Like all human beings Margaret Thatcher was a mixture of good and bad. And her time in government was (by her own account) a mixture of success and failure. The failure to prevent the increase (not “cut” – increase) in government spending in 1979 (by accepting the government sector pay agreements of the out going Labour government) was a key mistake, which made the recession worse than it needed it to be. As did James Prior with his blocking of any real union reform for the first vital couple of years of her time in office (this had terrible effects for unemployment).
The slowness to understand the true nature of the EEC (now the European Union) was also a terrible error – Mrs T. (as I still think of her) was lied to about the Single European Act, it was never really about free trade (it was about opening the flood gates to regulations).
However, the good was great also – and the courage (and the never-giving-up) was astonishing.
Whether it was the defeat of Mr Prior (and the other “wets”) and taking on the (Communist dominated) unions after about 1983. Or the struggle against the Soviets, or against the invasion by the Argentine regime – Mrs T. was astonishing.
And remember how many traitors there were. The establishment was filled with traitors – people who wanted to give in to the Soviet Union.
Even people who were so terrified of everything that they wanted to surrender to Argentina (I swear to you that this is true).
So it is not just a matter of cutting the top rate of income tax from 83% to 40% or selling off lots of state-owned companies. Or getting rid of exchange controls and capital restrictions.
Mrs T. was under constant threat of death.
The IRA (and their Communist allies – althiough the Provos were Reds themselves) were constantly trying to kill her – and they managed to kill many of her friends (some of whom I knew – although I did not know Mrs T, herself).
Sometimes when Mrs Thatcher appeared in public there were terrible shouts – vile threats from the Reds. Both of murder and of sexual violation.
But it was not just words – there were the bombs also,
Should Mrs T. of done some things differently?
Of course she should.
Government spending should not have been allowed to increase in 1979 (if that meant a return, at once, to the Winter of Discontent at once – so be it).
VAT should not have been increased.
The stand against the EEC should, have been stronger (but Mrs T. was surrounded by terrible people – in the pay of the EEC, who lied to her endlessly, and eventually destroyed her for standing up against the E.U.).
The rebate on U.K. money to the EEC showed that things could be achieved – more should have been achieved.
Trade union (labour market) reform should have been done at once (in 1979) to prevent the rise in unemnployment, and on and on…..
But it is easy to be an “armchair general”.
I remember these days only too well – “you remember them better than yesterday Paul” yes I do (I am old).
Mrs T. was attacked every day – with endless lies.
The “cuts” that were no such thing (every day the BBC lied – I remember picking up the radio and smashing it against the wall).
The “attacks on the trade unions” Mrs T. was accused of “union bashing” right from the start when, tragically, there was no real labour market reform .. and on and on. With hindsight – the BBC (the heart of the leftist propaganda machine) should have struck down.
But Mrs T, was from the World War II generation – her fond memories of the BBC of the wartime years meant that she did not really think of just getting rid of the “license fee”.
A flawed human being – yes flawed indeed – but a thousand times better than the utter swine who will now be dancing on her grave.
Promoted from the comments thread here.