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 Post Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:20 am 
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Any thoughts on the life and legacy of Margaret Thatcher?

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 Post Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 5:23 am 
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Kea wrote:
Any thoughts on the life and legacy of Margaret Thatcher?


I have difficulty discussing her rationally. I was born during the miner's strike in a mining town, and so was raised to believe that she was the devil incarnate, a relentless monster bent on destroying all goodness and purity and instituting a reign of darkness in which all would suffer. This baggage gets in the way of balanced analysis.

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 Post Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:24 am 
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Some other Britons I've heard from seemed to think of her in similar terms. She sounded like she was less popular than Dick Cheney.

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 Post Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:41 am 
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From the coverage I've been seeing she seemed to get along very well with Ronald Reagan who loved to bust unions as well.

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 Post Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:21 am 
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Kea wrote:
Some other Britons I've heard from seemed to think of her in similar terms. She sounded like she was less popular than Dick Cheney.


Probably the best way to describe her is 'divisive'.

The Daily Mash has a good take on things here

Quote:
THOUSANDS of people under 35 are rejoicing at the demise of a woman they once read about.

Following Lady Thatcher’s death, people who want to look impressively ‘political’ are acting like they remember Thatcher as something other than a vague abstract concept of evil.

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 Post Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:22 pm 
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I probably would have hated Margaret Thatcher had I been old enough to be politically aware when she was in power, but since I only know anything about her retrospectively, I can't help but admire her in a Lord-Vetinari-is-such-a-badass kind of way. From what I've read about her in the last couple of days, I'm starting to think I'd prefer her to the sort of conservative politicians we're getting nowadays.

As a scientist, she was in favour of environmental conservation, and supported the establishment of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She was evidence-driven, unlike some of today's American politicians who seem to think science is some kind of conspiracy theory to destroy the economy.

She was pragmatic: she wasn't belligerent in foreign policy for the hell of it, and while she was an ardent capitalist, she didn't believe that capitalism = letting rich people cheat however the hell they want. Apparently she strengthened financial regulations during her watch.

She was a radical right-winger for her time, but maybe it's a measure of how much she managed to drag the center to the right that she looks pretty reasonable compared to the right wing of today. I'd rather have her as a political opponent than Mitt Romney or Rand Paul.

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 Post Posted: Tue Apr 09, 2013 6:34 pm 
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Kea wrote:
As a scientist, she was in favour of environmental conservation, and supported the establishment of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She was evidence-driven, unlike some of today's American politicians who seem to think science is some kind of conspiracy theory to destroy the economy.
And yet to hear some of the accounts, that kind of support didn't last. And I think that might be a`n understatement, since this is a point where writing like that really isn't trying to dwell on her negatives.

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 Post Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:47 am 
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Her legacy is very much mixed - and even the things she will be disliked for most, I can say there's some yes and no about how bad she was. Certainly, British Industry and Unoins were both terrible and in terrible shape - but her fixes were very, very wrong with a huge human cost. An unforgivably high human cost.

She also was a known supporter of the South African governemnt in the time when Western countries were sanctioning them for Apartheid. She support regimes like Pinochet, her pathetic cost cutting literally took milk from children at schools, her policies left towns in the North jobless holes.... and you can really, truly go on. Even today by the rather dramatic radicalisation of the Right wing of politcis, she is still very much hard to the right of even them.

I guess if you weighed up all she did right and all the truly appalling things she did and said, the ledger wont look good for her. People deeply loathe her for very, very good reasons.

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 Post Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:51 am 
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Marcus wrote:
She also was a known supporter of the South African governemnt in the time when Western countries were sanctioning them for Apartheid. She support regimes like Pinochet, her pathetic cost cutting literally took milk from children at schools, her policies left towns in the North jobless holes.... and you can really, truly go on.

I'm not just saying this to argue, I'm actually not very familiar with that period of history and am asking a real question. Was Thatcher's support of Pinochet and South Africa worse than the US alliance with say, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other unsavoury regimes? Was Thatcher's foreign policy worse than Tony Blair's?

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her policies left towns in the North jobless holes...

What, if anything, could have been done help the Northern towns? Weren't the mines already losing money due to forces beyond Thatcher's control? Wouldn't the factories have shut down due to foreign competition anyway? If Thatcher had never come along, how much better off would the North be today?

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 Post Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:11 am 
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Marcus wrote:
She also was a known supporter of the South African governemnt in the time when Western countries were sanctioning them for Apartheid.


They were talking about her on the radio a couple of days ago. Apparently, her view was that sanctions would hurt the people of South Africa more than the government; that there were better ways to engage the government of the time that would actually engage the government and not the poor oppressed people.

Not everyone agreed with her, but no-one managed to persuade her differently.

To quote wikipedia on the subject:

Quote:
Although saying that she was in favour of "peaceful negotiations" to end apartheid,[153] Thatcher stood against the sanctions imposed on South Africa by the Commonwealth and the EC.[154] She attempted to preserve trade with South Africa while persuading the regime there to abandon apartheid. This included "[c]asting herself as President Botha's candid friend", and inviting him to visit the UK in June 1984, in spite of the "inevitable demonstrations" against his regime.[155] Thatcher, on the other hand, dismissed the African National Congress (ANC) in October 1987 as "a typical terrorist organisation".[156][157]

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 Post Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:53 am 
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Kea wrote:
Marcus wrote:
She also was a known supporter of the South African governemnt in the time when Western countries were sanctioning them for Apartheid. She support regimes like Pinochet, her pathetic cost cutting literally took milk from children at schools, her policies left towns in the North jobless holes.... and you can really, truly go on.

I'm not just saying this to argue, I'm actually not very familiar with that period of history and am asking a real question. Was Thatcher's support of Pinochet and South Africa worse than the US alliance with say, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other unsavoury regimes? Was Thatcher's foreign policy worse than Tony Blair's?

Quote:
her policies left towns in the North jobless holes...

What, if anything, could have been done help the Northern towns? Weren't the mines already losing money due to forces beyond Thatcher's control? Wouldn't the factories have shut down due to foreign competition anyway? If Thatcher had never come along, how much better off would the North be today?


A) Was it worse? Different is what I would call it. She gave support and even troops to those regimes and I think later we'll find the support went deeper. Foreign policy? Well she did wage a war over a bunch of islands 9000 kms away that lead to a lot of people dead and a few genuine war crimes, like the sinking of a Argentinian ship that was in fact outside of the declared exclusion zone as was not even going to the Faulklands.

B) Actually plenty of the mines and factories that were shut were profitable and some highly so. And I think yes, the north would have been much better off if a better way other than confrontation was sought. Plus allowing Murdoch his unfettled way with the UK newspapers. That's had terrible consequences for a healthy 4th estate.

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They were talking about her on the radio a couple of days ago. Apparently, her view was that sanctions would hurt the people of South Africa more than the government; that there were better ways to engage the government of the time that would actually engage the government and not the poor oppressed people.


That's said plenty of times about sanctions - and I think the real opinion of Thatcher is summed up best in her own words

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Thatcher, on the other hand, dismissed the African National Congress (ANC) in October 1987 as "a typical terrorist organisation"


By that time the world in general were viewing the ANC not as terrorists and Mandella not a criminal but as a political prisoner and a just fight for equality over a brutal regime, her view was way, WAY out of line. Sanctions may not work, but let me put it this way - it's a powerful symbolic act. By the 80's it was well understood how bad and racist the South African regime was and the mere act of England making a symbolic statement would make them a moral leader, instead of moral bankrupt. Her action probably helped prolong Apartheid and did more damage than good.

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 Post Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:07 am 
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Marcus wrote:
She gave support and even troops to those regimes and I think later we'll find the support went deeper.


I never heard of her giving troops to the Apartheid government. (To be fair, at around that time I was probably mainly occupied in learning to crawl. I wasn't exactly taking much interest in politics, so I might have easily missed something). I'm also not sure if the troops you refer to were only in Chile...

Marcus wrote:
Quote:
They were talking about her on the radio a couple of days ago. Apparently, her view was that sanctions would hurt the people of South Africa more than the government; that there were better ways to engage the government of the time that would actually engage the government and not the poor oppressed people.


That's said plenty of times about sanctions - and I think the real opinion of Thatcher is summed up best in her own words

Quote:
Thatcher, on the other hand, dismissed the African National Congress (ANC) in October 1987 as "a typical terrorist organisation"


By that time the world in general were viewing the ANC not as terrorists and Mandella not a criminal but as a political prisoner and a just fight for equality over a brutal regime, her view was way, WAY out of line. Sanctions may not work, but let me put it this way - it's a powerful symbolic act. By the 80's it was well understood how bad and racist the South African regime was and the mere act of England making a symbolic statement would make them a moral leader, instead of moral bankrupt. Her action probably helped prolong Apartheid and did more damage than good.


The Apartheid regime was bad. But the ANC in 1987 wasn't without its own controversy... Mandela had been in prison since the 1960s (and wouldn't get released until a few years later), and the military arm of the ANC was doing things like setting off bombs - including in such places as shopping centres and restaurants.

In 1987, the view that those elements of Umkhonto we Sizwe that were not in prison had devolved into a terrorist organisation was not without support.

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 Post Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:47 am 
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Marcus wrote:
A) Was it worse? Different is what I would call it. She gave support and even troops to those regimes


Did Britain send any troops to Chile? We gave them some old equipment either cheaply or free in exchange for help in the Falklands, but I don't know anything about troops.

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That's said plenty of times about sanctions - and I think the real opinion of Thatcher is summed up best in her own words

Quote:
Thatcher, on the other hand, dismissed the African National Congress (ANC) in October 1987 as "a typical terrorist organisation"


Point of order - that's not her own words. Only three of them are a quote from her, and if you follow the source they aren't actually a quote from her. The quote is taken from opposition MP David Winnick, who said

Quote:
It is interesting to note that, despite the Prime Minister's remarks that the ANC is a typical terrorist organisation, officials of the ANC are, quite rightly, meeting Foreign Office officials today.


She may well have said something similar, I don't know. I'm just nitpicking in the interests of accuracy.

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 Post Posted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:20 pm 
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CCC wrote:
The Apartheid regime was bad. But the ANC in 1987 wasn't without its own controversy... Mandela had been in prison since the 1960s (and wouldn't get released until a few years later), and the military arm of the ANC was doing things like setting off bombs - including in such places as shopping centres and restaurants.

In 1987, the view that those elements of Umkhonto we Sizwe that were not in prison had devolved into a terrorist organisation was not without support.



The ANC pretty much defined "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" - and by 1987 their acts pretty much werent being seen as terrorism by governments with sanctions but part of a majority that wanted to break free of a terrible, terrible regime lashing out in anger at how they were being treated. Does it excuse targeting white civilians? Of course not. But the discourse was along the lines of :-

Sth Africa - LOOK! Terrorists!
Most of the World : What do you expect, the way you treated blacks?

Many of the Umkhonto really did suffer terribly before they took up an armed cause and lost family to the Sth African military forces without any justification.

That might be getting off the track somewhat, but I think it does help frame why Thatcher's statements were wrong -and she should have known better, esp given the group that nearly killed her wrote the book of terrorism.

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 Post Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 3:33 am 
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Which statements?

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