Thatcher: A Destroyer of Communities

I very rarely speak ill of the recently departed. But I have little affection for Margaret Thatcher who died today.

When she became Prime Minister in 1978, she used the words of St. Francis to define the tenets of her new government, “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope."

However she practiced the complete opposite and brought division, suffering, unemployment and poverty to so many communities across Britain and Ireland. Her political philosophy of individualism, light touch business regulation and free markets, was anathema to me and as a young radical in the early 1980s, I took part in many protests against her policies including that of the H-Block prisoners. 

Her government operated a dirty war in Northern Ireland and controlled Loyalist death squads that killed nationalist civilians. When IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands was elected MP with a bigger mandate than she ever achieved, she had the law changed to stop prisoners from participating in parliamentary elections. She supported right-wing anti-democratic terror regimes in countries such as Pinochet's Chile, Saudi Arabia and apartheid South Africa.
Thatcher with Pinochet
She was the chief ally of a United States that openly funded military puppet regimes in Central and South America that launched vicious wars of oppression against their own peoples.

US President Ronald Reagan and Thatcher were united in building a new expensive generation of nuclear missiles (Cruise & Pershings) that were to be placed on British and European soil. This decision spawned an international peace movement that included the huge female peace camp outside the RAF base at Greenham Common Berkshire where these weapons were to be sited.
Thatcher used all the forces of the state to destroy traditional mining communities in England. 

She took away local government in London when she abolished Greater London Council (GLC) then led by Ken LivingstonThatcher privatised key sectors of the economy to the detriment of the British people, oversaw the loss of many of nation's manufacturing industries and the growth of the financial services. Britain no longer had an international image of being a country that made and exported things. Instead London became instead an international centre for banks and financial houses which spawned a generation of young bankers and stock traders who arrogantly portrayed themselves with a 'Greed is Good' ethic. The peoples of Northern England particularly suffered immensely under her rule as the large manfactured industries closed down and as the new financial services gravitated towards the south. 
The Poll Tax left to high levels of civil unrest.
She left Britain a deeply divided unequal society. 

"Nobody would remember the Good Samaritan if he had only good intentions. He had money as well." (Thatcher 1980)
Thatcher with Rupert Murdoch
She assisted the news corporations to undermine the media trade unions and to monopolise ownership of a press that became a mouthpiece for big business.

A quote from an interview that she gave in 1987, best summaries her life’s work, “there's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families".  Such a philosophy has little time for the weak and community and only promotes greed, selfishness and egotism. 

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