Margaret Thatcher

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Margaret Thatcher

Postby Simon » Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:16 pm

Dear Brits,

watched "The Iron Lady" the other day and was thinking how close to reality this movie is, according to your own memories, if you are old enough to have been a politically conscious person then, of course. Do you think the movie is a good portrayal? What do you think of her now? Were here decisions necessary? Did the end justify the means?
Also, do you think she comes off too well or too bad in this movie? I remember a Jonathan Coe novel in which the Thatcher years are the focus. Thatcher is really bashed there. So, I was just wondering what you think of her nowadays.
Of course people outside Britain can offer their opinions as well.
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Re: Margaret Thatcher

Postby fairydandy » Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:45 pm

Simon wrote:Dear Brits,

watched "The Iron Lady" the other day and was thinking how close to reality this movie is, according to your own memories, if you are old enough to have been a politically conscious person then, of course. Do you think the movie is a good portrayal? What do you think of her now? Were here decisions necessary? Did the end justify the means?
Also, do you think she comes off too well or too bad in this movie? I remember a Jonathan Coe novel in which the Thatcher years are the focus. Thatcher is really bashed there. So, I was just wondering what you think of her nowadays.
Of course people outside Britain can offer their opinions as well.


I haven't seen the movie. I can tell you that she was pretty much hated by everyone at that time. It's curious how those 'hated' politicians like her and Blair get voted back in three times, but still...

I hated her because at that time I was young and naive enough to think that having a social conscience was a good thing :P ..and she seemed to be very much an 'I'm alright Jack' sort of a PM (meaning that it was all for youself and don't mind anyone else) and I wanted everyone to be a success and to be cared for. I hated her for breaking the miners union because I always (naively) saw the miners as the backbone of the country. Hmm, I look back at her now and think she was a necessary evil. The unions 'were' too strong, we did need to stand on our own two feet and whilst I would never say that we needed 3 million unemployed, there might be an argument that we came back stronger country and workforce because of it, there was certainly fewer strikes as she got us all to get mortgages, so we couldn't afford it!
 
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Re: Margaret Thatcher

Postby Simon » Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:56 pm

Thanks for your reply. I think I remember that you have disclosed your change in political views over the years. Hence I was a bit curious what your take on it was.
From what I remember her portrayal in German media was quite neutral. Her appearances were certainly always very cold. Nowadays I think I can understand that, being a woman, she had to do it this way. Otherwise, she might not have gotten the respect needed to become a political leader.
Of course there is no way to find out how the country would have developed if she did not have made it. Either way, quite the enigmatic character.
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Re: Margaret Thatcher

Postby Pingu » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:31 pm

Well I've not seen the film either but it's probably fair to say that in reality she divides opinions in the UK like no other political figure in living memory. As a very young man when she was in power (I was 17 when she was ousted) I found her and her Government to be both incredibly callous and yet utterly committed to their project. Much like their party in Government today, they relentlessly told us that they were absolutely and morally right, and that their policies were ultimately good for us, and that there was no alternative to their way of thinking. The great tragedy is that they won the battle and arguably the wider 'war', with subsequent governments at best working with what they bequeathed us, and at worst seeking to continue and enhance their policies- the ongoing dismantling and selling off of Social and State services, the monopolisation of money and national assets into the hands of business, bankers and the wealthy and connected, a contempt for anything and anyone that does not turn a profit, and a mistrust of collectivism and the unions.

As a person,she in many ways set the precedent as a presidential PM, as a lot of people admired her for her personality and as a UK figurehead, regardless of her policies. Arguably people responded to Blair in the same way, while Major and Brown failed to similarly capture the public's imagination (although Major at least won an election). Cameron has aped some of her politics, with a touch of Blair's everybloke persona, but has thus far failed to become a personality leader of the stature of either (heading a coalition government has possibly benefitted him as he's instead seen as a part of a somewhat compromised ad-hoc governmental set up).

I despise almost everything she did, while understanding ideologically why she did it (remember the Unions did for her predecessors Ted Heath and Jim Callaghan- a Labour PM- so it's little surprise she ruthlessly broke them when in power). Unfortunately the then Government's monetary-influenced policy, in many ways incompatible with the one-nation Toryism of previous administrations, has become almost the baseline of our daily lives. The relentless drum-banging about "benefit scroungers", the belief that profit is the only measure of success even for public institutions including the NHS, public transport and the Universities, are echoes of her Government's attitude and policies that have irrevocably shaped the psyche of this country. Even the seeds of the banking crisis were sown in her time. There is also a school of thought that she saved the UK from Communism, European also-ran obscurity and left-wing sanctioned financial ruin but I'll let someone else talk about that :)
 
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Re: Margaret Thatcher

Postby fairydandy » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:52 pm

Simon wrote:Thanks for your reply. I think I remember that you have disclosed your change in political views over the years. Hence I was a bit curious what your take on it was.
From what I remember her portrayal in German media was quite neutral. Her appearances were certainly always very cold. Nowadays I think I can understand that, being a woman, she had to do it this way. Otherwise, she might not have gotten the respect needed to become a political leader.
Of course there is no way to find out how the country would have developed if she did not have made it. Either way, quite the enigmatic character.


I look at a few of the youngsters here and whilst I respect their intelligence and their views, I do sort of think that 'I have been there too'. I know they don't want me patronising them, but I do believe their view of life and their political allegiances will change as they grow older.
 
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Re: Margaret Thatcher

Postby Belle Leisha » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:14 pm

fairydandy wrote:
Simon wrote:Thanks for your reply. I think I remember that you have disclosed your change in political views over the years. Hence I was a bit curious what your take on it was.
From what I remember her portrayal in German media was quite neutral. Her appearances were certainly always very cold. Nowadays I think I can understand that, being a woman, she had to do it this way. Otherwise, she might not have gotten the respect needed to become a political leader.
Of course there is no way to find out how the country would have developed if she did not have made it. Either way, quite the enigmatic character.


I look at a few of the youngsters here and whilst I respect their intelligence and their views, I do sort of think that 'I have been there too'. I know they don't want me patronising them, but I do believe their view of life and their political allegiances will change as they grow older.


I think I hate her less than you do. :P I wasn't there which helps, makes it less personal. I do give her the credit though, of believing she believed what she was doing was the best thing for the country. Her modern day version Mr Cameron, doesn't believe in anything. The film was in my opinion, a bit overly sentimental. These days, she's an old and ill woman, I hate what she stands for, the Unions were necessary, now we need them back badly, but I have no feelings about her whatsoever. I even think it's a bit of a shame, to see her so frail.

And you're right of course, my views and all other younger people's views might change as they get older, they will certainly develop with experience. But I'm a socialist now because my parents were then and remain to be to this day. ;)

(Interesting Fact: In Tony Benn's memoirs he mentions being at an event in the 90s attended by many former politicians, Thatcher included. While there, she was asked what her greatest political achievement was, she responded "New Labour". True dat.)
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Re: Margaret Thatcher

Postby bluerhap » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:26 pm

fairydandy wrote:
Simon wrote:Thanks for your reply. I think I remember that you have disclosed your change in political views over the years. Hence I was a bit curious what your take on it was.
From what I remember her portrayal in German media was quite neutral. Her appearances were certainly always very cold. Nowadays I think I can understand that, being a woman, she had to do it this way. Otherwise, she might not have gotten the respect needed to become a political leader.
Of course there is no way to find out how the country would have developed if she did not have made it. Either way, quite the enigmatic character.


I look at a few of the youngsters here and whilst I respect their intelligence and their views, I do sort of think that 'I have been there too'. I know they don't want me patronising them, but I do believe their view of life and their political allegiances will change as they grow older.

A good point well made old man. As you get older you see the bigger political picture and that your own life is far more interesting than M.P.`s trying to further their career. As Billy Connelly said ,anybody interested in being an MP should be immediately banned from politics.
 
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Re: Margaret Thatcher

Postby fairydandy » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:59 pm

Belle Leisha wrote:These days, she's an old and ill woman, I hate what she stands for, the Unions were necessary, now we need them back badly, but I have no feelings about her whatsoever. I even think it's a bit of a shame, to see her so frail.


I have no time at all for unions these days Belle. From personal experience they are run by people who have only their own egoes and interests at heart (personal experience only). I became very disillusioned with them in the late 80's after a strike at work. I stood on the picket line for six weeks and a shop steward 'hero' of mine went back to work along with half of the workforce! It was shortly after that, that I started to take a more balanced view of things and I realised that the company weren't really asking that much after all...they were just asking us to do some bloody work!!

Unions have a role, but they have to let a company make money and they have to adapt to change (otherwise there will be no jobs for anyone).
 
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Re: Margaret Thatcher

Postby Pingu » Tue Jan 01, 2013 8:30 pm

Belle Leisha wrote:
fairydandy wrote:
Simon wrote:Thanks for your reply. I think I remember that you have disclosed your change in political views over the years. Hence I was a bit curious what your take on it was.
From what I remember her portrayal in German media was quite neutral. Her appearances were certainly always very cold. Nowadays I think I can understand that, being a woman, she had to do it this way. Otherwise, she might not have gotten the respect needed to become a political leader.
Of course there is no way to find out how the country would have developed if she did not have made it. Either way, quite the enigmatic character.


I look at a few of the youngsters here and whilst I respect their intelligence and their views, I do sort of think that 'I have been there too'. I know they don't want me patronising them, but I do believe their view of life and their political allegiances will change as they grow older.


I think I hate her less than you do. :P I wasn't there which helps, makes it less personal. I do give her the credit though, of believing she believed what she was doing was the best thing for the country. Her modern day version Mr Cameron, doesn't believe in anything. The film was in my opinion, a bit overly sentimental. These days, she's an old and ill woman, I hate what she stands for, the Unions were necessary, now we need them back badly, but I have no feelings about her whatsoever. I even think it's a bit of a shame, to see her so frail.
....


It's important of course to separate the politician from the human being (although like anyone her politics reflected her personality to some degree). I take no joy in seeing her become elderly and infirm, though I daresay there's a lot of people in the UK who will not be nearly as secure or well looked after in their later years. And I also remember what Elvis Costello said when interviewed about his song "Tramp The Dirt Down"- that although he didn't think of the woman as an monster, the impact of many of her actions could rightly be described as monstrous.
 
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Re: Margaret Thatcher

Postby Belle Leisha » Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:25 pm

fairydandy wrote:
I have no time at all for unions these days Belle. From personal experience they are run by people who have only their own egoes and interests at heart (personal experience only). I became very disillusioned with them in the late 80's after a strike at work. I stood on the picket line for six weeks and a shop steward 'hero' of mine went back to work along with half of the workforce! It was shortly after that, that I started to take a more balanced view of things and I realised that the company weren't really asking that much after all...they were just asking us to do some bloody work!!

Unions have a role, but they have to let a company make money and they have to adapt to change (otherwise there will be no jobs for anyone).


Yeah the TUC sold out, twice, to the destruction of huge workforces. Unions under capitalism, always will. But the workers HAVE to be represented. Something has to stand between hard working people and exploitation. Trade Unions gave us minimum wage, and week ends. They are the reason we don't have sweat shops and workhouses. They're not perfect, but they are far, far preferable to all of the power being with corporations and the Government. I entirely understand people becoming disillusioned, the fall of the minor's strike was a devastating blow to that kind of of mind set. But even if people now, don't believe in Unions, don't believe Thatcher (more accurately, the administration that used her as a figurehead) ruined this country, then at least everyone should know what Trade Unions gave ordinary people.
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Re: Margaret Thatcher

Postby fairydandy » Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:41 pm

Belle Leisha wrote:Yeah the TUC sold out, twice, to the destruction of huge workforces. Unions under capitalism, always will. But the workers HAVE to be represented. Something has to stand between hard working people and exploitation. Trade Unions gave us minimum wage, and week ends. They are the reason we don't have sweat shops and workhouses. They're not perfect, but they are far, far preferable to all of the power being with corporations and the Government. I entirely understand people becoming disillusioned, the fall of the minor's strike was a devastating blow to that kind of of mind set. But even if people now, don't believe in Unions, don't believe Thatcher (more accurately, the administration that used her as a figurehead) ruined this country, then at least everyone should know what Trade Unions gave ordinary people.


I'm well aware of the benefits that trade unions have given us Belle and I applaud them for that. The irony for me was that it wasn't Thatcher that turned me away from socialist ideals and caring for others, it was the union and the members.
 
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Re: Margaret Thatcher

Postby Belle Leisha » Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:07 pm

fairydandy wrote:
I'm well aware of the benefits that trade unions have given us Belle and I applaud them for that. The irony for me was that it wasn't Thatcher that turned me away from socialist ideals and caring for others, it was the union and the members.


I know, I completely agree, the Union leaders and self interested members, did far more wrong in breaking the strikes, than Thatcher did in breaking the Unions. She never pretended to be anything other than a Tory. But what genuine union members or just workers/socialists, whatever, were fighting for, is still the good side, even if people don't want to fight for it anymore.
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Re: Margaret Thatcher

Postby Kes » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:37 am

The thing with the unions, was that in the 70s, the unions controlled the Labour party, and it was those same unions that did the damage in creating a climate where Thatcher could get in for the best part of three terms.

While she did right in the basic idea that local taxes should be means tested and paid by all, it's implementation seemed to favour the rich, and the selling off of nationalised assets is STILL biting us in the arse now. She wasn't the best thing we could have wished for, but given that the alternative was Michael Foot and Coco Kinnock, she was probably the best available at the time.

A prime minister's reign is largely reflected on by the political climate, and like Cameron's legacy left him by his predecessors, her's wasn't particularly rosey. Probably the best time in my lifetime was Blair's, but how much of that was his making, and the effect of the world economy, is arguable.

You're never going to be liked if you're the one armed with a surgeon's knife doing the cutting. Equally, if you just sit there letting a bad situation get worse, you're going to get rumbled, and that's what happened to Gordon Brown.
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Re: Margaret Thatcher

Postby Kes » Sat Jan 05, 2013 11:45 am

Looking back now, what justification was there to sell off British Telecom? An industry which made 98% profit?

In the world of today, telecoms companies are immense moneyspinners, as are the power companies, as are the ammenity companies, and if the government still had a majority stake in those, your taxes would be significantly less.

Effectively, what they did was to redistribute the country's wealth to those who could afford to buy it, which when we work it out, was largely sat in their part of the electorate.
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Re: Margaret Thatcher

Postby Belle Leisha » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:35 pm

Kes wrote: it's implementation seemed to favour the rich, and the selling off of nationalised assets is STILL biting us in the arse now.


I'd call that a dramatic understatement to say the least. :P She was the worst single event in our brief post war political history, but lets be completely fair and say she was defeated by the simple will of the people in the poll tax, the same will could roll back any error made by the Government, what we lack is a united voice...little u, union, if you prefer. :P
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