Thursday, 11 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher- Hero or Antihero?

Margaret Thatcher- Hero or Antihero?

Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013) -Hero or Antihero? You make up your mind

British Prime Minister for 11 years and 209 days: 1975-1990

She has been criticised as being divisive and for promoting greed and selfishness.

"Thatcherism" came to refer to her policies as well as aspects of her ethical outlook and personal style, including moral absolutism, nationalism, interest in the individual, and an uncompromising approach to achieving political goals.

Quote: "You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning"

Perhaps why some people think she is a hero:
September 1987- " I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand "I have a problem, it is the Government's job to cope with it!" or "I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!" "I am homeless, the Government must house me!" and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing!
There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first.
It is our duty to look after ourselves and then also to help look after our neighbour and life is a reciprocal business and people have got the entitlements too much in mind without the obligations"

The nickname "Iron Lady", originally given to her by the Soviets, became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style

She took back The Falklands by defeating the Argentines

Opposed the general idea of the EU- quote: European Union was "fundamentally unreformable", "a classic utopian project, a monument to the vanity of intellectuals, a programme whose inevitable destiny is failure"

"Being Prime Minister is a lonely job. In a sense, it ought to be: you cannot lead from the crowd"

She was the first living British Prime Minister to be honoured with a statue in the Houses of Parliament:
"I might have preferred iron – but bronze will do ... It won't rust."

The Antihero?:
She increased interest rates to slow the growth of the money supply and thereby lower inflation, introduced cash limits on public spending, and reduced expenditure on social services such as education and housing.

Her cuts in higher education spending resulted in her being the first Oxford-educated post-war Prime Minister not to be awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Oxford, after a 738 to 319 vote of the governing assembly and a student petition

Thatcher reformed local government taxes by replacing domestic rates—a tax based on the nominal rental value of a home—with the Community Charge (or poll tax) (ultimately, this was the last straw, her political Waterloo)

According to the BBC, Thatcher "managed to destroy the power of the trade unions for almost a generation".

Her quote on the protracted, frequent Miners' strike- "We had to fight the enemy without in the Falklands. We always have to be aware of the enemy within, which is much more difficult to fight and more dangerous to liberty."

The eventual closure of 150 coal mines, not all of which were losing money, resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and devastated entire communities

She attempted to preserve trade with South Africa while persuading the regime there to abandon apartheid. This included "casting 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. Thatcher, on the other hand, dismissed the African National Congress (ANC) in October 1987 as "a typical terrorist organisation

Following the vastly unpopular abolition of free milk for school children- while trying to save money:
" I had incurred the maximum of political odium for the minimum of political benefit"

She was a protagonist of New Racism:

New racism-ideology which involves: racist public discourse depicting immigrants as a threat
New racism had to cope with the mainstream official repudiation of racism, Fascism and Nazism, and as a consequence substituted the rhetoric of race and biology with that of cultural identity

What do you think?

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