Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Five Mysteries of Thatcher to a Young Person


I was born almost ten years after Thatcher had resigned and yet I have heard her name being both condoned and praised all at the same time as I have been growing up. Coincidentally, I read up on Thatcher last Summer during the school holidays and I was stunned by the contradictions of her premiership.

1. Why does Thatcher's time in office come across as a series of unrelated knee jerk events? She seemed to be so driven by the ideology of the free market that her years seemed to lack a narrative. Ideology, surely, must be followed by coherent practice. Miner's strikes, right to buy, Germany etc - what was the unifying ideological practice? The miners were fighting for the right to work. Working class people were given the right to buy council property but their means to earn a living were reduced.

2. Why do people insist on calling her a feminist when she herself said that feminism had done nothing for her. Thatcher never believed in collectivism so how could she possibly be a feminist?

3. Why wasn't Thatcher held to more account for not spending the North Sea revenue to improve the country when Gordon Brown is constantly criticized for selling the gold reserves at low prices?

4. Thatcher wrote about how thrifty she and her family were. There is even a story about how they reused thread. How did this thrift extend to an 80s error of champagne and Rolls Royce excesses?

5. She was a show woman. PMQs were about her taking bows, getting the loudest agreements and a delight in upsetting people. What happened to that war spirit that she wrote about when she said "So I did not grow up with the sense of division and conflict between classes".

What was Thatcherism about - just the free market? Isn't that a purely hands off approach?
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2 comments

  1. Most young people your age in other countries have never heard of her.

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  2. She wasn't exactly my heroine, but I am interested in her, and I actually did a lot of research into her. I did a biogrpahy of her for English,and I have frequent debates with my friends about her. They aren't very political, and are just like "SHE TOOK AWAY THE FREE MILK!" while I explain about other, more significant events. Joys of being the only person involved in politics in a form...

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