013 [15 favorites]


Margaret Thatcher was so unpopular in the UK that she was PM for ten and a half years, and the UK didn't have a non-Thatcherite Prime Minister until Tony Blair left office in 2007. He lasted 3 years and we elected David Cameron, Nick Clegg and George Osborne.

Look, there is lots and lots to dislike Thatcher for, but bedwetting free market Tories and hardened northern trade unionists have respectively mythologised and reviled her in equal measures since she left office nearly 23 years ago.

She took office when Britain was in crappy shape, when the unions had conspired to make British industry a laughing stock, and when huge swathes of northern England were fighting to keep employment levels at rates that were not sustainable long term in industries that were uncompetitive. It would have taken a miracle worker for the medicine to have not been harsh.

She made some epically poor calls - history will judge her harshly on her treatment of the ANC, her support for Pinochet, her hard line on Northern Ireland, financial deregulation, privatisation, clause 28, union bashing and the poll tax amongst other things.

But it has become de rigeur for a new generation of revisionist left wing commentators to ignore inconvenient truths. The Labour government that preceded Thatcher was so disliked that, despite the fact that UK voting boundaries favour Labour heartland northwest constituencies, it took 18 years for them to become electable, and only then with a quasi Thatcherite third wayist in Tony Blair. Revisionism dictates that the mines were viable and all was rosy. That Thatcher also be held accountable for 13 years of Labour rule in which inequality widened, the economy boomed and busted and the banks ripped the economy apart. Hell, Owen Jones was quoted a while back saying that Britain's car manufacturing industry was broken apart when it produced more cars last year than in the 1970s. We gloss over the now unpalatable realpolitik that white South Africa was the only real anti-communist ally in 1980s southern Africa because the cold war ended and it all seems so bloody petty and stupid now and racist now but people were still dying in places like East Germany and Poland and still are in North Korea because of hardline communist ideology. We quote Gerry Adams of all people on the folly of her hardline politics in Northern Ireland.

Thatcher is idolised by the kind of nincompoop, privileged Tory I'd cross continents to not have to talk to but I've always found it comical that she has assumed bogeyman proportions for the British left because of how it allows people to whitewash the good ol's years of Labour's chronic misrule in the 1970s, the wonder years of union stranglehold when British industry turned out unreliable crap, the shitty public services like British Telecom and British Airways, Neil Kinnock's failure to win a general election, John Major's disintegrating government actually still being more preferable than a Labour government in 1995, and Tony Blair's legacy on a huge Labour majority from 1997 onwards. The bitterness is not just about what Thatcher did. The bitterness is also there because Thatcher's legacy is that the UK has not elected a left wing government since 1979. Scotland has devolution but the Labour heartlands have not had their triumph yet. Thatcher's death is the catharsis as much for what she did as what Labour hasn't done.

It annoys me that just saying those things likely makes me an apologist in many people's eyes for the many and several truly crappy things Thatcher did when I'm not. I'd like more unionisation, higher income taxes, closer regulation of financial services, more social housing stock and an equitable society. But blaming Thatcher for everything_that_is_wrong_in_the_world a quarter century after she retired and ignoring the country she governed when she came to power is obtuse.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:16 AM on April 8, 2013 [39 favorites]


.

Though she may not always have made the right decisions, I had great respect for the Iron Lady.
posted by New England Cultist at 11:17 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thatcher Heads Poll of Most Competent PMs

From that link:
"Margaret Thatcher is regarded as the most competent prime minister of the past 30 years, a new poll has found, although Tony Blair is the most liked...The survey by Ipsos Mori shows that over a third of British voters think Lady Thatcher was the most capable, with Tony Blair in second place on 27 per cent. "

There were, what, five prime ministers in the thirty years covered, and she got something like 33% of the poll, which isn't shockingly high. If everyone did about the same we'd expect something like 20% to each; that's hardly a landslide.

If we rolled that date back a bit a clear winner emerges.
posted by cjelli at 11:17 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Roundup of classic 80s anti-Thatcher songs for those who didn't hear them in the day.

Then there's the Style Council's Our Favourite Shop, which is practically an entire anti-Thatcher album:

Homebreakers
A Stone's Throw Away
All Gone Away
The Lodgers
Walls Come Tumbling Down
posted by scody at 11:19 AM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


corb: The attempt to solve the problem of poverty by throwing money from the skies at it is and has always been doomed to fail.

The purpose of government is not to make sure no one is sad.


Corb, you know these sort of blithe one-liners that display zero interest in understanding what you are talking about? That's why other people in this thread hated Thatcher, Reagan and Bush. The empty-headed arrogance is galling to people who are actually affected by said policies. (Remember when you compared your job as a media coordinator to working retail and fast food? Same deal.)

Thatcher gets particular scorn because she did it with public relish.

Are you quite certain you're the Randian ubermensch you make yourself out to be? Because that's the only kind of person who could call a social saftey net "magical candy".

Thatcher thought there was no such thing as "society", and maybe so do you. I'm agnostic on the concept. But guess what? There are a lot of people, and repression and entrenched poverty only gets you so far. The end result of your world isn't a Galtian utopia where the rich ride monorails to their jobs where they think great wonders into existence. The end result of your world is the sort of class struggle you seem to be so deeply frightened of. Are you ready for that struggle? Are you the self-sufficient island you think you are?

The Rands, Reagans and Romenys of the world never figured out what Teddy Roosevelt did over a century ago. It was pretty simple: average people don't want magic candy. Average people don't like handouts. Average people don't feel entitled; and do not need to be "taught" self-reliance by you supermen.

They just don't want to fall through the cracks. They don't want to be forever cosigned to powerlessness and poverty. They want to feed their kids. So; you put a minimum threshold on how far we let people sink. We give people, or at least their kids, a shot to have a voice. They needed a Square Deal: we'll restrain the robber barons, you don't revolt.

I use T.R. because he was an arch-conservative in the guise of an arch-liberal (I mean that is a most complimentary way.) He realized the Square Deal was the way to keep the system working. That's the same system you so blindly believe in.
posted by spaltavian at 11:19 AM on April 8, 2013 [84 favorites]


I honestly believe that their compassion around these issues was grounded in the fact that it touched them personally, rather than for more cynical reasons.

Less cynical, yes, but barely so. "Oh, this may affect me! Well, better do something about it, then."
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:20 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Too bad Maggie wasn't along, or we'd have saved the Rolls.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist


eponysterical.
posted by clarknova at 11:20 AM on April 8, 2013


Others have discussed the Falklands War. I invite you to calculate how much money could have been saved if she had not gone to war.

I don't think Thatcher "went to war" so much as she defended British-held territory against a dictator known for being shitty to people, but I understand that's a highly disputed point.

Thatcher publicly and routinely supported right-wing tyrants like Pinochet and the racist rulers of Apartheid in South Africa.

In terms of the Apartheid government, Thatcher didn't support them so much as she thought that they could change their ways through dialogue rather than sanctions. I'm not saying that I agree with her on that point, but it's certainly a position that has had a lot of adherents through the years - most notably around Iraq and North Korea.

On Pinochet: I could go into an extremely long rant about how people tend to perceive Latin American leaders completely incorrectly based on their party affiliations but I'll try to confine it to this: many Latin Americans were gravely harmed by communist and socialist actions, such that anyone promising to stem those incredibly destructive tides often seemed a better option. Right-wing tyrants are not somehow better - or worse - than left wing tyrants. What they are, as my grandmother says, is full pigs rather than hungry ones, which means the people are more often left alone.
posted by corb at 11:22 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


..!.,
posted by _paegan_ at 11:22 AM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Rands, Reagans and Romenys of the world never figured out what Teddy Roosevelt did over a century ago.

Oh they figured it out. They just hated it. Neither Reaganomics nor Thatcherism were inspired by concern for the common man. Nor was austerity any sort of failure. They accomplished exactly what they set out to do.
posted by clarknova at 11:24 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think Thatcher "went to war" so much as she defended British-held territory against a dictator known for being shitty to people, but I understand that's a highly disputed point.

Okay, then, could she not have saved a good deal of money by utilizing dialogue rather than miltary force? I mean, you defend her support of Pinochet as "thinking she could get him to change his ways via dialogue", why didn't she do that in the Falklands? Much less costly that way.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:24 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


corb: " The attempt to solve the problem of poverty by throwing money from the skies at it is and has always been doomed to fail."

You don't solve poverty by making things worse, either.

If only she had thrown money at the poor and otherwise preserved the status quo. She would have done less damage.

Thatcher gutted social and economic programs that were actually working and didn't bother to put anything in place to replace them. Communities, workers and people suffered as a result. Her attempt to strangle the NHS is well documented. The poll tax. Ill-conceived deregulation of the financial industry. Her vilification of gays and Section 28. And again, she did all of these things with no backup plan to support the people who depended on it and had no where else to go for health care.

There's a difference between rational fiscal conservativism and idiotic fiscal destructivism. Quite a few of her policies screwed the poor and laid the ground for economic future problems.
posted by zarq at 11:25 AM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


I tend to agree with Thatcher about Argentina, although certainly, given Britain's history as a colonial power, it's a deeply unjust double standard.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:25 AM on April 8, 2013


Wow,

I did not expect that type of defense. Thanks for your candor.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:26 AM on April 8, 2013


Someone on my twitter just pointed out that today is a great day for burying bad or politically damaging news. She found one story. See if you can find more.
posted by zoo at 11:27 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]



On Pinochet: I could go into an extremely long rant about how people tend to perceive Latin American leaders completely incorrectly based on their party affiliations but I'll try to confine it to this: many Latin Americans were gravely harmed by communist and socialist actions, such that anyone promising to stem those incredibly destructive tides often seemed a better option. Right-wing tyrants are not somehow better than left wing tyrants. What they are, as my grandmother says, is full pigs rather than hungry ones, which means the people are more often left alone.



The what? Pinochet did not leave the people alone.
posted by sweetkid at 11:27 AM on April 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


*spits*

I left a country I had been bought up to love and admire in 1973 when it was going through a rough time, the equivalent of the proud to be an american bit I guess. I never went back to live there; too depressing.
What happened next was that the most divisive politican possible reduced a large percentage of proud working people to the status of modern day peasants and crowed about it.
Thatcher wasn't upper class, she came from that no mans land of middle class haves that turned their back on any one less fortunate than they and pander to the wealth and status they can seldom achieve. Her crimes are legion, see above. You have to be a Brit to truely understand this. Lets us ''mourn'' as we want.
posted by adamvasco at 11:27 AM on April 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


I know nothing about Thatcher, but I recently learned that it's possible Boudicca had a statue of Claudius beheaded and thrown into the river Alde since she couldn't get her hands on the emperor himself, where some school kid found it centuries later.

I will not be surprised if, in a few hundred years, a small child leaps off their hovercraft, having spotting something shiny in the waters of the bay, and, having dived for it, comes up with a ragged plastic bust of Margaret Thatcher. She seems... totemic.
posted by WidgetAlley at 11:27 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The attempt to solve the problem of poverty by throwing money from the skies at it is and has always been doomed to fail.

The purpose of government is not to make sure no one is sad.


I have to hand it to corb, that really is the rightwing mindset captured in two lines. Ridicule any attempt to actually provide a fair and decent society for all, sneer at the harm your policies do.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:28 AM on April 8, 2013 [73 favorites]


I usually abide by nihil nisi bonum, but in this case I'm with the trampers. Good riddance.
posted by trip and a half at 11:29 AM on April 8, 2013


You know who else was an incredibly competent head of government?
posted by grouse at 11:30 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


It annoys me that just saying those things likely makes me an apologist in many people's eyes for the many and several truly crappy things Thatcher did when I'm not. I'd like more unionisation, higher income taxes, closer regulation of financial services, more social housing stock and an equitable society. But blaming Thatcher for everything_that_is_wrong_in_the_world a quarter century after she retired and ignoring the country she governed when she came to power is obtuse.
I don't think it wrong to say what you have said. I think the greatest problem with Thatcher is not that she faced hard issues and sometimes (or often, depending on your view) got it wrong, but that she believed "there is no alternative". It is not that coal mines didn't have to be shut, but that folk didn't have to be harmed so badly in doing so. There had to have been another way, but I suppose counter-history is an empty pursuit.
posted by Jehan at 11:30 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


grouse: make no mistake: nobody has ever got British trains to run on time. Thatcher was, and evidently is, mortal.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:31 AM on April 8, 2013


You know who else was an incredibly competent head of government?

Steve?
posted by grubi at 11:32 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


WidgetAlley, we're way ahead of you, if you'll pardon the pun.
posted by spectrevsrector at 11:32 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


On Pinochet: I could go into an extremely long rant about how people tend to perceive Latin American leaders completely incorrectly based on their party affiliations

Or, indeed, their own upbringing...

But, erm, between Allende and Pinochet there was only one of them who used the national football stadium to lock up his political opponents, including folk singers, then tortured and executed them and it wasn't the "leftwing tyrant".

It's funny how rightwing terror has always been rationalised by the potential of leftwing terror. Not so funny for the people who were murdered and tortured for such crimes as being an union member or actually caring about the poorest people in society...
posted by MartinWisse at 11:33 AM on April 8, 2013 [32 favorites]


omg spectrevsrector thanks for the link. That. Is. Awesome. Next up: the silicone bronze one.
posted by WidgetAlley at 11:34 AM on April 8, 2013


The hallmark of the Tory 1980s in the industrial regions of Britain was an utter disrespect for the dignity of work: the idea that people wanted to make an honest living doing something they were good at, and in return receive some decent security in life.

Which itself is a pretty selective view of the past. The coal mines were deeply unprofitable. They were kept going by taxes on the south and other workers. High inflation is a tax on savers and pensioners - people who'd worked all their lives and put a bit by were losing everything they'd worked for, including their homes.

The waves of strikes after strikes were bloody crippling to everyone, which was the point, of course. To protect the income of the miners in particular, regardless of the consequences.

There were two fundamental questions -

1) does the government owe everyone a job, even if it's only possible by direct and indirect taxes on everyone else?
2) who makes the decisions about the country, the goverment or the unions?

I get that big parts of the country have blamed every thing bad that's happened to them for the last 30 years on Thatcher. It's been repeatedly said that the banking crisis and current recession are all her fault, Blair and Brown's 'light touch regulation' be damned, and ignoring that the source of the original crisis was over exposure to the US housing collapse (britain suffers from not enough housing, not too much), and that the european problems killing our export market are a bit hard to lay at her door.

It must have really sucked to have your tax subsidised job that only existed because of the unions destroyed. It also sucked to have your private sector job disappear because the factory closed due to complete lack of competiveness with overseas production, or have your retirement destroyed due to inflation.

She was elected, repeatedly, because her opponents were a disorganised mess who barely had a coherent idea of what to do next, and because people were fed up of the unions dictating terms to the rest of the country.

I certainly don't idolise her, and I don't vote tory, nor do I even earn as much as the new maximum benefit cap (since I'm no doubt about to be called some kind of heartless tory rich boy who's already got his). I think she did some terrible things, not least section 28 and her support for apartheid.

I also think this mythologising of the industrial communities in the north reliant solely on coal mining as self-sustaining, healthy places of honest people doing an honest days work destroyed by Thatcher just because she hated the middle classes is flat out wrong.

I'm glad Arthur Scargill and other violent militants like him lost. I'm sorry that people lost their jobs. But many of those jobs were unsustainable and unaffordable for the rest of the country and would have been on the chopping block, no matter the politiclan in charge. And plenty of people were losing their jobs in the south, it wasn't exactly champagne and roast partridge for everybody else, either.

Feel free to throw street parties and line up to piss on her grave. She'll still be dead, and she still left power 23 years ago. The labour party was in government for longer than she was - 13 years! Maybe now she's dead we can start to move past blaming her for all that's wrong in the world, and try to work out how we can best come up with a sustainable economy and a fairer deal for the working class that doesn't involve massive debt being passed to our kids, since the current crop of politco's are doing a piss poor job of it.
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:36 AM on April 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


Right-wing tyrants are not somehow better - or worse - than left wing tyrants. What they are, as my grandmother says, is full pigs rather than hungry ones, which means the people are more often left alone.

Better still to make sure you're replacing a pig with a human being in the first place, rather than just going along with the first option to come down the pike.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:36 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thatcher's greatest and least appreciated achievement was to provide a counter-point for the line of argument that women would make existentially different leaders in business and politics.
posted by GuyZero at 11:36 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Shoving people really hard and then loudly blaming them for falling is only considered high comedy by selfish, small-minded and cruel children, who often then grow up to view it as a sensible system of governance.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:38 AM on April 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


There's a quote from Alan Moore in the introduction for V for Vendetta, which is a good summation of what it it felt like to be in the UK under Thatcher's Britain.

It's 1988 now. Margaret Thatcher is entering her third term of office and talking confidently of an unbroken Conservative leadership well into the next century. My youngest daughter is seven and the tabloid press are circulating the idea of concentration camps for persons with AIDS. The new riot police wear black visors, as do their horses, and their vans have rotating video cameras mounted on top. The government has expressed a desire to eradicate homosexuality, even as an abstract concept, and one can only speculate as to which minority will be the next legislated against. I'm thinking of taking my family and getting out of this country soon, sometime over the next couple of years. It's cold and it's mean spirited and I don't like it here anymore.

If you believe that Blair was a diluted Thatcher under another name, the UK has effectively had a Thatcherite government since 1979. I left 15 years ago. The country still feels cold and mean spirited, and Thatcher had more to do with that than any other individual.
posted by daveje at 11:38 AM on April 8, 2013 [22 favorites]


But it has become de rigeur for a new generation of revisionist left wing commentators to ignore inconvenient truths.
It's not a problem solely confined to the left (or as you seem to be saying here, defenders of the Labour Party, not really the same group of people these days!) - if you look back at the 1979 campaign the Tory manifesto was pretty cautious and it really was no foregone conclusion that she'd win (big swing in the end but not a massive majority). The re-election in 1983 looked highly unlikely until the Falklands War changed the game. So it's as rich to imply she had ringing electoral endorsement for her economic agenda as it is to ignore the failure of anyone to offer the alternative she claimed couldn't exist.
posted by Abiezer at 11:41 AM on April 8, 2013


This is exactly what I'm talking about when I say that it seems people are talking about how people close to them were made sad by a policy, as though that should be our standard for judging how effective or necessary the policy is. The purpose of government is not to make sure no one is sad

There is something essentially inhuman about reading stories of economic and personal devastation wrought by bad economic policies and interpreting these as being "made sad by" those policies.

The promise of the modern world and "markets" is that people willing to work can put in a full effort and get a reward. And if modern society can't offer that, then what can it offer that is supposed to be so valuable?

If there are any valid criticisms of Margaret Thatcher that add up to more than "She believed in TANSTAAFL" then I would love to hear them.

You seem to be arguing that the UK was an impoverished 3rd-world country in which too many people were living too well and that the country, being as impoverished as it was, could not do anything but allow poverty to increase to its "normal" level. And yet Thatcher would have claimed that her country was a wealthy bastion of capitalism against the economically destructive socialism and communism.

If, in fact, it is the "normal" and "proper" economic position of the UK to have such high unemployment, poor infrastructure, and economic devastation, then it stands to reason that Thatcher's policies are the wrong ones.
posted by deanc at 11:42 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Best Way To Deal With Margaret Thatcher's Legacy Is To Kill It

Against the oncoming flood of propaganda, lies, distortions and Orwellian changing of the past, the space for the truth will be remarkably small. But there will still be a space. So let’s start filling it now and remind ourselves of the true legacy of the most pitiless, inhumane, greedy, venal and megalomaniacal creature ever to cross the threshold of 10 Downing Street:

The institutionalised corruption of privatising the nation’s utilities so her mates in the City could get ever richer.

The complete dismantling of entire industries and the communities that relied on them.

Engineering the biggest transfer of wealth from the poorest to the richest ever seen in the UK up to that point.

The cynical and immoral war-mongering in the Falklands for the sole purpose of conning a politically backward electorate in securing for her a further term in office.

The Poll Tax, riots, poverty, record unemployment, the most draconian and repressive employment legislation anywhere in the developed world, more small businesses going to the wall than at any period prior to her rule, her defence of and friendship with Chilean mass-murdering dictator General Pinochet and the ruination of the NHS to name but a few of her achievements.

You can, I’m sure, add many more to this partial and by no means exhaustive list. We are, today, as she made us. A paranoid, divided, mean-spirited nation, full of resentment, envy, greed and distrust. Racist, selfish, inhumane and tragically too stupid to see we are now nothing but turkeys lining up to continually vote for Christmas.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:42 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Also, if she was so hated, who elected her three times in a row? Serious question here. I've read the thread (mostly) and I understand why she was reviled, but clearly a lot of people liked what she was doing. So who were they?
posted by GuyZero at 11:42 AM on April 8, 2013


Agreed Jehan, but again I think history has been revised somewhat. In some cases, Thatcher met fire with fire. Arguably the last remaining union firebrand in the 70s/80s mould, Bob Crow is loved only by his members, and is just as prepared to screw everyone else to protect his vested interests.

Arthur Scargill was still milking the NUM nearly two decades after the miner's strike until his own union took him to court.

I don't think it is correct to see Thatcher as treating miners as crossfire or collateral damage but there is an argument that the hardline attitudes of their chosen negotiators were a non-trivial part of the problem.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:44 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Guardian editorial:
When she spoke, as she often did, about "our people", she did not mean the people of Britain; she meant people who thought like her and shared her prejudices. She abhorred disorder, decadence and bad behaviour but she was the empress ruler of a process of social and cultural atomism that has fostered all of them, and still does. [...] Her legacy is of public division, private selfishness and a cult of greed, which together shackle far more of the human spirit than they ever set free.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:45 AM on April 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


You know who else was an incredibly competent head of government?
Steve?


Harper? I'm not so sure. I mean, he hasn't made sure that I'm not sad, so I think we have to count that as a failure.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:45 AM on April 8, 2013


Less cynical, yes, but barely so. "Oh, this may affect me! Well, better do something about it, then."

Maybe so, but give me their responses over those of Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Clinton, Bush and Obama any day of the fucking week.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:46 AM on April 8, 2013


The purpose of government is not to make sure no one is sad.

Some guy called Bentham says hello, although he appears to be rotating in his grave?


Spinning in his closet at UCL, surely.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:46 AM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


It's funny how rightwing terror has always been rationalised by the potential of leftwing terror.

Wether they frighten or delight, fantasies express desire.
posted by clarknova at 11:46 AM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


What they are, as my grandmother says, is full pigs rather than hungry ones, which means the people are more often left alone.

Sadly no. They are greedy. Is it not the case that they take one look at miners, workers,people with pensions, and say, "They have TOO MUCH! It needs to be in the hands of those WHO DESERVE IT!" ?This was the legacy of neoliberal economics-- to steal from those with secure work and secure retirements in order to redistribute it to those who were regarding as deserving to be wealthy. Workers were (and are, if you listen to Mitt Romney) by the "full pigs" as thieves. Every dollar a union worker made in wages and every dollar a retiree received in his pension is regarded by those eulogizing Thatcher as a dollar being stolen out of their pockets. The very existence of the middle class, created by a combination of unions and legal policies, was regarded as an unfair theft out of the hands of the wealthy.

The problem was that Thatcher looked at people with homes and jobs and said, "they are living too well and deserve to be poor." The hunger is insatiable. And they will simply come for you next.
posted by deanc at 11:47 AM on April 8, 2013 [28 favorites]


Arguably the last remaining union firebrand in the 70s/80s mould, Bob Crow is loved only by his members, and is just as prepared to screw everyone else to protect his vested interests.

It is the job of any union leader to represent only the interests of the union. To represent interests of anyone else constitutes not doing the job
posted by Ironmouth at 11:47 AM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


So it's as rich to imply she had ringng electorial endorsement for her economic agenda

To be clear, I'm not implying that. I'm simply stating that since and including 1979 there have been 8 general elections. Each one has elected a Thatcherite in the absence of a cohesive and attractive enough leader or manifesto from a left wing government.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:48 AM on April 8, 2013


Spinning in his closet at UCL, surely.

True, true. I think that was a Kings rag week prank though.
posted by jaduncan at 11:48 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, if she was so hated, who elected her three times in a row? Serious question here.

Tory England. Mainly Tory south-east of England, and prosperous shires. The Tory share of the vote in Wales and Scotland plummeted after 1979, to the extent that in the 1997 election, not a single Tory MP was returned from Scotland.

Labour was unelectable from 1979 until after she left office, because of defections and infighting, so she won largely by default.
posted by daveje at 11:50 AM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


The institutionalised corruption of privatising the nation’s utilities so her mates in the City could get ever richer.

It is true.

The complete dismantling of entire industries and the communities that relied on them.

Also true.

Engineering the biggest transfer of wealth from the poorest to the richest ever seen in the UK up to that point.

Also true.

The cynical and immoral war-mongering in the Falklands for the sole purpose of conning a politically backward electorate in securing for her a further term in office.

Can't pin that on her. Nobody made Argentina attack the UK. This is where the left gets into trouble--don't assume that because the electorate disagrees with you on this one issue, that it is stupid. The eternal problem of the left is agreeing with its opponents that the electorate is stupid. It is not. It is allowed to value her defense of the Falklands. Playing that wrong is what lost them a lot of elections against a woman who was running sub 30's in opinion polls before that point.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:51 AM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


I'm depressed and sickened when Mefites celebrate the death of anyone.

Death happens. At the end of a long and "successful" life, what's there to be so hung up about? I can only hope my life makes a big enough splash in the pond that random people on the internet are abusing my legacy when I drop off the perch.

FTT.
posted by Jimbob at 11:52 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


To be clear, I'm not implying that. I'm simply stating that since and including 1979 there have been 8 general elections. Each one has elected a Thatcherite in the absence of a cohesive and attractive enough leader or manifesto from a left wing government.
Fair enough - was motivated to comment mostly because the left commentary I read is far more focussed on that failure to produce an alternative whilst believing there is a constiuency for such than just blaming her for fathering Blair and his ilk (not short of some that either, I grant you).
posted by Abiezer at 11:53 AM on April 8, 2013


“The attempt to solve the problem of poverty by throwing money from the skies at it is and has always been doomed to fail.”

The attempt to solve the problem of sickness by throwing medicine from the skies at it is and has always been doomed to fail.

no, that's not a very good analogy...

The attempt to solve the problem of drought by throwing water from the skies at it is and has always been doomed to fail.

that seems too obvious....

The attempt to solve the problem of darkness by throwing sunlight from the skies at it is and has always been doomed to fail.

...that'll do.

TANSTAAFL indeed! If we can only get tough on ourselves and privatise the goddamned sun we can finally show this freeloading so-called 'ecosystem full of biological life' how things really are.

American here, but I lived through the 80's. Wish I could celebrate w/ y'all today.
posted by hap_hazard at 11:53 AM on April 8, 2013 [18 favorites]


Also, if she was so hated, who elected her three times in a row? Serious question here. I've read the thread (mostly) and I understand why she was reviled, but clearly a lot of people liked what she was doing. So who were they?

Parliamentary democracy elects the MPs, not the PM. It's a mistake to think Thatcher was voted in by the people. Further, the Conservatives in her three terms were not elected by a majority, but merely a plurality. Even in their most popular year only 43% of voters voted Conservative. She/they gained power through splitting the Labour/Liberal votes, which are often fairly similar in views and very opposed to Conservative (this is a gross simplification but useful).

This is how fucked up Canada is, also, with the Greens NDP and Liberals all holding left, progressive positions all splitting well over half the votes for local MPs, with the Conservatives taking control of parliament with their right-wing policies that benefit only the wealthy taking the plurality of votes from rural and socially conservative areas as well as those who benefit from resource extraction.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:53 AM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


It is the job of any union leader to represent only the interests of the union. To represent interests of anyone else constitutes not doing the job

It doesn't actually have to be that way see: the wobblies. But the elections of Thatcher and Reagan showed that the industry trade union model espoused by, say, the UAW in the US and Labour in the UK was a political dead end.

There was choice between social democrats offering essentially conservative reforms of a system under stress and hucksters selling snake oil and all of those staid conservative voters and leaders chose the snake oil.
posted by ennui.bz at 11:53 AM on April 8, 2013


Assuming this is true, and while I have enjoyed some conversations with you - do you think that your parents meeting is the aim and goal of the state? Do you think that the state was significantly bettered by your parents meeting? Do you think that the average taxpayer, when polled, would say, "Hoyland's parents meeting is totally worth all of the crippling taxes I must pay and the shitty economic state of affairs"?

Abiezer has answered the ideological question and done so better than I would have done. But you've missed the point. As Jehan pointed out, my comment didn't make sense as an argument for anything. The point is that when you scoff about 'magic unicorn candy' as if the people who benefited from the post-war welfare state were people not interested in work or taking care of themselves and simply wanted to bleed dry a state they were unwilling to contribute to, you're insulting me, you're insulting my family, you're insulting those of us who dare to believe that the state can help provide everyone a decent standard of living, something the market has shown itself incapable of.
posted by hoyland at 11:54 AM on April 8, 2013 [25 favorites]


Dasein: "Her resolve in defending British soveriegnty in the Falklands against Argentine agression played a major role in bringing down the military dictatorship in that country. "

what in the actual fuck
posted by scrump at 11:57 AM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Margaret Thatcher was not only the symbol of neoliberalism, she was its soul. She embodied the ruthlessness of its tenets more ably than anyone else. She also promoted its contradictions.

She did not only lower taxes - she transferred tax burdens disproportionately to the lower classes. She did not end entitlements, she transferred them to the rich. She did not introduce "competition" to the market, she created a protected class of financial magicians and removed all protections for the poor and blue-collar workers. She denied the existence of society so that only those in high society could reap its benefits. She broke down effective social welfare programs in order to privatize their profits (including water distribution, as someone else has noted). She did not decrease government power, she used it as a weapon to break the poor and transfer assets to the rich.

That was how she treated her own people.

In other countries, she was "pragmatic" in her treatment of the apartheid government of South Africa, in her support of the Khmer Rouge, in her defense of Pinochet. These people apparently deserved to be mollycoddled because ... why? She showed deference to power and to ruthlessness and utter contempt for the powerless.

That was how she treated the world.

I am at a loss as to why anyone would provide this lady with a dot. I am not partying or dancing or whatever - I will not celebrate her death. But I will mourn her legacy. She gets no dot.
posted by blueberry sushi at 12:00 PM on April 8, 2013 [58 favorites]


Yeah if there's any typographical mark to be left behind, I think it's this one: £
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:05 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have to occasionally take the Long View. Usually, my alarm goes off at 0600, I see if my Singapore office needs anything, usually they don't so I go and make breakfast for the family and lunch for the kids, then take the kids to school.

Then go back to my current job on the Dark Side giving Koch Bros $2m open credit for lifting in Hong Kong, or wherever.

But then shit goes down like Cyprus (or Greece the year before) and I have to consider the Long View. Should we be in Tankers now, or stick to the Cruise Industry and Dry Bulk? Will they really, finally nuke the Jones Act, and what does that mean?

And the few times I have to take the Long View, I remember that Thatcher and Reagan made the current world, building on the think tanks that arose after Kennedy beat Nixon.

And I have to remember that that world is gone, dissolved into homeopathic amounts into a sea of China and India and Africa and the battle for control over the asymmetry of information. She was an evil person, but like Bismarck, she's gone now, and it's more important we avoid the mistakes the inheritors of that mess made.
posted by digitalprimate at 12:05 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


In other news Cher fans on twitter are devastated by the hashtag #nowthatchersdead
posted by wheelieman at 12:08 PM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


.
posted by Tanizaki at 12:10 PM on April 8, 2013


About the most poetic way thatCher's legacy has been put is in this Facebook comment: "In the intensity of her human failure, she confirms our humanity and its resplendency."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:10 PM on April 8, 2013


Which itself is a pretty selective view of the past. The coal mines were deeply unprofitable.

That you're focusing on coal mines is a pretty selective view of the past. The Tories preferred to see other heavy industry -- steel, shipbuilding, chemicals, petrochemicals -- mothballed rather than modernised, let control pass to others, and turned those workers who could find jobs into migrants and expats.
posted by holgate at 12:12 PM on April 8, 2013


About the most poetic way thatCher's legacy has been put is in this Facebook comment: "In the intensity of her human failure, she confirms our humanity and its resplendency."

did that person write blurbs for the backs of Updike novels or something
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:13 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Listened to BBC World News for a bit this morning:
Several minutes of a retrospective of Thatcher's "special relationship" with Reagan
Several minutes of Henry Kissinger


I don't suppose they asked Kissinger about the new WikiLeaks release, did they?
posted by homunculus at 12:15 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


.

May she find peace at last.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:16 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


zoo: Someone on my twitter just pointed out that today is a great day for burying bad or politically damaging news.

hint?
posted by ArgentCorvid at 12:18 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can sort of get some of the pushback against Thatcher's destruction of the mining towns. Us liberals certainly have no love for coal, (at least to the extent that "clean coal is a myth" is a catchphrase around here) but the way the mining industry was gutted goes a long way towards explaining how toxic Thatcher's policies were.

The destruction of the coal mines threw countless competent, dedicated, and thorough workers to the dogs. These were people who could have begun to turn Britain into the powerhouse of green power generation. They knew how it worked.

But that didn't happen. Because the Thatcher government didn't give a tin shit about the effects of coal mining on the environment. They just wanted to have more money to send elsewhere.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 12:18 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money. It's quite a characteristic of them." Speech, Feb. 5, 1976

Isn't it odd that this quote still has application today? Has nothing changed in 30 years? Here we are 30 years later and the President of the USA wants to cut the benefits of the old and disabled, yet he isn't thinking of giving that savings back to the rich in the form of tax rebates or lower taxes, he is planning on taking from the old and the sick and putting that money into other social entitlements.

Another from MT. “I think we've been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it. 'I have a problem, I'll get a grant.' 'I'm homeless, the government must house me.' They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It's our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbor. People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.”
posted by Gungho at 12:24 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am an American, but I DO remember what Thatcher (none of this Baroness bull*hit) did as I was a student there when she came to power. She did her best to rip up the social contract that had been in place since WWII, funneled money from the poor to the rich, supported racist (racialist) policies at home and abroad and brought in a load of wankers in foreign policy who supported fascists in Chile, condemned South Africans to Apartheid for another decade, and doing her best to start a nuclear war with Russia. So yeah, I completely get the level of rage. Even though I'm not a Brit, as a member of the world, my only wish is that she had died 40 years earlier.

And btw, don't get me started on Cheney - he'll be going to the same part of hell as she is in.
posted by BillW at 12:27 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah, it goes way beyond coal. In the first few months of her leadership Scotland lost 28,000 jobs. Scotland lost 20% of its industrial employment in the first three years of her government. Unemployment in Scotland hit 15%:

. for the Singer Sewing Machine plant in Clydebank
. for the Monsanto textiles industry in Ayrshire
. for Pye TMC telecommunucations in Livingston
. for the Wiggins Teape paper company in Fort William
. for the VF Corporation in Greenock
. for Massey Ferguson in Kilmarnock
. for the Peugeot-Citroen car factory in Linwood
. for Scotland's oldest manufacturing company, Carron in Falkirk

I could go on, but it's too depressing to continue listing. Thatcher treated Scotland as a laboratory for experimentation and most parts of the country will always view her with a great deal of hostility
posted by IanMorr at 12:28 PM on April 8, 2013 [30 favorites]


Aww jeez, I spent last night in Edinburgh for a Maker Fair after party, but I'm in St Andrews tonight, maybe the only Scottish town not partying.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:28 PM on April 8, 2013


Isn't it odd that this quote still has application today? Has nothing changed in 30 years? Here we are 30 years later and the President of the USA wants to cut the benefits of the old and disabled, yet he isn't thinking of giving that savings back to the rich in the form of tax rebates or lower taxes, he is planning on taking from the old and the sick and putting that money into other social entitlements.

*Back* to the rich? Your slip is showing.
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:30 PM on April 8, 2013 [20 favorites]


It wasn't just the destruction of the mining towns that causes so much of the hate. It was the utter lack of concern at the consequences of that destruction, the way that communities across a swathe of the country were left to rot, to turn almost overnight from hard-pressed, hard-working communities into heroin-riddled ghost towns.

Why did she keep getting elected? Because electors in the parts of the country that weren't falling apart didn't give a shit, as long as they got theirs. One of her biggest successes.
posted by reynir at 12:30 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Lady's Not For Turning
On the famous "society" quote: Why the Left Gets Neoliberalism Wrong: It’s the Feudalism, Stupid!
It’s that last phrase (“and there are families”) that’s crucial. Contrary to popular (or at least leftist) myth, neoliberals are not untrammeled individualists. In many ways, they’re not that different from traditional conservatives: that is, they see individuals embedded in social institutions like the church or the family or schools—all institutions, it should be said, that are hierarchical and undemocratic.

What I think is the real, or at least a main, thrust of neoliberalism, ... to shift power from government ... to the private authority of fathers and owners.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:31 PM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


> Though it's true I'll be even more thrilled when Cheney goes, since he wrecked my house rather than the house of my friends across the water.

ALL SHE DID WAS WRECK MY BED AND IN THE MORNING KICKED ME IN THE HEAD
OH MAGGIE I WISH I'D NEVER SEEN YOUR FACE
posted by bukvich at 12:33 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher
posted by 1066 at 12:36 PM on April 8, 2013


Another collection of music (some of which hasn't been posted here already, as far as I can see).

Including this.
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 12:38 PM on April 8, 2013


But didn't you know, there are really only five things you need to know about Margaret Thatcher (this from NPR, America's farthest left mainstream news source):

1) She broke the glass ceiling for female PMs (though according to some critics she set bad precedents in the process by being a heartless fuck in how she actually conducted herself on the job).

2) She served as PM for a really, really long time. Not the longest stint ever, but the longest in modern times. Another way she represented a throwback to a bygone age.

3) She inspired American conservatives to double-up and go really hard right just when they were about to give up hope and begrudgingly accept "socialism [sic]".

4) She helped make Britain and USA BFFs.

5) She and her school chum, little Ronnie Reagan, brought an end to the Cold War by letting the shy and awkward Mikhail Gorbachev sit with them at the cool kids' table.

All those other things, those callous exercises of naked power that have been called out in this thread and that inspired so many songs about dancing on her grave and so many mass protests, those things are not part of what we need to know about her anymore, now that she's dead (apparently).

On the famous "society" quote: Why the Left Gets Neoliberalism Wrong: It’s the Feudalism, Stupid!

Uh, yeah, because feudalism and the monarchical systems of bygone eras didn't have any pretenses of being concerned with protecting the interests of certain "families" or "bloodlines" or anything like that. Brilliant.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:39 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]




I don't think it is correct to see Thatcher as treating miners as crossfire or collateral damage but there is an argument that the hardline attitudes of their chosen negotiators were a non-trivial part of the problem.
I understand the point but don't agree. If the miners (or any group) had been more compliant, would the prescription have been weaker? I don't believe there was a time where Thatcher considered or wanted reform and improvement, only to be forced onto a more radical path by opposition. Indeed, even were it so that would not make it better. For then Thatcher would have been acting out of spite and not ideology. The latter is bad, the former even worse.

It seems that what 1979 needed was a middle path, but got only extremists.
posted by Jehan at 12:42 PM on April 8, 2013


Hey, know what this is?
Margaret Thatcher arriving too late to save the sinking Belgrano!

...too soon?
posted by misha at 12:42 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


3) She inspired American conservatives to double-up and go really hard right just when they were about to give up hope and begrudgingly accept "socialism [sic]".

:-O
posted by de at 12:43 PM on April 8, 2013


She wanted to destroy the miners for what they'd done to Ted Heath's government. She was going to get her revenge one way or the other.
posted by Grangousier at 12:43 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


A couple of weeks ago, me and my dad were discussing the differences between the original British series of House of Cards (along with its sucsessors, To Play The King and The Final Cut), and the new American version. The original BBC series were based on novels by Michael Dobbs, who in the late 1980s was the chief of staff of the Conservative party; much of their verisimilitude were down to the fact that Dobbs had pretty intimate access to the upper echelons of the Tory inner circle between 1980 and 1990.

Anyway, we were talking about the differences between the character of Francis Urquhart's wife in the BBC series, and Robin Wright's portrayal of Frank Underwood's wife in the Netflix version. Urquhart's wife's deal in the BBC series always struck me as being about getting a sexual kick out of her husband's power, whereas in the American series, Wright – this being a series being made 20 years hence, with appropriate differences in characterisation – switches the dutiful spouse who stands by her powerful man for one who is equally obsessed with power.

And then it struck me: Elizabeth Urquhart, Francis' wife, is not his wife: she's actually an analogue for Thatcher. She's the ultra-powerful woman whom all the 1980s Tory men – the men who went through public school and Sandhurst and the private sector of the 1950s and 1960s – lust after. She's the attractive, hair-set-in-stone woman for whom Francis Urquhart would do anything. She wants him to have an affair with a green young journalist and then tell him the details afterwards, and ruin her career? Done. Said journalist becomes and inconvenience and needs to be killed? Done. Cabinet colleagues and junior whips need to be brought into line, or actually murdered? Done.

House of Cards isn't actually about Francis Urquhart and his singularly evil pursuit of power. It's about how far people like Urquhart were willing to go in order to please Thatcher, a woman with whom so many of the Tory government of the 1980s had a weird, submissive sexual fascination with.

It's essentially subtextual Tory Cabinet slash fiction. Though obviously quasi-allegoric Tory Cabinet slash fiction is one of the less horrible aspects of her legacy.
posted by Len at 12:47 PM on April 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


Thatcherism was a national catastrophe that still poisons us We are in the midst of the third great economic collapse since the Second World War: all three have taken place since Thatcherism launched its great crusade
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:47 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ignorant, too young to recall, American here. Can I get a cite for the first part of this, from gnfti's link? Thanks, seriously and non-snarkily.

She hated feminists even though it was largely due to the progression of the women's movement that the British people allowed themselves to accept that a Prime Minister could actually be female.
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:47 PM on April 8, 2013


I lived in the Falkland Islands for three and a half years, which left me magnificently conflicted on the dispatch of the Task Force to the South Atlantic. I'm deeply glad that Britain didn't just shrug and hand the Islands and the Falkland Islanders over to the Argentines after they invaded, but as a lifelong loather of The Thatch (TM Ben Elton), could never bring myself to feel anything positive towards her for her role in proceedings.

My feelings resolved themselves a little when I was discussing this with a born-and-bred Falkland Islander and he privately reflected: "Well, everyone thinks she's great for coming and rescuing us, but the way I look at it is that we wouldn't have been in that situation in the first place if it wasn't for her. She was telling Argentina they could have the Falklands, so they thought they'd take it."

And indeed she was - in the years immediately before the conflict, she and her Foreign Minister Nicholas Ridley had been busy courting Argentina about the possibilities for progressively handing the Islands over.

And thus my cognitive dissonance was eased.
posted by penguin pie at 12:49 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


abiezer: She'd never have got in in 1979 without the SDP spilt

How could that be when the SDP was formed in March 1981, due to the increasing influence of the "Militant Tendancy"?
Remember Derek Hatton in Liverpool?
posted by BlueMarble72 at 12:50 PM on April 8, 2013




Personally I view Thatcher as similar to a dose of Chemotherapy. Something that almost killed the patient, but in the end at least put her in remission.

Also none of the post war Welfare Sate institutions like the NHS were left completely intact.
posted by BlueMarble72 at 12:58 PM on April 8, 2013




How could that be when the SDP was formed in March 1981, due to the increasing influence of the "Militant Tendancy"?

Oops, busted! Mixing up my campaigns.
posted by Abiezer at 12:59 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


this from NPR, America's farthest left mainstream news source

MSNBC would beg to differ.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:00 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


RolandofEld: ignorant, too young to recall, American here. Can I get a cite for this, from gnfti's link? Thanks.

She hated feminists even though it was largely due to the progression of the women's movement that the British people allowed themselves to accept that a Prime Minister could actually be female.


Her friend Paul Johnson quotes her as saying:

"The feminists hate me, don't they? And I don't blame them. For I hate feminism. It is poison."
posted by spectrevsrector at 1:00 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


And then it struck me: Elizabeth Urquhart, Francis' wife, is not his wife: she's actually an analogue for Thatcher. She's the ultra-powerful woman whom all the 1980s Tory men – the men who went through public school and Sandhurst and the private sector of the 1950s and 1960s – lust after. She's the attractive, hair-set-in-stone woman for whom Francis Urquhart would do anything. She wants him to have an affair with a green young journalist and then tell him the details afterwards, and ruin her career? Done. Said journalist becomes and inconvenience and needs to be killed? Done. Cabinet colleagues and junior whips need to be brought into line, or actually murdered? Done.

Surely Maggie would have been far, far too middle class arriviste for the aristocratic Urquhart. And Dennis Thatcher seems to have been content to have been a political non-entity/husband who stays very much in the background
posted by Bwithh at 1:01 PM on April 8, 2013


Personally I view Thatcher as similar to a dose of Chemotherapy. Something that almost killed the patient, but in the end at least put her in remission.

It might be more accurate to think of it as giving chemotherapy to someone with the flu.
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 1:01 PM on April 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


fearfulsymmetry: Owen Jones is not a reliable source: his whole shtick is that Thatcher is to blame for everything and facts be damned.

Firstly, the oil crisis of 1973 caused a longer and deeper recession than the one of 1990. Secondly, the failing economy in 79 started before Thatcher was elected. The whole of the 70s was slow or no growth. Heath was kicked out after the economy tanked in 73. Wilson after it failed to recover in 79.
posted by MuffinMan at 1:04 PM on April 8, 2013


RolandofEld: She also said "I owe nothing to women's lib."
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:04 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Spotify soundtrack for the many Thatcher parties.
posted by ericb at 1:05 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wilson after it failed to recover in 79.

Callaghan. Wilson resigned a few years earlier.
posted by Grangousier at 1:06 PM on April 8, 2013


Aargh. Damn my feeble brain!
posted by MuffinMan at 1:08 PM on April 8, 2013




Aargh. Damn my feeble brain!

Not as bad as me and the SDP affecting an election two years before they were formed. I blame the legacy of Thatcher.
posted by Abiezer at 1:10 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Bwithh: Surely Maggie would have been far, far too middle class arriviste for the aristocratic Urquhart. And Dennis Thatcher seems to have been content to have been a political non-entity/husband who stays very much in the background

Well in reality, yes, but my point was more than Urquhart's wife in House of Cards was a mythical Thatcher figure. Maggie may have been a grocer's daughter from Grantham, but that didn't stop them all imagining she was the second coming of Boudicca.
posted by Len at 1:11 PM on April 8, 2013


She helped make Britain and USA BFFs.

Oh, please. That started when the US Navy's Battleship Division 9 went across to England and joined the British Grand Fleet as the 6th Battle Squadron in late 1917, and was firmly in place by Truman -- never mind JFK and Congress making Sir Winston Churchill the first honorary citizen of the United States.

Indeed, the term "Special Relationship" was first uttered by Churchill in 1946.
posted by eriko at 1:12 PM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Slate: Margaret Thatcher vs. Pop Culture.
posted by ericb at 1:22 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well in reality, yes, but my point was more than Urquhart's wife in House of Cards was a mythical Thatcher figure.

Not really. Remember that House of Cards originally aired about a week or two after Thatcher resigned, and that it begins with Urquart mourning the end of Thatcher's era. (I've often wondered whether that was there in the first place, or hastily added.) Urquart's wife is supposed to represent the typical Tory MP's loyal partner, never Thatcher.
posted by daveje at 1:24 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Re Adams..As someone who was not too far away from the bombers who nearly managed to kill Thatcher back in 1984, he's in a whole different league from those who just want to piss on her grave

You can't call him an armchair general. He takes this stuff so seriously he's willing to literally kill for it.
posted by Damienmce at 1:35 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not really. Remember that House of Cards originally aired about a week or two after Thatcher resigned, and that it begins with Urquart mourning the end of Thatcher's era . (I've often wondered whether that was there in the first place, or hastily added.) Urquart's wife is supposed to represent the typical Tory MP's loyal partner, never Thatcher.
posted by daveje at 1:24 PM on April 8 [+] [!]


The first episode of the BBC's House of Cards aired just a couple of days *before* the Conservative Party leadership election which brought down Thatcher.

The beginning of the first episode is brilliantly crafted , easily one of the best openings I've seen.
posted by Bwithh at 1:36 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Isn't in each artist (7):It might be more accurate to think of it as giving chemotherapy to someone with the flu.

Well at least you recognise the UK was sick in 1979.
posted by BlueMarble72 at 1:36 PM on April 8, 2013


Urquart's wife is supposed to represent the typical Tory MP's loyal partner, never Thatcher.

I pretty sure she's just standing in for Lady Macbeth.
posted by atbash at 1:37 PM on April 8, 2013


daveje: Urquart's wife is supposed to represent the typical Tory MP's loyal partner, never Thatcher.

Yes, I know she was in one way the stereotypical Tory wife – I suspect she was maybe based on the "fragrant" Mary Archer, myself – and I loved the way Urquhart mourned the Great Leader's demise. I was more trying to make a point about how you could read (the BBC) House of Cards as being a story about the ruthless Tory frontbenchers of the 80s who idolised Thatcher, in opposition to the so-called "wets", and what they were willing to do in order to remain in her good graces. It's more about the psyche of Lawson, Waldegrave, Alan Clarke, and the like, than it is about anything else, or the actual truth. More of an interesting fictional diversion.
posted by Len at 1:40 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have to hand it to corb, that really is the rightwing mindset captured in two lines. Ridicule any attempt to actually provide a fair and decent society for all, sneer at the harm your policies do.

Except that's not true at all. What is "a fair and decent society"? If you can come up with a completely nonpartisan answer for that that everyone can agree to, I'll paypal you ten dollars.

It's funny how rightwing terror has always been rationalised by the potential of leftwing terror. Not so funny for the people who were murdered and tortured for such crimes as being an union member or actually caring about the poorest people in society...

You mean like at Kronstadt? You know, where well-known right-wing idealogue Emma Goldman called foul? Left-wing governments are not somehow immune to the spectre of instituting state violence.
posted by corb at 1:43 PM on April 8, 2013




What is "a fair and decent society"? If you can come up with a completely nonpartisan answer for that that everyone can agree to, I'll paypal you ten dollars.

One in which everyone enjoys equal freedom to pursue the life they wish to live, and also everyone shares equally in tending to the infrastructure which enables them to do so.

Lemme know where you'd like me to send you my Paypal details.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:53 PM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Crushing striking coal miners is ok because Trotsky slaughtered some sailors?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:53 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Margaret Thatcher Dead: Facebook Campaign Launched To Make Judy Garland's 'Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead' Number One -- "Members posted a link to the song and urged people to download it in a bid to send it rocketing to the top of the charts."

The Facebook page: Make "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" Number 1 The Week Thatcher Dies.
posted by ericb at 1:53 PM on April 8, 2013


Better still to make sure you're replacing a pig with a human being in the first place, rather than just going along with the first option to come down the pike.

Yeah, my half-remembered translation doesn't convey it well, but the idea is essentially that it's impossible to find a politician who is not a pig, that they all want to be rich and powerful, and thus it is best to find one who has already become rich and powerful, because he will take away less of the people's property since he needs less to get to that point.

The point is that when you scoff about 'magic unicorn candy' as if the people who benefited from the post-war welfare state were people not interested in work or taking care of themselves and simply wanted to bleed dry a state they were unwilling to contribute to, you're insulting me, you're insulting my family, you're insulting those of us who dare to believe that the state can help provide everyone a decent standard of living, something the market has shown itself incapable of.

I'll say it point-blank: you are reading me wrong, because you are assuming I am trying to be a jerk. Completely so.

I'm not saying that people who benefited from the post-war welfare state are people not interested in work and wanted to bleed dry the state. In fact, I'd wager most of them were relatively decent people, because I think on the whole, people would rather be decent than not. But I do think that despite their best intentions, it is really hard for people receiving welfare benefits to conceive that they are taking this money from the pockets of other good people. I think it's a lot easier to think of the money as arising from the nebulous "government." .

It has nothing to do with whether I think the state can provide everyone a "Decent standard of living." I think that that is not the state's business. I do not believe in lowering everyone to the least common denominator. I do not view income inequality as inherently bad. We are fundamentally different, we are looking at the world in incredibly different ways.

And this is, in effect, the problem with the Thatcher conversation as well. Baroness Thatcher wanted to make a better world according to the principles she lived by. She felt Keynesianism was destructive to economies and ultimately harmful in the end. She appears, given what has been said here, to have been looking out for the interests of the Nation on the whole as she saw them. But the way she saw them is not the way you and others saw them, so you're angry and in a mood to spit on her grave.
posted by corb at 1:54 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


You mean like at Kronstadt? You know, where well-known right-wing idealogue Emma Goldman called foul? Left-wing governments are not somehow immune to the spectre of instituting state violence.

All of Lenin and Stalin's crimes combined don't wash the blood off of Pinochet's hands. This is a dodge.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:56 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


The first episode of the BBC's House of Cards aired just a couple of days *before* the Conservative Party leadership election which brought down Thatcher

Dammit, I'd convinced myself it was just after.
posted by daveje at 1:57 PM on April 8, 2013






corb: What is "a fair and decent society"? If you can come up with a completely nonpartisan answer for that that everyone can agree to, I'll paypal you ten dollars.

Does "a society who looks after its own and makes sure they don't die cold, alone and unattended" count? I don't think that's partisan. I think that's basic human decency.

Because Thatcher actively worked to dismantle a society that did that. The fact that she repeatedly declared that there was "no such thing as society" precludes the idea that she thought any society could be fair and decent.

And if you want to talk about Thatcher's friends, remember this about Pinochet, perhaps Thatcher's closest foreign friend, whom she directed plenty of British money to: he had political detractors flown, in helicopters, out over the Pacific Ocean. Then they were disembowelled. Then they were dropped like stones into the ocean.
posted by Len at 1:59 PM on April 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


Baroness Thatcher wanted to make a better world according to the principles she lived by.

Come on, please don't make me Godwin a thread that's got this far.
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 2:01 PM on April 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


corb: What is "a fair and decent society"? If you can come up with a completely nonpartisan answer for that that everyone can agree to, I'll paypal you ten dollars.

EmpressCallipygos: One in which everyone enjoys equal freedom to pursue the life they wish to live, and also everyone shares equally in tending to the infrastructure which enables them to do so.

Lemme know which address you'd like me to send you my Paypal details.

Hold off on that Paypal payment, Corb - I formally disagree with EmpressCallipygos's definition. My definition of a fair and decent society would be one where anybody can aggressively attack anybody or anything else that they dislike (in any way short of direct physical violence), but everyone has equal resources at birth so that the playing field is equal.

Also, as far as her infrastructure statement, I don't believe in paying equally for infrastructure that I don't use - that seems unfair to me. I believe people who use more infrastructure should pay more.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 2:01 PM on April 8, 2013


Rustic Etruscan: All of Lenin and Stalin's crimes combined don't wash the blood off of Pinochet's hands. This is a dodge.

Shouldn't the Soviet deaths just add to Pinochet's murders in the catalogue of dictarorship's crimes?
posted by BlueMarble72 at 2:03 PM on April 8, 2013


Well, yes. A murderer is a murderer is a murderer.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:04 PM on April 8, 2013


I believe people who use more infrastructure should pay more.

In absolute terms, or as a proportion of their own resources?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:05 PM on April 8, 2013


What is "a fair and decent society"? If you can come up with a completely nonpartisan answer for that that everyone can agree to, I'll paypal you ten dollars.

It's a fix - the conservative ideal is to actively disdain the desire for fair and decent society.

I believe people who use more infrastructure should pay more.

Which is distinctly at odds with the reality that those with the least to pay with are the ones who need the infrastructure the most.
posted by FatherDagon at 2:05 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


The proper thing to do to a troll is to ignore it right? Ok I'll do that. Everyone, *focus*!
posted by RolandOfEld at 2:05 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


make no mistake: nobody has ever got British trains to run on time. Thatcher was, and evidently is, mortal.

Thatcher didn't believe in trains; the sweaty shoulder-to-shoulder solidarity of public transport had no place in the new free-enterprise world of self-interested individuals boldly charging forth in their private automobiles. She did her best to rein in British Rail, planning that it would in time decline, the tracks would be ripped up and paved over with shiny new motorways or sold to property developers, and Britain would drive as free individuals. When that failed, her successor privatised British Rail. The reason the privatisation was so botched was that its assumptions were that rail use was going into an irreversible death spiral, whereas it soon rebounded and is now experiencing record figures each year.
posted by acb at 2:06 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


"On Pinochet: I could go into an extremely long rant about how people tend to perceive Latin American leaders completely incorrectly based on their party affiliations but I'll try to confine it to this: many Latin Americans were gravely harmed by communist and socialist actions, such that anyone promising to stem those incredibly destructive tides often seemed a better option. Right-wing tyrants are not somehow better - or worse - than left wing tyrants. What they are, as my grandmother says, is full pigs rather than hungry ones, which means the people are more often left alone."

Far fewer Latin Americans were harmed by Communist or Socialist actions than by those of right wing dictators and oligarchs. That we tend to hear more about the people harmed by Communists and Socialists is due to the fact that they tend to be rich and thus the rich interests that control the media have more sympathy.

Your grandmother is flatly wrong about right wing dictators leaving the people alone, unless you mean rich people, in which case, her concerns about the common man seem a bit misplaced.
posted by klangklangston at 2:07 PM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


"In Britain she failed, in large part because the people were not worthy of her. She wanted to create a property-owning democracy, populated by small business owners and respectable workers with their own homes and share portfolios, in which "society" was not a synonym for the state but rather a network of self-reliant and charitable families supporting themselves and looking out for their neighbours. That's what she meant when she said that there was "no such thing as society". Unfortunately, the people she emancipated sold their shares at the first opportunity and invested the proceeds in drink and cheap holidays; while those who made fortunes under her government too often failed to see any obligation to their fellows. The freedom she offered required a discipline and moral conscientiousness that she herself possessed but that too many, not being of her own wartime generation, lacked. Today's selfish and deracinated society is her legacy but was never her intention."

From one of the more thoughtful obits appearing today, in sad contrast so so much of this thread.
posted by genesta at 2:08 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I believe people who use more infrastructure should pay more

And what proportion of the GDP would you be willing to spend on the massive accounting structure required to administer this? This is a cut-your-nose-off-to-spite-your-face policy if ever I saw one.
posted by Jakey at 2:08 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


She appears, given what has been said here, to have been looking out for the interests of the Nation on the whole as she saw them. But the way she saw them is not the way you and others saw them, so you're angry and in a mood to spit on her grave.

She had an image of Britain, but there was a strongly divisive element to her character which meant that she was always more inclined to identify with her own people than with the country as a whole, and to see others as expendable. Remember (actually, as an American (?) perhaps you don't) her statement "Is he one of us?", or her description of her opponents as the "enemy within", or her dismissal of the idea of society.
posted by daveje at 2:09 PM on April 8, 2013


RolandOfEld: "The proper thing to do to a troll is to ignore it right? Ok I'll do that. Everyone, *focus*"

♫ just don't look ♫
posted by ArgentCorvid at 2:11 PM on April 8, 2013


What is "a fair and decent society"?

One where you can happily change places with the poorest and least privileged member of it.
posted by daveje at 2:11 PM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


In Britain she failed, in large part because the people were not worthy of ... Unfortunately, the people she emancipated sold their shares at the first opportunity and invested the proceeds in drink and cheap holidays

There is no limits to the sheer awfulness people are capable of.
posted by spaltavian at 2:11 PM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


The only way I can respond to the Pinochet-loving hag's death is to go spend 3 days listening to old John Peel shows. Now there's someone I never heard live that I'll miss until I can't.

Ding dong the witch is dead. Sorry, witches.
posted by Twang at 2:12 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


corb: “You mean like at Kronstadt? You know, where well-known right-wing idealogue Emma Goldman called foul? Left-wing governments are not somehow immune to the spectre of instituting state violence.”

I agree. And yes, there was plenty of left-wing terror in Latin America, from the 1960s on through the 1990s. I appreciate that point as far as it goes.

But – Chile is its own time and place. In Chile, there wasn't left-wing terror – there was only right-wing terror at the hands of Pinochet. One may point to what was going on in surrounding countries and attempt to paint a picture of a growing Communist threat – one may say that Allende had communist sympathies and hint darkly about what he might have done in office, the horrors that might have come to pass – but honestly I'm not convinced by that old USian theory of the domino effect anymore, and moreover I think it's mostly just a dodge.

All we're left with, in the end, is the fact of the matter: a democratically-elected president of Chile was overthrown by a coup which instituted a military dictatorship that lasted more than a decade and a half and ended up killing, torturing, or exiling more than forty thousand people, many of whom were kidnapped and made to disappear without any trace. This is a real human cost. It is not an insignificant one.

I mean – I appreciate that there's a lot of silly hyperbole flying around today, and I even appreciate that, in 1982, one could be forgiven for seeing the rise of Pinochet and feeling somewhat gratified to know that leftist extremists would not be able to commit atrocious acts in another Latin American country. I can understand that point of view – in 1982. But, applied to Chile, it is incoherent today. Pinochet presided over brutal and inhuman acts. No amount of speculative fantasy about what the communists might have done can take away the blood of those thousands. If I murder a man, I cannot defend myself by claiming that he might have ended up a murderer too if I'd let him live. The same rule applies to Pinochet, the murderer of Chilean democracy.

And my point in quoting that Thatcher speech from 1999 was largely to point out – she believed this in 1999, long after I believe anyone had any call to be uninformed of the atrocities under Pinochet. The Rettig Report was released in 1991, a full eight years before this speech was given; was Thatcher merely unaware of it, or did she consciously ignore it? Either way, it seems to me that her endorsement of Pinochet at that late date is simply insupportable.
posted by koeselitz at 2:12 PM on April 8, 2013 [22 favorites]


In Britain she failed, in large part because the people were not worthy of her.

Try saying that anywhere in the vicinity of the Tyne, the Wear, the Mersey, or the Clyde.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:13 PM on April 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


We all benefit from infrastructure, even if we don't personally use it. That is why it is owned by the government in the public trust. Perhaps you've never heard the screech of a seagull, smelled the tang of salt spray or set your toe in the ocean but by fuck your life depends on it being there. I don't own a car but I benefit from roads in my town as well as roads in Toronto and roads in Alberta.

We all, every one of us, are the product of tens of thousands of years of society; everything we take for granted about our lives was put there, or preserved, by someone who came before us who made hard decisions. We have built our lives on the commons of humanity, and it is down to our generation to make sure it is not overgrazed because THIS IS THE CENTURY when we are finding out that we all have too many fucking sheep. We're all in this together, did you know?

So that's why saying things like "I don't use the city park at the other end of town so I don't want to pay for it" makes me angry. Because you do use it, you do benefit from it; the people who set foot in it live better lives and you benefit from their prosperity and happiness indirectly. Do you not see how everything is connected? How could you miss that?
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:13 PM on April 8, 2013 [56 favorites]


corb: it's impossible to find a politician who is not a pig, that they all want to be rich and powerful, and thus it is best to find one who has already become rich and powerful, because he will take away less of the people's property since he needs less to get to that point.

Well done, you agree with the concept or the aristocracy. I hope you've got a title.

But I do think that despite their best intentions, it is really hard for people receiving welfare benefits to conceive that they are taking this money from the pockets of other good people.

This is not hard to grasp: at the moment, I am working and therefore paying tax. In a few years time I will lose my job and claim benefits. A couple of months after that I will be back in work. The people working and paying tax ARE THE SAME PEOPLE as those claiming benefits. This is how society works.

I do not believe in lowering everyone to the least common denominator

Well you believe in reducing everyone who isn't an aristocrat to destitute wretches with no safety net.

Look, a society with an equable tax system and a social safety net is not reducing everyone to some nebulous "lowest common denominator"*. It's about having a functioning society in which we help everyone. If you think that's a bad thing, then you're free to come out and say that.

Just know that in a world like the one you want, that nobody else would ever have your back, and if you have one catastrophic misfortune, then you're on your own. Does that sound like a way to live?
posted by Len at 2:14 PM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


But I do think that despite their best intentions, it is really hard for people receiving welfare benefits to conceive that they are taking this money from the pockets of other good people.

Because they are not. They have contributed via taxes and blood to keep the state going forward. The idea somehow that it is the rich who are really holding the poor up is ridiculous. So those poor and middle class people did not already contribute to the state? Its only the rich that are putting money in this exact moment who are contributing to helping their fellow citizens?

Poppycock. We are in this together because it is to our advantage to do so, and it is the rich that are profiting the most who are the most advantaged by the state and its existence.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:15 PM on April 8, 2013 [27 favorites]


Facebook Campaign Launched To Make Judy Garland's 'Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead' Number One

Personally I prefer Klaus Nomi's version.
posted by homunculus at 2:15 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Right-wing tyrants are not somehow better - or worse - than left wing tyrants. What they are, as my grandmother says, is full pigs rather than hungry ones, which means the people are more often left alone.

That's true enough. As Victor Jara found out, after they've tortured you by breaking your hands and wrists in public, you're free to play the guitar as long as you like (or at least till the firing squad gets around to you).
posted by scody at 2:17 PM on April 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


In Britain she failed, in large part because the people were not worthy of ... Unfortunately, the people she emancipated sold their shares at the first opportunity and invested the proceeds in drink and cheap holidays

The problem with blaming the people for not being worthy of a leader is that it's the leader's job to work with the people they've got.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:18 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


But I do think that despite their best intentions, it is really hard for people receiving welfare benefits to conceive that they are taking this money from the pockets of other good people.

If it wasn't already clear, here we have the foundation of corb's philosophy: A strong conviction that in order to not agree with her, you must be very, very stupid.
posted by spaltavian at 2:19 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


[Thacher] appears, given what has been said here, to have been looking out for the interests of the Nation on the whole as she saw them.

Is incompetence evil? Willful blindness? Thatcher had a lot of success in stimulating the tertiary finance sector, but her industrial policy (selling everything as fast as she could) allowed Germany to take the undisputed lead in manufacturing. Today, Germany enjoys an average wage about 25% higher than the UK, and comes out higher by every metric of citizen happiness and development (e.g. #5 on the UN scale for development vs #25 for the UK).

Was that destruction of human capital worth keeping the UK debt balanced? I'd argue that Thatcher got that very wrong, that the UK continues to pay the price for that error to this day, in standard of living, in crime and in general break down in social structures.

Theological labels aside, it's hard to celebrate the life of someone who burned generations of social capital on the altar of trickle-down economics.
posted by bonehead at 2:19 PM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


In Britain she failed, in large part because the people were not worthy of her.

"Thatcher did not fail Britain, Britain failed Thatcher" is a pretty gross sentiment.

It has nothing to do with whether I think the state can provide everyone a "Decent standard of living." I think that that is not the state's business.

That is an admirable sentiment, but if you want people to support the policies of the state, then you should give them a reason to do so. Why should people care about, say, implementing free markets if it cannot provide them with a "decent standard of living"? "I'm going to ruin your lives... FOR FREEDOM!" isn't an admirable sentiment-- it is the same disgusting sentiment as communism that views people as cogs in a machine to serve the purpose of those who "know better."

What disgusted Thatcher was that people who weren't business owners were "free" by dint of the deals they had negotiated via the political system. Free to live decently. Free with a decent salary for an honest day's work. Free to use the public infrastructure befitting of a modern nation. And to see that "nation of takers", as many of her ilk put it, blatantly living in such a manner was something she could not abide.
posted by deanc at 2:19 PM on April 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


It's a party.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:20 PM on April 8, 2013


ericb: "Margaret Thatcher Dead: Facebook Campaign Launched To Make Judy Garland's 'Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead' Number One "

This is of course an outrage and an insult to witches everywhere.
posted by mullingitover at 2:20 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


The attempt to solve the problem of darkness by throwing sunlight from the skies at it is and has always been doomed to fail.

The abyssal demon I met beyond the Ort cloud whilst I was having a bad reaction to Demerol certainly thought so.
posted by clarknova at 2:20 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Bwithh: From The Liverpool Echo - Labour MP Frank Field remembers Thatcher's friendships with socialist MPs

Beware the idea Frank Field is a left-winger, he's been known for years as a rightwing renegade within the Labour party.

From Wikipaedia:
Field's political stance has been somewhat at odds with the rest of the Parliamentary Labour Party in recent years, and he has embraced more social conservative ideas. He is a member of the advisory board of the free-market think tank Reform, and of the generally conservative but also pro-freedom of speech magazine Standpoint. In May 2008, he said that Margaret Thatcher "is certainly a hero" and that "I still see Mrs T from time to time – I always call her 'Mrs T', when I talk to her." Although there have been attempts to get him to defect to the Conservatives, they have been without success. In 2008, Frank Field was named as the 100th most-influential right-winger in the United Kingdom by the Telegraph. Field supports the return of national service to tackle growing unemployment and instil “a sense of order and patriotism” in Britain’s young men and women. However, in May 2010, Field endorsed John McDonnell, the left-wing Chairman of the Socialist Campaign Group and Labour Representation Committee, in the Labour leadership election to replace Gordon Brown.

...

Field believes strongly in fighting climate change. He co-founded the charity Cool Earth with Johan Eliasch. Cool Earth protects endangered rainforest and works with the local communities to combat climate change.

Field believes in reducing the time-limit with which women can have an abortion, and in stripping abortion providers such as Marie Stopes of their counselling role and handing it to organisations not linked to abortion clinics.
posted by BlueMarble72 at 2:21 PM on April 8, 2013


Far fewer Latin Americans were harmed by Communist or Socialist actions than by those of right wing dictators and oligarchs. That we tend to hear more about the people harmed by Communists and Socialists is due to the fact that they tend to be rich and thus the rich interests that control the media have more sympathy.

There is a school of thought that Marxism (or socialism in general) is like a zombie plague: those infected with it are no longer humans, i.e., individuals capable of feeling as individuals do, but zombies who mimic human behaviours but whose only aim is to turn others into zombies, which is why they must be involuntarily euthanased. Hence the mass graves full of trade unionists and troublesome poets.
posted by acb at 2:21 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


"I do not believe in lowering everyone to the least common denominator"

A rising tide lifts all boats. Portraying a safety net as lowering people to a least common denominator is pointedly stupid.

And honestly, Anti-Communism was so corrosive and pyrrhic that it was only barely worse than the blight of Communism. It blinded people to the benefits that socialism can have while justifying the worst sort of human rights abuses in a tu quoque structure.
posted by klangklangston at 2:24 PM on April 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


corb: “It has nothing to do with whether I think the state can provide everyone a ‘Decent standard of living.’ I think that that is not the state's business.”

I feel like it's necessary to point out that hoyland didn't say the state can provide everyone a decent standard of living; he said that the state can help provide everyone a decent standard of living. And apparently you agree, since you're defending a leader who is supposed to have helped save the economy.
posted by koeselitz at 2:25 PM on April 8, 2013


"Thatcher did not fail Britain, Britain failed Thatcher" is a pretty gross sentiment.

It would be if that was what the article said, Deanc, but it isn't.
posted by genesta at 2:26 PM on April 8, 2013


There is a school of thought that Marxism (or socialism in general) is like a zombie plague: those infected with it are no longer humans, i.e., individuals capable of feeling as individuals do, but zombies who mimic human behaviours but whose only aim is to turn others into zombies, which is why they must be involuntarily euthanased. Hence the mass graves full of trade unionists and troublesome poets.

Not that it's really relevant to this discussion, but Stalinisim held precisely the same opinion of capitalists.

Great shits stink alike, I guess.
posted by clarknova at 2:26 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


In Britain she failed, in large part because the people were not worthy of her.


I think I've heard this line of thought before:

"If that is the case, would it not be be simpler,
If the government simply dissolved the people
And elected another?"
posted by spectrevsrector at 2:27 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


From here, it sounds like people are complaining because they used to receive free magical unicorn candy from the skies, and then under Thatcher it didn't fall anymore, while ignoring the fact that there was no such thing as magical unicorn candy - it came from somewhere and there was a cost for it.

To be clear, the "here" in that sentence is geographically "the United States", and metaphorically "a position of knowing very little about British politics or history", right?
posted by running order squabble fest at 2:28 PM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


And honestly, Anti-Communism was so corrosive and pyrrhic that it was only barely worse than the blight of Communism. It blinded people to the benefits that socialism can have while justifying the worst sort of human rights abuses in a tu quoque structure.

The so-called "anti-communists" forget that the Cold War was not won by a federation of Chile-like free-market-fantasy utopias but by a federation of social democratic states. The ideology that corb espouses played no role in ending the Cold War. If anything, they were counterproductive, providing negative examples of capitalism for communists to exploit.

At the end of the Cold War, given the choice between being like the Soviet Union or being like Sweden, the consensus settled on places more like Sweden than like Pinochet-era Chile or even modern Singapore.

You have to be a certain brand of foolish to look at the defeat of Communism by modern social democracy and think, "Wow. What we need is LESS SOCIAL DEMOCRACY."
posted by deanc at 2:29 PM on April 8, 2013 [18 favorites]


genesta:

From one of the more thoughtful obits appearing today, in sad contrast so so much of this thread
"

oh FFS:

Perhaps her greatest accomplishment, though an accidental one, was that victory in the Falklands destroyed the credibility of military dictatorship not just in Argentina but throughout Latin America. She helped to bring democracy to two continents.

In response I give you Pinochet

a property-owning democracy, populated by small business owners and respectable workers with their own homes and share portfolios, in which "society" was not a synonym for the state but rather a network of self-reliant and charitable families supporting themselves and looking out for their neighbours. That's what she meant when she said that there was "no such thing as society". Unfortunately, the people she emancipated sold their shares at the first opportunity and invested the proceeds in drink and cheap holidays; while those who made fortunes under her government too often failed to see any obligation to their fellows.

This passage already contains its own contradiction

Today we appear to be in the midst of an impassioned debate about welfare, but the one thing that all parties agree upon is that benefits are too generous and their claimants largely undeserving. Yet under Thatcherism, sickness benefits were generous and nodded through by family doctors, single parents were allowed to stay at home on Income Support until their children reached 16

The strategy for reducing headline unemployment figures was to shift people onto disability allowances.

There were often three million unemployed, but this woeful figure didn't lead to their demonisation

Did the author read a paper any time in the 80's?

She faced IRA terrorism with fortitude but not with repression. Even after the Brighton bomb almost killed her and her entire Cabinet, the country didn't see the draconian laws that the Blair government introduced after 9/11. The most controversial measure was silly but harmless: a notorious stipulation that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness could not be heard on the airwaves but their words must be spoken by actors.

Tell the Guildford four or the Birmingham six. As mentioned upthread, real progress here only started with Major

This was no profligate or ideological small-stater. Her government freed public utilities from sub-Soviet nationalisation and inefficiency, but privatisation was pursued with caution. She once said that some things could in principle never be privatised, and the example she chose was the Royal Mail.

Just everything else. So that's alright then.

The article is (as the website name would suggest) definitely contrarian. Thoughtful, not so much.
posted by Jakey at 2:31 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maggie Thatcher got her famous quote about there being no such thing as society from, surprise, Ayn Rand.

http://tinyurl.com/d3f68aw
“I don’t believe that society has any responsibiliy towards anyone.” “Society has nothing to do with the life of anybody except to get out of his way.”

Video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q7cje1I3VM
posted by BlueMarble72 at 2:33 PM on April 8, 2013


This thread has introduced me to a lot of new music. So far my favorite song is the Mogwai one.
posted by mediated self at 2:40 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Perhaps her greatest accomplishment, though an accidental one, was that victory in the Falklands destroyed the credibility of military dictatorship not just in Argentina but throughout Latin America. She helped to bring democracy to two continents.

BTW, if you drive a Hummer with the AC on and the windows open you are indirectly helping the planet by making scientists work in arduous desperation against global warming!
posted by Tarumba at 2:43 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


How Blair saw Thatcher, then and now:

Blair’s Thatcher, Thatcher’s Blair

(The last line says it all, really.)
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 2:45 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


> Just know that in a world like the one you want, that nobody else would ever have your back, and if you have one catastrophic misfortune, then you're on your own. Does that sound like a way to live?

To be fair to corb, I think she does think that's the only right/proper/fair way to live. She'd probably say your family should look out for you, but if you pointed out that a lot of people don't have families who can take care of them, she'd say yes, that's true, it's a hard and very imperfect world, but there's less suffering under her variety of laissez-faire than under horrible evil jackboot socialism-communism-Stalinism where the government grabs money from hardworking people and showers it on the undeserving poor who would otherwise be out working for a living like honest folk. I've known Russians who fled the Soviet Union who felt the same way, and I learned not to argue with them about politics (and especially about Saint "Tear Down That Wall!" Ronnie). It's a sad way to look at the world, but that's one of the unfortunate effects of left-wing madness—it drives people to right-wing madness in response.
posted by languagehat at 2:45 PM on April 8, 2013 [18 favorites]


In terms of the economics of the time, the 70's were knocked sideways by the two OPEC oil shocks. Thatcher (and Reagan) rode the '79 shock to power (it's always the economy, stupid). Thatcher then created massive unemployment and paid for it with the North Sea Oil bounty, instead of directly investing that bounty into reinvigorating manufacturing. British manufacturing was utterly devastated.

Her re-election was far from certain until the Falklands, and a good deal of cynicism about her aggressive pursuit of that war in my mind is due to the fact that I think re-election was a factor in pursing it.

You also cannot discount the unwavering support of the Murdoch papers, who significantly benefited from her being in power--no-one has mentioned the Battle of Fleet Street yet I think.
posted by idb at 2:47 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maggie Thatcher got her famous quote about there being no such thing as society from, surprise, Ayn Rand.

Is there any evidence that she read or was a fan of Ayn Rand, or could they merely have had similar views?

Wasn't the enthusiasm for Rand and her books largely confined to America, and smelling a bit too much of sci-fi nerdery to have crossed over to a provincial bourgeois member of the Conservative Party in Britain?
posted by acb at 2:48 PM on April 8, 2013


There were often three million unemployed, but this woeful figure didn't lead to their demonisation

Frankie Say: Arm The Unemployed.
posted by immlass at 2:48 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I believe people who use more infrastructure should pay more

"Infrastructure" is a flexible term, flexible enough to incorporate "the profits of decades/centuries of inequality and the systems built to bolster that" for sure. But it doesn't work that way, does it?
posted by cincinnatus c at 2:48 PM on April 8, 2013


This is where the left gets into trouble--don't assume that because the electorate disagrees with you on this one issue, that it is stupid. The eternal problem of the left is agreeing with its opponents that the electorate is stupid.

Agreed.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:49 PM on April 8, 2013


Everytime i read more about Blair i wish he had had the heart attack and not John Smith
posted by stuartmm at 2:49 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


To believe that you should always be looking over your shoulder to keep an eye out for The Other... well, that's pretty much an animalistic way to live, isn't it? You'd think we evolved to rise above that a tad.
posted by grubi at 2:49 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Blair’s Thatcher, Thatcher’s Blair

Everytime i read more about Blair i wish he had had the heart attack and not John Smith

I contend that Thatcherism-Blairism (or just “Blatcherism”) is as much A Thing as Marxism-Leninism.
posted by acb at 2:50 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


To believe that you should always be looking over your shoulder to keep an eye out for The Other... well, that's pretty much an animalistic way to live, isn't it?

It's called elite panic; basically, if you've clambered to the top of an unequal society, you have a brutally Hobbesian view of the rest of humanity and a fear that those under your feet might not stay there.
posted by acb at 2:54 PM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


To be fair to corb, I think she does think that's the only right/proper/fair way to live. She'd probably say your family should look out for you, but if you pointed out that a lot of people don't have families who can take care of them, she'd say yes, that's true, it's a hard and very imperfect world, but there's less suffering under her variety of laissez-faire than under horrible evil jackboot socialism-communism-Stalinism where the government grabs money from hardworking people and showers it on the undeserving poor who would otherwise be out working for a living like honest folk.

Slight differences in tone, but yes. And I totally would say pretty much all of that, with the exception of the "undeserving poor". I don't like when the government grabs money from hardworking people and showers it on /anyone/. I'm against corporate welfare just as much as individual welfare. Other than that, you've got me dead to rights.

Honestly, I don't even agree with all of Baroness Thatcher's policies, most particularly with regards to Northern Ireland. But I do think that she shouldn't be demonized because formerly protected jobs were no longer protected. We didn't protect the jobs of the weavers when automated looms were introduced, and I think the situation is very similar.
posted by corb at 2:54 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]




I don't like when the government grabs money from hardworking people and showers it on /anyone/.

That would indeed be unfair if hard work was directly correlated with one's fortune. Unfortunately, there are too many random variables for this to be the case, hence the safety net. Not letting the unfortunate die off when hit by bad luck is one of the institutions we gained in the climb up from the Hobbesian state of nature.
posted by acb at 2:59 PM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


. I don't like when the government grabs money from hardworking people and showers it on /anyone

What about other hard working people, so that they can have a decent life which would otherwise not be rewarded by their hard work?

To say that you, in your majesty, are against both showering public money on the poor to give them access to modern society but ALSO against showering money on the rich to make them slightly richer isn't some kind of bold ideological stand. It is actually a repudiation of the very western civilization that you claim to be in support of when you rail against communism.

It is in fact nihilism, declaring, "now that you helped me destroy communism, I'm going to destroy you, too!"
posted by deanc at 3:01 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Better to freeze to death as a homeless person under a bridge than as a dissident in a gulag it is, then!
posted by scody at 3:01 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


This passage already contains its own contradiction

Well, yes... that's the point. The author is saying that Thatcher's social reform programme failed, but that her failure was due to idealised naivety. That's a less serious, but altogether more realistic, charge than many being raised against her here.

Tell the Guildford four or the Birmingham six.


Both cases from the pre-Thatcher years (1975 and 1976). Her government was responsible for the passing of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act: the first attempt to curb the gross malpractices of Britain's police forces at that time.
posted by genesta at 3:02 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I don't like when the government grabs money from hardworking people and showers it on /anyone/."

What about from layabouts and the idle rich?

And what about cases where by investing in the public good, those hardworking people can become more prosperous than anyone could without the investment? Which is pretty much the general theme of welfare, writ large.
posted by klangklangston at 3:02 PM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


And what about cases where by investing in the public good, those hardworking people can become more prosperous than anyone could without the investment?

If people want to become educated, they should have had the sense to have been born into families who can send them to private schools.
posted by scody at 3:04 PM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


Well, yes... that's the point. The author is saying that Thatcher's social reform programme failed, but that her failure was due to idealised naivety

It's a rather gross indictment of Britain claiming that they weren't "good enough" for her wonderful ideology, much like claiming that Marx and Lenin had a lot of good ideas, but the Russian people simply weren't virtuous enough for "true" Communism.
posted by deanc at 3:04 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Falklands -> Grenada -> Iraq I -> Serbia -> Iraq II

How many have died and been maimed, and how much wealth has been destroyed due to un-learning the lesson of Vietnam and invasion being seen as a solid domestic political strategy?
posted by goethean at 3:05 PM on April 8, 2013


languagehat: To be fair to corb, I think she does think that's the only right/proper/fair way to live. She'd probably say your family should look out for you, but if you pointed out that a lot of people don't have families who can take care of them, she'd say yes, that's true, it's a hard and very imperfect world, but there's less suffering under her variety of laissez-faire than under horrible evil jackboot socialism-communism-Stalinism where the government grabs money from hardworking people and showers it on the undeserving poor who would otherwise be out working for a living like honest folk

Indeed. It just seems like such a grim, thankless way to live, as if your fellow men and women are not people to bond and work with, but people who should always be regarded as suspicious interlopers. I just wonder how anyone who thinks about people like that could ever get any joy out of, well, anything.
posted by Len at 3:06 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I just wonder how anyone who thinks about people like that could ever get any joy out of, well, anything.

Not even seeing them vanquished and hearing the lament of their womenfolk?
posted by acb at 3:08 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Indeed. It just seems like such a grim, thankless way to live, as if your fellow men and women are not people to bond and work with, but people who should always be regarded as suspicious interlopers. I just wonder how anyone who thinks about people like that could ever get any joy out of, well, anything.

Makes you wonder if she never fails to travel anywhere (even to the grocery store) without packing heat. Just in case The Other lurks nearby.

That's probably unfair and exaggerated, and I don't mean to be nasty. I'm just saying, following this line of thought to its logical conclusion leads to, well, paranoia.
posted by grubi at 3:10 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


genesta: "Well, yes... that's the point."

She explicitly said "there's no such thing as society." To stand back shocked when people indulge in the rampant I'm-alright-Jackism that she encouraged, is disingenuous to say the least.

Fair enough on the miscarriages of justice, but the confrontational approach of Thatcher did little to address the Troubles.
posted by Jakey at 3:11 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a sad way to look at the world, but that's one of the unfortunate effects of left-wing madness—it drives people to right-wing madness in response.

That said, I don't think it has to be that long a drive. Plenty of people who have not fled from failed communist states also pretty much believe this stuff, despite often being dependent on welfare or medicare. When Bill o'Reily says:
The demographics are changing. It’s not a traditional America anymore and there are 50 percent of the voting public who want stuff, they want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama
He is not saying that purely to appeal to an audience of emigrés from Soviet states with Red Dawn playing on a permanent loop in the rec room. There are plenty of people who have not had that experience who are just as convinced that o'Reilly's "non-traditional demographic" are motivated purely by a desire for guaranteed "stuff" from the government. You can call it "stuff" or "magical unicorn candy", just as you can say "traditional" or "white" - those are really aesthetic decisions.

Which you can also see in the UK, in the language choices of different legacy groups of the Thatcherite right. David Cameron is likely to use different language from Nigel Farrage, but the basic message is likely to be the same.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:11 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Vietnam->] Falklands -> Grenada -> Iraq I -> Serbia -> Iraq II


I think there's waaaaay too much variation in the grand category you're suggesting.

Anyway, the Falklands was invaded by the Argentinian govt not by Thatcher's
posted by Bwithh at 3:12 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a rather gross indictment of Britain claiming that they weren't "good enough" for her wonderful ideology, much like claiming that Marx and Lenin had a lot of good ideas, but the Russian people simply weren't virtuous enough for "true" Communism.

And if you were to read such a claim of Marx or Lenin, you would spot the irony and read it in the reverse, as a criticism of them rather than of the Russian people, would you not? Why can you not see that that is what is being said of Thatcher here?
posted by genesta at 3:12 PM on April 8, 2013


We didn't protect the jobs of the weavers when automated looms were introduced, and I think the situation is very similar.

So the strikers and protestors were the modern-day Chartists? I'll take that.
posted by holgate at 3:13 PM on April 8, 2013


Anyway, the Falklands was invaded by the Argentinian govt not by Thatcher's

Yeah, and so close to British shores, too!
posted by grubi at 3:14 PM on April 8, 2013


acb:Is there any evidence that she read or was a fan of Ayn Rand, or could they merely have had similar views?

I think this might cover it:http://beforeitsnews.com/libertarian/2013/04/a-thatcher-rand-connection-2497040.html
posted by BlueMarble72 at 3:14 PM on April 8, 2013


Slight differences in tone, but yes.

You live with a very difficult contradiction: you claim that people should support your rather eccentric understanding of capitalism. At the same time, you promise people that by doing so, it likely won't make their lives better and in fact in many cases will ruin them with no recourse.

So you've created an ideology that no one in their right mind would want to support, but yet to get them to support it, you'd have to give them some assurance that they would gain some benefit from it over the alternative. But to promise a benefit over the alternative, you'd have to do what you consider to people morally unacceptable and would fly in the face of your ideology.

Demanding that people sacrifice themselves in order to create a society that serves your aesthetic preferences isn't really a good idea. It strikes me as sort of totalitarian, actually.
posted by deanc at 3:15 PM on April 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


But anyway, back to Margaret Thatcher....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:16 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The ... confrontational approach of Thatcher did little to address the Troubles.

The Anglo-Irish agreement of 1985 was the foundation upon which the Peace Process was built.
posted by genesta at 3:17 PM on April 8, 2013


> Plenty of people who have not fled from failed communist states also pretty much believe this stuff, despite often being dependent on welfare or medicare.

Absolutely. I just cut them a lot less slack than I do people like corb.
posted by languagehat at 3:18 PM on April 8, 2013


What about from layabouts and the idle rich?

To understand where I come from on that, you would need to be open to looking at wealth as familial rather than purely individual. I'm not sure if you are or aren't - but I know it's not generally taken as a modern US perspective.

Anyway, under that theory, there was at least one hardworking individual who created that familial wealth and undertook to support the rest of the family - including the generations unborn. Taking the wealth from the generation after that hardworking individual is thus, in a familial long-view, stealing from the dead - it is taking the provisions that person worked hard and laid up for their family.
posted by corb at 3:18 PM on April 8, 2013


under that theory, there was at least one hardworking individual who created that familial wealth

That is if you buy the notion that wealth comes to the person who put in the hard work in the first place.

Which is not necessarily (or regularly) true. Nor has it ever been.
posted by grubi at 3:20 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think it would be fair to say that the Anglo-Irish Agreement was a step forward in the NI situation. I would contend it was taken after two steps back.
posted by Jakey at 3:20 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Everytime i read more about Blair i wish he had had the heart attack and not John Smith

Of all the politicians and people in public life I've seen, John Smith has always seemed the most honest and decent of people.

I often wonder what if he lived and the, duplicitous Blair was regalitated to an obsure cabinet post.
posted by BlueMarble72 at 3:21 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is the powerball-winning patriarch part of that hard-working demographic? Many, many--perhaps most--of the entrenched wealth in the world had its genesis in treachery or luck. To describe that as "hard work" tells us all we need to know.
posted by maxwelton at 3:22 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anyway, the Falklands was invaded by the Argentinian govt not by Thatcher's

Yeah, and so close to British shores, too!
posted by grubi


The Falklands were British shores. British people lived there; the Argentines weren't liberating anyone.
posted by spaltavian at 3:22 PM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


Anyway, under that theory, there was at least one hardworking individual who created that familial wealth and undertook to support the rest of the family

That theory being feudalism.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:23 PM on April 8, 2013 [18 favorites]


British people lived there; the Argentines weren't liberating anyone.

Hee. Cute. Let's conveniently ignore why the British people were there in the first place and all why they decided to launch as massive a defense as they did. It's inconvenient, I suppose.
posted by grubi at 3:23 PM on April 8, 2013


Anyway, the Falklands was invaded by the Argentinian govt not by Thatcher's

Yeah, and so close to British shores, too!


You know, I despise everything Thatcher stood for, her dismantling of the postwar social-democratic state, her homophobia, and her cavorting with all manner of dictators.

I also realize the Thatcher abused the Falklands conflict as a way to do some chauvinistic chest-thumping. That said, criticisms like that quoted above seem to say that Britain should not have reacted to the Argentinian invasion. If someone invades Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, etc., does that mean that the rest of the US shouldn't care because it's not "close to [American] shores"?
posted by dhens at 3:24 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


That theory being feudalism.

I was about to say that the Norman Conquest couldn't have been anything but hard work.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:24 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Anyway, under that theory, there was at least one hardworking individual who created that familial wealth and undertook to support the rest of the family - including the generations unborn. Taking the wealth from the generation after that hardworking individual is thus, in a familial long-view, stealing from the dead - it is taking the provisions that person worked hard and laid up for their family.

So are my ancestors' taxes that support the state taken into account when I need welfare or disability? Or does this only apply to families and not to one's contribution to the large community. At some point, you must admit, that where the line is drawn is arbitrary.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:24 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


No, dhens, but ignoring history and why the British colonized the Falklands in the first place (and why Thatcher was so gung-ho to escalate the situation the way she did) to pretend that Those Darn Argentines Were Up to No Good is silly at best.
posted by grubi at 3:26 PM on April 8, 2013


Has anyone laid claim to the Hunter S. Thompson obit writing title yet? I haven't found anything worth linking.
posted by Jakey at 3:26 PM on April 8, 2013


corb: Taking the wealth from the generation after that hardworking individual is thus, in a familial long-view, stealing from the dead

You can't steal from the dead because, well, they're dead. If someone is given a big chunk of money – whether through shares, money they've been given, wages they've earned, doesn't really matter – they're taxed upon it. This is the way the tax system works. So please don't give us any nonsense about "stealing from the dead".
posted by Len at 3:27 PM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Has anyone laid claim to the Hunter S. Thompson obit writing title yet?

I'd say keep a lookout for Matt Taibbi's take on this, but there's plenty of folks who would throw a tizzy at such a suggestion or comparison.
posted by grubi at 3:27 PM on April 8, 2013


One of those classic Thatcher-Reagan arrangements
The Cambodian training became an exclusively British operation after the "Irangate" arms-for-hostages scandal broke in Washington in 1986. "If Congress had found out that Americans were mixed up in clandestine training in Indo-China, let alone with Pol Pot," a Ministry of Defence source told O'Dwyer-Russell, "the balloon would have gone right up. It was one of those classic Thatcher-Reagan arrangements." Moreover, Margaret Thatcher had let slip, to the consternation of the Foreign Office, that "the more reasonable ones in the Khmer Rouge will have to play some part in a future government". In 1991, I interviewed a member of "R" (reserve) Squadron of the SAS, who had served on the border. "We trained the KR in a lot of technical stuff - a lot about mines," he said. "We used mines that came originally from Royal Ordnance in Britain, which we got by way of Egypt with marking changed . . . We even gave them psychological training. At first, they wanted to go into the villages and just chop people up. We told them how to go easy . . ."
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 3:30 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hee. Cute. Let's conveniently ignore why the British people were there in the first place and all that. It's inconvenient, I suppose.

Almost 150 years of continuous residence, without any Argentine or indigenous folks living there anymore? I don't really think this is a can of worms we should open. This kind of thinking leads to Serbs killing Albanians because the latter "colonized" Kosovo way back when.

No, dhens, but ignoring history and why the British colonized the Falklands in the first place (and why Thatcher was so gung-ho to escalate the situation the way she did) to pretend that Those Darn Argentines Were Up to No Good is silly at best.

Should everyone in the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand go "back" to Europe where they belong because they are evil imperialist "settlers"?
posted by dhens at 3:30 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


"To understand where I come from on that, you would need to be open to looking at wealth as familial rather than purely individual. I'm not sure if you are or aren't - but I know it's not generally taken as a modern US perspective."

Right, because it's pretty silly feudalist bullshit.

Anyway, under that theory, there was at least one hardworking individual who created that familial wealth and undertook to support the rest of the family - including the generations unborn. Taking the wealth from the generation after that hardworking individual is thus, in a familial long-view, stealing from the dead - it is taking the provisions that person worked hard and laid up for their family."

Which involves both special definition of terms and, again, a neo-feudalist outlook. It's not stealing from the dead unless you completely slapdick any reasonable definition of theft. It's a post hoc justification for aristocracy, and that's the sort of argument best solved with a guillotine.
posted by klangklangston at 3:30 PM on April 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


Hah. I missed some "feudalism" on preview, obvs.
posted by klangklangston at 3:31 PM on April 8, 2013


[Do not make this thread into yet another review/referendum of corb's political views. She is MeMailable.]
posted by jessamyn at 3:31 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hee. Cute. Let's conveniently ignore why the British people were there in the first place and all why they decided to launch as massive a defense as they did. It's inconvenient, I suppose.

Why's that then?
posted by Artw at 3:31 PM on April 8, 2013


Anyway, under that theory, there was at least one hardworking individual who created that familial wealth and undertook to support the rest of the family - including the generations unborn. Taking the wealth from the generation after that hardworking individual is thus, in a familial long-view, stealing from the dead - it is taking the provisions that person worked hard and laid up for their family.

I don't agree with this when it comes to Modern America, but I really don't think it applies to mid-century Britain, a country with an entrenched aristocracy and class system. When Thatcher cut the tax rate and raised the VAT, she wasn't giving a hand up to the middle class.
posted by jetlagaddict at 3:32 PM on April 8, 2013


Almost 150 years of continuous residence, without any Argentine or indigenous folks living there anymore? I don't really think this is a can of worms we should open. This kind of thinking leads to Serbs killing Albanians because the latter "colonized" Kosovo way back when.

...

Should everyone in the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand go "back" to Europe where they belong because they are evil imperialist "settlers"?


What the fuck are you talking about? Do you even understand what and why Thatcher escalated that conflict? It had almost nothing to do with "settlers".
posted by grubi at 3:32 PM on April 8, 2013


Go on...
posted by Artw at 3:33 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Has anyone laid claim to the Hunter S. Thompson obit writing title yet?

I really, really want to see what Steve Bell has to say. His most scathing Thatcher momenta make HST's Nixon rants look mild.
posted by Len at 3:33 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


.
posted by kalessin at 3:34 PM on April 8, 2013


Hee. Cute. Let's conveniently ignore why the British people were there in the first place and all why they decided to launch as massive a defense as they did. It's inconvenient, I suppose.

Why's that then?

Go on...


(oh for Christ's sakes)

What natural resource do you think Britain was there to claim in the first place? What natural resource might be, oh I dunno, "worthy" of a massive military escalation? What natural resource might tempt the fascist dictatorship nearby?
posted by grubi at 3:36 PM on April 8, 2013


British people lived there; the Argentines weren't liberating anyone.

Hee. Cute. Let's conveniently ignore why the British people were there in the first place and all that. It's inconvenient, I suppose.


Hardly. The history of the Falklands supports no such claim on your part. It isn't like they landed and booted this verdant colony of Argentinians. Read up. The Dutch sighted the islands, the British were the first to land on the islands, the French had the first colony, Spain bought that colony and expelled a British colony elsewhere on the islands. Then Spain signed a treaty allowing the British they expelled back under threat of war. Then first the British and then the Spanish both abandoned their colonies while maintaining their claims.

Then a precursor to the Argentine state asked British permission to establish a settlement. Then the U.S. attacked and arrested the colony as pirates and declared the island free of any settlement or claim. Then the Argentines tried to build a penal colony but there was a mutiny and the British arrived to continue their claim and garrison the islands and asked the Argentinan penal colony to leave but allowed the prior United Provinces of the River Plate settlement to remain. Then there were some murders in the colony and the United Provinces of the River Plate colony abandoned the islands leaving the British. In 1840, the British sent colonists.

So, whose islands are they? I don't think there's a clear claim for anyone. I mean, the precursor River Plate colony was the third one established and they did it after asking British permission.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:36 PM on April 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


I understand that Thatcher escalated that conflict because of jingoistic swaggering posturing bullshit and to shore up her failing popularity, and she was willing to sacrifice many good people needlessly for it. That, however, does not negate the Argentine invasion was unjust and that the islanders -- those whose interest should be taken into the most consideration -- did not want to fall under Argentina's sovereignty. Many of the comments here make it sound like the inhabitants of the Falklands were somehow there illegitimately and that Britain should have just left them to Argentina. Maybe I am reading things incorrectly?
posted by dhens at 3:37 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, no, I take that back: it was the view. The British settled a remote archipelago for the stunning natural view.
posted by grubi at 3:37 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rhetorical and leading questions are the best kind of evidence! For anything!
posted by aramaic at 3:37 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


grubi: Hee. Cute. Let's conveniently ignore why the British people were there in the first place

The same reason white people are anywhere in the Americas, except the Falklands weren't inhabited.

I see you live in Florida, I assume you rent from Seminoles?

Do you even understand what and why Thatcher escalated that conflict?

I see no reason why we should plead your case for you. Perhaps you should cut this "hee cute" bullshit and speak plainly.
posted by spaltavian at 3:37 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


What natural resource do you think Britain was there to claim in the first place?

In the 1830s (or earlier, depending on if you recognize 1700s claims)? Certainly not petroleum.
posted by dhens at 3:38 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


What natural resource do you think Britain was there to claim in the first place? What natural resource might be, oh I dunno, "worthy" of a massive military escalation? What natural resource might tempt the fascist dictatorship nearby?

Guano?
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:39 PM on April 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


grubi, I assume you will welcome back Spanish suzerainty over Florida?
posted by dhens at 3:39 PM on April 8, 2013


You'll be giving up Hawaii if anyone makes a claim on it, I assume?
posted by Artw at 3:40 PM on April 8, 2013


(You can get oil out of penguins, as well, but it's a pretty thankless task.)
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:40 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The same reason white people are anywhere in the Americas, except the Falklands weren't inhabited.

I see you live in Florida, I assume you rent from Seminoles?


Right. because I was talking about simple little land grabs. *sigh*

In the 1830s (or earlier, depending on if you recognize 1700s claims)? Certainly not petroleum.

In 1982, dhens. What natural resource in 1982?

It's not like I made this idea up.
posted by grubi at 3:40 PM on April 8, 2013


No . for Thatcher, but solidarity and condolences to those of you who were negatively affected by her policies.
posted by Phire at 3:41 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


grubi, I assume you will welcome back Spanish suzerainty over Florida?

Keep shifting the point. That's like totally the same as debate!
posted by grubi at 3:42 PM on April 8, 2013


grubi, it might be worth understanding that before the Galtieri invasion, Thatcher was moving toward giving the Falklands up.
posted by Jehan at 3:42 PM on April 8, 2013


You'll be giving up Hawaii if anyone makes a claim on it, I assume?
posted by Artw at 18:40 on April 8 [+] [!]


Enough with the Manifest Destiny shit. Where did I say the Argentines were justified? I just pointed out there was more to the context than Poor Brits Being Picked On.
posted by grubi at 3:43 PM on April 8, 2013


So, Britain defended a holding it had for almost two centuries, where it's citizens lived, that had oil.

What's your point?
posted by spaltavian at 3:44 PM on April 8, 2013


grubi --

I have no doubt that petroleum was top in many policy-makers' minds in 1982. However, the British had controlled it since at least the 1830s, thus making that point moot. If, say, Russia invaded Alaska for the petroleum deposits there (under pretext that their 1867 deal with the Americans was unfair), would American attempts to protect it be "only" blood-for-oil? Or might you concede that the US would have a legitimate interest in protecting its sovereignty and protecting its citizens?
posted by dhens at 3:44 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


grubi, it might be worth understanding that before the Galtieri invasion, Thatcher was moving toward giving the Falklands up.

Okay. Still doesn't change things. Do you honestly think the reason Thatcher escalated as much as she did because of mere land claims?
posted by grubi at 3:44 PM on April 8, 2013


No, no, I take that back: it was the view. The British settled a remote archipelago for the stunning natural view.

Wasn't it originally a strategic coaling port for British steam ships, and part of a worldwide network of such which enabled the Empire to exist?
posted by acb at 3:44 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


spaltavian, dhens, and anybody else who isn't getting it: my point is that there was more context to the war than Maggie Has to Stop the Argentine Threat. I'm not providing a complete social history of the Falklands nor have I meant to. I simply was addressing the simplistic version of events tossed around. Okay?
posted by grubi at 3:45 PM on April 8, 2013


Yes, im aware you are making an argument that Oil might make the UK more likely to respond, on the other hand I'm not entirely sure why we're supposed to automatically give up our citizens to a dictatorship oil or not?
posted by Artw at 3:45 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes, im aware you are making an argument that Oil might make the UK more likely to respond, on the other hand I'm not entirely sure why we're supposed to automatically give up our citizens to a dictatorship oil or not?

Where the fuck did I say that Britain should?
posted by grubi at 3:47 PM on April 8, 2013


grubi: Do you honestly think the reason Thatcher escalated as much as she did because of mere land claims?

Countries typically don't shrug when part of their territory is invaded, regardless of the resources of that area. It sets a bad precedent.
posted by spaltavian at 3:47 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


[grubi, this thread is becoming a take-on-all-comers situation with you at the center of it which is suboptimal.]
posted by jessamyn at 3:47 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Okay. Still doesn't change things. Do you honestly think the reason Thatcher escalated as much as she did because of mere land claims?
No. The war was a fucking masterstroke for jingoistic PR. Thatcher didn't want oil, she wanted votes. The UK already had barrel loads of oil in the North Sea, by far enough to see her prime ministership out.
posted by Jehan at 3:47 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Wasn't it originally a strategic coaling port for British steam ships, and part of a worldwide network of such which enabled the Empire to exist?

Probably. But how useful that continued to be in 1982, I cannot begin to understand. I'm just pointing out one aspect that seems to be ignored.
posted by grubi at 3:48 PM on April 8, 2013


grubi -- Of course. Did you not read when I wrote this:

I understand that Thatcher escalated that conflict because of jingoistic swaggering posturing bullshit and to shore up her failing popularity, and she was willing to sacrifice many good people needlessly for it.


That does not mean that the Falklands and the Falkland Islanders should have been sacrificed to Argentina. This is perhaps a case where Thatcher did the right thing* for the wrong reasons.

*I realize that the way she carried out of the war was problematic and deliberately designed to raise her popularity in the UK.
posted by dhens at 3:48 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Countries typically don't shrug when part of their territory is invaded, regardless of the resources of that area. It sets a bad precedent.

Got it. I agree, in fact. But their response was a task force of 127 ships. Doesn't that seem a tad out of proportion?
posted by grubi at 3:50 PM on April 8, 2013


grubi: spaltavian, dhens, and anybody else who isn't getting it: my point is that there was more context to the war than Maggie Has to Stop the Argentine Threat. I'm not providing a complete social history of the Falklands nor have I meant to. I simply was addressing the simplistic version of events tossed around. Okay?

No shit. Perhaps if you hadn't employed the most annoyingly circumspect way of arguing, we could have let you know that you weren't saying anything we didn't know some time ago.

Got it. I agree, in fact. But their response was a task force of 127 ships. Doesn't that seem a tad out of proportion?

Given that the Brits barely pulled it off, no.
posted by spaltavian at 3:50 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


That does not mean that the Falklands and the Falkland Islanders should have been sacrificed to Argentina.

And for the third time in this thread: I never said they should have. Did you miss that part?
posted by grubi at 3:51 PM on April 8, 2013


Where the fuck did I say that Britain should?

That seemed heavily implied by "Yeah, and so close to British shores, too!" - are you conceding that the Falklands are indeed British shores?
posted by Artw at 3:51 PM on April 8, 2013


Wasn't it originally a strategic coaling port for British steam ships, and part of a worldwide network of such which enabled the Empire to exist?

Probably. But how useful that continued to be in 1982, I cannot begin to understand. I'm just pointing out one aspect that seems to be ignored.


Let me get this straight, Britain is supposed to let an armed invasion of a UK Overseas territory with UK citizens on it just go because there was some question of oil wealth there? I don't think its being ignored, it isn't a point worth discussing at length.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:52 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


... the way she carried out of the war was problematic and deliberately designed to raise her popularity
... a task force of 127 ships. Doesn't that seem a tad out of proportion?


The way she carried out the war was deliberately designed to win it. Nothing less and nothing more.
posted by genesta at 3:52 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Look the Argentinians offered the Falkland Islanders 1 million each to agree to Argentinian suzerainty.

They rejected it, so full stop.
posted by BlueMarble72 at 3:53 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Britain is supposed to let an armed invasion of a UK Overseas territory with UK citizens on it just go because there was some question of oil wealth there?

No. Never said that. I said the reason they were willing to escalate to that scale was beyond simply protecting their citizens. Is there another way I need to word it before you understand?
posted by grubi at 3:53 PM on April 8, 2013


Got it. I agree, in fact. But their response was a task force of 127 ships. Doesn't that seem a tad out of proportion?

Where the location is in a different hemisphere and the enemy is in that hemisphere, and you are preparing a sea-borne invasion from thousands of miles away? No it does not. The force was frankly, too small for the job it was given by modern military doctrine.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:54 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Labour was unelectable from 1979 until after she left office, because of defections and infighting, so she won largely by default.

Hmmm.... I don't think this really counts as "by default" ( not just because its not compulsory to vote in the UK)
posted by Bwithh at 3:54 PM on April 8, 2013


That seemed heavily implied by "Yeah, and so close to British shores, too!" - are you conceding that the Falklands are indeed British shores?

I made a silly remark about the invasion. I apologize for making my point clearer, but I'd appreciate it if you'd make an effort to understand what I'm trying to say.
posted by grubi at 3:54 PM on April 8, 2013


Jesus, there's got to be some sort of cosmic irony in Thatcher protecting what was once a strategic coaling port from the Argentinians right at the same point as she was plotting to destroy the NUM.
posted by Len at 3:55 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Could we close this Falklands sub-routine please and get back to Maggie-bashing? I was enjoying the thread more then. I also liked the soundtrack. In other news, police cars are going past my house in the direction of Brixton...wonder how the street party is going on there.
posted by MessageInABottle at 3:55 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Where the location is in a different hemisphere and the enemy is in that hemisphere, and you are preparing a sea-borne invasion from thousands of miles away? No it does not. The force was frankly, too small for the job it was given by modern military doctrine.

Okay, well, then I guess we'll have disagree on that point. Given the situation that occurred, the reaction of Thatcher and Company, and all that we know about the Falklands itself, it seems like the whole thing was blown out of proportion. If you don't agree, so be it. But please don't misrepresent my point of view.
posted by grubi at 3:56 PM on April 8, 2013




Grubi - I would suggest it is you that needs to better understand what you are trying to say.
posted by Artw at 3:58 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Right, I amzaed in all this thread no one has mentioned the at least equal Arthur Scargill
posted by BlueMarble72 at 3:59 PM on April 8, 2013


Discovery of commercially exploitable oil resources in the Falklands is a recent 21st century thing.
Main industries in the Falklands in 1982 were squid and fish. Oil didn't come into it.
posted by Bwithh at 3:59 PM on April 8, 2013


Got it. I agree, in fact. But their response was a task force of 127 ships. Doesn't that seem a tad out of proportion?

I'd suggest you read up on the actual military elements of the campaign before claiming it was some triumphant show of force.

Frankly most people at the Admiralty were expecting to lose. This wasn't the US Pacific Fleet zooming off to war, it was two soon-to-be-decommissioned carriers, woefully short of Harriers, and assorted support vessels. Besides, as genesta points out, when sending a miitary force you tend to send one that maximises your chances of winning, not minimises the chance that you might terribly embarrass your enemy.

Even we British aren't that polite.

I highly recommend Sea Harrier Over the Falklands and One Hundred Days: Memoirs of the Falklands Battle Group Commander to those interested in first hand accounts from the fleet side of things. The first is by the commander of the Sea Harrier Squadron on Invincible, and the second is by Sandy Woodward, the Fleet Commander.

Both great reads and suprisingly frank.
posted by garius at 4:00 PM on April 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


in nuttiness, referring to the previous comment
posted by BlueMarble72 at 4:00 PM on April 8, 2013


The Sun's headline writers.... Who? What? Where? front page
posted by Mister Bijou at 4:03 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd suggest you read up on the actual military elements of the campaign before claiming it was some triumphant show of force.

This is getting beyond frustrating.

1. I never said it was a "triumphant show of force". I said the reaction of deploying 127 ships seemed out of proportion. I made no comment on their success or ability or even the viability of the plan.

2. Is it just *standard* for people to extrapolate and conflate from a couple of sentences, thereby coming to conclusions that were never said (or even implied)? Or what?
posted by grubi at 4:03 PM on April 8, 2013


[grubi you need to take this to MeMail at this point, it's becoming a problematic derail in the thread.]
posted by jessamyn at 4:04 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Discovery of commercially exploitable oil resources in the Falklands is a recent 21st century thing.
Main industries in the Falklands in 1982 were squid and fish. Oil didn't come into it.


"The news that the seabed around the Falklands might contain rich oil deposits was first conveyed to a British government in 1969. " - my earlier link
posted by grubi at 4:05 PM on April 8, 2013


Oddly, the Independent ( and the Express in second place) had by far the most unflattering Maggie portrait on their front page. The Times had the nicest (and stressed the global significance of her too)
posted by Bwithh at 4:05 PM on April 8, 2013


1. I never said it was a "triumphant show of force". I said the reaction of deploying 127 ships seemed out of proportion. I made no comment on their success or ability or even the viability of the plan.

You asked:

Got it. I agree, in fact. But their response was a task force of 127 ships. Doesn't that seem a tad out of proportion?

I answered. No it wasn't.

Anyway, I'll step back now.
posted by garius at 4:06 PM on April 8, 2013


... and get back to Maggie-bashing? I was enjoying the thread more then.

The voice of what another commentator, whom I would not normally quote, has described as "the rage of Caliban"
posted by genesta at 4:07 PM on April 8, 2013


The Sun's headline writers....

Gotta hand it to The Sun. Only they could make me feel sorry for Margaret Thatcher.
posted by benito.strauss at 4:07 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I really, really want to see what Steve Bell has to say.

Wonder no more. (After this.)
posted by holgate at 4:09 PM on April 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


More front pages here. I didn't expect the Socialist Worker to be somber, but uh, that's a bit strong. Think the Northern Echo nailed it. The rest of Nick Sutton's Twitter has them all in larger size.
posted by IanMorr at 4:09 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


"The news that the seabed around the Falklands might contain rich oil deposits was first conveyed to a British government in 1969. " - my earlier link

Rather than the mixed-up "commercially exploitable resources", I should have said "reserves" (which specifically means the proven existence of commercially recoverable oil) rather than resources (which means estimated oil that *might* exist and *might* be commercially exploitable in future). Big difference between the two, and if looks like the deposit estimates were too small and/or flimsy to be part of the political consideration for the UK in 1982.
Anyway, I'll jump off this derail now.
posted by Bwithh at 4:12 PM on April 8, 2013


grubi you need to take this to MeMail at this point, it's becoming a problematic derail in the thread

The Falklands were one of the biggest events of Thatcher's premiership; this isn't a derail and grubi should be allowed to argue his point.
posted by spaltavian at 4:17 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Pictures and videos from a few of the celebration parties in the Mirror (left leaning UK tabloid).
posted by Wordshore at 4:18 PM on April 8, 2013


The front page of the Murdoch rag The Daily Telegraph has a full page picture of her, the headline 'Farewell Iron Lady', and credits her as a 'champion of the free market'. Ugh.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:19 PM on April 8, 2013


>But their response was a task force of 127 ships. Doesn't that seem a tad out of proportion?

I'd suggest you read up on the actual military elements of the campaign before claiming it was some triumphant show of force.

Frankly most people at the Admiralty were expecting to lose.


Yeah, the Falklands War is really fascinating, and demonstrates just how hard it is to wage war in remote locations.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:20 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Telegraph also says she was 'credited for rebuilding a broken nation'.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:20 PM on April 8, 2013


The voice of what another commentator, whom I would not normally quote, has described as "the rage of Caliban"

Hannan continues what I find to be a telling right-wing meme and what's exercised me to complain about the usual tales of 1970s woe up-thread. Who was Britain "ruined, dishonoured and bankrupt" for at the point she came to power? Not actually most ordinary Britons, I reckon - you can look at the figures and see that it was a point when wealth distribution was at its most equitable (not very, but still) in the century prior or since and thirty percent of the population enjoyed the security of decent social housing at affordable rents, etc. My dad even used to joke that the three-day week mostly meant he got a bit more fishing in with his mates. It was a period of popular optimism in many ways, out from the shadow of post-war austerity, things like holidays abroad becoming possible for the first time and so on.
That's not to discount the consequences of the '73 oil crisis or the opposition to as well as participation in the relatively high union militancy of the period but it truly is a cock-eyed view from a particular perspective.
posted by Abiezer at 4:21 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why would they have wanted to be "in proportion"? I would think they would want to send a large enough force to win, not a large enough force to seem like they were magnanimously giving the Argentinians a better chance than they otherwise would have.

But in any case, how many ships do you think would have been "in proportion"?

Seems to me like if there's any truth in advertising, they could've just sent the Invincible and left the other 126 behind :\
posted by Flunkie at 4:22 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Genesta, I am not exactly sure why you're making reference to a monster's rage with respect to my light-hearted remark.

In any event, you can take the opinions of smug Mr. Hannah MEP and shove them where you prefer, including his (in)famous definition of the NHS as a "60-year-old mistake".

People are spontaneously showing happiness because the departed was a heartless, ruthless egomaniac with no sense of compassion.
This is a fact. Your Tory literary references cannot change this fact.

You can go back and take refuge in the Torygraph pages again - in the real world out there people are drinking and toasting, much as you dislike it. And I guess that Mr Mandela, the notorius terrorist, is also not exactly shedding a tear.
posted by MessageInABottle at 4:23 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just so nobody misunderstands my (less-than-clear) point (my fault, I suppose): Even though a military reaction would likely have been the best reaction (given a government must protect its citizens), the reaction itself (127 ships sure seems like a lot) to the invasion seemed massively out-of-proportion. And, given the supposed possible natural resources, that would fall in line with what we've seen in like situations. I make no judgment about the appropriateness of the invasion or the fact that Thatcher reacted militarily. I only think it was as big as it was for reasons beyond simply defending territory. If I didn't make this point clear, fine; my bad. I just wanted to make sure folks understood that's where I'm coming from.
posted by grubi at 4:26 PM on April 8, 2013


But in any case, how many ships do you think would have been "in proportion"?

I don't know. Hence my question.
posted by grubi at 4:27 PM on April 8, 2013


I remember Dan Hannan and his "Campaign for an Independent Britain" from my university days, which was also the first time I ever encountered true-blue Thatcherites in the wild.

He was just as much of a trolling arsehole then.
posted by holgate at 4:27 PM on April 8, 2013


Just so nobody misunderstands my (less-than-clear) point (my fault, I suppose): Even though a military reaction would likely have been the best reaction (given a government must protect its citizens), the reaction itself (127 ships sure seems like a lot) to the invasion seemed massively out-of-proportion.

It was almost too few; the Royal Navy sent fairly small vessels as escorts, and so lots were required. I think you'd be surprised how many ships are involved in projecting naval force over long distances in general. The RN was a ship sinking or two away from being in a very difficult situation.
posted by jaduncan at 4:29 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think you'd be surprised how many ships are involved in projecting naval force over long distances in general.

I'm beginning to see that.
posted by grubi at 4:30 PM on April 8, 2013


Think for a second what was involved. No local ports, no local refueling. The op involved shipping in troops, materiel and supplies for an entire land invasion, supplies for the RAF, landing craft for beach storming, and enough escort vessels to protect the vessels carrying the above. Oh, and fuel for all those vessels, and redundancy for vessels affected by mechanical failure, crashing or enemy action. You can see how this ends up a big fleet.
posted by jaduncan at 4:34 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


holgate: I remember Dan Hannan and his "Campaign for an Independent Britain" from my university days, which was also the first time I ever encountered true-blue Thatcherites in the wild.

He was just as much of a trolling arsehole then.


Interesting, I used to read the Telegraph a while back and Hannan with is anti-Euro carry on, used to get the fuck on my nerves.
posted by BlueMarble72 at 4:34 PM on April 8, 2013


You can see how this ends up a big fleet.

Or a floating colony. Resource management at sea is a fucking monster, apparently.
posted by grubi at 4:36 PM on April 8, 2013


the reaction itself (127 ships sure seems like a lot) to the invasion seemed massively out-of-proportion.

It's not. One goes to combat, especially naval combat on long supply lines, to win. I don't have a lot of surface training, but I'd be rather thrilled to hear about your qualifications for determining the appropriate size of a naval task force.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:38 PM on April 8, 2013


Dude, calm down. There's a reason I used the word "seems". Repeatedly.
posted by grubi at 4:40 PM on April 8, 2013


Or a floating colony. Resource management at sea is a fucking monster, apparently.

Oh, and preventing all of that getting shot whilst shooting back at planes, vessels, missiles and subs. Good admirals earn their money.
posted by jaduncan at 4:41 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The defenses of Thatcher in this thread and of Chavez a month ago are eerily similar. They are useful reminders that significant fractions of the population will forgive anything and everything so long as their beloved autocrat does two or three things right.
posted by aerotive at 4:41 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Could we possibly hive the beanplating about maritime logistics into a separate thread?
posted by acb at 4:42 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The defenses of Thatcher in this thread and of Chavez a month ago are eerily similar. They are useful reminders that significant fractions of the population will forgive anything and everything so long as their beloved autocrat does two or three things right.

Or, as was once said, “Churchill wasn't never wrong. He was right once about one very important thing.”
posted by acb at 4:43 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


British-American Andrew Sullivan defends Thatcher's record (curiously, he doesn't talk about her positions on LBGT rights although Sullivan is a high-profile LBGT public intellectual)

(or that the pet shop boys didn't think much of her! ;)

perhaps this might help put in context the end of neoliberalism/an era?
The focus on lower inflation has lasted more than 30 years, resulting in three decades of falling inflation... However, this success in beating inflation has been achieved at the cost of a declining share of labour in national income.

It is not a coincidence that the share of labour in GDP peaks in the 1970s for both the US and the UK. Given that the largest element of costs was – and remains – labour, the fight against inflation amounted to a campaign to squeeze labour incomes.

The benefit to bondholders of such a policy framework has been readily apparent. Less clear, however, is the way that the anti-inflation monetary regime helped shape the corporate business models that were successful for managements and equity investors alike.

By squeezing the labour share of GDP, policy makers implicitly changed the relative cost of labour and physical capital, in part, through the persistence of high real interest rates.

With most developed economies adopting similar strategies for controlling inflation, currency volatility also fell. As a result, companies had an incentive to adopt "capital light" models using limited physical capital (preferring outsourcing) and low-cost labour.
-Inequality and monetary policy: "Coincidentally (or not), three speeches that exemplify a renewed focus on inequality have been given in recent weeks by the three women on the Federal Reserve Board – Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin, Governor Elizabeth Duke, and Vice Chair Janet Yellen."

-Productivity, "reindustrialisation" and the US profit share: "Key to this argument is that falling labour costs have been the biggest single contributor to recent corporate profit growth..."

-Japan's employers, taking up the Abenomics cause: "One of the big determinants of whether 'Abenomics' manages to pull Japan from its deflationary spiral is through wage growth. Inflation can't really kick off or arguably even begin without rising wages. One can argue about how important wage growth is, or where it fits in causality-wise — and we'll come to that later. But it is — or will be — an important signal as to whether this three-pronged approach of the new-ish Japanese government is working."
posted by kliuless at 4:44 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Falklands were one of the biggest events of Thatcher's premiership; this isn't a derail and grubi should be allowed to argue his point.

Agreed, I'm finding this stuff absolutely fascinating and think we are all learning more about the conflict. (1 million each was offered? Really? Amazing.)
posted by corb at 4:45 PM on April 8, 2013


RIP Iron Man's Mom.
posted by hellojed at 4:45 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Could we possibly hive the beanplating about maritime logistics into a separate thread.

I think we actually all agree at this point - that the conduct of the Falklands engagement had both military and political objectives. And that the task force was a numerically impressive but actually very vulnerable enterprise, which was unexpectedly successful due to a number of factors. Notwithstanding, it was a tough fight, with casualties on both sides.

On a tangent, Bleeding Cool have put up a spotty but interesting collection of representations of Margaret Thatcher in comics and political cartoons.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:46 PM on April 8, 2013


Another alternative perspective on the terrible 70s that Maggie rescued us from:

Inverted crises
Between 1974 and 1976, it was the comfortably off who suffered. ... During these years, disposable income fell considerably faster for the richest tenth of British households than for everyone else, and by larger and larger amounts the further you were up the financial scale. Even in severe recession, this was not a familiar situation...
This sense of a world being turned upside down was sharpened by the fact that other categories of Britons, traditionally not as well-off or secure, were, at least at first, less affected by the crisis.
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 4:47 PM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


Dude, calm down. There's a reason I used the word "seems". Repeatedly.
grubi, when combined with your oh-come-on-do-I-really-have-to-spell-it-out stuff about oil, which included rhetorical questions like...
What natural resource do you think Britain was there to claim in the first place? What natural resource might be, oh I dunno, "worthy" of a massive military escalation?
... and with your direct statements that the escalation was huge (including in the rhetorical oil question that I just quoted), I think you'll have to forgive us for assuming that your rhetorical-seeming question "Doesn't [127 ships] seem a tad out of proportion" was, in fact, rhetorical.
posted by Flunkie at 4:48 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


corb: “Agreed, I'm finding this stuff absolutely fascinating and think we are all learning more about the conflict. (1 million each was offered? Really? Amazing.)”

Personally, I was rather shocked earlier in this thread to discover that Thatcher herself was in talks to surrender the Falklands to Argentina not two years before the war.
posted by koeselitz at 4:48 PM on April 8, 2013


There's a reason I used the word "seems". Repeatedly
Because you don't know what you're talking about, and can't be bothered to learn.

Margaret Thatcher Was A Real Feminist
Margaret Thatcher was a real feminist. Not for what she said but for what she did. She did not pursue justice for her gender; women’s rights per se was clearly a low priority for her. She was out for herself and for what she believed in. If we had more feminists like Thatcher, we’d have vastly more women in Parliament and the U.S. Senate, as well as more trees and fewer tedious television talk shows. More “feminists” like Thatcher, the first woman to lead a major Western democracy, and young women would be clamoring to be called one, too.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:50 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


... and with your direct statements that the escalation was huge (including in the rhetorical oil question that I just quoted), I think you'll have to forgive us for assuming that your rhetorical-seeming question "Doesn't [127 ships] seem a tad out of proportion" was, in fact, rhetorical.

Fine, that's a misstep on my part. I honestly thought some of this stuff was common knowledge and that 127 ships seemed like an enormous number of ships.
posted by grubi at 4:51 PM on April 8, 2013


Anyone who wants a better understanding of the visceral hatred toward Thatcher might like to educate themselves on the human consequences of the miners' strike by watching the banned 1984 documentary "Which Side Are You On?" From the BFI film site:

"Loach has always felt that no documentary can ever be neutral or 'balanced' (and nor can the news) and he acknowledges that he made the film entirely from the miners' point of view. Following the decision to pull the programme he said "It is clear that only approved people can make comments about a struggle as decisive as the miners."

Loach felt himself a victim of media bias in the banning of the programme. He declared: "The way the news is covered is crucial to who wins this dispute and certainly some people are allowed to comment and others are not. People hold down their jobs by making the kind of programmes they know will win the approval of their masters."

Definitely worth watching, IMO.
posted by doreur at 4:56 PM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Messageinabottle: I'm no great fan of Hannan and I could wish that that phrase had been used in this context by someone else. And please do not for a moment think that I am comparing you to Caliban.

And yet that characterisation of your comment is apt. In her life, a visceral hatred and resentment stifled any attempts at objective assessment of her successes and indeed her failures. So too in her death. This was never going to be the place to come for balance and objectivity, but it has still been sad to see how much distortion of history, whether wilful or negligent, has taken place in this thread simply to justify "Maggie-bashing" and the extent to which "Maggie-bashing" has (/had, pre-Falklands?) become its sole purpose.

Perhaps the "Thatcher memes" of both the left and the right are simply too powerful for anything other than rage at the moment.
posted by genesta at 4:57 PM on April 8, 2013


Margaret Thatcher Was A Real Feminist

The fuck she was.
posted by Artw at 5:02 PM on April 8, 2013 [19 favorites]




Margaret Thatcher Was A Real Feminist

Copying and pasting a Facebook comment from a friend of mine:

"I am already sick of hearing the freaking hagiography going on about the Iron Witch. Chunk her in the clay and let's move on. Please don't tell me she was a feminist. Don't tell me how brave she was to win the Falkland's Islands - an utterly useless war Borges said was like two bald men fighting over a comb. She did the same thing in Britain the right is doing here. Killing unions. Decimating the middle class. Taking every opportunity to blame the poor for everything. Making the world just a little harder every day for the working class. Entitled and imperious and now mercifully dead."

Well. Said.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:09 PM on April 8, 2013 [27 favorites]


Margaret Thatcher Was A Real Feminist

#slatepitches
posted by holgate at 5:11 PM on April 8, 2013 [17 favorites]


Genesta, I appreciate (I think) what you're saying.

However, with all due respect, " a visceral hatred and resentment" did not just happen. They existed and still exist because she pursued divisive policies notwithstanding -some would say even because- they were divisive. You either were with her -in the right - or you hopelessly in the wrong.

I hear what you say about "Thatcher memes" - but I think she contributed in creating them more than anyone else. She is, indeed, reaping what she had been sowing - praise from the Tory faithfuls, a moderate sense of affection by a section of the middle classes, and a huge amount of hatred and joy at her death by some others.

Whether these others constitute a vocal minority, a vocal majority, another percentage in between - it's immaterial. And it's not that they are "right" or not in feeling so - but the fact that they do tell us more about her legacy that that of other politicians, who often pass away almost imperceptibly.
posted by MessageInABottle at 5:11 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have set and read every comment on this post, along with the MeTa post on the subject, in real time, and I have to honestly say, from the deepest darkest reaches of my inner being, I can not express enough how much I enjoy each and every one of you. You have made more than one of my days lately, and good work deserves a pat-on-the-back.

In my real life, this is where the other person would say "how much have you had to drink?"
(It was a bit drunkly-I-Love-U)
posted by QueerAngel28 at 5:12 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


> Because you don't know what you're talking about, and can't be bothered to learn.

Oh, come on—yes, grubi started out mulish, but has admitted not understanding the requirements of naval warfare at a distance and has pretty much recanted. Can we stop putting the boot in?
posted by languagehat at 5:12 PM on April 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


Margaret Thatcher Was A Real Feminist

“The battle for women’s rights has largely been won. The days when they were demanded and discussed in strident tones should be gone forever. I hate those strident tones we hear from some Women’s Libbers." -- Margaret Thatcher on womens' rights

"The feminists hate me, don't they? And I don't blame them. For I hate feminism. It is poison." -- Margaret Thatcher on feminism
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:15 PM on April 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Languagehat, of course I had to expect these virtuoso touches from you - "mulish".
Delightful.
My personal challenge now is to use it tomorrow in the workplace (shouldn't be difficult, have a long meeting -so I should really go to bed now).
posted by MessageInABottle at 5:17 PM on April 8, 2013


"Almost 30 years have gone by since Margaret Thatcher characterised those who took part in the "battle of Orgreave" as thugs. But in a village that one drinker said had been "decimated by Thatcher", the words still cut deep. It is perhaps no surprise that those gathered in the pub were having what they described as a party after hearing about her death.

"I'm not a hypocrite," said Mansell, who is from the nearby pit village of Swallownest and worked underground for 22 years. "I spoke ill of her when she was alive and I'll speak ill of her now she's dead. She doesn't mean two iotas to me."

Chris Whitley, 56, who sold tobacco on the picket line, said he was in the pub to "celebrate – course we are. She killed these villages." He said families had been torn apart by the strike – brothers still refusing to speak to each other, unable to forgive the sibling who crossed the picket line while the other struggled by on strike wages for a year or more.

"Scabby bastards," said one drinker, declining to give his name for fear of reopening old family wounds."

'I'm not a hypocrite. I spoke ill of her when she was alive and I'll speak ill of her now she's dead'
posted by Mister Bijou at 5:18 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


However, with all due respect, " a visceral hatred and resentment" did not just happen. They existed and still exist because she pursued divisive policies notwithstanding -some would say even because- they were divisive. You either were with her -in the right - or you hopelessly in the wrong.

Plus, because of the retriangulation of Blair and then of Cameron, the basic rightness or wrongness of Thatcherism is kind of a referendum on whether Britain has spent 30+ years dismantling itself while Germany looks on in bewilderment, or whether everything would be so much worse otherwise. That's a pretty huge and emotive question.

(One thing I would love to read more about is Thatcherism and the British high-tech scene in the 80s. It seems like she liked people who fit her idea of the small businessman made good - Clive Sinclair or Alan Sugar. But it also feels like she never wholly understood the transition that was taking place elsewhere, and specifically wasn't keen on the idea of the BBC Computing Project (because being driven by the BBC and the Civil Service). Looking at the startups that were popping up in the 80s, and the golden generation of coders, it feels like an opportunity was missed. ARM Holdings is pretty nice, but so much of the heritage of British computing is now under Broadcom's wing, or defunct after being purchased by US companies...
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:19 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Morrissey: "Every move she made was charged by negativity; 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, she hated the English poor and did nothing at all to help them, she hated Greenpeace and environmental protectionists, she was the only European political leader who opposed a ban on the Ivory Trade, she had no wit and no warmth and even her own Cabinet booted her out."

More of his opinions here at Rolling Stone.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:29 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


My "." today is for the promising 80's rock band The Thrashing Doves, whose career Thatcher unintentionally ruined.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:32 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


i find it interesting that britons, when they're confronted with the destruction of communities and industries, can find that margaret thatcher is to blame and pile well-deserved scorn on her

yet, i, as an american and michigander, confronted with the decay and devastation of places like detroit, flint and even my hometown, can only find a nebulous "they" to go after - reagan? - he sure as hell didn't help, but the rot had started 5 years before he got elected

come to think of it, wasn't it a briton who sang about having "no future" in 1977?

it makes me wonder - is there a difference between our countries, in that you have a person you can point the finger at and despise and we don't? - or are you just despising a symbol and a puppet, who certainly deserves it, but missing the shadowy "they" that have really caused the trouble?

for extra credit, we could discuss whether "they" really are in control as much as "they" think they are and even whether "they" know what the hell they're doing

are the economic troubles we're having the work of certain people or just things that happen?

and of course, if they're just things that happen, how do we deal with it? - it occurs to me that the tragedy of northern england and of scotland wasn't that industries failed and mines closed, but the government in control didn't do a damn thing to see that people could make a successful transition to a new life - which is something thatcher was responsible for, certainly

but then i've seen the same thing happen here - we call it "getting laid off" and you call it "being made redundant", which is perhaps a more thoughtful way of putting it

there are a lot of "redundant" people in our countries these days - and no real effort being made on the part of government or business to make them non-redundant - have we as a society just made the decision that an increasing minority are going to have nothing worthwhile to do - and somehow the "liberal" response that "oh, we'll just give them the barest of government handouts" doesn't seem much better to me than the conservative one of "get them off the government's back and make them work for a living"

work? what work?

we don't need magical unicorn candy falling from the sky, we need jobs - we need useful positive roles for all people to play in a successful society, even if some people have to (gasp!) pay some taxes to pay for it - and we can't assume that the magical market dragon is going to just "make" the redundant "find" those roles

here's the thing that margaret thatcher and other conservatives and libertarians miss - people WILL find roles of one sort or another - they can be helped to find roles that are good for the society - or they can be left to find their own, no matter how destructive, undermining and dangerous they may be to our nations

is that what we want? - i hope not
posted by pyramid termite at 5:33 PM on April 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


How do we get 828+ comments in, and nobody has mentioned her post-political work as a highly paid shill for Philip Morris?

It seems that being a lobbyist for Big Tobacco is the most insignificant of her crimes.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:34 PM on April 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


Loach felt himself a victim of media bias in the banning of the programme. He declared: "The way the news is covered is crucial to who wins this dispute and certainly some people are allowed to comment and others are not. People hold down their jobs by making the kind of programmes they know will win the approval of their masters."

Loach is an actual honest-to-goodness card-carrying Communist, though, isn't he?
posted by acb at 5:37 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Loach is an actual honest-to-goodness card-carrying Communist, though, isn't he?

No, he's not actually a card-carrying member of either the Communist Party of Great Britain (which ceased to exist in 1991) or the Communist Party of Britain. He's a former Labour member and a socialist who supports various socialist organizations and coalitions. These are not all the same thing.
posted by scody at 5:51 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Loach is an actual honest-to-goodness card-carrying Communist, though, isn't he?
The BBC's present political editor Nick Robinson was president of his university Conservative association, but they don't seem to have taken that to be sufficient cause to recuse him from their hagiographies. Grr. (Not that much grr really, don't expect much different.)
posted by Abiezer at 6:04 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, I suspect the BBC's policy is to pander to the Tories in the hope that they turn on them last (or that they're out of office before then). See also: the BBC's silence on the NHS privatisation.
posted by acb at 6:09 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]




Also -- Reagan was more charismatic than Thatcher and, unlike the British Prime Minister, was directly elected by his constitutents. He wasn't somebody who got to be appointed leader purely on the basis of the indirect selection of local representatives (in before you say "Electoral College" -- that's not what I mean). As such, there are a lot more Americans who don't, say, carry the resentment of having elected him accidentally as the consequence of putting the local politician he preferred into office.

This interests me. Can anyone explain how "indirect selection of local representatives" is not like the electoral college? I am asking this sincerely. I suppose in America people might have the illusion that they're voting for a president directly, but isn't it pretty much the same as the UK version where the majority party chooses the leader?
posted by triggerfinger at 6:23 PM on April 8, 2013


pyramid termite:
yet, i, as an american and michigander, confronted with the decay and devastation of places like detroit, flint and even my hometown, can only find a nebulous "they" to go after - reagan? - he sure as hell didn't help, but the rot had started 5 years before he got elected


As a next door neighbour to Britain I think I have a hint of the problem.

Right through the 70's just to take the car industry, the UK went from building the chic and reliable and Monte Carlo Rally winner; the Mini to producing duds like the Allegro and the Marina.

While in Germany a country that had a leftish system of management with input from the industrial unions, which kept harmony in the work place, and produced the Volswagen Golf in the mid 70's which went on to become the best selling car in Europe if not the world, and I'm not including how BMW and Mercedes increased in prestige during the same period.

I think the answer why Britain fell back in all industral areas, was a combination of top down lazy management combined with a union system that was highly short sighted in only looking for the next improvement of their pay packet, rather than the good of the company that employed them.
posted by BlueMarble72 at 6:30 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Triggerfinger: when you have a Presidential election you are effectively voting for the President of the USA, even though you are technically voting for delegates to the Electoral College. If the Electors chose a different President you'd have a constitutional crisis.

In contrast, in the UK (and Australia and similar countries) the only election you have is electing your own Member of Parliament, someone who has a role similar to that of a a member of Congress. Those Members of Parliament then choose whom to support as Prime Minister. This will generally (but not always) be the person who led the most successful person to the election, but Parliament is free to reject the current Prime Minister at any time. If this happens there will often not be another election, just the appointment of a different Prime Minister from the same or from a different party.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:32 PM on April 8, 2013


Please. Not all women are by default feminist. Many women have very strong internalized misogyny. Many women don't give a shit about the social equity of the genders as long as they themselves do well. Many of those women are successful politicians and CEOs and leaders, even! They benefit from feminism, and may be indicators of the success of feminism, but they are, of themselves, anything but feminist. Fuck 'em.
posted by Phire at 6:34 PM on April 8, 2013 [19 favorites]


the reaction itself (127 ships sure seems like a lot) to the invasion seemed massively out-of-proportion.

To to belabour a point, but that's how many you need, and don't forget that British shipping losses were very heavy, and could have been much, much worse.

For example, losing just one - just one - of those 127 ships, the Atlantic Conveyor, radically altered British invasion plans.

The UK also lost four destroyers and frigates: Sheffield, Coventry, Antelope, Ardent.

Those were very big losses indeed.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:43 PM on April 8, 2013


Triggerfinger: when you have a Presidential election you are effectively voting for the President of the USA, even though you are technically voting for delegates to the Electoral College. If the Electors chose a different President you'd have a constitutional crisis.

This is not actually the case--you could theoretically have Electoral College chaos without a constitutional crisis. (Granted, the only time it's happened was 1876 and it was pretty much a constitutional crisis.) Electors are sometimes allowed to change who they support and sometimes haven't pledged their support to a candidate. (The last time an elector voted for someone other than who they were supposed to was 2004 when Minnesota had an elector misspell Edwards and voted for a nonexistent candidate for VP.)

I any case, I agree that the difference lies in voting for electors who only elect the President rather than voting for an MP who just happens to elect the PM. (I think the existence of coalitions also matters because it leaves more room for tactical voting.)
posted by hoyland at 6:43 PM on April 8, 2013


If the Electors chose a different President you'd have a constitutional crisis.

That is exactly what happened in the 2000 election.

I get that the UK votes for MPs and the majority party then elects their PM (and this is why we can have Gordon Brown become PM after Tony Blair even though there was no general election), it just seems to me to be ultimately, effectively, the same thing as the electoral college. Even though Americans vote directly for a president on the ticket (unlike the UK).
posted by triggerfinger at 6:44 PM on April 8, 2013


Sorry, Electors =/= electorate. Ignore that part.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:47 PM on April 8, 2013


it just seems to me to be ultimately, effectively, the same thing as the electoral college. Even though Americans vote directly for a president on the ticket (unlike the UK).

The thing is that you might have a really awesome MP, but think their party leader is a bit crap, or vice versa. If the person standing in the election for your party of choice was highly objectionable, it might be more important for you to vote for someone else for MP, even if that means not voting for your party of choice. Or, I don't know, you want to vote Green, but the BNP are surging and keeping the BNP out is way more important than your protest vote. But in the US, you're just going to vote for the party your prefer for President and deal with the local considerations separately.
posted by hoyland at 6:49 PM on April 8, 2013


My feelings resolved themselves a little when I was discussing this with a born-and-bred Falkland Islander and he privately reflected: "Well, everyone thinks she's great for coming and rescuing us, but the way I look at it is that we wouldn't have been in that situation in the first place if it wasn't for her. She was telling Argentina they could have the Falklands, so they thought they'd take it."

And indeed she was - in the years immediately before the conflict, she and her Foreign Minister Nicholas Ridley had been busy courting Argentina about the possibilities for progressively handing the Islands over.


To be fair, this appears to have been a continuation of the policy attitude under the previous Labour government
posted by Bwithh at 6:50 PM on April 8, 2013


triggerfinger: “I get that the UK votes for MPs and the majority party then elects their PM (and this is why we can have Gordon Brown become PM after Tony Blair even though there was no general election), it just seems to me to be ultimately, effectively, the same thing as the electoral college. Even though Americans vote directly for a president on the ticket (unlike the UK).”

Er – in what sense? The Electoral College is immediately dissolved, holds no power, and does exactly what they're told to by the voters, which amounts to a single act, nothing more and nothing less. But I guess there might be some sense in which they're similar that I'm not thinking of?

I mean, I should say that I'm arguing this largely because a proportional system of elections (like in the UK) has a lot of benefits that the EC doesn't have. Like, er, proportional representation. But the EC is more direct, it seems like.
posted by koeselitz at 6:51 PM on April 8, 2013


Maybe you could say this: because of the low granularity of the Electoral College (voters technically vote in 50 different blocks, each of which has a specific number of Electoral Votes) the states are kind of like parties in the proportional system the UK has. Each state gets together and throws all its votes behind a candidate, and the candidate with the most votes wins. So it's kind of like if New York and Wyoming and Florida and the rest were all parties forming a coalition government and selecting a leader as separate camps.
posted by koeselitz at 6:53 PM on April 8, 2013


I mean, I should say that I'm arguing this largely because a proportional system of elections (like in the UK) has a lot of benefits that the EC doesn't have. Like, er, proportional representation. But the EC is more direct, it seems like.

British elections don't achieve proportionality. (This was purportedly what the whole AV referendum was about. Except AV isn't proportional representation either.) I think it just looks more proportional because there are three parties.
posted by hoyland at 6:54 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Got it. I didn't know the part about faithless electors. And I never really considered that people would vote for MPs tactically. Thanks for explaining.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:56 PM on April 8, 2013


On the plus side, it's nice to know that every country's voting system is uniquely screwed up.
posted by Going To Maine at 6:56 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


(I suppose I should disclaim that I don't like AV, if that wasn't apparent. If you're going to reform the voting system, you should aim for a better approximation to proportionality.)
posted by hoyland at 6:57 PM on April 8, 2013


Nothing good to say about her, but in a couple of clips that NPR played today, she sounded mighty entertaining (if, I suppose, she wasn't gutting your country's economy, etc.) in a nasty way.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:59 PM on April 8, 2013




I didn't think I had anything to add to this discussion, but I have a point and a song.

The point - so far there's been only one mention of Hillsborough in this thread. Her legacy in Merseyside is no doubt part Toxteth and part Hillsborough and the cover up. Considering her government systematically used football to marginalize large portions of the population and tried to criminalize football supporters, it is no surprise that the Premier League and FA will not require a moment of silence. It would sort of been funny if they had tried in a "you know this is going to be a car wreck" kind of way. She had a problematic relationship with sport, that's no doubt. The best summation I heard today was from Stan Collymore, former Liverpool footballer and current TalkSport host. He acknowledged the hurt and the success of individuals. He was genuinely upset about the demise of community sport though, even making the point that all the Olympic push didn't address normal people. Really... how many kids in Lancashire can really take up sailing or horses? Anyhow, here's Collymore's long take on her.

Also related to Hillsborough is this piece from the Guardian about Tory drought in Sheffield.

OK! On to the song - of course it's Billy Childish (and the MBEs): Thatcher's Children. "Everyone's a loser."
posted by kendrak at 7:02 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, if possible, I would highly recommend watching the Rachel Maddow bit on Margaret Thatcher that was on tonight. She says that Americans look at Thatcher through a "Reagan lens" and it is very different from how Britain sees her. She quotes this article, which says:

The "Iron Lady" was more admired abroad than at home, where even many Conservative voters recoiled from her apparent lack of compassion for those whose lives and careers were disrupted by her policies.


It's worth watching if you can access it.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:03 PM on April 8, 2013


Nothing good to say about her, but in a couple of clips that NPR played today, she sounded mighty entertaining (if, I suppose, she wasn't gutting your country's economy, etc.) in a nasty way.

She may have had more between the ears, but she did have that in common with Reagan. Sociopaths can be so charming.
posted by localroger at 7:12 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


She says that Americans look at Thatcher through a "Reagan lens" and it is very different from how Britain sees her.

And keep in mind that the "Reagan lens" through which Americans saw Thatcher was some highly choreographed stagecraft created for domestic consumption. In reality they differed wildly on many things, and it seemed there was quite a bit of resentment in the background.

Also keep in mind that Reagan had a fair amount of union support, even while their ox was being gored, in part because Reagan gave them someone else to blame, while acting as their friend. Whereas you get the impression that Thatcher really detested the working class and the middle classes that grew out of the UK's post-war policy infrastructure. Reagan came across to people as their amiable grandfather, and that got of got projected onto Thatcher, while in the UK, she seems to have come across as that scary great-aunt who hates children.
posted by deanc at 7:18 PM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Thatcher wanted to make a better world according to the principles she lived by.

I daresay most people who accomplish evil think they're doing it for the best of reasons. I would include Thatcher in that group...but that does not excuse her, nor the others. They are responsible for their actions and the misery and death that follows from them.
posted by BillW at 7:29 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The "Iron Lady" was more admired abroad than at home, where even many Conservative voters recoiled from her apparent lack of compassion for those whose lives and careers were disrupted by her policies.

You know, I could almost respect a Conservative who believes that while their policies are rough and awful, they're necessary, and that it's truly unfortunate that those they victimize must suffer. Having compassion for their victims, right? But no! Never happens. Here's the policies, they're not awful, it's totally awesome that they create poverty and suffering, and everybody other than straight white rich men can go suck it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:33 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maybe you could say this: because of the low granularity of the Electoral College (voters technically vote in 50 different blocks, each of which has a specific number of Electoral Votes) the states are kind of like parties in the proportional system the UK has. Each state gets together and throws all its votes behind a candidate, and the candidate with the most votes wins. So it's kind of like if New York and Wyoming and Florida and the rest were all parties forming a coalition government and selecting a leader as separate camps.

Actually, not even that. In the US system, the electoral college can't bring in someone *not* on the ballot box at all. In the Westminster system, that's quite possible; it is the prerogative of the Queen to appoint anyone she thinks is capable (not necessarily elected to the House of Commons, although that's now a modern precedent, but no, nothing statutory about it). Under regular circumstances, that would generally mean the leader of the largest group in parliament, because the said selected PM is answerable to the Parliament, which can vote him/her out in a show of no-confidence. However, people can and have become PM's despite a minority of MP's supporting them.

So it is entirely possible to become a PM even if the majority of the population hasn't voted for you.
posted by the cydonian at 7:34 PM on April 8, 2013


I have learned a lot about Thatcher today, most of it unsurprising. I really disliked Reagan, and it followed that I disliked her, too.

Interestingly enough, I have now made the connection to the destroyed mining towns I see pictured in certain movies, as being pretty directly attributable to her. Wow, never really made the connection before, though.
posted by annsunny at 7:35 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes. Margaret Thatcher is indirectly responsible for the career of Pete Postlethwaite.
posted by stet at 7:43 PM on April 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


The BBC's present political editor Nick Robinson was president of his university Conservative association

And an exact contemporary of Andrew Sullivan.

Interestingly enough, I have now made the connection to the destroyed mining towns I see pictured in certain movies, as being pretty directly attributable to her

Billy Elliot, The Full Monty, Brassed Off; and less familiar to Americans, Boys From The Blackstuff and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. Yeah, for those tales of working-class triumph over adversity, the adversity carried a handbag.
posted by holgate at 7:46 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes. Margaret Thatcher is indirectly responsible for the career of Pete Postlethwaite.

Who had the poor taste to die without having ever played Sam Vimes on film.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:46 PM on April 8, 2013


That's probably a dickish thing for me to say. I've no end of respect for Pete Postlethwaite's work and no end of sympathy for the struggles of the people he has portrayed in so many movies. In fact, attributing that family of movies to Thatcher is one of the nicer things I think about her. I'll stop talking now.
posted by stet at 7:46 PM on April 8, 2013


The most horrific thing that Thatcher has ever done was acting sexy at the negotiating table. I read this in a newspaper years back. I've tried to block it out of my mind since then.

When she couldn't simply declare or browbeat or intimidate her way into a consensus, she would then start fluttering her eyebrows and cooing and blushing and preening towards all of the men around the boardroom table. Then they would just do what she said. The very thought of this makes me want to vomit, probably illustrated by Gerald Scarfe.

I live in Canada. The 90's Common Sense Revolution of Mike Harris was inspired by Thatcherism, and Harris killed the cross-town subway project, and amalgamated the city of Toronto. I didn't live in a coal mine town in England, so It's just not comparable to what others have suffered, but I do feel the faint distant shadow of her putrid breath on me whenever I try to go from place to place by public transit in Toronto.
posted by ovvl at 7:47 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


yet, i, as an american and michigander, confronted with the decay and devastation of places like detroit, flint and even my hometown, can only find a nebulous "they" to go after - reagan? - he sure as hell didn't help, but the rot had started 5 years before he got elected

A certain person called Roger is to be blamed, if we are to believe Michael Moore.

Seriously though, I think there are two things at play here: first, this is where the relative sizes of US and UK come into play. US is all about federalism, with individual states having their own set of politics, Overton windows and what not; so when people try to put a face to the political argument, they (traditionally) look for local leaders, a Scott Walker, or a Jerry Brown or something. (Admittedly, this has gotten lesser now, with 24/7 news and Internet) But the principle remains; state politics can remain completely oblivious to the national prospects of the respective parties.

Not so in the UK; the primary policy-setting election there is the national elections (again, this has decentralized back to the regions a little with devolution and direct mayoral elections, but it still is the case in North England) It is, in my armchair psephologist view, the other extreme in terms of federalism; from an outsider's perspective, the system is still extra-ordinarily unitary in nature. So people in power take this larger-than-life persona, and it becomes easier to think of policy-shifts in terms of who was in power then.
posted by the cydonian at 7:58 PM on April 8, 2013


"Actually, not even that. In the US system, the electoral college can't bring in someone *not* on the ballot box at all."

Actually, the electoral college could, if they wanted to. Because the electors can switch their votes if they want to — that's who the popular vote is for, and only by proxy for the candidates.

Though, honestly, the only way I could see that happening is if both the presidential and vice-presidential candidates were killed sometime between the actual election and the certification of the electors.

All in all, it's about as likely as the Presidential line of succession ever getting to the Secretary of Agriculture.
posted by klangklangston at 7:58 PM on April 8, 2013




The eyes of Caligula and the mouth of Marilyn Monroe- so said François Mitterand

http://tinyurl.com/dxy2xu9
posted by BlueMarble72 at 8:03 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


The economic legacy of Mrs Thatcher
In sum, Thatcherism was a partial solution to the problems which had led to earlier underperformance, in particular, those that had arisen from weak competition (Crafts 2012). The reforms encouraged the effective diffusion of new technology rather than greater invention and worked more through reducing inefficiency than promoting investment-led growth. They addressed relative economic decline through improving TFP and reducing the NAIRU. At the same time, the short-term implications were seriously adverse for many workers as unemployment rose and manufacturing rapidly shed two million jobs while income inequality surged, to no small extent as a result of benefit reforms.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:04 PM on April 8, 2013


US is all about federalism, with individual states having their own set of politics, Overton windows and what not; so when people try to put a face to the political argument, they (traditionally) look for local leaders

Perhaps in the bigger, most populous states, but do you really think that most Americans can name their local state legislators? Or even their governor? The problem in American politics, at least in the past 30 years, is the vacuum of accountability around state powers, which is why they've been the laboratories of "democracy" for DC-based lobbying outfits.

To drag this back on topic, Alex Salmond might be keeping mum right now, but one of the key arguments that the SNP will deploy in the independence referendum is that Scotland should never again be subject to the whim of Tories in London. Zombie Thatcher.
posted by holgate at 8:05 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I live in Canada. The 90's Common Sense Revolution of Mike Harris was inspired by Thatcherism, and Harris killed the cross-town subway project, and amalgamated the city of Toronto.

"The Harper Government" is also made up of Mike Harris retreads, and it's striking how unimaginative, banal, and methodical the Conservative approach to governance is.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:06 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


KokuRyu: "The Harper Government" is also made up of Mike Harris retreads, and it's striking how unimaginative, banal, and methodical the Conservative approach to governance is.

Isn't one of the three Chinese curses:
May you live in interesting times.
posted by BlueMarble72 at 8:18 PM on April 8, 2013


No dot from me for the end of a life spent precisely and methodically meting out cruelty in the form of economic and social policy.

The politicians fawning all over Thatcher's memory in grotesque hagiography ought to be ashamed of themselves.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:34 PM on April 8, 2013


Here's Harry Enfield taking the piss out of the prole new Thatcher voter:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgUYUOGvVZM
posted by BlueMarble72 at 8:34 PM on April 8, 2013


Krugman:
Britain had terrible unemployment for a while, but has done pretty well since (France has done better than the numbers suggest, for technical reasons, but still).

So, a real turnaround. Was it the Iron Lady wot did it?

Well, there’s a bit of a problem: Thatcher came to power in 1979, and imposed a radical change in policy almost immediately. But the big improvement in British performance doesn’t really show in the data until the mid-1990s. Does she get credit for a reward so long delayed?
--
Actually, the electoral college could, if they wanted to. Because the electors can switch their votes if they want to — that's who the popular vote is for, and only by proxy for the candidates.

That's interesting, I did not know that.

Perhaps in the bigger, most populous states, but do you really think that most Americans can name their local state legislators? Or even their governor? The problem in American politics, at least in the past 30 years, is the vacuum of accountability around state powers, which is why they've been the laboratories of "democracy" for DC-based lobbying outfits.

Yes, this was a bit of a muddled point, but I'm talking about drawing a distinction between identifying policy-outcomes with a single head of state versus identifying it with multiple players. There are a lot more foci of power in the American system than in the British system. Would that be fair to say?

To drag this back on topic, Alex Salmond might be keeping mum right now, but one of the key arguments that the SNP will deploy in the independence referendum is that Scotland should never again be subject to the whim of Tories in London. Zombie Thatcher.

Absolutely.
posted by the cydonian at 8:35 PM on April 8, 2013


Not since Reagan died, anyway.

I didn't recall half this much of an angry response to Reagan dying.


Rachel Maddow: British press more honest on Thatcher legacy
posted by homunculus at 8:38 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I only vaguely remember the end of her time as PM, as I was only a child in the 80s. But having family who were directly affected by her policies, and growing up in a Northern mining town, I feel nothing but contempt for her.

I may feel some sympathy towards her family, but for the person herself? Nah.

No dot.
posted by robzster1977 at 8:50 PM on April 8, 2013


annsunny: "I have now made the connection to the destroyed mining towns I see pictured in certain movies, as being pretty directly attributable to her."

Which means you are actually this thread less informed than you came in, and you can thank Metafilter for that.
posted by gertzedek at 9:19 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even though a military reaction would likely have been the best reaction (given a government must protect its citizens), the reaction itself (127 ships sure seems like a lot) to the invasion seemed massively out-of-proportion.

This is basically a case of not understanding the military/logistical reality of attempting to project power such a long distance. The task force that was sent was barely large enough to get the job done. This was not a case of moving a bunch of troops close by, then invading from some neighbouring safe harbour. The ships were massively isolated and vulnerable. The British were barely able to land enough troops to retake the islands. One or two more lucky Exocet missile strikes/bombing runs by the Argentine air force and the British would have lost, and Thatcher would have been pilloried for her imperial folly.

It's in that context, incidentally, that you have to understand the sinking of the Belgrano. Any threat to the task force was a threat to the entire outcome of the war. On the topic of the Belgrano, I was entertained to see the Argentine reaction. Some prominent Argentinians were describing the sinking of a warship - in a war caused by unprovoked Argentine aggression - as an act of genocide. I thought I'd seen that word debased about as far as possible, but that set a new standard of idiocy.

Interestingly enough, I have now made the connection to the destroyed mining towns I see pictured in certain movies, as being pretty directly attributable to her.

The mines didn't close because of Thatcher. They closed because they were uncompetitive and had been for years. Had it not been for her, they might have continued, but they would have either closed eventually or continued to act as a drag on the British economy. Removing a government subsidy that artificially keeps jobs alive does not make the government responsible for the lost jobs. There's an incredible sense of entitlement in some communities to live as people have always lived - same town, same job. The world moves on. Arthur Scargill and company did their best to keep Britain stuck in the past. Thatcher freed the country from the grip of union power to let it move into the future.
posted by Dasein at 9:21 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


What I feel is relief. Relief, not happiness.
posted by introp at 9:24 PM on April 8, 2013


I may feel some sympathy towards her family

Mark Thatcher? Pfff.
posted by Artw at 9:30 PM on April 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


The reaction from RTÉ the Irish state broadcaster:

http://www.rte.ie/news/2013/0408/380324-live-reaction-to-death-of-margaret-thatcher/
posted by BlueMarble72 at 9:34 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mark Thatcher? Pfff.

Yeah - it was meant as a generic statement, then I remembered exactly who her family is.

My ex-father-in-law will have been getting the fireworks out, and I'm sad I'm not there to to be able to drink a few beers with him at the same time.

It really is hard to describe to people who didn't grow up in places affected by her actions just how bad she was. I grew up in Doncaster, and for a good few years lived in Stainforth, in a house that backed on to Hatfield Main Colliery. To see what Stainforth has become is truly depressing.
posted by robzster1977 at 9:39 PM on April 8, 2013


To see what Stainforth has become is truly depressing.

According to her apologists in this thread, what you are actually seeing is "the future," in all its glory.
posted by scody at 9:46 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


According to her apologists in this thread, what you are actually seeing is "the future," in all its glory.

...and that is, quite frankly, terrifying.
posted by robzster1977 at 9:58 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's struck me throughout this thread what a neat little trap right-wingers have placed their opposition in. (Is "right-wing" still the correct term for British politics? Forgive my naïveté.) The values they champion are, generally speaking, good but limited in nature. They favor the family, the individual, the small company, all of which are things which exemplify some of the best parts of contemporary society. And for the most part, these values are:

– "fair" to the people within them, because they concern an individual's freedom to relate to other individuals;
– grossly unfair to pretty much anybody who lacks a certain baseline of privilege, because it reduces social mobility to "whatever's close by enough to you that's willing to accept you", and removes your ability to find anything else;
theoretically make-fair-able, in a society which has such great and wonderful people all over that anybody in the whole world would help you find the freedoms you're looking for (which makes it easier to blame individual moral failures when things go wrong, because clearly individuals are the problem);
– and cynically unfair in a way that masks as "realism", because it assumes that life is shit and therefore people should accept shittiness when it comes their way – which is a kernel of wisdom wrapped in a layer of bullshit apathy that lets people dismiss all the problems of the world with a carefree "whoops!"

Needless to say, I think that this right-wing mentality is far more oppressive and damaging than its alternative, because it basically shrugs at the fact that people are socially conditioned by a very young age and therefore lack freedoms for their ignorance. Add that to the fact that a more "free-market" or "individualistic" system doesn't care much for pursuing education or the arts, typically the ways we free people somewhat from their origins, and you've got a system which is cruel and suppresses every group within it while simultaneously claiming to do these things in the name of love and freedom.

The other part of this trap is how easy it is for opponents to this kind of mentality to get so abstract, so grandiose in their worldview, that they can be immediately dismissed as unrealistic. You want peace on earth and goodwill towards men? Psh, try telling that to the violent nuts overseas. You want everybody in society to be equal? Look at the amoral fuckers living over in that part of town and tell me you really want them as next-door neighbors. These ideas are rarely dismissed by people who'd say that, given a genuine chance at these things, they'd turn them down; rather, they're struck down as "unrealistic". Fruitless. Hopeless. And every single thing in the world that goes wrong because of small-mindedness and ignorance and bigotry is further proof that those grand dreams serve no purpose other than wishful thinking.

It's a difficult thing to combat, because a trap that many well-meaning and enthusiastic people make is to try dismissing all the values held by the other side outright. Man, screw families! Screw the individual! Screw small businesses, or faith-based communities, or whatever your personal bugbear may be! And these dismissals all, or almost all, come from a sincere and well-meaning place; they're all rooted in solid logic and they make important points; yet they are hard to articulate without either sounding glibly anti-sensible things, or getting into such a complex discussion of the factors at play that few people have the time or the trust to care about these things. (How many people reading this have even bothered to get as far into it as to see this remark?)

And, of course, when people say they don't want to get into a discussion about this it doesn't mean they think you've beaten them, or that you've changed their minds at all; it reinforces their belief, perhaps, that you're talking some bullshit to them. And when they continue supporting the things they support, the pressure to get mad or snarky or condescending just builds and builds and builds, and at that point the other side just assumes their point has been made.

It is a challenge to express the belief that we should care about society beyond our personal little sphere, and even harder to do something on the larger scale that both feels impactful and is easy enough to start doing. We are much more geared towards the small scale than we are towards the enormous. So it's easy to think that small-scale governance is more effective and less corrupt; that people are good people when they focus on local community to the exclusion of everything else; that the world is so hard to understand that we should just stop trying to understand it.

In Maggie Thatcher I'm finding confident, assertive, even eloquent and insightful declarations into this particular attitude towards the world. Needless to say, I feel that people with such beliefs should be kept as far away from public office as possible; but I'm sure Thatcher felt she was needed in politics, that without her the prevailing social mentality would destroy what she believed to be the right way for a civilization to stick together. It's a fascinating look at a mindset which seems to be well and good for the individual and utterly devastating at the large scale, and it's fascinating in part because no matter what context Thatcher speaks in, of course she's still working on her personal little scale. She'd never see a conflict between her beliefs and the world if she didn't want to – rather, when she saw them, she took them as proof that there were things wrong with the world that needed righting, rather than that the world worked differently than she believed it to. It seems like she knew the way the world worked all along, for better or for worse.

I almost wish we had personalities this strong in America today. I like Barack Obama very much, but part of that liking comes along with my acknowledgment that he's never quite telling the truth about what he believes, that he has to spin around in circles to articulate his worldview without making it too clear to the wrong sort of person. And the evil geniuses seem to be fleeing the Republican Party; Rove seems less clever than Atwater was, and even Rove's turning into a bit of a goof as time goes on. Sharp, but the ways in which he's sharp no longer matter quite as much as they once did. Meanwhile, the rest of the party consists of a series of clowns. They're not bright enough to realize the implications behind the values they chose for themselves.

It's going to be really neat seeing people who oppose this worldview figure out ways of making their opposition seem as natural and reasonable to everyday folk who don't care much for questioning their own beliefs. I think it'll be doable; ultimately the message "change is possible" is a pretty easy one to say, so long as you can find meaningful proof. But what proof constitutes meaning, that's a tricky little paradox.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:50 PM on April 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


I would give anything to be in Calgary tonight for this Billy Bragg show. I can guarantee you he is going to play his freaking heart out.

I confess, I bought a ticket for tonight's show this morning upon hearing the news. Billy Bragg? He's good, but the tix are kind of expensive, and I've seen him before, and it's a busy week. Billy Bragg on the literal day that Thatcher dies? Okay, that's worth it.


So I'm back from the show, and you know, I feel sorry for Billy Bragg. When Thatcher lost power, he was in Belfast, with a crowd that really knew what it was like under her boot. Today, he's five thousand miles from home, in this cold, snowy Prairie city that voted in a Conservative premier back when Maggie was a cabinet minister, and has elected Conservatives ever since. And not just a place that doesn't get what Thatcher meant (I don't, although I learned so much from y'all today), but a city that has only barely stumbled from time to time, not a place that fell down (or was pushed) and has never gotten back up since. He must have felt so alone.

So he came in to a certain song from the Wizard of Oz, and briefly mentioned that it was sure to be #1 in the UK by the weekend, but then he stuck to the script -- two things I've forgotten about Billy Bragg is how professional he is (seriously, he drinks organic herbal tea on stage, to preserve his voice), and how good he is at stage banter. So he talks about his guitar, he talks about Woody Guthrie ("On days like today, I ask myself, what would Woody Guthrie do? So I went and bought a pearl snap shirt.") Nothing about the Iron Lady, and a setlist that is more personal than political; very similar to this one from Vancouver a few days ago.

And then, about eight songs in, the band went in the back and Billy's standing there, talking about how they've been watching Breaking Bad, and how British people love Breaking Bad, and how Margaret Thatcher will never know how Breaking Bad ends, because she's dead. And a cheer goes up. And Billy reminds us that what we should remember is her passing; not today, but back in 1990, when she was thrown out of power by her own cabal. She was so divisive even her own party members rose up against her. And he tears, I mean tears into Which Side Are You On? And then he denounces Thatcher's legacy of (and I wrote this down) "pernicious, greedy, spiteful" cynical politics. And he breaks out Between The Wars. And he talks about what we need to do is not to celebrate, but to organize. And he rips, with passion, into There Is Power In A Union.

And the band comes back, and the rest of the show went on, pale in comparison (although still very good). And the crowd was stirred a little, but was honestly pretty dead. And I'm sorry we failed you, Billy. You deserved so much more than what we gave you, on this night of all nights. And we didn't deserve what you gave us. But I'm still grateful.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:10 PM on April 8, 2013 [28 favorites]


is there a Spotify (or similar) playlist out there which has a variety of songs from the Thatcher years (one which isn't exclusively anti-Thatcher but has a good mix of different atmospheric songs)?
posted by Bwithh at 11:20 PM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Australian former Prime Minister John Howard was predictably predictable:

- Thatcher & Reagan were the two great conservative leaders post WW2;
- Thatcher the best British PM since Churchill;
- If you don't have criticism it means you haven't achieved anything; and
- The fact that people are celebrating her demise tells him that they are ignorant, and that she had impact.

So there you have it: all criticism gets alchemically metamorphosed into proof of ACHIEVEMENT! and IMPACT! You can use this to your advantage next time your boss, partner, family or friends accuse you of fucking everything up completely.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:24 PM on April 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Who isn't a divisive figure?
posted by Birchpear at 11:36 PM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's going to be really neat seeing people who oppose this worldview figure out ways of making their opposition seem as natural and reasonable to everyday folk who don't care much for questioning their own beliefs. I think it'll be doable; ultimately the message "change is possible" is a pretty easy one to say, so long as you can find meaningful proof. But what proof constitutes meaning, that's a tricky little paradox.
This is for everyone.
posted by fullerine at 11:36 PM on April 8, 2013


So goodbye Maggie T, though I never knew you at all
You were the savior of Britain
Except for places mining coal

You privatised the industries, which seemed to make good sense
And sold off council houses
To the residents

And it seems to me you lived your life
As the first female PM
Apart from Indira Ghandi, Golda Meir, and them

And I would have voted for you, but I was just a kid
Your own party threw you out
Before the voters did.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:49 PM on April 8, 2013 [8 favorites]




There's a definite whiff of the left in this thread.

I think the big difference between where I am and where other people are is that I don't believe in this super sekrit neoliberal agenda. The right in the UK may not understand the poor, they may believe the worst sometimes for the poor and the working class, but they don't want to destroy and enslave those people.

The unions were destroyed in the '80s because the right believed that the unions were holding the country back. They held too much power, they had held the country to ransom one time too many. Of course people got hurt, but people were always going to be hurt. Your Fathers, my Father, David Wilkie. If you blame Thatcher, then you need to blame Scargill and the rest of those racist, jobsworthy little tinpot dictators that ran the unions into the ground.

Manufacturing was allowed to die in the '80s because it was uncompetitive. Because we couldn't make a car that worked properly. You can argue about the right way & the wrong way to save manufacturing, but working to the assumption that it was killed deliberately because neoliberals hate the working man is a nonsense.

Mandela was called a terrorist because we honestly thought he was a terrorist. If you're a bigwig in a party with a paramilitary wing that bombs and kills people, then it's not a stretch to think they're in the loop.

Section 28 was a travesty, and I'm glad I demonstrated against it. But section 28 was never about being gay. Thatcher never had a problem with the gay. Section 28 was a knee jerk reaction to an assumed infiltration of communistic propaganda to our schools. Section 28 was a consequence to the assumption that people who you disagree with have a super sekrit plan they're following to take over the world. Baa Baa Green Sheep. Gay Agenda is just as nonsensical as the NeoLiberal agenda.

The Poll Tax was a fucking disgrace. That's what too little sleep and too much scotch will give you. Ill thought out legislation that moved the tax burden towards the poorest.

The woman won't get a dot from me, but the majority of this thread is hysteria.
posted by zoo at 12:27 AM on April 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


If anyone's still reading this, Ian McEwan's thoughtful piece is worth a look.
posted by Segundus at 12:58 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


According to her apologists in this thread, what you are actually seeing is "the future," in all its glory.

I hope her apologists everywhere are privatized. They should get something out of such a thankless task.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:58 AM on April 9, 2013


The Poll Tax was a fucking disgrace. That's what too little sleep and too much scotch will give you..

I do not understand how that second sentence explains, mitigates, or even relates to the first. But I don't live in the U.K., so maybe someone can explain it.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:27 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I’ve followed this thread with fascination from its inception. As an American I am embarrassed at my shallow understanding of British politics of the 70s and 80s, and I was old enough at the time to have known better. Thank you all for this education.

The moral dilemma in Wyatt/Costello’s “Shipbuilding” makes perfect sense now Shit, it breaks my heart to see us here still “diving for dear life when we should be diving for pearls.”

The wine is empty. Time for bed.
posted by MyTwoCentsToo at 1:29 AM on April 9, 2013


Has anybody actually posted Morrissey's Margaret on the Guillotine yet?

The kind people / Have a wonderful dream / Margaret on the guillotine / Cause people like you / Make me feel so tired / When will you die? (x5)

And people like you / Make me feel so old inside / Please die

And kind people / Do not shelter this dream / Make it real / Make the dream real (repeat many times in the most maudlin way possible)

posted by UbuRoivas at 1:47 AM on April 9, 2013


"The kind people / Have a wonderful dream / Margaret on the guillotine / Cause people like you / Make me feel so tired / When will you die? (x5)

And people like you / Make me feel so old inside / Please die

And kind people / Do not shelter this dream / Make it real / Make the dream real (repeat many times in the most maudlin way possible)"

Translation, please.
posted by Birchpear at 1:51 AM on April 9, 2013




Translation, please.

It's poetry, which is always difficult-to-impossible to *translate*. A certain reading between the lines and a spirit of free interpretation is often necessary. (Although that one came off as pretty straightforwardly literal to me...)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:57 AM on April 9, 2013


>I don't believe in this super sekrit neoliberal agenda.

It's not super "sekrit"; it's pretty in your face and obvious for anyone taking the time to educate themselves. Also, it's not an agenda it is the way the world works. The rich oppress the poor...this isn't rocket science and it's nothing new. I'm surprised that you pretend this dynamic doesn't exist in modern society.

Gay Agenda is just as nonsensical as the NeoLiberal agenda.

No, one is actually documented and the other is a boogeyman that evangelical hucksters use to talk about civil rights for homosexuals. Are you arguing that Neoliberal policies haven't been implemented or that the fact that they have been implemented doesn't constitute "an agenda"? The elite detritus who have ruled over and implemented the economic policies of the last 30 years clearly had an agenda. For the most part that agenda has been accomplished, and it was nothing less than to dismantle the social compacts formed after WWII. That one can sit here and complain about the smell in this thread is beyond the pale given the wake of human suffering and misery neoliberalism has inflicted on western democracies. Let's not even talk about the third world, cause that's a whole derail in itself there.

but they don't want to destroy and enslave those people.

But they sure as fuck did, now didn't they.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:01 AM on April 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


I do not understand how that second sentence explains, mitigates, or even relates to the first. But I don't live in the U.K., so maybe someone can explain it.

Thatcher famously slept four hours a night.

Also from zoo, a nice contrast:
I think the big difference between where I am and where other people are is that I don't believe in this super sekrit neoliberal agenda. .... Section 28 was a consequence to the assumption that people who you disagree with have a super sekrit plan

So, to be clear: assuming the other side has a super-sekrit plan: bad, leads to Section 28. Asserting that the other side believes you have a super-sekrit plan: rational, non-hysterical. No wonder your family is Tory.
posted by bonaldi at 2:07 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's all about sides with you isn't it? I'm perfectly capable of thinking this kind of paranoia is wrong from whomever espouses it. The fact you can't parse this says more about you than it does about me.

I never said BTW that my family was Tory, unless you believe voting patterns never change.
posted by zoo at 2:20 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]




The Guardian: Margaret Thatcher's death greeted with street parties in Brixton and Glasgow

The photos have about ten people in each of them. The Gardiaun claims that there were more than 300 people at the Glasgow one, but ... really, 300? That's not a party, that's drinks with the lads after work.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:29 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm perfectly capable of thinking this kind of paranoia is wrong from whomever espouses it

Even yourself? Because asserting that the people you're working hard to defend are seen by others as having a super-sekrit plan is itself paranoid.

But it's okay, it's okay. Your family isn't Tory; it just voted for Thatcher. You're not on her side either. Hell, you didn't even leave a dot! You even didn't leave one twice.
posted by bonaldi at 2:37 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Translation, please.

Steven Patrick Morrissey, more commonly known by his stage name of just 'Morrissey', is expressing an opinion via song, that people otherwise of pleasant & caring demeanours, nevertheless entertain fantasies of causing the untimely demise of Ms Thatcher by means of the guillotine.

The anachronistic suggestion of this instrument of death - being uncommon or even completely disused in modern times - brings to mind instead the French revolution, with which the guillotine is more commonly associated, and in particular one of its most famous victims, Marie Antoinette, who is famously misquoted as having said "let them eat cake". This establishes a revolutionary metaphor whereby Ms Thatcher could be imagined as a modern day Marie Antoinette, advising the miners & their families, and other people harmed by her policies to eat cake as a panacea for their sufferings.

Morrissey implicitly feels that this ought to engender rage amongst otherwise kind people, and he concludes by encouraging such people not to simply fantasise, but to turn their ideations into reality. Thus, the schism between metaphor & reality becomes closed, and the metaphorical beheading of the head of goverment is urged to be turned into literal reality.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:43 AM on April 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


There were a couple of hundred people in Brixton, possibly more once it got dark and people filtered in from work.

The early attendees were older Socialist Worker types and council workers from Town Hall across the road straight out of central casting and the kind of yoof that never misses a demo, to the chagrin their straight as die Daily Mail reading middle class parents. And then someone stuck it to the man by kicking a bin into the road and throwing paint at the newly opened branch of Foxtons.

I imagine somewhere outside Wokingham a smaller and quieter group of young confirmed bachelors put on their suits and gathered for a pint of mild in their local Conservative Club for a nostalgic policy debate about how much this country has gone to the dogs since 1990 and how out of touch the Left Wing is.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:43 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Was looking for something on the "super sekrit neoliberal agenda" I'd once read which had Keith Joseph as the prime mover in the 70s Tory Party rather than Thatcher, couldn't find the piece I had in mind but the search terms did bring up this lengthy obit at the New Left Project (bit of a hint at its leanings there, but it's a sober take from that slant and whole thing is worth the read):
Heath stayed on as Conservative Leader after suffering yet another general election defeat to his long term rival Harold Wilson. Meanwhile, Margaret Thatcher and other reactionaries in the Conservative Party, who longed for a spirited counter attack on the labour movement, began to coalesce around the figure of Keith Joseph – Heath’s former Secretary of State for Social Services who shortly after the first 1974 election defeat was apparently converted to the newly ascendant dogma of neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism had been developed for several decades by a group of intellectuals belonging to an elite organisation called the Mount Pelerin Society. Probably the most influential of their number was the Austrian political economist Friedrich Hayek, who famously argued in The Road to Serfdom that any government intervention in the economy would ultimately lead to authoritarianism. Thatcher first read The Road to Serfdom at university and after his Damascus moment Keith Joseph encouraged her to explore Hayek’s other writings. (After being elected leader Thatcher is said to have brandished a copy of Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty, pronouncing, ‘This is what we believe!’)

In the UK Hayek’s ideas had been championed by the Institute of Economic Affairs, a think-tank funded by a millionaire businessman and run by two committed pamphleteers, Ralph Harris and Arthur Seldon. Keith Joseph had been in contact with them both, as well as with other key neoliberal thinkers such as Alan Walters, an economist and a member of the Mount Pelerin Society, and Bill and Shirley Letwin (the parents of the Conservative Minister Oliver Letwin). With the support of these right-wing trailblazers, Thatcher and Joseph together founded a new think-tank called the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), which set out to win over the Conservative Party to neoliberalism. Along with the Institute of Economic Affairs, the CPS became a hub for the New Right, which was now able to operate independently from the official Conservative Party policy machine, which was still aligned to the so called ‘One Nation Conservatism’ associated with Edward Heath and other influential Tories like Chris Patten and James Prior.
posted by Abiezer at 2:54 AM on April 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was in Brixton, with my friend, because I'd been getting various flavours of worked up and emotional all day and I thought maybe being around other people would give me some release. We didn't stay for long; it was all a bit melancholy, and fully a third of the people there were overexcited journalists trying to get footage for their story about the street party. The SWP were still out in force - I see they haven't been knocked down too hard by the whole rape-coverup business - and there were some jolly women and kids with chalk, and a dog that kept licking up the slogans people were writing on the pavement (me and my friend discussed whether it had a calcium deficiency). There was a boombox playing reggae music, but nobody was really dancing, even the fiery studenty types. They just stood around solemnly, drinking pints of beer and occasionally sharing stories about how awful the Thatcher era was. In the end we got a bit cold and went and had a cup of tea.*

*Pretty much how every party, vigil or demo ever ends in the UK.
posted by Acheman at 2:57 AM on April 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Pretty much how every party, vigil or demo ever ends in the UK.
Apparently the party in Easton, Bristol ended up in some minor contretemps with the police, which is probably sort of appropriate too.
posted by Abiezer at 2:59 AM on April 9, 2013


and a dog that kept licking up the slogans people were writing on the pavement

That is SO going into a song.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:07 AM on April 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


--*
posted by flabdablet at 3:11 AM on April 9, 2013


zoo, let's be clear here, one of the biggest of the contentions you're dismissing as 'hysteria' and 'sekrit plans', that the Thatcher government deliberately raised the unemployment rate as a way of weakening the working class, is a claim that comes directly from one of her advisors at the time, Alan Budd. I'm going to copy some of his credentials from the Wikipedia article about him:
Among his activities as an economist, he is a governor of the National Institute for Economic and Social Research; a founder member of the UK-Japan 21st Century Group; an executive editor of World Economics and a member of the editorial advisory board of the Oxford Review of Economic Policy. He is also a senior adviser to Credit Suisse First Boston and a consultant to the G8 Group. In 2005, he was appointed to the board of the IG Group, a spread betting firm founded by Stuart Wheeler....In May 2010 he came out of retirement to be the interim Chairman of the Office for Budget Responsibility, set up by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to assess the state of public finances and issue economic forecasts.[3] He described this as "the most exciting challenge of my professional life".
You don't have to agree with him, but it's hard to dismiss the claims he made as paranoid left-wing conspiracy-nuttery. Arguing that the Thatcher government had an agenda other than the lowering of inflation is something that people are driven to by analysing the economic theory behind various approaches, not by a desire to paint those in power as mysteriously evil.
posted by Acheman at 3:11 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Scenes From The Thatcher Funeral, a nice bit of surreal horror.

What had she done with all the milk? That’s what we should have been asking: what had she done with all the milk? By the time we found out, it was too late.

At first it’s almost imperceptible. Mourners shuffle past the open coffin as it lies in state. She looks different, they think, but it’s hard to say exactly how. It’s true, she seems a little fuller in the face than one would expect, plumper, like an over-ripe fruit – but at the same time white, deathly white.

posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:20 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


That'll be the Alan Budd who said this:

The nightmare I sometimes have, about this whole experience, runs as follows. I was involved in making a number of proposals which were partly at least adopted by the government and put in play by the government. Now, my worry is . . . that there may have been people making the actual policy decisions . . . who never believed for a moment that this was the correct way to bring down inflation.

They did, however, see that it would be a very, very good way to raise unemployment, and raising unemployment was an extremely desirable way of reducing the strength of the working classes -- if you like, that what was engineered there in Marxist terms was a crisis of capitalism which re-created a reserve army of labour and has allowed the capitalists to make high profits ever since.

Now again, I would not say I believe that story, but when I really worry about all this, I worry whether that indeed was really what was going on.

posted by zoo at 3:21 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Section 28 was a travesty, and I'm glad I demonstrated against it. But section 28 was never about being gay. Thatcher never had a problem with the gay.
Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay.
- Margaret Thatcher, speech to the Conservative Party Conference, 1987

You can be using homophobia as a political tool to bash teachers' unions and left-wing county councils and be genuinely homophobic. It actually helps.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:27 AM on April 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


And now, A Walk in the Black Forest.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:43 AM on April 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


So it seems the difference between a ceremonial as opposed to state funeral is primarily two less guns in the salute and no horses? Getting pulled by sailors sounds like fun, though.
posted by Abiezer at 3:45 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Getting pulled by sailors sounds like fun, though.

Luckily, section 28 has now been repealed.
posted by jaduncan at 4:06 AM on April 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


Luckily, section 28 has now been repealed.
I'll tee them up, you knock 'em in!
posted by Abiezer at 4:12 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


21 minutes? MetaFilter, I am disappoint.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:12 AM on April 9, 2013


Perfect response from Billy Bragg, don't tell me THIS isn't PURE class:

“This is not a time for celebration. The death of Margaret Thatcher is nothing more than a salient reminder of how Britain got into the mess that we are in today. Of why ordinary working people are no longer able to earn enough from one job to support a family; of why there is a shortage of decent affordable housing; of why domestic growth is driven by credit, not by real incomes; of why tax-payers are forced to top up wages; of why a spiteful government seeks to penalise the poor for having an extra bedroom; of why Rupert Murdoch became so powerful; of why cynicism and greed became the hallmarks of our society.

Raising a glass to the death of an infirm old lady changes none of this. The only real antidote to cynicism is activism. Don’t celebrate – organise!”
posted by runincircles at 4:18 AM on April 9, 2013 [15 favorites]


When she couldn't simply declare or browbeat or intimidate her way into a consensus, she would then start fluttering her eyebrows and cooing and blushing and preening towards all of the men around the boardroom table. Then they would just do what she said. The very thought of this makes me want to vomit, probably illustrated by Gerald Scarfe.

I don't think that's "acting sexy", but if it worked (and you say it does) why not?
posted by corb at 4:26 AM on April 9, 2013


You mean like at Kronstadt? You know, where well-known right-wing idealogue Emma Goldman called foul? Left-wing governments are not somehow immune to the spectre of instituting state violence.

Crushing striking coal miners is ok because Trotsky slaughtered some sailors?
Worse, Pinochet was a-okay because of Kronstadt which, erm, yeah. That's another feature of the rightwing mindset I suppose. As long as you can point to one atrocity committed by people who are almost entirely but not quite unlike the people you plan to terrorise, you're in the clear.

It's a mindset Thatcher embodied.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:28 AM on April 9, 2013


Worse, Pinochet was a-okay because of Kronstadt which, erm, yeah.

Actually, no, neither was "a-okay." But the charge was made that right-wing tyrants actually committed atrocities, while left-wing tyrants just had the "potential" to do so, which is patently untrue.

Authoritarians of all stripes suck in many ways, but I think it is still possible to understand their motivations - and that people tend to be harsher when the perceived threat is greater.
posted by corb at 4:34 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I even appreciate that, in 1982, one could be forgiven for seeing the rise of Pinochet and feeling somewhat gratified to know that leftist extremists would not be able to commit atrocious acts in another Latin American country. I can understand that point of view – in 1982.

I can't.

Pinochet came to power in 1973 and before a month had passed had started rounding up, imprisoning, torturing and murdering his political opponents; this was not esoteric knowledge in 1982.


1982 saw also the murder of four Dutch journalists in El Salvador, another rightwing dictatorship praised by Thatcher and Reagan as a bulwark against communism; that killing was only unusual because they were foreigners. Plenty of El Salvadorians were killed as well. (An earlier victim had been Archbishop Óscar Romero, assassinated after he had sent an open lettre to Jimmy Carter to end US support for the military regime; Carter couldn't care less, he was as big a bastard as Reagan would be, also supporting Nicaragua's military regime to the end.)

Elsewhere in the continent 1982 saw the civil war in Guatamala at its most intensive, as the military junta there went for all out genocide to suppress the leftist rebels, killing thousnds (18,000 that year alone.)

Allende meanwhile had been in power for roughly three years, without doing anything of the above. He did however nationalise the copper mines.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:53 AM on April 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


But the charge was made that right-wing tyrants actually committed atrocities, while left-wing tyrants just had the "potential" to do so, which is patently untrue.

What I actually said was that rightwing terror was justified by the potential of leftwing terror, which, if you know anything about Chile and are honest about its history, is exactly the reasoning Pinochet apologists have given and still are giving for his coup and resulting repression.

Then you come back with "Kronstadt"? At least try to be relevant.
posted by MartinWisse at 4:55 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


But you know what this means? Chumbawamba's final release will be out soon.

Just dropped through my letterbox, in fact... *winds up the gramaphone*
posted by titus-g at 5:01 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Incidently, we should be careful about Chilean history, lest we think of it in terms of your archetypical "banana republic" (and we know where that term came from, right?).

Until Pinochet, its army had alway taken pride in staying out of politics, in being just as professional and reliable an army as any Western European army. It took a whole lot of US backed meddling, including the assassination of the Chilean Army's commander in chief as well as deliberate economic sabotage ("we're going to make the Chilean economy scream" -- Nixon) to make way for Pinochet and his cronies before the army was ready for a coup.

In other words, Pinochet, with help of the US, created the situation he wanted to save his country from. Any resemblence to Thatcher's actions in the UK are purely coincidental.
posted by MartinWisse at 5:02 AM on April 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


In Britain she failed, in large part because the people were not worthy of ... Unfortunately, the people she emancipated sold their shares at the first opportunity and invested the proceeds in drink and cheap holidays

"Das Volk hat das Vertrauen der Regierung verscherzt. Wäre es da nicht doch einfacher, die Regierung löste das Volk auf und wählte ein anderes?"
posted by MartinWisse at 5:20 AM on April 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


There's a definite whiff of the left in this thread.

This thread, you say?
posted by acb at 5:23 AM on April 9, 2013


What I actually said was that rightwing terror was justified by the potential of leftwing terror, which, if you know anything about Chile and are honest about its history, is exactly the reasoning Pinochet apologists have given and still are giving for his coup and resulting repression.

You know, maybe if you had given a more thoughtful analysis of it, specifically confining your charges to Chile in that specific time period, I might even have agreed with you. But you wanted to be pithy, so we didn't get that analysis. Yes, absolutely the potential for left-wing terror - which was happening elsewhere in the region and had happened recently elsewhere in the region. Castro had already taken power, the Violence in Colombia had already claimed many lives. It is not unreasonable to believe that left-wing terror was possible, because it had already happened elsewhere. And, as noted, I think it is impossible to convey how horrific the destruction of entire families - not just nuclear families, but entire families - would seem.

Now this does not excuse what Pinochet did at all - but I think it is important to be fair and acknowledge that this happened on all sides.
posted by corb at 5:23 AM on April 9, 2013


I once saw that Pablo Neruda take a man's head off with a single punch. Song of Despair? Song of dismember, more like.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:26 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's a good journalist post, contrasting the front covers of UK newspapers this morning.
posted by Wordshore at 5:32 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is not unreasonable to believe that left-wing terror was possible, because it had already happened elsewhere. And, as noted, I think it is impossible to convey how horrific the destruction of entire families - not just nuclear families, but entire families - would seem.

Yeah, Britain's not been bombed in living memory or anything...

Or do you mean 'killed by the state'? You're being woefully imprecise in your attempt to be pithy.
posted by hoyland at 5:33 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, sorry, I guess I'll have to phone up Hitler and Franco and break the news to them that they're left wing.
posted by hoyland at 5:35 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


.|..
posted by unSane at 5:35 AM on April 9, 2013


Oh, sorry, I guess I'll have to phone up Hitler and Franco and break the news to them that they're left wing.

Dude, what part of "left wing and right wing authoritarians can both do awful shit" is so hard to understand?
posted by corb at 5:38 AM on April 9, 2013


On the state terror thing, there is a fairly direct lineage from Tsarist Russia to Lenin's Russia to Stalin's Russia to Hitler and beyond. It's not left wing vs. right wing, it's just a consequence of extreme utilitarian thinking where 'the greater good' gets defined in ideological terms, and the state sanctions murder, torture and imprisonment as a means of achieving those aims, usually either by circumventing or co-opting the judiciary.

In Russia, the head of Lenin's secret police learned everything he knew at the hands of the Tsar's secret police.
posted by unSane at 5:41 AM on April 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Dude, what part of "left wing and right wing authoritarians can both do awful shit" is so hard to understand?

That wasn't your argument. Besides, I figured it was my turn for a non sequitur.
posted by hoyland at 5:43 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was also pissed off by your apparent disbelief that someone other than you might understand the idea that families are killed en masse.
posted by hoyland at 5:44 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Jacobin: Margaret Thatcher 1925-2013.
Worth reading. Not invective-filled.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:44 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was also pissed off by your apparent disbelief that someone other than you might understand the idea that families are killed en masse.

That actually wasn't it. I was referencing earlier in the conversation, where I tried to express the benefits of a concentration of familial protection and resources and there was a lot of "feudalism lol." I'm not talking about just "how bad it is when families are physically killed en masse". I think that is easy for a lot of people to understand, even just as an extension of how bad death is. I was talking about how bad it is when Families are killed and broken into individual tiny fleeing nuclear families missing a lot of members.
posted by corb at 5:47 AM on April 9, 2013


You don't have to look abroad for the Thatcher administration's alleged involvement with, or at minimum failure to prevent, state-sanctioned death squads. I don't think she or her cabinet were unique in that, by the way, long line of similar substantive allegations, post-war since the Mau Mau uprisings in Kenya I think. More that even democratically elected leaders aren't adverse to taking the gloves off if they feel the situation warrants.
posted by Abiezer at 5:48 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Margaret Thatcher: Driven by a love of law, liberty, God: but above all, of Britain
She decided the economic collapse that Britain faced was also a societal and moral collapse. The most successful travesty of her views subsequently perpetrated is that she put economic success and mere individualism above the good of society. She was absolutely obsessed by the good of society, and by the damage done to the greatness of her country. She saw wealth creation as instrumental in restoring these things, not as an end in itself.
posted by corb at 5:54 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


She decided the economic collapse that Britain faced was also a societal and moral collapse. The most successful travesty of her views subsequently perpetrated is that she put economic success and mere individualism above the good of society. She was absolutely obsessed by the good of society, and by the damage done to the greatness of her country. She saw wealth creation as instrumental in restoring these things, not as an end in itself.

And that was her greatest flaw.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:57 AM on April 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


The juxtaposition of Abiezer and corb's comments just next to each other there is perfect.

Law-based liberty and collusion with loyalist death squads.
posted by jaduncan at 5:59 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]




I think that is easy for a lot of people to understand, even just as an extension of how bad death is. I was talking about how bad it is when Families are killed and broken into individual tiny fleeing nuclear families missing a lot of members.

You don't have a monopoly on that either.
posted by hoyland at 6:04 AM on April 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Interestingly, they're saying that the lack of a state funeral was actually Baroness Thatcher's personal wishes - which makes the amount of Thatcher-haters tweeting #nostatefuneral kind of hilarious.
posted by corb at 6:11 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


...your archetypical "banana republic" (and we know where that term came from, right?).

O. Henry!
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 6:13 AM on April 9, 2013


You know, maybe if you had given a more thoughtful analysis of it, specifically confining your charges to Chile in that specific time period, I might even have agreed with you. But you wanted to be pithy, so we didn't get that analysis

Corb, you do understand that other people can read my comment too and don't have to depend on your mischaracterisation here?

You were pulling the "people don't know Latin America like I do" card here and I responded to that. The context was already fixed, but for some reason you decided that Kronstadt was a good comeback to that.

Not even Castro, but Kronstadt. Castro, as you finally used as an example in your last comment, would've been sort of understandable given where you're coming from, but even Castro had nothing to do with Chile, except in the eyes of those who see every leftwing politician as the second coming of Stalin.

If you tot it all up, the harm done by leftwing dictators and militants to South and Central America pales in comparison to the harm done by the anticommunists and rightwingers, long before communism was ever a going affair in that part of the world. Honduras and the United Fruit Company anyone?
posted by MartinWisse at 6:16 AM on April 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


Honduras and the United Fruit Company anyone?

One might even suspect that type of thing was why there was a wide base of left wing support the CIA felt the need to fight against.
posted by jaduncan at 6:19 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Chalmers Johnson, is that you?
posted by absalom at 6:22 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Interestingly, they're saying that the lack of a state funeral was actually Baroness Thatcher's personal wishes - which makes the amount of Thatcher-haters tweeting #nostatefuneral kind of hilarious.

A state funeral requires a bill in Parliament (to get funding). This is why Thatcher vetoed a state funeral.

Of course, the people on Twitter likely know she didn't want a state funeral (of course, there are Tories calling for a state funeral--see the Guardian article above) and are continuing to object because the difference between a state funeral and a ceremonial funeral, which she will be given, are minimal, aside from the issue of having to go through Parliament. Remember Princess Diana's funeral? That's a ceremonial funeral. Churchill had a state funeral. I believe there's footage. It looks a hell of a lot like a Diana's funeral. No Elton John, obviously.
posted by hoyland at 6:24 AM on April 9, 2013


Sorry... I should have spelled it out. A debate in Parliament to fund a state funeral has the potential to get ugly.
posted by hoyland at 6:25 AM on April 9, 2013


MartinWisse wrote: "Das Volk hat das Vertrauen der Regierung verscherzt. Wäre es da nicht doch einfacher, die Regierung löste das Volk auf und wählte ein anderes?"

That's beautiful, Martin, I can't favorite your comment hard enough. "Here I stand; I can do no other." I now know what I shall have tattooed over my heart in memory of the Iron Lady, in the original French. Thank you, thank you again.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:28 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maggie And Me - "How Margaret Thatcher Changed Britain"
Rejoicing at people’s deaths? To me and to many others at the time, that statement seemed callous and, again, outrageous. But watching the footage again this morning, I have to admit, I couldn’t help cracking a smile at her temerity, her hectoring, and her sheer certitude that she was in the right. She really was something else. No wonder women like my mother (who never voted for her after 1979) admired her strength of character. You think Hillary Clinton is tough?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:29 AM on April 9, 2013


A state funeral for Thatcher would also be ugly. The poll tax riot on Trafalgar Square (which I fortuitously left 10 minutes before it started) was a touchstone for all kinds of anti-Thatcher and anti-Tory opposition at the time. I hate to think about the level of protest at a state funeral.
posted by daveje at 6:29 AM on April 9, 2013


A state funeral for Thatcher would also be ugly.
That's seen as the likely thinking behind no minute's silences at football matches - been done for other prominent public deaths (Queen Mum) and Armistice Day; don't mean riots but likely displays of public disapproval or disrespect that wouldn't fit the narrative.
posted by Abiezer at 6:36 AM on April 9, 2013


MartinWisse, responding offline so as to be less deraily.

A state funeral for Thatcher would also be ugly.

Is it likely to be less ugly at a ceremonial funeral? Like hoyland says, they look virtually the same from this side of the pond, except for the lying-in-state bit. (Which Thatcher apparently also didn't want.)
posted by corb at 6:38 AM on April 9, 2013


I don't know - seeing riot police kettling and baton charging groups of protestors feels to me like it would fit the narrative remarkably well.
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:38 AM on April 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


A state funeral for Thatcher would also be ugly.

She's getting a state funeral. Well OK, technically it's not a state funeral. But the Queen and Prince Phillip are going (the last PM this happened for was Winston Churchill's state funeral), there will be a military salute, it's in St Paul's, and it will have its fair share of the great and good attending.

For the purposes of someone who really wants to protest at her funeral, the difference between a ceremonial and state funeral will be immaterial.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:39 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know - seeing riot police kettling and baton charging groups of protestors feels to me like it would fit the narrative remarkably well.
A Met versus miners memorial re-match, like the games for a deceased emperor. This time give the miners a fair shake and some sticks too though.
posted by Abiezer at 6:41 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


MartinWisse, responding offline so as to be less deraily.

Thank you; likewise.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:43 AM on April 9, 2013


That's seen as the likely thinking behind no minute's silences at football matches

Impossible for those silences not to be abused, especially given the nature of most of the support.

She attended the Scottish 1988 Cup Final in a vain attempt to help her profile in Scotland, and the entire support had been handed red cards, who used them to protest her policies.
posted by daveje at 6:51 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


A Met versus miners memorial re-match, like the games for a deceased emperor. This time give the miners a fair shake and some sticks too though.

That's why the funeral being held in St Paul's, which is Anglican. The Catholic Church has a reputation for getting too close to miners.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:13 AM on April 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


acb:Is there any evidence that she read or was a fan of Ayn Rand, or could they merely have had similar views?

I think this might cover it:http://beforeitsnews.com/libertarian/2013/04/a-thatcher-rand-connection-2497040.html


So the lesson in all this seems to be, if you really want to influence the powerful, forget political agitation, protesting in the streets, fighting through direct action and other forms of traditional activism and just fashion yourself into a cultish, "visionary" sci-fi author. (And preferably, spew out as much really flat, didactic prose thinly disguised as narrative as you can.)
posted by saulgoodman at 7:23 AM on April 9, 2013


I think this might cover it:http://beforeitsnews.com/libertarian/2013/04/a-thatcher-rand-connection-2497040.html

Thank God we're going to articles in reputable news sources that aren't simply pushing conjecture and gossip as "fact".
posted by zoo at 7:34 AM on April 9, 2013


What Thatcher's support for Pinochet a bad thing or not?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:40 AM on April 9, 2013


Yeah, I've never heard of Thatcher having anything to do with Ayn Rand. Hardly anyone here has even heard of Rand, let alone read Atlas Shrugs or whatever. Thatcherites may talk the libertarian game but in reality they always love the intoxicating leathery smell of authoritarianism when it comes to things such as drug laws, alternative lifestyles, protest etc.

A more important influence would be Hayek, ahead of the oft-cited Friedman.
posted by spectrevsrector at 7:45 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


What Thatcher's support for Pinochet a bad thing or not?

Depends on whether you consider Marxism to be an absolute evil.
posted by acb at 7:55 AM on April 9, 2013


Wow, Abiezer's link to the UK New Left Project's obit is fantastic:

Though Thatcher initially shied away from conflict with the miners, secretly she prepared for war. When it came three years later, she was not only well prepared, but was emboldened by her victories in the Falklands conflict and the 1983 General Election. Her success in the latter, despite her risible record in office, is often attributed to the former and no doubt the Falklands conflict did have a significant impact on her confidence and status as a leader.

But the truth is that in 1983 she was handed Britain on a plate by a divided opposition. In March 1981, a number of leading figures in the Labour Party broke off to form the Social Democratic Party, which then formed an electoral pact with the Liberals. In the 1983 election the SDP-Liberal Alliance secured 25% of the vote, but due to the first-past-the-post system received little in the way of seats. Meanwhile, the Conservatives’ share of the vote declined slightly, yet they secured the largest majority in the House of Commons since Atlee’s landslide of 1945...

Mrs Thatcher sought no mandate on policy, only a mandate to lead. Her Churchillian posturing during the Falklands conflict had given her a taste for war which was to define her. As John Campbell, one of her many biographers, notes:

"One of Margaret Thatcher’s defining characteristics as a politician was a need for enemies. To fuel the aggression that drove her career she had to find new antagonists all the time to be successively demonised, confronted and defeated."

At the top of Thatcher’s hit-list was the National Union of Mineworkers. Dubbed ‘the enemy within’, the miners’ crushing defeat after months of bitter struggle was probably Thatcher’s greatest single political achievement. It was not a popularity contest, and won her no new friends, but the battle fundamentally changed the political landscape of Britain.


Great link, Abiezer, thanks. More like that, please.
posted by mediareport at 7:56 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I've never heard of Thatcher having anything to do with Ayn Rand. Hardly anyone here has even heard of Rand, let alone read Atlas Shrugs or whatever. Thatcherites may talk the libertarian game but in reality they always love the intoxicating leathery smell of authoritarianism when it comes to things such as drug laws, alternative lifestyles, protest etc.

Has any politician in power cited Rand and remained faithful to her vision, rather than pretending that she was a Christian paleoconservative or something?
posted by acb at 7:57 AM on April 9, 2013


You're right. Since the only evidence Rand had any influence on Thatcher is Rand's own claims to that effect, it's probably best to chalk that up to Rand's own delusions of grandeur.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:59 AM on April 9, 2013


daveje: She attended the Scottish 1988 Cup Final in a vain attempt to help her profile in Scotland, and the entire support had been handed red cards, who used them to protest her policies.

Scroll down to see the card in question, which gives the details.
posted by Len at 8:01 AM on April 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


I played Black Boys on Mopeds as loud as it goes last night. Sometimes I wish I believed in hell...for evil fucks like Maggie.
posted by schyler523 at 8:02 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The BBC is trying to be evenhanded in its coverage about reactions to Thatcher's death. Just to balance the pictures of spontaneous parties in the street mentioned elsewhere in this thread, here are some examples of the mourners:
—Flowers placed by well-wishers surround a portrait of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher outside her home in Belgravia, London.

—Former paratroopers salute as they leave a wreath at a street sign in her name in Port Stanley, Falkland Islands.

—Many books of condolence have been opened in the UK and around the world. This one is at a museum in Baroness Thatcher's hometown of Grantham, Lincolnshire.

Meanwhile, in Slate, Anne Appelbaum eulogizes her as "Freedom’s Ambassador", at least when it came to the Eastern Bloc during the final phase of the Cold War. Leaders from that era now remember her warmly. Mikhail Gorbachev, "It was clear even then {meeting in 1984} that this was a woman of character. {...} I valued my political and human relationship with Margaret, particularly during the most significant years of my time in politics." Lech Walesa (probably the only trades unionist she ever liked) praised her support: "Without her, our fight against communists would have lasted much longer. It would have been confronted with bigger difficulties, if not destruction."
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:03 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lech Walesa (probably the only trades unionist she ever liked)

Little does he know...

In fact one could make a better case that General Jaruzelski, who cracked down on Solidarnosc, was the only Communist Thatcher liked.
posted by acb at 8:04 AM on April 9, 2013


Great link, Abiezer, thanks. More like that, please.
Aw, shucks.
That's the SDP split I erroneously linkked to her 1979 victory earlier in my garbled memory of it all.
posted by Abiezer at 8:05 AM on April 9, 2013


In fact one could make a better case that General Jaruzelski, who cracked down on Solidarnosc, was the only Communist Thatcher liked.

Mostly because he accepted the fall of Communism in the end. She told him, to his face at a state banquet: "You will only achieve higher growth, only release enterprise, only spur people to greater effort, only obtain their full-hearted commitment to reform, when people have the dignity and enjoyment of personal and political liberty, when they have the freedom of expression, freedom of association and the right to form free and independent trade unions."
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:12 AM on April 9, 2013


The BBC is trying to be evenhanded in its coverage about reactions to Thatcher's death.

They're doing more than that: not many regional voices have been asked to contribute to the discussion, and the only Scot on display has been Andrew Neil. I suppose that's a reflection of many things about the BBC as an institution, in spite of Tory paranoia about it -- and also the age of the people making those decisions.

The Gardiaun claims that there were more than 300 people at the Glasgow one, but ... really, 300? That's not a party, that's drinks with the lads after work.

And if the numbers were higher, you'd be asking about why they weren't at work or at home with their families.
posted by holgate at 8:14 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


Has anyone burned her in effigy yet? Isn't that traditional at times of celebration like this?
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:16 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Falklands War is really what did it for her, isn't it? Reagan used Grenada (just days after hundreds of Marines died in the Beirut barracks bombing) to similar effect a year later. God, I remember watching the news back then, as the British ships slowly sailed to Argentina. It was such a colossally stupid military moment, on all sides.
posted by mediareport at 8:16 AM on April 9, 2013


I suppose that's a reflection of many things about the BBC as an institution, in spite of Tory paranoia about it -- and also the age of the people making those decisions.
That's my sense of it too, not so much that they're not attempting to be even-handed but that their longstanding practice means the comment they seek will preponderently come from people of the sort of status (politicos, media types, foreign dignataries) who aren't going to express the sort of sentiments you're more likely to get from ordinary men and women.

The Falklands War is really what did it for her, isn't it?
I'd always assumed so but I think that obit makes a good case it was probably less of a factor than I thought - "it's the economy, stupid" etc probably holding then as ever.
posted by Abiezer at 8:28 AM on April 9, 2013


The Guardian: Margaret Thatcher's death greeted with street parties in Brixton and Glasgow

Oldham councillor Tony Larkin sorry for Thatcher death gibe: "A Labour Party spokeswoman said leader Ed Miliband had 'made clear that he categorically condemns any celebration of Lady Thatcher's death'."
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:41 AM on April 9, 2013


I'll probably do a FPP on Thatcher and football down the line since there's just so much to talk about, but here's a decent piece from the Guardian (of course!) about Thatcher's mark on football.
Thatcher seemed to see football, and those who watched it, as of a piece with other "enemies within" on the picket lines and on the left. She and her ministers often described the game as a "law and order issue".
Treat them all like hooligans.
posted by kendrak at 8:47 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


.|.:.
posted by flabdablet at 8:48 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think I need a translation matrix for the dots now.
posted by corb at 8:50 AM on April 9, 2013


Reagan forgot to let Maggie or the Queen know in advance about the invasion of Grenada in advance. It was a bit awkward the Queen being the official head of state.
posted by humanfont at 8:55 AM on April 9, 2013


as the British ships slowly sailed to Argentina. It was such a colossally stupid military moment, on all sides.

I don't agree with this at all. If being a citizen on sovereign soil means anything, it means that the state has the duty to protect you. Stupid on the Argentine side, for sure, but the UK didn't start that war, and didn't really have any way to avoid it absent an Argentine withdrawal. What would you have done as PM? Told the Falklanders that they can just suck up their new military junta overlords?
posted by jaduncan at 8:58 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


What would you have done as PM? Told the Falklanders that they can just suck up their new military junta overlords?

I dunno, give up on the last shreds of colonial empire maybe?
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:01 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


jaduncan: “What would you have done as PM? Told the Falklanders that they can just suck up their new military junta overlords?”

She probably could have gone through with the plans she'd already been making to hand the Falklands over to Argentina. But of course that would not have been nearly as popular as a war.
posted by koeselitz at 9:04 AM on April 9, 2013


I think that handing over the islands with the (presumable) consent of the islanders is very different to abandoning them to invasion.
posted by jaduncan at 9:06 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is true. The Falklands War was really a gift to Thatcher, as there wasn't a huge amount else she could do but what she really adored doing and loved to have the chance to do – fight a war. But the Falklands War was not by any means the worst part of her legacy.
posted by koeselitz at 9:09 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yep, I strongly suspect from what I've read that they'd have sold the Falklanders up the Swannee over objections during prior negotiations but couldn't be seen to be capitulating to an armed invasion.
posted by Abiezer at 9:10 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll just try to stay out of this part.
posted by grubi at 9:10 AM on April 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yep, I strongly suspect from what I've read that they'd have sold the Falklanders up the Swannee

Nah, I can't really see the UK government depopulating an island in order to hand over the territory like a party favour for political gain. That just wouldn't be cricket!
posted by titus-g at 9:19 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yep, I strongly suspect from what I've read that they'd have sold the Falklanders up the Swannee over objections during prior negotiations but couldn't be seen to be capitulating to an armed invasion.

It's an interesting question, especially given the acceptance of handover in the Hong Kong negotiations and refusal of UK residence to HK residents. The FI have considerable potential value; even setting aside the oil reserves immediately around the islands themselves, they underpin the huge territorial claim of the UK over Antarctica and the utterly untapped resources within.

I suspect a deal would have involved a treaty relating to mineral rights in both places, and a mere capitulation to invasion would thus have resulted in the UK relinquishing them.
posted by jaduncan at 9:20 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I dunno, give up on the last shreds of colonial empire maybe?

I'm as right-on as the best of them, but I really can't get my head around why so many people think that the Falklands should have been surrendered.

As has been made fairly clear upthread, the historical Argentinian claim over them is tenuous at best (it seems only a little better than those contracts you used to be able to buy in shops in the 1990s, selling you plots of land on the moon. Probably not going to be adequate excuse for an invasion 200 years from now, sorry).

The people that have been living there quite peacefully since the early 19C self-identify as British and 'it's more practical for a crazed rightwing junta to have it, because it's closer to them', doesn't really seem like a satisfying argument to me.

I mean, (again, as others have pointed out) from a geographical standpoint it would be more sensible from either Canada or Russia to have Alaska, but I can't see why Obama would necessarily be wrong for providing military support to the Alaskans if one of those two neighbours just rolled tanks across the border one morning.

There just seem so many obvious injustices that Britain has inflicted on the world during the Empire and since - up to and including the present day... I don't see why it makes sense to pick on one of the few times that the British were legitimately defending themselves from a war of aggression?
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 9:32 AM on April 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


from a geographical standpoint it would be more sensible for either Canada...

Fifty-four-forty or fight, Mark Two!
posted by aramaic at 9:35 AM on April 9, 2013


Nah, I can't really see the UK government depopulating an island in order to hand over the territory like a party favour for political gain. That just wouldn't be cricket!

A case in point! Diego Garcia!

I know it's not a zero-sum game, but if you want to get outraged about colonialism and islands, focus your energy there. The UK and US have been classic pantomime villains, and there is still an indigenous population keen to return home, whenever the enormous secret military airbase gets moved off the place where they used to live.


[Incidentally, Private Eye has been really good over the years at covering the plight of the Chagos islanders.]
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 9:37 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't see why it makes sense to pick on one of the few times that the British were legitimately defending themselves from a war of aggression?

Because if the Iron Lady was wrong about some things did, she must be wrong about everything she did?

The Argentine junta were desperate for the populist success that taking the Malvenas would have won them. Even before they took power, invasion plans had been concocted. Why Thatcher thought she could negotiate a reasonable handover deal with this lot is baffling, but her government's decision to fight the invasion is not.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:43 AM on April 9, 2013


Also, on the subject of Diego Garcia:

'Camp Justice' is an inspired name for a military base that displaces several thousand people and still prevents them from returning to land rightfully theirs. Chapeau!
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 9:46 AM on April 9, 2013


invasion plans had been concocted.

The Argentinians were sabre rattling, and the British were preparing to go to war over it, for a quite a while before the actual 'invasion.' The events of April 1982 were some kind of end-game in which the Argentine generals called the UK's bluff, and lost.
posted by carter at 9:47 AM on April 9, 2013


Doktor Zed: “Why Thatcher thought she could negotiate a reasonable handover deal with this lot is baffling...”

Probably for the same reason that she was at the same time secretly collaborating with Pinochet, in a deal that apparently left her obligated to defend him against any and all charges for the rest of their natural lives.
posted by koeselitz at 9:52 AM on April 9, 2013


A good previously on Diego Garcia, from January this year. Also contains plenty of previouslier.
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 9:54 AM on April 9, 2013


the British were preparing to go to war over it
Be interested in your source for this; my recall (and it's not a great one I admit) is the story is one of concerned cables from British diplomats in Argentina as things escalated there being met with little or no response back home.
posted by Abiezer at 9:54 AM on April 9, 2013


"Baroness Thatcher"

This is a really strange affectation. I get that it's her official title but nobody really ever referred to her as this.

It's like when a US president wears a lapel pin of an American flag. Dude, we know who you are seeing as how you're president of the United States and all.
posted by bardic at 9:55 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is a really strange affectation. I get that it's her official title but nobody really ever referred to her as this.
Does have some pantomime villain overtones (a la Baron Hard-up) which seems fitting somehow.
posted by Abiezer at 9:57 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's like when a US president wears a lapel pin of an American flag. Dude, we know who you are seeing as how you're president of the United States and all.

I like to think of that as a rather charming nation-state-level McDonalds chest badge.
posted by jaduncan at 9:59 AM on April 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


"Baroness Thatcher"

This is a really strange affectation. I get that it's her official title but nobody really ever referred to her as this.



I always think of her as Lady Thatcher, in the voice of a policeman from Sheffield.

After I got mugged once, a seemingly not-insane policeman came to take statements from me and my friend.

POLICEMAN: Date of birth?

MY FRIEND: October the 13th, 19--

POLICEMAN: Aw! Lady Thatcher's birthday, that is!
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 10:02 AM on April 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


This is a really strange affectation. I get that it's her official title but nobody really ever referred to her as this.

It was her official title only after 1992 - that is, after she had ceased to be Prime Minister. Then, from 1995, she was "Lady Margaret, Baroness Thatcher", after being made a Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter.

"Lady Thatcher", I think, is just wrong - it's what she would have been called if her husband had been made a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:06 AM on April 9, 2013


Baron is a title, much like Grand Vizier, that all but guarantees that the holder is underhand and dark to the core. See also Silas Greenback or Vladimir Harkonnen. As such it seems fitting.

Still, the reverence shown to the titled U.K. aristocracy by some on the U.S. American right is thoroughly bizarre, given history and all that.
posted by titus-g at 10:07 AM on April 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Baroness Thatcher, indeed. It's possible, I suppose, to make cuts because you have a plan, and to have some empathy for those hurt by the cuts. But her attitude was pretty much Screw you, slacker. The pictures of her in the House of Lords make me want to gag. It's perfect for her and the New Right, who lie, manipulate and outright steal to gain massive wealth, and then act like they earned it. She worked hard, she broke barriers, and I admire her for that, but she never appeared to have a drop of kindness. Her legacy is a wretched one.
posted by theora55 at 10:09 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:10 AM on April 9, 2013


Tony Blair: Margaret Thatcher death celebration parties in poor taste.

Don't worry Tone, there'll be street parties when you die too.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:11 AM on April 9, 2013 [25 favorites]


This is a really strange affectation. I get that it's her official title but nobody really ever referred to her as this.

Well, there's no real good way to refer to her. I wibble on it myself. She's not the PM anymore, so you can't use that. Margaret Thatcher is disrespectful as it uses her first name, even though it's most convenient. Mrs.Thatcher is also disrespectful, because it ignores her title. So "Baroness Thatcher" seems the only way to refer to her.
posted by corb at 10:12 AM on April 9, 2013


Thatcher?
posted by Isn't in each artist (7) at 10:13 AM on April 9, 2013


Margaret Thatcher is disrespectful as it uses her first name

I don't think George Washington ever had a problem with being called that. In general in the UK we don't have a problem with first names, and nobody here has ever seemed to have an issue with using Bill Clinton to differentiate from Hillary.
posted by jaduncan at 10:15 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


the British were preparing to go to war over it

Be interested in your source for this;

One source is John Nott, the British Secretary of State for Defence at the time, who mentioned this during the emergency debate. He was being criticised for lack of preparation:
If we were unprepared, how is it that from next Monday, at only a few days' notice, the Royal Navy will put to sea in wartime order and with wartime stocks and weapons? That force will include the carriers HMS "Invincible" and HMS "Hermes", the assault ship HMS "Fearless" and a number of destroyers and frigates armed with anti-surface and anti-air missiles, together with afloat support. A strong force of Royal Marine commandos and a large number of Sea Harriers and anti-submarine and troop-carrying helicopters will also be embarked.

I suggest that no other country in the world could react so fast and the preparations have been in progress for several weeks. We were not unprepared.
[Hansard, April 3, 1982]

Another way to look at it is to compare it with the first Iraq war (a very different case but there you go). From the invasion of Kuwait, to the ground assault, mobilization took 6 months. To think the Royal Navy could mobilise in just three or four days to go to the south Atlantic is not credible. I even think the suggestion that they mobilised in 'several weeks' is a bit of a stretch.
posted by carter at 10:15 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lady Margaret is probably the most accurate term of address. The papers didn't use it because nobody would know who they were talking about.

Gosh, I'm struggling to think of a non-evil Baron/ess, now. There's The Baroness, from G.I. Joe, but she's quite evil - I'm just prepared to forgive her a lot.

Baron Eliot, from Persuasion is not evil but is vain, dim and kind of a dick.

So far, all I've got is Baron von Richtofen, who was a Freiherr, and thus only arguably a baron at all.

Man. Barons get a terrible press.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:17 AM on April 9, 2013


"Baroness Thatcher"

The thing about her title is that she was a life peer.

Her husband, Denis, was made a baronet two years before she was made a life peer. It was an hereditary title, so has passed onto their son Mark, who is an utter oxygen thief. No hereditary title has been granted since, excluding those the Royal Family pass among themselves.

It was, in essence, a gift from the Queen to Margaret Thatcher - the only way to give it was via Denis. Thatcher is often portrayed as heartless but she was soft as butter on her son, setting him up in business and bailing him out of quite serious scrapes as recently as 2005 - when she was 80 and he was in his fifties.

Her "there is no such thing as society" speech has been taken out of context ever since she gave the interview.. to Woman's Own Magazine. She was fundamentally talking about us all being society, rather than society being something separate to the people that are in it. The wider interview, however - bearing in mind the readership - was about parents taking responsibliity for their kids and the whole business of raising kids to be engaged members of society.

And through all of this, ironically and very clearly despite her best efforts, her own son turned out to be the kind of feckless booby who has, as far as I can see, spent his early life gadding about and getting lost in the desert and the rest of it milking his mother's rolodex and engaging in shoddy and illegal practices. He now lives in a gated community in Cape Town.

Labour MP's have, rightly, called for him to be stripped of his title. Now that his mother is dead and there are no real sensitivities to care about I suspect the topic will come up again.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:23 AM on April 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


>> Meanwhile, in Slate, Anne Appelbaum eulogizes her as "Freedom’s Ambassador", at least when it came to the Eastern Bloc during the final phase of the Cold War.
-----
Ah yes, the freedom of millions who died in the transition away from Eastern Bloc Policies...
posted by symbioid at 10:26 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


One source is John Nott, the British Secretary of State for Defence at the time, who mentioned this during the emergency debate. He was being criticised for lack of preparation
I suspect that's more him covering himself and his ministry (and a testament to the RN's general state of preparedness); will try and dig up something more substantial to back my recall that they weren't expecting the dispute to escalate to an armed conflict so hadn't made any specific preparations - one adjective routinely applied to the task force was "hastily assembled" as I recall.
posted by Abiezer at 10:27 AM on April 9, 2013


Thanks ROSF for trying to assist with the conundrum! So for identification and formality it really has to be the whole, "Lady Margaret, Baroness Thatcher" every time?

Labour MP's have, rightly, called for him to be stripped of his title. Now that his mother is dead and there are no real sensitivities to care about I suspect the topic will come up again.

How does that work with life peerages? Does the entire title dissolve or would it pass down to the next heir?
posted by corb at 10:30 AM on April 9, 2013


Abiezer - Yes, could be, although I still think the 3-4 days between the invasion and the response is not realistic as a preparation period.
posted by carter at 10:32 AM on April 9, 2013


We primarily sent paras and Marines. That's striking because both are first-strike forces maintained in a good state of readiness, and remember that at that time both were at least theoretically primed for post-nuclear strike ops.

Certainly no Army people I know who were around back then had any inkling of practice exercises and whatnot, and I and they were mostly Royal Signals so we generally have a good idea. TBH, if they'd known they'd probably have flown in some paras beforehand.
posted by jaduncan at 10:33 AM on April 9, 2013


Anti-Thatcher songs? What... nobody linked this yet?

Warning: NSFW, features aggressive use of a word Mefi doesn't like very much (albeit used in the British sense) but undoubtedly captures the level of raging venom many, many British people of a certain age feel towards the old monster. Seriously: don't click on the link if you get exercised about that word (the one that begins with 'c', if I haven't already made that abundantly clear). I just feel this is appropriate for a hell of a lot of my fellow countrymen and women. I'll certainly be blasting it out during next week's funeral coverage, and I'm pretty sure I won't be alone.
posted by Decani at 10:33 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


How does that work with life peerages?

Hereditary peerages? I think if you're stripped of it, it's not yours to confer onwards. The kids don't get it.

Life peerages end when you end, as it were.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:35 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Baroness Thatcher"

People who insist on using title like "Baroness" in referring to her in utterly non-formal situations remind of the people who always refer to Ron Paul as "Dr. Paul". I can't exactly explain why, but it's an utter turn-off for me. Maybe because because it sounds like they are trying to capture some authority for their opinions and I just want to say "let your words and deeds speak for themselves."

I'm sure my attitude is very American, very non-British.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:35 AM on April 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


(I want to be at a funeral viewing party with Decani.)
posted by benito.strauss at 10:37 AM on April 9, 2013


Elsewhere in the continent 1982 saw the civil war in Guatamala at its most intensive

There's more on Guatemala in this thread, btw.
posted by homunculus at 10:37 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


(I want to be at a funeral viewing party with Decani.)
posted by benito.strauss at 6:37 PM on April 9


The funeral is next Wednesday. Next Wednesday is a day off, for me. I think I fancy a jolly day out in central London next Wednesday. I think it could be fun.
posted by Decani at 10:42 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Decani: "Anti-Thatcher songs? What... nobody linked this yet?

Warning: NSFW, features aggressive use of a word Mefi doesn't like very much (albeit used in the British sense) but undoubtedly captures the level of raging venom many, many British people of a certain age feel towards the old monster. Seriously: don't click on the link if you get exercised about that word (the one that begins with 'c', if I haven't already made that abundantly clear). I just feel this is appropriate for a hell of a lot of my fellow countrymen and women. I'll certainly be blasting it out during next week's funeral coverage, and I'm pretty sure I won't be alone.
"

Fact: The first time I heard this song was from a radical Canadian friend who has a tumor and named her tumor "Maggie you Fucking C**t" after this song. She was always wondering if she would survive the tumor or it would kill her before Thatcher died. Thatcher died.

My friend's surgery is on Thursday. Coincidence? We're all hoping that's a good sign. We shall see. She beat Thatcher at least.
posted by symbioid at 10:48 AM on April 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'm sure my attitude is very American, very non-British.

Not for former PMs; at least, not since WW2 and specifically the introduction of life peerages in 1958. Macmillan was 'Earl of Stockton' occasionally (particularly in the north-east, from where the title derives) but he was the last PM to take the hereditary earldom that had been offered as a matter of custom on leaving the job. Home, Wilson and Callaghan, like Thatcher, took life peerages (Home having disclaimed his hereditary title); Heath and Major took knighthoods; Blair and Brown have no gongs.

I think it's because the job of PM is now considered welded to the House of Commons, so attaching post-retirement peerages seems slightly anachronistic.
posted by holgate at 10:51 AM on April 9, 2013


Well, in my usual Google instant expert fashion have found this Falklands timeline which makes for some interesting background and seems properly sourced (though haven't actualy opened that PDF). I think, for instance, the withdrawal of HMS Endurance they discuss during 1981 supports my view.
posted by Abiezer at 10:52 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


How does that work with life peerages? Does the entire title dissolve or would it pass down to the next heir?

It doesn't - her peerage doesn't pass down; as you say, it dissolves. She was Baroness of Kesteven. Her husband was made Baronet of Scotney, and when he died that title was inherited by Mark Thatcher. So, Mark Thatcher was after 1992 The Honorable Mark Thatcher, and after Denis Thatcher's death The Honorable Sir Mark Thatcher, Baronet of Scotney.

"The Honorable" shows that he is the legitimate heir of a peer (that is, Margaret Thatcher). "Sir" because he is a baronet.

Thatcher could be referred to as Baroness Thatcher, The Honorable Margaret, Baroness Thatcher or Lady Thatcher. And then I think once she got the Companion of the Order of the Garter, Lady Margaret.
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:55 AM on April 9, 2013


Sadly, Decani, I'm over in the states and not in a position to make a quick trip to London. But I'll put on some punk and and drink a politically relevant pint in honor of the occasion — brew up my own little whiff of the left.
posted by benito.strauss at 10:55 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


An interesting Thatcher-linked incident in London's Theatreland this evening. The Press Association reports that the audience attending a performance of Billy Elliot, the musical set in northern England during the miners' strike, was asked to vote on whether a song about Margaret Thatcher's death should be performed or not.

According to PA, the second act of the musical begins with the song Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher which has lyrics that refer to celebrating the death of the former prime minister.

The news agency quotes a Billy Elliot insider saying: "It was taken seriously and debated and finally decided that it would be best to put it to a democratic vote to the audience.

"It was a near unanimous verdict to keep the song in and go ahead. It was an electric show."

Only three audience members voted against the song being performed.*
posted by ericb at 10:59 AM on April 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think, for instance, the withdrawal of HMS Endurance they discuss during 1981 supports my view.
Should have read on, having now got to the 1982 page see there were calls in March for contingency plans against invasion to be made it seems, and an order to actually begin same at the end of the month, though can't imagine they'd progressed far before conflict broke out.
posted by Abiezer at 11:00 AM on April 9, 2013


The Daily Dot has an article about a certain song zooming up the charts after her death.
posted by annsunny at 11:02 AM on April 9, 2013


I'm sure my attitude is very American, very non-British.

Not that uncommon an attitude in Britain outside of the home counties and telegraph readers, except for where it's used affectionately, e.g. Sir Pterry.

It does seem very much like it's often used as a backhanded argument from authority; but also [insert here summary of Erich Fromme's theories about the bi-directionality of authoritarian personalities (gotta go cook)].
posted by titus-g at 11:05 AM on April 9, 2013




The Daily Dot has an article about a certain song zooming up the charts after her death.

Yes, as per above -- Margaret Thatcher Dead: Facebook Campaign Launched To Make Judy Garland's 'Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead' Number One -- "Members posted a link to the song and urged people to download it in a bid to send it rocketing to the top of the charts."
posted by ericb at 11:07 AM on April 9, 2013


Whoo-boy ...

Calls For A Statue To Honour Margaret Thatcher In Trafalgar Square -- "A Falklands commander and a former Cabinet Minister have called for a statue of Margaret Thatcher to be erected on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square so that the nation can honour one of its “greatest” leaders."
posted by ericb at 11:10 AM on April 9, 2013


Oh, we don't celebrate her death; we mourn her life. So much better had her obituary read: "pionering female food chemist, inventor of the soft scoop ice cream dies".

The New Yorker: The Margaret Thatcher Soft-Serve Myth.
posted by ericb at 11:12 AM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


It doesn't - her peerage doesn't pass down; as you say, it dissolves. She was Baroness of Kesteven. Her husband was made Baronet of Scotney, and when he died that title was inherited by Mark Thatcher. So, Mark Thatcher was after 1992 The Honorable Mark Thatcher, and after Denis Thatcher's death The Honorable Sir Mark Thatcher, Baronet of Scotney.

"The Honorable" shows that he is the legitimate heir of a peer (that is, Margaret Thatcher). "Sir" because he is a baronet.

Thatcher could be referred to as Baroness Thatcher, The Honorable Margaret, Baroness Thatcher or Lady Thatcher. And then I think once she got the Companion of the Order of the Garter, Lady Margaret.
And poor old Carol, the only title she gets is Racist, earnt for her unstinting support of racism among the British establishment.

Maybe Thatcher's biggest failing is that she raised an idiot and a racist.
posted by Jehan at 11:12 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Calls For A Statue To Honour Margaret Thatcher In Trafalgar Square -- "A Falklands commander and a former Cabinet Minister have called for a statue of Margaret Thatcher to be erected on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square so that the nation can honour one of its “greatest” leaders."
Norman Tebbit. The man is about as relevant to our society as a golliwog doll (see above).
posted by Jehan at 11:13 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jehan: It'd certainly save a lot of full-bladdered folk having to travel to her grave, that much is for sure.
posted by Jilder at 11:28 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, I'm only semi joking about that. It'd be a serious target for vandals and would in all likelihood last there only a short time before it had to come down.
posted by Jilder at 11:29 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Something that I haven't seen mentioned yet – and which I forgot to bring up – is the role of the Scottish National Party in Thatcher's election in 1979.

For all that the SNP (in government in Edinburgh, at least) are now a left-ish party of moderate social justice, at which they've been reasonably successful, albeit with the usual caveats that apply to Alex Salmond and his mates, in 1979 they were mostly still comprised of the Scottish protestant establishment, natural right-wingers to the core.* And it was the SNP who originally tabled a motion of no confidence in Jim Callaghan's government in 1979, which resulted in Thatcher tabling her own, and Thatcher being official leader of the opposition, hers took precedence.

The SNP tabled the no confidence motion following the loss of the 1979 referendum on Scottish independence. It was a controversial referendum for a number of reasons, not least because the Act which set out its parameters included an amendment which stated that it would only pass if more than 40% of the total electorate – as opposed to 40% of those who actually voted – agreed to devolution. 51% voted yes, but this only accounted for about 32% of the total electorate.

When the Callaghan government refused to implement the Scotland 1978 act, and thus bring about devolution – a refusal brought about by that failure to reach the 40% threshold – the SNP leadership settled on revenge. Despite the fact that they knew this clause was there and that it not being met would mean no devolution – they had, after all, voted in favour of the Scotland Act 1978 in the first place – they nevertheless tabled a motion of no confidence in Callahan.

Thatcher's motion superseded the SNP's and eventually passed. She won 311 votes to 310, Callahan was out, and the May 1979 election was called. The SNP, in a fit of pique that would come back to fuck up Scotland royally over the next decade, and have lasting repercussions still, sided with Thatcher, with 11 votes.

Had the SNP not been eager to give a big spiteful fuck you to Callaghan because he had the gall to do what legislation the SNP themselves had voted for required him to, Thatcher may not have been elected. It was about as Pyrrhic as things get, really, given what happened next – not just for Scotland, but for huge swathes of the rest of the UK.

So thanks, SNP. Thatcher may never have been Prime Minister in 1979 if you hadn't thrown your toys out of the pram.


*Winnie Ewing, Jim Sillars etc. excepted
posted by Len at 11:31 AM on April 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


A little more from Sullivan on Thatcher and homosexuality. I knew she was involved with the odious Section 28, but not that she was also one of the few MPs to support the decriminalization of homosexuality in the 60s.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:35 AM on April 9, 2013


Is the commentary about Carol Thatcher being racist related to the green-room golliwog incident or is there more there?
posted by corb at 11:37 AM on April 9, 2013


This has been going around Twitter- Don't Hate, Donate.

If, like us, you were disgusted by how she treated the least well off in Britain and around the world, the old line about not wishing something on your worst enemies still applies. We can’t help but think it’s pretty lousy to celebrate or gloat over anyone’s suffering and death and we don’t want anyone else to do it either.

We just want to place front and centre people who had no place in the Thatcherite worldview. And we want to do that in a way that can actually do some good. You can help us by donating to the excellent charities we have chosen to represent a fraction of them.

posted by showbiz_liz at 11:50 AM on April 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Well, there's no real good way to refer to her. I wibble on it myself. She's not the PM anymore, so you can't use that. Margaret Thatcher is disrespectful as it uses her first name, even though it's most convenient. Mrs.Thatcher is also disrespectful, because it ignores her title. So "Baroness Thatcher" seems the only way to refer to her.

What about just The Dead Baron?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:51 AM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


This has been going around Twitter- Don't Hate, Donate.


That's awesome. Also the Shelter charity has a great logo.
posted by sweetkid at 11:53 AM on April 9, 2013


Calls For A Statue To Honour Margaret Thatcher In Trafalgar Square

As a friend of pigeons, I applaud this call.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:53 AM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


The New Yorker: The Margaret Thatcher Soft-Serve Myth.
posted by ericb at 11:12 AM on April 9 [+][!]


Well, that's one less thing to hate her for, I guess. Soft-Serve is an abomination.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:54 AM on April 9, 2013


Better yet, why not stuff the Baroness and put her in Trafalgar Square.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:55 AM on April 9, 2013


they had, after all, voted in favour of the Scotland Act 1978 in the first place

They did not, though, vote in favor of the 40% amendment that meant every abstention, holiday or bad cold was a no vote. The Cunningham amendment was introduced by a member of the Labour Party, was designed specifically to make the threshold for devolution impossible to reach and did its job. For the first time in British history a simple majority wasn't enough. It was blatant election rigging. It's understandable that the SNP had no confidence in Callaghan's government to deliver at that point.
posted by IanMorr at 11:55 AM on April 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


Darth Thatcher.

That is, if anyone is still looking for an alternate title for her.
posted by KHAAAN! at 11:57 AM on April 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


octobersurprise: “Better yet, why not stuff the Baroness and put her in Trafalgar Square.”

This seems like it would present some problems, given that (a) she'd probably fall over, and (b) as others have said, she will likely be the target of a good amount of vandalism. The best solution to this problem would probably be to design some sort of mechanism by which she could be suspended above the ground, perhaps utilizing some scaffolding and a rope.
posted by koeselitz at 12:02 PM on April 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


Baron is a title, much like Grand Vizier, that all but guarantees that the holder is underhand and dark to the core. See also Silas Greenback or Vladimir Harkonnen. As such it seems fitting.
Christopher Guest is a baron.
posted by Flunkie at 12:03 PM on April 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


IanMorr: It's understandable that the SNP had no confidence in Callaghan's government to deliver at that point.

Oh, I'll grant you that. But why they felt that the correct way to show that was to side with the (to give them their official name) Conservative and Unionist Party to bring down the government is another matter. Thatcher's policies were already staked out at that point; that the SNP voted with her despite knowing what the potential consequences might be really is a case of cutting off everyone else's noses, as it were. And they voted this way even though 1979 was in the middle of the nationalist arguments over the proceeds of the North Sea oil boom. If they thought that Thatcher and the Tories weren't going to fuck them over on that, then they were much more naïve than I thought. And the SNP, whatever I think of them, have never struck me as naïve.
posted by Len at 12:19 PM on April 9, 2013




The SNP didn't bring down the government. The voters did. The SNP voted that it had no confidence in the lying government that had broken its word on the devolved Scottish parliament. That led to Callaghan calling the election in May. He would have had to call an election by October anyway. Given that they lost in May by a mile, what difference do you think the 5 months would have made? Labour were the alternative to Thatcherism that the voters were presented with and they were rejected 4 times in a row. To blame the SNP for Thatcherism is a real stretch.
posted by IanMorr at 12:47 PM on April 9, 2013


And just as an addedum, let's not forget that if Callaghan's government hadn't disregarded the results of the '79 referendum, the inevitable Thatcher government that would have come in in October would have had limited power to fuck up Scotland as they did.
posted by IanMorr at 12:54 PM on April 9, 2013


So it seems the difference between a ceremonial as opposed to state funeral is primarily two less guns in the salute and no horses? Getting pulled by sailors sounds like fun, though.
posted by Abiezer at 3:45 AM on April 9
[2 favorites +] [!]


No, that's the diff between a PM getting a state funeral (E.g. Churchill) and the monarch getting one . I think ceremonial means smaller budget and less fanfare than state - no Royal Air Force flypast, no National Day of Mourning with a national moment of silence etc
posted by Bwithh at 12:54 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, yes, I can just imagine the Minute's Silence, the air full of the deafening sound of party noisemakers.

(The ones that sort of extend when you blow into them, with a feather on. What are they called?)
posted by Grangousier at 1:02 PM on April 9, 2013


"Mark Thatchers"
posted by koeselitz at 1:08 PM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


The ones that sort of extend when you blow into them, with a feather on. What are they called?

Party horn, blow-out, blower, noisemaker, jolly Jonathan, tweeter, blow tickler, squeaker or a fizoo.*
posted by ericb at 1:15 PM on April 9, 2013


IanMorr: The SNP voted that it had no confidence in the lying government that had broken its word on the devolved Scottish parliament. That led to Callaghan calling the election in May. He would have had to call an election by October anyway.

The Cunningham amendment was a shitty thing to do, definitely, and should not have been passed. But regardless of that the government passed a bill that said unless 40% of the electorate voted for devolution, it would not happen. That didn't happen, ergo no devolution. Was Cunningham's amendment explicitly designed to work that way? Yes. Did the SNP know about it in advance of the actual referendum? Also yes.


And just as an addedum, let's not forget that if Callaghan's government hadn't disregarded the results of the '79 referendum, the inevitable Thatcher government that would have come in in October would have had limited power to fuck up Scotland as they did.

Once again: they didn't disregard the result of the referendum. They may have disregarded the popular vote thanks to the 40% policy, but they stuck to the terms of the referendum as it was constituted. They took the result of the referendum and – as dictated by law – said that devolution wasn't going to happen. I mean, how do you think it would have gone down if the Labour government had said "oh, well, we know that this Act of Parliament says that, given these circumstances, we should do this. But you know what? Fuck that. We're going to do the other thing." This is not how parliament can or should work.

Oh, and as for the "inevitable" Thatcher government come October ... There's no guarantee whatsoever that Thatcher would have won any election in 1979 had she not been able to campaign from the strength of being able to say that this election was caused by a vote of no confidence. Strip that massive advantage away from her, and things could have been very different.

Anyway. The SNP were not solely to blame for the election of Thatcher, and I'm not blaming them for Thatcherism. But their short-sighted late 1970s take on realpolitik was undoubtedly a factor in Thatcher coming to power.
posted by Len at 1:26 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The SNP didn't bring down the government. The voters did.

Nope. Callaghan did that all by himself, by not calling an election the previous autumn. Labour was still ahead in the polls, and the winter of discontent hadn't yet happened. Even if he didn't get an overall majority, he'd probably still have been head of a minority government.
posted by daveje at 1:36 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The 40% policy was their policy! It was a poison pill from the start. If Callaghan's government had worked to defeat the anti-devolution elements within their own party and pushed ahead with the Assembly legislation as laid out in the Scotland Act, and adopted by the Scottish voters they would have had the support of the SNP in May of 79, as they had consistently had from 74 to that point. If, as you believe, and I'll grant you it's possible, the extra 5 months would have lead enough people to forget about the winter of discontent, then Labor could have bought time by pushing the Scotland Act through. That they didn't suggests that elements of the Labour party implicitly preferred a Thatcher government to a devolved Scottish parliament.
posted by IanMorr at 1:40 PM on April 9, 2013


It's morning in the UK!

Those too young or not born when the treacly Reagan campaign ad aired can look it up on YouTube
posted by brujita at 1:42 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actually, old boy, it's just past 10pm here and those ghastly bankers are on the telly again. Time for another cuppa and Bedforshire, shurely?
posted by MessageInABottle at 2:03 PM on April 9, 2013


C'mon you lot. It's over.

Wish her luck as you wave her goodbye
Cheerio, there she goes, on her way
Wish her luck as you wave her goodbye
Not a tear, but a cheer, make it gay
posted by de at 2:09 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm a female Yank(in London for the Bowie exhibit) who said the same thing when Reagan croaked.
posted by brujita at 2:19 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's Morning Again in America*.
posted by ericb at 2:49 PM on April 9, 2013




Christopher Guest is a baron.

Oh hey, I actually knew that! Even if I had totally forgotten it.

The Haden-Guests are quite an interesting bunch, and not your typical aristos: e.g. Christopher's uncle: David Guest (1911– 28 July 1938) was a Communist British mathematician and philosopher who volunteered to fight in the Spanish Civil War and was killed in Spain in 1938.

There's also Sacha Baron Cohen, and Baron Samedi for that matter.

the Act which set out its parameters included an amendment which stated that it would only pass if more than 40% of the total electorate – as opposed to 40% of those who actually voted – agreed to devolution. 51% voted yes, but this only accounted for about 32% of the total electorate.

This I did not know. From the talking heads on the radio and internet I'd always had the impression that the last referendum was a massive overwhelming landslide of no to devolution rather than a yes that had been gerrymandered. This as someone who's voted SNP (at least partially) in almost every election since hitting 18 (because they are the furthest left of the three main parties).
posted by titus-g at 3:06 PM on April 9, 2013


Of course, if they really wanted to respect Thatcher and what she stood for they would divide the body up into parts and sell them off the highest bidders to honour as they decided would have the most value. So you might have 100 cherished mausoleums dotted around the country or 100 novelty public toilets. Let the market decide.
posted by biffa at 3:27 PM on April 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Alternately, biffa, she could have gone for the Ferengi death ritual:

The Ferengi death ritual consists primarily of preserving a Ferengi body after death by means of vacuum desiccation. The process results in the Ferengi's body being reduced to a near powder, which is often stored in a set of 52 disks, marked with the Ferengi Seal of Dismemberment, and sold as a collectible on the Ferengi Futures Exchange.
posted by Omon Ra at 3:37 PM on April 9, 2013


Margaret Thatcher: Don't Waste Money On a Flypast

I actually got a little choked up reading about some of the arrangements Baroness Thatcher had made for her funeral.
The Chelsea Pensioners will play a central part in the funeral after Lady Thatcher requested a role for the British Army veterans.

As well as greeting her coffin at St Paul’s, the red-coated pensioners will benefit as her family have requested that instead of flowers, donations are made to the charity that supports them.
So many people forget veterans; it's touching to know she thought of them even at the end.
posted by corb at 3:46 PM on April 9, 2013


Better yet, why not stuff the Baroness and put her in Trafalgar Square.
Hey, it worked for Mussolini...
posted by pxe2000 at 3:51 PM on April 9, 2013


So many people forget veterans; it's touching to know she thought of them even at the end.

You do realise this doesn't actually imply she gave a toss about veterans?

(She may well have done, I don't know. But, honestly, stop trying to make her a saint.)
posted by hoyland at 3:52 PM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


If "not giving a toss about veterans" means requesting that people pay money to charities that support them, I could only hope more people would "not give a toss about veterans" like that.
posted by corb at 3:55 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's not like some of the people whose livelihoods she destroyed weren't veterans, for that matter.
posted by hoyland at 3:55 PM on April 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


She didn't seem to give a toss about Falkland veterans, more of whom have subsequently killed themselves than died in the conflict.
posted by spectrevsrector at 3:57 PM on April 9, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm not suggesting the charity won't benefit, I'm suggesting benefiting them and a cynical PR move aren't mutually exclusive. That's what 'does not imply' meant.
posted by hoyland at 3:58 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Did Margaret Thatcher spare a thought for neuroscientists and dementia sufferers in her advance directives?

Something for future academics: apparently if you search through Margaret Thatcher's recently released private documents surrounding her Falkland's resolve you'll find evidence of the private dross to the public iron-face in her marginal notes and handwritten edits.

I recently heard Margaret Thatcher was more oscillatory in opinion than she revealed. Margaret Thatcher hid stress well.

There's also recent research that suggests high stress can cause — or rather, fail to prevent — the awry folding of the naturally occurring tau-proteins in the brain, leading to any one of the many clinically discernable dementias. Essentially the chaperone proteins that protect tau-proteins are affected by stress.

Forget pennies for pensioners. Has Thatcher left her brain to science?
posted by de at 3:59 PM on April 9, 2013


So many people forget veterans; it's touching to know she thought of them even at the end

Oy with the glurge already. Veterans organizations are frequently cited as preferred recipients of donations in obituaries (and rightly so). Thatcher's final wishes didn't exactly resurrect some stately, old-fashioned ritual of a more genteel time that the rest of the slack-jawed, unicorn-teat-sucking peasants have let fade into obscurity.
posted by scody at 4:21 PM on April 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


How did she treat veterans when she was alive and in power? Anyone can say "please donate to [foo] in my memory" - that's easy. What did she do while she was alive? That's hard.
posted by rtha at 4:23 PM on April 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


Kind of an amazing thread here, and an incredible outpouring of expression coming out of the UK on this. One forgets here in the states just what a profound effect the woman had on Great Britain.

I thought maybe at this point some of the bad feelings toward her had diminished instead it's just the opposite. It's like all this bitterness has simply been festering for a couple of decades now and it's suddenly due to her death become a massive volcanic event.

I guess I can relate. I no longer really talk about Bush or Cheney very much, but when they go you can bet I'll be ready to tear a new hole into anyone who acts as apologist or tries to insert some revision on the as anything other than war criminals and incompetent sorry excuses for human beings.
posted by Skygazer at 4:29 PM on April 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


Seems like having a public funeral for Thatcher is a stupid idea.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:52 PM on April 9, 2013



Ian Bell - Glasgow Herald - Thatcher: Westminster's last authentic class warrior

The map of Britain traced by her popularity was an odd, distended affair, the true blue leeching away with each minute of latitude, south to north. On May 4, 1979, she stood on the steps of Downing Street and paraphrased the so-called Prayer of St Francis (“Where there is discord, may we bring harmony … Where there is despair, may we bring hope”). For most of Britain north of Watford her policies meant the opposite, in every particular.
...

Mrs Thatcher gave extraordinary, still-unexplained, latitude to the ambitions of Rupert Murdoch, and helped him at every turn, generally by bending then-existing media ownership rules. Favours were returned. We have lived with the lurid consequences, the capsizing of democratic pretence, ever since.
...

Her tendency to translate the ideas of Friedrich von Hayek and the monetarist “Chicago school” into the language of the Grantham grocer’s shop did no service to either. Despite the ravages of her “economic experiment” – manufacturing output cut by one-third, botched privatisations, mass unemployment – she never did balance the books. Contrary to legend, government spending increased in real terms during the 1980s. Income tax cuts, of special benefit to the better off, were not free.

posted by Flitcraft at 5:06 PM on April 9, 2013 [10 favorites]


More from Flitcraft's link:
Mrs Thatcher’s every victory was a defeat, as it happens. She altered Britain merely to end Britain. In demanding respect, she never dared hope for love. Her economic miracles left us where we are now: a second-rate power, with Third World debts, and a banking class stripping £14bn in self-awarded bonuses from the commonweal.

Thanks to Margaret Thatcher, no-one even thinks that a crime.
In a grubby, disturbed, discontented country, her spirit prevails.

The dirt needs no tramping.
This is what I don't get about the self-righteous gloating by her apologists that she took Britain into the future. This is the Britain her supporters dreamed about creating in 1979? This? The only things she took into the future were Britain's boardrooms and stock portfolios; the rest of Britain she kicked off a cliff into some high-tech version of the 19th century.
posted by scody at 5:23 PM on April 9, 2013 [21 favorites]


Gosh, I'm struggling to think of a non-evil Baron/ess, now.

Baroness Massey of Darwin.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:28 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


So many people forget veterans; it's touching to know she thought of them even at the end.

Hrrrm. This is true in a generous reading, yes. But it's also true that the Royal Hospital Chelsea and the Chelsea Pensioners who are retired there represent a very small subset of military veterans. The Pensioners' role is mostly ceremonial these days; their participation in military-honor funerals is not at all unusual.

There are other organizations that provide broader support for veterans: for example the Army and Air Force Benevolent Funds, the Royal Navy Benevolent Trust, the Royal British Legion.

Also: she asked to be interred at the Royal Hospital, as her husband was, so a bequest and/or requested donations to support the institution again does not seem particularly unusual.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:39 PM on April 9, 2013


Thatcher was full of faults. I would not have voted for her. Still she was pretty extraordinary. She was one if the most significant world leaders of the past 50 years. She navigated Britian through some very difficult times in the world and it was still standing when she was forced to stand down. She may have been heartless and cruel but at least she lacked he mendacity of Tony Boair and David Cameron.
posted by humanfont at 5:51 PM on April 9, 2013


"She's not the PM anymore, so you can't use that."

Former US presidents are referred to as "President," as are Senators and Congressmen. I'm no expert on British politics, but plenty of articles yesterday referred to her simply as "Prime Minister Thatcher." No confusion at all.

Or, shocker, how about "Former PM Thatcher"?

Honestly corb, your repitition of "Baroness Thatcher Baroness Thatcher Baroness Thatcher" is kind of hilarious, as if you're going to awe anybody with titles that have meant nothing since 1945 or so.

Speaking as an American, I couldn't care less what her precious little title was beyond PM.

I'm guessing Brits care even less.
posted by bardic at 6:25 PM on April 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Seems like having a public funeral for Thatcher is a stupid idea.

I don't know; central London will be on lockdown with a massive riot police presence. I suspect that's exactly how she'd have wanted to be seen off.
posted by acb at 6:28 PM on April 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


She may have been heartless and cruel but at least she lacked he mendacity of Tony Boair and David Cameron.

I think that's right. It's why people distrust and find slimy both Blair and Cameron, while Thatcher they outright hate.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:33 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Russell Brand on Margaret Thatcher:
It always struck me as peculiar, too, when the Spice Girls briefly championed Thatcher as an early example of girl power. I don't see that. She is an anomaly; a product of the freak-onomy of her time. Barack Obama, interestingly, said in his statement that she had "broken the glass ceiling for other women". Only in the sense that all the women beneath her were blinded by falling shards. She is an icon of individualism, not of feminism.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:01 PM on April 9, 2013 [13 favorites]


Former US presidents are referred to as "President," as are Senators and Congressmen. I'm no expert on British politics, but plenty of articles yesterday referred to her simply as "Prime Minister Thatcher." No confusion at all.

If you really care about protocol, you would refer to her by her title, the Right Honourable Baroness Thatcher.

In Britain and many Commonwealth countries (including Canada, for example), all current and former members of the Privy Council (cabinet) earn the right to the appellation "Rt. Hon" during and after their term in government.

So, former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney is known as the Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney, although newspapers may refer to him a Mr. Mulroney etc.

I think a distinction that is important is that the prime minister is, technically speaking, just a minister. The sovereign (king/queen) is the equivalent of the American president.

But Thatcher is not the prime minister anymore. Someone else is, and someone else could be next week (unlike in the American presidential system).
posted by KokuRyu at 7:02 PM on April 9, 2013


Darth Thatcher.

This is disrespectful and offensive!

It would be Grand Moff Thatcher, obviously.
posted by running order squabble fest at 7:07 PM on April 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


I think if you just mentioned Margaret Thatcher, it should be pretty goddamn obvious who you were talking about.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:17 PM on April 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Interesting that everyone always links Thatcher and Reagan, but the third partner in the neo-conservative, reactionary triad would have to be Pope John Paul II, who slammed the door shut on Vatican II while helping break up the Soviet block, in partnership with Thatcher.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:22 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


while helping break up the Soviet block

You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by acb at 7:25 PM on April 9, 2013


Heh, as someone who never had to live under Thatcher (Margaret, not Mark), I have the luxury of ambivalence.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:27 PM on April 9, 2013


It always struck me as peculiar, too, when the Spice Girls briefly championed Thatcher as an early example of girl power.

The Guardian: Was Margaret Thatcher the first Spice Girl? -- "Thatcher's impact on popular culture and status as a role model for women are issues as contested as her political legacy."
posted by ericb at 7:30 PM on April 9, 2013


The Guardian: Margaret Thatcher accused of holding 'unabashedly racist' views -- "Australian foreign minister, Bob Carr, reveals former British PM warned him of challenge posed by immigration."
posted by ericb at 7:38 PM on April 9, 2013


I think, KokuRyu, that is because that topic would be it's own thread, three times as long as this one and probably much more divisive on the MeFi community.
posted by _paegan_ at 7:39 PM on April 9, 2013


Yeah, Britain's not been bombed in living memory or anything...

From another forum:

Solly posted:
Can you think of anyone else who made as big an impact on the country as she did?

Flatscan posted:
The Luftwaffe.

GD_American posted:
The Luftwaffe's reign of terror only lasted six years

posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:39 PM on April 9, 2013 [19 favorites]


The Guardian: Margaret Thatcher: a ceremony on the sly --"If public money is being spent on Lady Thatcher's funeral, it should be transparently debated and democratically authorised."
posted by ericb at 7:40 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Confirming the links posted by annsunny and ericb:

'Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead' could reach number one following Margaret Thatcher's death, Adam Sherwin, The Independent, 9 April 2013
Sales figures for Monday, released by the Official Charts Company, showed that the song had already made it to number 54 in the rundown used by Radio 1.

[…]

A song specifically written to attack Lady Thatcher, "Tramp The Dirt Down" by Elvis Costello, also rose to 79 on the iTunes chart.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:09 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


while helping break up the Soviet block

That's bloc.

/spelling Nazi
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:19 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Deleted at Metafilter! A runaway hit in England!

'Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead' could reach number one following Margaret Thatcher's death
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:30 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is the Britain her supporters dreamed about creating in 1979? This?

But if today's Guardian readers time-travelled to the late 70s they might be irritated to discover that tomorrow's TV listings were a state secret not shared with daily newspapers. A special licence was granted exclusively to the Radio Times. (No wonder it sold 7m copies a week). It was illegal to put an extension lead on your phone. You would need to wait six weeks for an engineer. There was only one state-approved answering machine available.

The blackouts, the three-day work week, the awareness that any of the state unions could shut the country down if they thought their pay packets were getting light, the schools and hospitals that were totally indifferent to serving their "customers"... Britain in the 1970s was awful. That's why Thatcher won, and kept winning, and why the left parties that promised a return to the pre-Thatcher era lost, and kept losing.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:38 PM on April 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oops. Just noticed I was too late with that Ding Dong link, someone beat me to it. Mods, feel free to um... delete!

(I put it in the MeTa thread too, though, where I hope it'll staaaaaay!)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:39 PM on April 9, 2013


/spelling Nazi

Churchull beet you guys
posted by KokuRyu at 8:57 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


In Britain and many Commonwealth countries (including Canada, for example), all current and former members of the Privy Council (cabinet) earn the right to the appellation "Rt. Hon" during and after their term in government.

Not true for Canada. Only prime ministers, governors general, and the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada are styled "the Right Honourable." Members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada are "the Honourable."
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:59 PM on April 9, 2013


Well, they get the full meal deal from this Canadian just for being in the Privy Council, but that's just my style.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:45 PM on April 9, 2013


Britain in the 1970s was awful. That's why Thatcher won, and kept winning

For just enough people who didn't really care how awful it was in the rest of Britain during the decade that followed, and made that lack of care very clear. That is why this thread is so long.

Deleted at Metafilter! A runaway hit in England!

As I said upthread, if PJ and Duncan can get to number one, anything is possible.
posted by holgate at 10:15 PM on April 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


But if today's Guardian readers time-travelled to the late 70s they might be irritated to discover that tomorrow's TV listings were a state secret not shared with daily newspapers. A special licence was granted exclusively to the Radio Times. (No wonder it sold 7m copies a week). It was illegal to put an extension lead on your phone. You would need to wait six weeks for an engineer. There was only one state-approved answering machine available.

You're not seriously suggesting that breaking the monopoly on television listings is worth having incurred Third World levels of debt, are you?
posted by scody at 10:16 PM on April 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


Honestly corb, your repitition of "Baroness Thatcher Baroness Thatcher Baroness Thatcher" is kind of hilarious, as if you're going to awe anybody with titles that have meant nothing since 1945 or so.

It has been noted upthread by someone far more educated about the peerage than I am that she should properly be addressed as either Lady Margaret or as Baroness Thatcher. The latter seems more recognizable. It also happens to be her proper title.

I'm a military veteran: proper titles and ranks have meaning to me and I won't insult people (yes, even the dead) by deliberately leaving them off. Sometimes it's an accident, but you try to do the right thing and be respectful - just like you would call someone Dr. SoAndSo if they have earned their doctorate.

I don't expect anyone to be "impressed" with her title - except, as noted above, the fact that she received a hereditary peerage when no one else was getting them was quite impressive. But I don't expect it to matter to anyone else.

A better question would be: why does it bother you so much when people call her Baroness Thatcher?
posted by corb at 10:51 PM on April 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


UK Wednesday morning front pages. Fascinating. It's quite easy to pick out the ones owned by Murdoch, who owes most of his UK newspaper and broadcasting empire in that country to Thatcher's "special favors" or whatnot, that allowed him to buy them up.
posted by Skygazer at 11:10 PM on April 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


except, as noted above, the fact that she received a hereditary peerage when no one else was getting them

Except she didn't, since it's pedantry corner; she received a life peerage, while her husband got a baronetcy with all the truly medieval hereditary gubbins that entails. (Trivia: the three preceding baronetcies were created in 1964 for outgoing Tory MPs, just after the election of Harold Wilson's Labour government.) Had she wanted an earldom (i.e. Countess T) then there was ample precedent, but the aim was to give Denis something, and the husband of a countess in her own right doesn't get any of that.

I'm a military veteran: proper titles and ranks have meaning to me

Perhaps, but as I suggested upthread, there's a difference between a title you have when you're doing the job you're most famous for, and a title bestowed after you retire from that job. I was sad when Harold Wilson died, but I didn't feel inclined to invoke his life peerage in remembering him.
posted by holgate at 11:25 PM on April 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


why does it bother you so much when people call her Baroness Thatcher?

Well, I can answer why it rubs me the wrong way. I gave one reason earlier, but another reason is Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution:
No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.
Basically, Americans don't do titles of nobility.

I'm all for respect (of both offices and people), and for following local custom when visiting another country, but people in government should be continually reminded that, before the law, they are a citizen like you and me. It's all to easy for them to forget.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:36 AM on April 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


"she should properly be addressed as either Lady Margaret or as Baroness Thatcher"

I'm gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that the NYT is probably doing just fine with "Margaret Thatcher" and/or "Mrs. Thatcher" and/or "former PM Margaret Thatcher."

Seriously, we aren't in a Jane Austen novel here. She "should" be referred to in a respectful but common-sense manner.

"I'm a military veteran: proper titles and ranks have meaning to me and I won't insult people (yes, even the dead) by deliberately leaving them off."

So take it up with the Times or The Guardian or any other news source using common-sense nomenclature. And if you really walk around expecting civilians to address you by your military title, that's frankly very bizarre and doesn't jibe with my vet friends and colleagues.

"you would call someone Dr. SoAndSo if they have earned their doctorate"

Actually, doctors and lawyers who aren't incredibly insecure are usually just fine if you call them by "Mr." or "Ms." or "Mrs." This is very much your problem, not anybody else's.

"why does it bother you so much when people call her Baroness Thatcher?"

Because it sounds ridiculous and frankly, rather demeaning considering her life's greatest accomplishment was to be PM. And outside of highly formal contexts where "Baroness" is appropriate, you are the only one doing it. Hell, I'd be willing to wager that even she'd cringe at it, given how she's basically hated by most Brits anyway for being an upper-class prig even before her title came.

In 30 years I doubt anyone will refer to "Barack Obama, J.D." or "Barack Obama, Esq." "President" and/or "former President" will do just fine.
posted by bardic at 12:42 AM on April 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Or to quote Daniel Moynihan on being called a "Professor," "the mud-slinging has begun."

Highly accomplished people really don't care about their titles except in the specific contexts of having their work published or being addressed in a professional manner. Feel free to find a single instance where Thatcher herself insisted on being called "Baroness." Not going to hold my breath.
posted by bardic at 12:59 AM on April 10, 2013


plenty of articles yesterday referred to her simply as "Prime Minister Thatcher."

Prime Minister is the title of the office, in UK protocol it doesn't reside with the individual. So the current PM is Mr Cameron and is referred to as the Prime Minister, David Cameron. Obviously the title of president works differently, which I would guess is why US networks get this wrong so often. If you listen to a UK news report you will 'hear' the comma. Insisting on Prime Minister Thatcher is the cultural equivalent of someone insisting on Mr Obama over President Obama or Mr President.
posted by biffa at 1:07 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lest any non UK members may reach the conclusion that this thread is a wholly accurate reflection of popular opinion here regarding Thatcher's legacy, here is the result of the Guardian ICM Poll on : "Thatcher's rule: good for Britain?"
posted by genesta at 1:12 AM on April 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I assumed that 'The Baroness Thatcher' was in reference to the GI Joe villain.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:13 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lest any non UK members may reach the conclusion that this thread is a wholly accurate reflection of popular opinion here regarding Thatcher's legacy, here is the result of the Guardian ICM Poll on : "Thatcher's rule: good for Britain?"

Hell, she's more popular than Churchill in some polls, or maybe polls in the wake of her death (and non-stop eulogising by most media outlets) don't really have much credibility.
posted by brilliantmistake at 1:21 AM on April 10, 2013


My great grandfather was a Baron, or so I'm told. Henceforth, I demand to be addressed and referred to as 'baron homunculus'.
posted by homunculus at 1:23 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


My great grandfather was a Baron

As far as I'm aware, that has no baron on your current status, homunculus.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:35 AM on April 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Not true for Canada. Only prime ministers, governors general, and the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada are styled "the Right Honourable." Members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada are "the Honourable."

But... but... but.... how do you tell them apart from the legitimate heirs of peers?

The Hell are you thinking, Canada? THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING?!
posted by running order squabble fest at 1:41 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


My great grandfather was a Baron, or so I'm told.

Barren, actually. That's why your grandfather looked like the vicar.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:07 AM on April 10, 2013 [3 favorites]






Thatcher refusing to jump for the cameras in a Swedish TV interview.

I make great leaps forward. I don't make little jumps in studios.

Absolutely quality slapping-down, and a shout-out to Mao Zedong. Classic!
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:02 AM on April 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


So take it up with the Times or The Guardian or any other news source using common-sense nomenclature. And if you really walk around expecting civilians to address you by your military title, that's frankly very bizarre and doesn't jibe with my vet friends and colleagues.

Well that would not be correct: it is no longer an appropriate honorific for me, even though I could, if I choose, sign my mail as BLAHRANK (ret) Corb McCorberson.

I find it important to correctly use honorifics - plenty of British news outlets used "Baroness Thatcher" which is actually where I got it from. The BBC, the Mail, the Telegraph, and even the Times in the UK is using it.

You say "common-sense nomenclature" but it sounds more like you personally have an issue with titles and don't want to use them. Which is fine - don't. But it's a little weird to be angry with other people for using the correct honorific.
posted by corb at 4:34 AM on April 10, 2013


Lest any non UK members may reach the conclusion that this thread is a wholly accurate reflection of popular opinion here regarding Thatcher's legacy...

Meanwhile, "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" is currently number 1 in the iTunes chart (I'm told - I don't have access to it right now). It's also number 10 in the official UK wide charts.

Not that I'm saying the singles chart is as representative poll of UK popular opinion as a Guardian ICM poll of course, but it's a rather dramatic demonstration of this divided nation.
posted by chill at 4:35 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


A bit of a shame if the "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" song is what people end up being able to point to as THE expression of popular reaction to Thatcher's death rather than something with a bit of actual content and point to it, like Tramp the Dirt down or, well, anything really. The Wizard of Oz tune makes it too easy for the Daily Heil etc to paint the opposition to her deification as childish and meaningless.
posted by runincircles at 4:49 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


My observation is that people tend to use titles when they're trying to up-sell their heroes or quash argument by an appeal to authority. Hence lots of libertarians using "Dr. Paul" when stumping on the campaign trail, or authoritarians and feudalists using "Baroness Thatcher." If titles were truly important to these folk, they would always say "President Obama", "Senator Frank", "Mr. Moore", "Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Colonel Gaddafi", "his tediousness, maxwelton", etc.
posted by maxwelton at 4:54 AM on April 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Fuck the Daily Mail. They can think what they like.

As for expressions of popular reaction, I think everyone is waiting for Wednesday to see how that's going to pan out.
posted by fullerine at 4:56 AM on April 10, 2013


If it makes you feel better runincircles, Tramp the Dirt Down is climbing the charts too.
posted by chill at 5:01 AM on April 10, 2013


Apparently there's a Facebook campaign to rename Heathrow after her. They'd never see a soft landing again!
posted by Abiezer at 5:03 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Also, if you have a title and insist on its use, you sound about as "powerful" and "important" as the dude who calls and sternly intones "This is Mr. Pretentious from Holy-Shit-You're-In-Trouble Bank--what payment amount will you be sending today?" It's never "Bob" or "Steve"...those guys I'd send money to. Seriously, fuck Mr. Pretentious. Thankfully I haven't had to talk to him for many moons...but he can still bite it.)
posted by maxwelton at 5:03 AM on April 10, 2013


There's a great interview with Elvis C about Tramp The Dirt Down and the point of protest music in general on the Uncut site
posted by brilliantmistake at 5:08 AM on April 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


The blackouts, the three-day work week, the awareness that any of the state unions could shut the country down if they thought their pay packets were getting light, the schools and hospitals that were totally indifferent to serving their "customers"... Britain in the 1970s was awful. That's why Thatcher won, and kept winning, and why the left parties that promised a return to the pre-Thatcher era lost, and kept losing.
Strikes through the so-called "Winter of Discontent" were due to the state reneging on a wages policy. Trade Unions had agreed for three years to limit wage increases in order to deal with the inflation caused by the oil crisis. We can argue about whether it was a politically smart thing for the unions to do, but "thought their pay packets were getting light" is a crass summation of what actually happened.

Indeed, even in an election during the earlier three-day week in 1974 (where your criticism is more accurate) saw Heath lose votes. A later election in the same year saw Labour gain votes. Whatever we think of the work-to-rule action by the miners today, citizens at the time seem not to have been so opposed as to vote in a Conservative.

I don't think union action in the 1970s was smart or sensible, but my word I've grown up being told half of this shit only to learn that there's another side.

Also, at least some of the problems with BT in the 1970s was due to the investment they were making in the telephone exchanges. An investment which Thatcher then sold off for a shortrun gain.
posted by Jehan at 5:19 AM on April 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


Apparently there's a Facebook campaign to rename Heathrow after her.

here.

Whoever started it is either unaware of the 10 Downing Street petition website or is just doing it as a lark with their mates, rather than a serious campaign. Apparently the Number 10 petition is pending.
posted by acb at 5:20 AM on April 10, 2013


After Diana died, there was talk of renaming Heathrow after her, but then someone pointed out that airport names are abbreviated in radio communications with air traffic control, and that it'd result in utterances like “I'm just flying in to Di”.
posted by acb at 5:23 AM on April 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ugh. Here's hoping the insanity of Diana and the Queen Mum doesn't get repeated for Thatcher.
posted by Artw at 5:30 AM on April 10, 2013


I'm coming in on MT!
posted by biffa at 5:30 AM on April 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Indeed, even in an election during the earlier three-day week in 1974 (where your criticism is more accurate) saw Heath lose votes. A later election in the same year saw Labour gain votes. Whatever we think of the work-to-rule action by the miners today, citizens at the time seem not to have been so opposed as to vote in a Conservative.
Yep - he famously asked "Who Governs Britain?" and got the answer, "Not You" as the joke goes.
Union membership grew all through the 70s to peak in the year of Thatcher's election, so the strikes inspired as well as alienated.
posted by Abiezer at 5:32 AM on April 10, 2013


Apparently there's a Facebook campaign to rename Heathrow after her.
Maybe just Terminal 3?
posted by Jehan at 5:43 AM on April 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Abiezer: Union membership grew all through the 70s to peak in the year of Thatcher's election, so the strikes inspired as well as alienated.

This is a point that Andy Beckett gets into in When The Lights Went Out, along with the related one – which maybe you or someone else mentioned upthread, I think – that at no point before or since has Britain been as financially equal a society as it was in 1976/77 under Callaghan. It's something that always gets lost – quite often deliberately – in discussions of the 1970s, when a lot of the analysis ends up being a reductive stew of three day week, gravedigger strikes and binbags in the street – all of which is basically the political equivalent of Terry Christian on "I Love The 1970s" banging on about Spangles, Roobard and Custard and Mind The Buses.
posted by Len at 5:43 AM on April 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Scargill (a militant who made no bones about his strike being intended not to increase the lot of his workers in the current system but as the opening salvo of a Russian-style revolution) did unionism no favours with the moderates. Though given Thatcher's need for enemies, could a moderate union leadership have survived, or would she have just crushed them for the sake of it?

The labour relations system in the UK from the 70s onwards seems to have been excessively adversarial, not only when compared to places like Germany (where employee unions have seats on company boards) but to 1980s Australia (with the Accord on reining in wage claims, between a centrist, market-oriented Labor government and a moderate union movement; there were rogue unions, but they were on the fringes).
posted by acb at 5:44 AM on April 10, 2013


Maybe just Terminal 3?

I heard that the excavations in Canary Wharf are actually for the Margaret Thatcher Mausoleum, so that the great lady can spend eternity in the heart of the thrumming hive of finance which she so loved in life.
posted by acb at 5:46 AM on April 10, 2013


Scargill (a militant who made no bones about his strike being intended not to increase the lot of his workers in the current system but as the opening salvo of a Russian-style revolution) did unionism no favours with the moderates.
I've also read that one of the other shifts in the trade union movement during the period was the increasing influence of the rank-and-file - certainly recall seeing figures on the much larger numbers of shop stewards - so as I understand it much of the militancy was driven from below despite the (usual) tendency of union leaderships to rein things in - wildcats and unofficial walkouts etc. So again, while I agree it put off plenty, it also did attract and grow.
posted by Abiezer at 5:49 AM on April 10, 2013


acb: Scargill (a militant who made no bones about his strike being intended not to increase the lot of his workers in the current system but as the opening salvo of a Russian-style revolution) did unionism no favours with the moderates.

Abiezer: I've also read that one of the other shifts in the trade union movement during the period was the increasing influence of the rank-and-file - certainly recall seeing figures on the much larger numbers of shop stewards - so as I understand it much of the militancy was driven from below

This is the case with the left overall, from the late '70s through to the mid-'80s though, isn't it? Hatton and Militant tendency in Liverpool, various local, Labour-controlled councils in the North and in Scotland, especially Glasgow, were much more of an agitating and militant (small m) force than the national Labour leadership, who – alleged long suicide notes notwithstanding – had already begun grinding into motion the gears which would bring about New Labour in the '90s.
posted by Len at 6:02 AM on April 10, 2013


It's Ralph ("I have no sons!") Miliband's thesis played out in slow motion!
posted by Abiezer at 6:06 AM on April 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Apparently there's a Facebook campaign to rename Heathrow after her.

There's only one person who Heathrow should be named after. But anyway, there's no history in Britain of naming airports after politicians -- and thankfully no equivalent to the forcefed monumentalism seen with Reagan -- so that's just a bit of trolling. George Best, John Lennon and Robin Hood (the anti-Thatcher) will remain a triumvirate.
posted by holgate at 6:07 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jon Snow tweeting to point out that MPs returning to parliament to join in the obsequies can claim up to GBP3,750 in expenses (if coming from abroad I think) whereas would have cost nothing if they could have waited til normal business Monday.
posted by Abiezer at 6:08 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Abiezer: It's Ralph ("I have no sons!") Miliband's thesis played out in slow motion!

Hahaha ... does this make his not-sons teleological?
posted by Len at 6:09 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The labour relations system in the UK from the 70s onwards seems to have been excessively adversarial, not only when compared to places like Germany (where employee unions have seats on company boards) but to 1980s Australia (with the Accord on reining in wage claims, between a centrist, market-oriented Labor government and a moderate union movement; there were rogue unions, but they were on the fringes).
That's certainly the opinion of my father, who was a unionized steelworker in the 70s. He also says that there was a fair bit of overstaffing where he worked. But Thatcher threw the baby out with the bathwater. She needed to be the bigger person, to understand that manufacturing was essential to the country's future and that unions had at least some benefits, but she failed. If today the UK were like Germany she would be remembered with respect on all sides. But we're left with a much weakened economy that is badly divided.
George Best, John Lennon and Robin Hood (the anti-Thatcher) will remain a triumvirate.
Given such a motley crew I would be happy to see Thatcher so "honored".
posted by Jehan at 6:09 AM on April 10, 2013


Thatcher threw the baby out with the bathwater.
Another point I see made is that it begins this disengagement from politics and public life in general too, so you get the hand-wringing at declining election turn-outs but actually the establishment was none too impressed during the last period there was genuine mass participation (including voting) and top of Mrs T's legislative agenda was curbing the union part of that.
posted by Abiezer at 6:13 AM on April 10, 2013


"[Thatcher] said, if the northern [Catholic] population want to be in the south, well why don't they move over there? After all, there was a big movement of population in Ireland, wasn't there?

"Nobody could think what it was. So finally I said, are you talking about Cromwell, prime minister? She said, that's right, Cromwell."

Her interest in him is likely to turn her into an even greater hate figure among nationalists, who have never forgiven her for mishandling the 1981 republican hunger strikes. Catholics were slaughtered in their tens of thousands in the 1640s and 1650s by Cromwell's forces. Virtually all Catholic landowners were hounded out of Ulster.
Thatcher suggested 'Cromwell solution' for Northern Ireland
posted by nfg at 6:57 AM on April 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


that at no point before or since has Britain been as financially equal a society as it was in 1976/77 under Callaghan.

True, which is why financial equality is such a non-starter as a mobilizing issue for voters. People don't want to all be equally poor and miserable.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:33 AM on April 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


the fact that she received a hereditary peerage when no one else was getting them was quite impressive.

It's impressive that you don't know a hereditary peer from a life peer and can still flutter on about how impressive it all is. Might as well just call her Princess Margaret, stick her in a sparkly gown, and call it a day.

Me, I like Ken Loach's plan to honor the Barrenness
"How should we honour her? Let’s privatise her funeral. Put it out to competitive tender and accept the cheapest bid. It’s what she would have wanted."
posted by octobersurprise at 7:42 AM on April 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


ThatFuzzyBastard: People don't want to all be equally poor and miserable.

Oh please, this is disingenuous nonsense. Of course they don't. In 1976/77 the vast majority of people in the UK – the working classes and the middle class – were not only richer than they ever had been before but were richer than they ever have been since. This is what financial equality means in a national context. (There's a cite for Andy Beckett's book here, if you want one.)
posted by Len at 7:51 AM on April 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


True, which is why financial equality is such a non-starter as a mobilizing issue for voters. People don't want to all be equally poor and miserable.
That fits not so neatly with the ongoing decline in voter participation since then, and the intermittent panics about working class political disengagement.
And of course what that greater equality meant for most wasn't misery but the 1970s as a period of increasing prosperity as wages accounted for a larger share of national wealth at a time of near full employment.
Or, on preview, see Len (after school!)
posted by Abiezer at 7:53 AM on April 10, 2013


True, which is why financial equality is such a non-starter as a mobilizing issue for voters. People don't want to all be equally poor and miserable.

People (certainly in the US, and possibly the rest of the Anglocapitalist world) tend to believe that they are wealthier than they are, and if not, that they or their children will become rich, which is why you get the working poor two paycheques away from homelessness voting for lower taxes, lower social spending and deregulated working conditions, because they don't want the lousy moochers draining the wealth that will soon be theirs.
posted by acb at 8:04 AM on April 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


which is why you get the working poor two paycheques away from homelessness voting for lower taxes, lower social spending and deregulated working conditions, because they don't want the lousy moochers draining the wealth that will soon be theirs.
I'm pretty sure that's much less the case over the past few decades in the UK - the Conservatives had always had something of a working class voting base but IIRC it was higher under the old One Nation Toryism of Eden etc and declined under Thatcher and since. But at the same time the Labour Party was losing its appeal too and it was their failures to win a vote or get their "natural" supporters out more than the Tories winning hearts and minds among the working class that counted. (Please don't make me look them figures up!)
posted by Abiezer at 8:13 AM on April 10, 2013


Of course they don't. In 1976/77 the vast majority of people in the UK – the working classes and the middle class – were not only richer than they ever had been before but were richer than they ever have been since.

I encourage you to ask people if life was better in England in the 1970s or the 1990s. The answer may surprise you!
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:17 AM on April 10, 2013


In 1976/77 the vast majority of people in the UK – the working classes and the middle class – were not only richer than they ever had been before but were richer than they ever have been since. This is what financial equality means in a national context.

I don't know the evidence for that assertion and I'm not challenging it, but I will say that the international context is also relevant. December '76 marked the third and most notorious of Dennis Healey's requests for a bailout from the IMF. The country was broke. The IMF demanded £2.5bn cuts in government spending in return for a $3.9bn loan.

But of course that came at the end of a lengthy dawning of realisation by the Labour government that the country was living beyond its means and was not going to be able to spend its way to prosperity. Witness Tony Crosland's famous speech to local authorities in the spring of 75: "For the next few years times will not be normal. Perhaps people have used the words 'economic crisis' too often in the past... But not now. The crisis that faces us is infinitely more serious than any of the crises we have faced over the past 20 years...With its usual spirit of patriotism and its tradition of service to the community's needs, [the Labour party] is coming to realize that, for the time being at least, the party is over..."

... To no avail. Wasn't he boo'ed off the platform? The Government appeared powerless to do anything about the economy, and the IMF were sent for.

And that's what TFB is alluding to, I think, when he talks about equality in poverty and misery.
posted by genesta at 8:22 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Heh, a friend of mine just left flowers on her grave at her gate. He and I do not feel the same about this event.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:24 AM on April 10, 2013


I encourage you to ask people if life was better in England in the 1970s or the 1990s. The answer may surprise you!
I'd submit it would very much depend who you asked (not want to be doing it in communities round a shut down steel foundry, for example) and that the social improvements in the position of women, ethnic minorities and so forth were driven far more by extra-parliamentary activity than anything the government did.

On preview - I don't think anyone's denying all aspects of the '70s crisis, more that the monetarist turn of the Thatcher administration was the only available solution. And it really is true that the IMF bailout (not the first one the UK had ever had either I found out looking it up since first mention) turned out not to have been necessary in that instance - Treasury had wrongly estimated spending requiremtns I think it was.
posted by Abiezer at 8:26 AM on April 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


ThatFuzzyBastard: I encourage you to ask people if life was better in England in the 1970s or the 1990s. The answer may surprise you!

You weren't just talking about whether people thought life was better or not. You specifically stated that their financial situation was worse, in direct contrast to the facts. As for asking people, well I've been here myself for some of the 1970s and all of the 1990s, as have family and friends, so don't patronise me with "the answer may surprise you!".

Finally: please don't say "England" unless you specifically mean England, and not the United Kingdom.
posted by Len at 8:26 AM on April 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


On not-preview: listen to Abiezer instead. He's about right and my response was a bit more pissy that it should have been.
posted by Len at 8:35 AM on April 10, 2013


From the Russell Brand piece linked above:
The blunt, pathetic reality today is that a little old lady has died, who in the winter of her life had to water roses alone under police supervision. If you behave like there's no such thing as society, in the end there isn't. Her death must be sad for the handful of people she was nice to and the rich people who got richer under her stewardship. It isn't sad for anyone else. There are pangs of nostalgia, yes, because for me she's all tied up with Hi-De-Hi and Speak and Spell and Blockbusters and "follow the bear". What is more troubling is my inability to ascertain where my own selfishness ends and her neo-liberal inculcation begins. All of us that grew up under Thatcher were taught that it is good to be selfish, that other people's pain is not your problem, that pain is in fact a weakness and suffering is deserved and shameful. Perhaps there is resentment because the clemency and respect that are being mawkishly displayed now by some and haughtily demanded of the rest of us at the impending, solemn ceremonial funeral, are values that her government and policies sought to annihilate.
posted by rtha at 8:36 AM on April 10, 2013 [15 favorites]


Man, every time I read something written by Russell Brand the cognitive dissonance hits me between the eyes. I find his stand-up persona and public image pretty much insufferable, but his writing can often be great.
posted by Len at 8:40 AM on April 10, 2013 [21 favorites]


Domestic abuser and lay-by lothario Stan Collymore wrote a really thoughtful long-form tweet on her demise and what it meant for his community, seems she brought it out in quite a few dubious public figures.
posted by Abiezer at 8:43 AM on April 10, 2013


I don't think anyone's denying all aspects of the '70s crisis, more that the monetarist turn of the Thatcher administration was the only available solution.

Agreed. The significance of the 70s economic crises lie rather in the light they shed on the motivation of the Thatcher governments of the 80s, particularly in two key and linked areas: economic policy and trade union reform. Rightly or wrongly, for better or for worse (and it was both), the motivation was sound and a far cry from that caricatured in many of the comments here.
posted by genesta at 8:54 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Russell Brand as we know him could not have existed outside of a post-Thatcherite Britain. Were it not for Thatcherism-Blairisim, could he possibly have done enough cocaine to burnish his ego to where it is now?
posted by acb at 8:56 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Classy, Mr Cameron: the funeral will have a Falklands theme. Is he hoping to provoke the Argentine military into doing his re-election prospects a favour too?
posted by Abiezer at 8:59 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


From Abiezer's link: William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said: “The rebate she negotiated for this country from the EU has brought us so far £75bn - which is twice the size of our annual defence budget. I think that puts money in perspective... so I think we can afford to contribute to a funeral.”

What does that mean?
posted by rtha at 9:02 AM on April 10, 2013


Will the coffin be carried by penguins?
posted by Grangousier at 9:02 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


What does that mean?

It means William Hague is a smug, patronising bastard, just as you thought.

Otherwise, it doesn't really mean anything.
posted by Grangousier at 9:03 AM on April 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


What does that mean?

She re-hashed the details of our fiscal commitments to the European Union at one point, winning that rebate on our share of budget contributions I think. So he's counting a saving as income - typical Tory economics :D
posted by Abiezer at 9:04 AM on April 10, 2013


What does that mean?

That the coffin should be carried by "economic migrants" from the eastern parts of the EU, who will then be ceremonially stoned to death by Paul Dacre and Melanie Phillips.
posted by holgate at 9:05 AM on April 10, 2013 [11 favorites]


You guys, you are making me spit coffee on my keyboard.
posted by rtha at 9:10 AM on April 10, 2013


So he's counting a saving as income

Well, to be fair, this is how I talked myself into buying my last most recent pair of cowboy boots. /not a Tory
posted by rtha at 9:12 AM on April 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


I could swear that one of the articles of the new Poor Law still in effect was the provision of a pauper burial. So, aye, I'm happy for the state to clom her in the mould, but not to the tune of £10 million.
posted by Jehan at 9:13 AM on April 10, 2013


Metafilter: "if I choose, sign my mail as BLAHRANK (ret) Corb McCorberson"
posted by bardic at 9:13 AM on April 10, 2013


...the funeral will have a Falklands theme.
We could put her lich in a torpedo like Spock, and fire her at an Argentine ship!
posted by Jehan at 9:16 AM on April 10, 2013 [6 favorites]


But only when it's driving away from the police cordon.
posted by Abiezer at 9:17 AM on April 10, 2013


his writing can often be great.

There's always a hint of Adrian Mole to Brand's writing -- the way that he strings out his lofty latinate vocabulary like rosary beads -- but "...in the end there isn't" stands nicely. Holed up at the Ritz at the end, comped by the rich twins who own it while lording over their own island fiefdom? Yeah, that's fitting.
posted by holgate at 9:18 AM on April 10, 2013


Grangousier: Will the coffin be carried by penguins?

Maybe the penguins can march like this.
/stevebell
posted by Len at 9:18 AM on April 10, 2013


Rightly or wrongly, for better or for worse (and it was both), the motivatio