ANALYSIS – Margaret Thatcher’s ceremonial funeral will take place on Wednesday and there have been calls to put aside political differences for what is an occasion that marks the death of an 87-year-old woman.
Of course, this was no ordinary Lady, this was the Iron Lady, the great bogey woman of the left.
And like all polarising figures, there is always another point of view.
When Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979, Britain was the ‘sick man of Europe’, a nation where inflation had hit a high of 27% in 1975, where the top rate of tax was 83% and where of course the unions could put the shutters down almost at will, as witnessed by the winter of discontent of 1978-79.
The Thatcher project began with curbs on government spending to control money supply and government subsidies to struggling industries were also cut – all of which resulted in an unemployment figure of 2.7 million.
And when 1981 budget contained more spending cuts, 364 economists wrote to The Times to condemn her policies.
Had it not been for the 1982 Falklands War, she may been joining the dole queue herself, instead she pushed on with the core ‘structural adjustments of the economy’ that began with the privatisation of British Telecom, British Gas and British Airways.
Of course, it was the battle with the Unions and more pointedly the NUM lead by Arthur Scargill that sealed her reputation with the left.
Her battle with the IRA in refusing to acknowledge demands from hunger strikers to be recognised as political prisoners almost resulted in her own death with the bombing of the Brighton Hotel in 1984.
Yet a year later, she signed the Anglo-Irish agreement that devolved some power to Northern Ireland and paved the way for an eventual peace settlement.
And by 1986, the inflation rate stood at 2.7 %, and the top rate of tax stood now at 40 per cent which made the country an attractive place for the rich to bring their money and spend it.
And despite all of her talk of reforming the welfare state, the public sector still consumed the same proportion of GDP when she was pushed out of office as when she first came.
Today, Britain is grappling with the after effects of the financial crisis of 2007/08, but it is still the six largest economy in the world.
And despite all their protestations, the Left has never put forward a viable alternative economic model to the one championed by the blue-rinse Boadicea.
ANALYSIS – Margaret Hilda Thatcher, whose death was announced today at the age of 87, was to her admirers a reformer, a radical and to her detractors evil incarnate, someone who had polluted the values of a nation.
Anyone who grew up during the Thatcher era will tell you that it may have been great for some, but it was horrendously unpleasant for many more.
The City of London prospered during the eighties under a regime that celebrated tax cuts for the wealthy, self-interest and private enterprise.
All the while, the North of England was never the same again.
Thatcher shut down the coal mines as well as the ‘less productive’ parts of economy at a lightning pace sending millions of people onto the dole queue.
Many of those who are now castigated for living a life on benefits can trace the source of their troubles back to the day when the chief breadwinner could no longer bring home a pay packet.
The Thatcher project was fueled with revenues from North sea Gas and Oil, as well as the City of London and of course conspicuous consumption.
Today, as Cameron and Osborne attempt to wrestle with this country’s economic woes it is those pillars they are tinkering with, through cuts to public services and tax breaks for the wealthy.
Of course, the task for these modern-day radicals is arguably harder – the UK’s exposure to the financial services industry through the City of London has left a hole in the country’s finances that will no longer be filled with revenues from oil and gas from the North Sea.
And that leaves consumption at a time when only the wealthy can afford to enjoy the good life.
Anyone still think Thatcherism was a good thing for this country?
The nuclear-armed rogue state of North Korea is up to its old tricks again – sabre-rattling against the South and as a consequence annoying the United States of America.
The young leader at Pyongyang appears to have been emboldened by a successful rocket launch and nuclear test, which began on December 12, with the launch of a rocket and the claim to have put a satellite into orbit. That was followed one-month later with an underground nuclear test.
Washington responded in March by flying B-52s over the South and then later stealth bombers.
On March 30, the North said it was at a state of war with the South and yesterday restarted the Yongbyon reactor.
Observers said things can’t be that bad as South Korean workers were still able to work at Kaesong. Today that is no longer the case.
North Korea needs to be taken seriously – it is capable of inflicting severe damage on the South and Japan. Of course, it can not take on the US, but then is Washington prepared for a confrontation with China?
In his heyday, the Paris Saint Germain player, David Beckham was known for his trademark free kicks, the ability to loft the ball to an eager forward and of course a steely nerve when it came to the penalty spot.
The first two were in evidence last night as the 38-year-old played against the greatest club team on earth.
It was great to see Beckham play in Europe, and he was not in any out of his depth, which begs the question could he be part of the England set-up again.
The last time there was such a debate was of course over the decision to terminate the career of Kevin Keegan who went on to show that he was still a force with the then second division side of Newcastle United.
England lost something then when they so abruptly got rid of a player that still could have exerted an influence at an international level.
And on the evidence of last night, it appears that history is repeating itself in the form of David Beckham.
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