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.