Revolution and Beer, Reactionary of the week: The Myth of Margaret Thatcher

thatcherSo long, Maggie. Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister to Great Brittian died this week. She dumped on England and the rest of the world from 1979-1990. The right would have you believe her contribution to the planet, and freedom, was substantial. There is a reason for that. Thatcher is a cornerstone to their mythology about Ronald Reagan. Together they are cartoons to the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet union. I will defer to the actual historic record regarding those two events, and not to the fictionalized foolishness of star wars missile programs, and the silly beckoning of “Mr. Gorbachev, tears down this wall,” by the actor-in-chief. For the clearest academic study of the Cold War, see “The Cold War, 1945-1987 by Ralph B. Levine, 2nd edition.

But I think that history will, once we get beyond the insipid propaganda of current American historical paint-by-number trash, show quite clearly that the “Iron Lady” was a tramp. So, if I may-and I will-allow me to help get that record back on track with a list of Thatcher’s accomplishments. Called the “Iron Lady” by a Soviet newspaper, perhaps the Soviets understood that Iron quickly rusts and eventually crumbles to dust. England, at the very least still suffers her legacy.

First of all, all those on the right who accept her exalted position at the right hand of our lord and savior, Reagan ,should take note that she voted to decriminalize male homosexuality in England, and to legalize abortions. While as a Progressive I believe these were positive steps for England in terms of human rights, you will never hear any of that mentioned by the right.

<h2Here’s a good list of accomplishments you won’t hear the right discussing very much:

  • She supported austerity, and cut a school milk program for children ages 7-11, spawning the rebuke of “Margaret Thatcher, milk snatcher!”
  • She lowered income taxes, but increased indirect taxes. In other words when it came time to collect taxes she took less up front, but then stole the money from their pockets later.
  • She cut education, social services and housing at a time when England was suffering through a terrible recession. It cost her an honorary doctorate, the first time one had been denied to an Oxford educated PM since the 2nd World War.
  • Crime increased year over year throughout her term in office.
  • Thatcher’s austerity sparked massive unrest, frequent demonstrations and riots.
  • She called Nelson Mandela a terrorist and opposed German reunification.
  • Her government openly supported the bloody Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and secretly trained fighters opposing Vietnamese forces fighting to stop the slaughter in Cambodia.
  • She supported brutal Chilean dictator, Ernesto Pinochet, offering him refuge from prosecution for his crimes against the people of Chile.
  • She negotiated away Hong Kong back to the Chinese.
  • Her failed policies in Northern Ireland set back the peace process decades and cost untold numbers of lives.
  • Manufacturing nearly collapsed in England under Thatcher.
  • England faced staggering unemployment. Amid the economic upheavals she attacked the labor unions, comparing them to the pointless and misguided Falkand Island War she’d fought, calling union members, “the enemy within.”
  • As for the passionate ideological affair she enjoyed with the American passion-prince, Reagan, not so much. After he lied to her about the imminent invasion of Grenada Thatcher vowed never to trust him again.

There’s more. There is much more, but I was just too depressed to go on. So the next time the right extolls the virtues of this “great” lady, you know the truth. Pass it around. Let’s set the record straight…for a change.

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