The Thatcher Test
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Sands Media Services: Thatcher: Regionals capture the mood.
Though she presented her first Cabinet with a book by Hayek and told them "this is our programme", Margaret Thatcher was no libertarian. In her era neither was I. I joined the Conservative Party because she was its leader and because she - and Sir Keith Joseph - were turning it from its usual paternalism towards a classical liberal stance.
When the Party betrayed her, I left it and have been politically homeless ever since. I was never really a Tory. I never felt comfortable amid their weakness and wibble. Neither, I suspect, did Margaret. Still she used their party to do more good than since slavery was abolished.
She did not create division. Except in times of war (which may be why we are so sickeningly nostalgic for them) Britain has always been a nation divided against itself. And the divided parts know each other only as caricatures. On the night after she was first elected, I was standing in a bar in Wales when someone said "How can she have won? I have never even met a bloody Tory!"
Margaret Thatcher's political aggression forced us to look at each other. She relentlessly exposed the divisions, challenged them and - sadly - failed to bridge them. It seems we Brits like our stereotypes and our mutual hatreds far more than we like success. She remains a political litmus test. The very mention of her name exposes the fault lines that prevent Britain from realising its potential.
If you want to know who freedom's enemies are, mention her with approval. Mad eyes will light up all around you and foul sentiments will fill the air. Note their names and never leave them alone with anything you value; material, spiritual or ethical.
"Maybe some of us should try and mingle a little more."
I grew up among Daily Mirror Labourites and spent thirty years at work among Guardian Labourites. I didn't meet many outside my British law firm's offices admittedly as I worked in Poland and Russia, where they have experimented thoroughly with Socialist models and - to be polite - found them wanting. However I am now living among the Guardianisti in West London and I fear I may never meet anyone other than Labourites or LibDems socially again.
So yes, I would like to mingle more - with someone other than let's-all-be-kind-with-other-people's money type wets.
Posted by: Tom | Friday, April 19, 2013 at 02:47 AM
'If you want to know who freedom's enemies are, mention her with approval. Mad eyes will light up all around you and foul sentiments will fill the air. Note their names and never leave them alone with anything you value; material, spiritual or ethical'.
Strong stuff. I agree with the 'litmus test' you observe. But this last statement is the language of 'us and them' polarities. Can you not see how equally stereotyping and damning such statements are? One thing I have learned to appreciate is that political and ethical attitudes within a given individual, no matter how flippantly expressed, generally aren't that one-dimensional. You might find that despite their moment of personal catharsis regarding someone who has become an internalised symbol of things they dislike, they are the kindest person you could ever meet on every other level. When I was young and inexperienced, I was genuinely surprised when I met, for example, wealthy Tories for the first time and found that there were many aspects of them I could relate to and appreciate. How wrong I'd been in my limited views, which had naturally arisen due to my insulation from actually knowing anyone remotely like that. On the other hand, some of them, however, fell into the stereotype of being the vicious snob I expected. And even then I found other compensations. That's what I like about people. Maybe some of us should try and mingle a little more.
Posted by: Gary Spencer | Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 06:48 PM
How about this from the Guardian's Charlotte Raven in the week following the attack? Under the headline "A bully with a bloody nose is still a bully";
"They are better placed than I am, as a broadsheet commentator, to admit to a part of them that thinks that the US might benefit from an insight into what it feels like to be knocked to your knees by a faceless power deaf to everything but the logic of its own crazed agenda."
She seemed to be saying that, but for being a broadsheet commentator, she might come out openly like her neighbours and say the US got what was coming to it. Of course she is too sophisticated to say so openly, but the inference seems not entirely unreasonable.
Posted by: Tom | Friday, April 12, 2013 at 09:52 AM
turning it from its usual paternalism towards a classical liberal stance
And that is all that needs to be said.
Posted by: james higham | Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 03:19 PM
How do you know that the Guardian newsroom approved of the attack on the twin towers?Who, of the people who were there, have gone public with that information?
Posted by: James Strong | Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 07:32 PM
Your last paragraph. It is so simple and so true.
Like a spell to discover the vampires.. just a person has to be careful not to get ripped to shreds by their inhuman strength ^_^
Posted by: Moggsy | Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 11:10 AM
I concur with your sentiments. I stayed with the Conservatives until midway through the Major administration but have not voted for them since. I joined UKIP a year ago and hope that through them I can help to wreck what is now a Statist Europhile Green loving multi-cultural form of BluLabour. Lady Thatcher was lucky to benefit from A) the rise of the SDP causing loss of a swath of Labour marginals B) turning the diaster of the Falklands into a very lucky triumph C) the continuing and growing flow of oil revenues D) classic good timing in wanting to reform tax, spending, debt and unions just when enough of the public dearly wanted it too. I salute her memory. A brave and determined woman who accomplished much. Still so much to do!
Posted by: Frankland macdonald Wood | Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 12:48 AM
Yes, there are many instant, vile reactions. I thought as soon as I heard the news, that the Guardian's newsroom would be approving - as they did while watching the Twin Towers.
Posted by: Sackerson | Tuesday, April 09, 2013 at 01:51 PM