Let me be clear at the outset – I’m not a fan. I’m enjoying all the jokes – the Iron Lady rusting in peace, the possibility of privatising her state funeral, Thatcher the milk snatcher, and especially Judy Garland’s “Ding-Dong the Witch is Dead” storming up the charts, a huge embarrassment to the British government in the week she’s to be buried, but something they can do nothing about – a pure expression of public opinion, more pure even than an election.
But in the end an old lady has died; one who for the last twenty years was out of the public eye, and who I’m sure will me missed by her family, especially her over-privileged coup-sponsoring son Mark, who without her influence would be (and should be) languishing in either a South African or Equatorial Guinean jail.
There was one thing she did get right – she predicted that the single currency would be a disaster for Europe, and that the goal of the EU was federalisation, meaning essentially the end of the sovereign nation state in Europe.
Conservatives will always admire her for the way she broke the unions, privatised many state assets and demonised socialism. Leftists (I refuse to use the word “Liberal” – this is an economics blog and in economics “liberal” has an entirely different meaning to its political usage) will remember the poll tax (actually everyone will remember that), the closing of schools and hospitals, and the depletion of social housing.
And that’s just in Britain. To say that she was not loved in Ireland would be an understatement. For South Africans, she was known as a supporter of the apartheid regime (as was Reagan). Her treatment of and comments about Nelson Mandela won’t be forgotten easily; ironically the latter gentleman will probably be joining her rather too soon in whatever passes for an afterlife for you humans. Chileans will remember her providing sanctuary to Augusto Pinochet, and Argentinians, well let’s not even go there……..
But the single biggest thing which affects us all, in every way and every day, is that the right-wing economic policies implemented and cemented by Margaret Thatcher and her US counterpart Ronald Reagan in the early 1980s have led directly to the sidelining of the productive sector of the economy, in favour of the financial sector. The latter’s rampant and unregulated economic aggression is the overriding cause of the economic crisis we find ourselves in today.