THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Thousands throw shoes in London. I send pizza.
Britblog Roundup 203

Portrait of a lady

 Thatcher finds a permanent home at No 10: First look at the £100,000 portrait Brown ordered as a lasting tribute | Mail Online.


The only time in my life when I felt that there was some chance of reversing Britain's decline was when Margaret Thatcher was in power. As a student politician at the time, I was one of the first people to call himself a Thatcherite. For working class people, she was a breath of fresh air. She did not believe in the magic power of politicians to make things right. She did not believe that manufactured money (not backed by real production) could be used to wash away national cares. She removed the tyranny of the trade union closed shop. The oligarchs of Labour are still protesting years later, but people who worked under such conditions still remember her kindly for it.

She was hated by the left, understandably. An anonymous left-wing MP is quoted as saying, ludicrously;

Maggie Thatcher is the devil incarnate to many of our supporters who remember how she destroyed the unions and put our people on the dole. Gordon Brown may have forgotten that. Some of us haven’t.

So what? No politician NOT hated by the left is worthy of respect. More tellingly, she was hated by the Tory grandees who were the reason working class people had never before felt comfortable in the Conservative Party. Her success was a working-class phenomenon. She was practical, commonsensical and honest. We felt comfortable with her. They did not. She was always "that bloody woman" to them. I left the party when they betrayed her, as they had longed to do since she was elected leader.

In the end, she failed. Not because she was a bad woman (she is a very good one). Not because she lacked the energy or the ability (she clearly didn't). Not because she was betrayed (though she was). She failed because she did not attack the leftist establishment in British education. There is no excuse for that. She was highly-educated herself, believed in the importance of education and had been an Education Minister. She must have known how riddled Britain's schools and colleges are with leftists. I think she simply underestimated the weakness of her fellow man. She was such a force of nature that she simply would not have understood that lesser humans might be unduly influenced. So while, briefly, entrepreneurship and personal responsibility became sexy again, the universities continued to indoctrinate future teachers and media types. Not only does that mean today's young voters have never heard a good word about Margaret Thatcher. It means they have heard very few good words about free enterprise, liberty and responsibility.

So why does Gordon Brown purport to admire her? I am sure in his heart he feels as strongly as his colleague quoted above. He certainly shares none of her values. He will not find it odd that a £100,000 portrait paid for by the taxpayer is described (by a newspaper which should know better) as his "personal tribute," because he does not adequately distinguish between the public purse and his own. If he admires her at all, it is for her character and charisma; qualities he lacks. He is attempting to associate himself with her strength and (more deviously) to continue the triangulation of natural Conservative voters. He is signalling, even as he conducts himself like every Labour leader ever, that he is somehow different and may be trusted. The opinion polls suggest the trick still works, so why would he stop using it?