Why do we hate Thatcher in the North?

As a girl from the North, I don’t think we’ll ever forget the damage done by Thatcher. I remember the jubilation when she resigned as Prime Minister; I was thirteen and my friend Daniel came running in shouting, “Thatcher’s resigned! Thatcher’s resigned!” It’s difficult to explain to Italian friends how divisive and destructive her policies were and remain.

   When I hear people talking about the current recession, I’m reminded that some towns and cities in the UK have never fully recovered from the damage she inflicted on them in the 1980s. The loss of our manufacturing industries, the massive unemployment, the poverty, the rise of inequality and the places just allowed to rot. Communities destroyed to break the unions, deregulate industry and promote the growth of the banking and service sector. What an excellent move that was to rely so heavily on the banks and financial services she deregulated! Unlike Italy and Germany, Britain doesn’t make anything any more. Her choice.
   David Cameron said today she saved our country, “Taking on the unions, privatising industry, letting people buy their council homes.” Every part of his statement is wrong. I can’t think of any of those points where the opposite is not true and did not do massive damage to the collective good.
   It is not a case of thinking ill of the dead, it is a case of not allowing history to be rewritten. Yes her influence will be felt for a long time. Today’s Guardian editorial sums it up: Her legacy is of public division, private selfishness and a cult of greed, which together shackle far more of the human spirit than they ever set free.And then, her successors in the current government complain and seem surprised when people act in a crude, in-it-for-themselves sort of way. Unless they are rich of course. Then it’s ok. Lest we forget.

9 comments

  1. Its at times like this that music can often come to the fore. A song can act as a lens, focussing the the wide field into powerfull emotion. It can capture the zietgiest with a single potent lyric that comes to represent the depth of feeling of a whole generation. The song that has rung around my mind all day goes…”Ding dong the wicked witch is dead.”

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  2. Not just the north-the most honest comments yesterday came from Wales(remember the mines and the steel industry),Scotland (the anti poll tax marchers in Glasgow and Alex Salmond) and Northern Ireland(Gerry Adams reflecting on the damage done in holding off any settlement). Internationally too the A.N.C reminded us that Thatcher described them as terrorists. Bea Campbell was also very clear in scotching the myth that Thatcher did anything for women's rights.
    All these comments came from the heart whereas all the labour party seemed to be doing was telling people not to be disrespectful and mumbling about legacies.
    Unfortunately the celebrations are a bit premature when monetarist policies are plunging us ever backward to Dickensian Britain.
    Hopefully over the next few days people will be reminded of all the damage that was done.
    Carolyn
    In memory of your great great grandfather William Owen Hughes(1st secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers in North Wales)

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  3. The blanket coverage of Thatcher stirs up the ancient hatreds – reminds us that class hatred is alive and well. We suffered a decade of deindustrialisation and decimation of our communities – we have not recovered 30 years later.Thatcher and co demolished our mining, shipbuilding, and enginering.Replacing them with debt, speculation and handed our economy over to the bankers providing clear pathways to our current austerity and bankruptsy. With blood on her hands in the Falklands she showed you could bolster your political support through waging a foreign war a lesson followed by all british governments ever since. We cannot forget the wonderful and amazing Miners who fought not only for their own jobs and communities but conscoiusly for all of us. Thatcher militarised the police and set them on the miners – as usual deserted by the trade union leaders.Instead of the wastelands of pit villages we could have had thriving communities with models of local democratic control.What a shameful waste of human potential!! After a moments reflection we could rediscover our resistances. fraternally michael

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  4. Brilliant writing! Yes, I think it’s important to know and keep in mind these stories.
    Most part of italian citizens haven’t a clear idea of Thatcher’s politics. Probably the most part thinks that she brought a great and positive wave of growth to England. In fact nowadays Italians approves Matteo Renzi (our prime minister) whose political strategy is someway close to Thatcher. Maybe history will repeat itself…

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    • Thank you Cristina. I fear that if Renzi has modelled himself on Tony Blair/Thatcher then his policies won’t do much to help Italy’s economic situation. Modernisation (usually meaning privatisation) hasn’t helped the UK. Thanks again for reading and contributing 🙂

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