Thatcher should be remembered accurately

Columnist and Columnist

This week, Margaret Thatcher, Great Britain’s “Iron Lady,” died at the age of 87. As is custom when a world leader dies, there has been much discussion about Thatcher’s legacy.

The usual points have been hit upon: lifting Great Britain out of economic doldrums, her ferociousness in fighting communism, her unwillingness to compromise and the ground-breaking status of her gender. Unfortunately, another kind of dialogue is also taking place in remembering Thatcher. That is hagiography.

Yes, there is a place for class, tact and couth after anyone passes. The family of the one who is gone deserves that much at least. With Thatcher though, some of the real story about her time as Prime Minister is being whitewashed or dismissed. I guess in death, Thatcher is getting the “old Reagan treatment.”

Reagan is the one that Thatcher was most compared to in life and now that comparison is getting huge play upon her death. The ultimate cold warrior is how the sycophants described Reagan and Thatcher and that comparison is still being peddled today.

Yes, Thatcher and her old pal Reagan played a part in the fall of the Iron Curtain. Right-wingers in both countries gloss over the fact that the rise of democracy in the Soviet Union is the real reason for communism’s collapse. That being said, the world is better off without the Soviet Union, so I will give Thatcher some credit for that.

Thatcher mirrored Reagan in so many other ways though; so many other disastrous, damaging, greedy dishonest ways. From the time she became Prime Minister in 1979, she set out on a defined path that Reagan also wholeheartedly pursued.

She denationalized industries, just as Ronnie deregulated so many of our industries. With no national control over industries, big business was sent a message that profit was the only goal; people, the environment and the good of a nation be damned. Deregulation has been a boon to the moneyed class and a curse to the poor and middle class. This was by design.

In 1981, Reagan dealt organized labor a death blow by firing the nation’s air traffic controllers. This gave big business the green light to emasculate the unions and their workers.

Thatcher followed suit in 1984 by fighting the miners in northern England. After a year, she and the conservatives won the fight. So what if a once vibrant industry that provided good middle class wages was destroyed, the union was broken and that is a huge goal of conservatives everywhere.

Thatcher also orchestrated a mass shifting of Great Britain’s wealth to the affluent in her nation. The middle class and the poor are still hurting from this, just as they are after America’s conservatives did the same thing.

This shifting of the wealth to people who do not need it is nothing but basic, callous greed. Only after the Poll Tax Riots of 1990, did Thatcher’s campaign of wealth-shifting cease. It also led to her political demise.

Last but not least, Thatcher mirrored Reagan by voicing support for democracy out of one side of her mouth and supporting tyranny out of the other. While both supported the fall of Soviet oppression, both also propped up dictators.

Reagan allowed Ferdinand Marcos to plunder the Philippines and terrorize its citizens. When things finally got too hot for Marcos and his vile wife Imelda, Reagan even let him come to America in exile to die in peace. Thatcher had a pet despot also. He was Augusto Pinochet of Chile.

Pinochet ruled with an iron fist; to oppose him was life-threatening. Like Marcos, Pinochet was fond of assassinating opponents and potential opponents. More than once he met with Thatcher as a friend. It is not surprising really though, Thatcher, like Reagan, had already assassinated the chance for the poor and middle class’ to make a decent living.

When Margaret Thatcher is buried this week, only praise will be spoken. Remember that her greatest skill was making rich people richer, just like Reagan.

If that is patriotism, then I need to take junior high civics again.

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