Friday, 19 April 2013

Maggie's Magazine

The news over the last two weeks has been dominated with remembrance for the  life of Margaret Thatcher, who was Prime Minister of the UK from 1979 to 1990.  Along with many others I have found myself obsessing about her life and impact.  Extraordinarily my daughter, who is completely uninterested in politics, spent the month of March writing an essay for her History Degree on the relative importance of the 1979 election compared to the 1945 election.  The '45 election ushered in 30 years of political consensus on the need for government intervention in all aspects of society and the economy, and the '79 turned the tide and has also created a similar consensus.  We spent 2-3 weeks discussing the impact of that election win so I was already in the 'zone' when news of her death broke.

I was 19 when Thatcher became Prime Minister and unlike most of my generation I was captivated by her determination to deliver a simple but consensus changing plan.  By the time we had retaken the Falklands Islands I had joined the Army and at the time of her belated resignation I was working in the newspaper industry.  Sometimes infuriating, always compelling and controversial she dominated the formative  years of my life.  By her will alone the UK was rescued from becoming a third world banana republic so it's vital that we keep the memory, without glossing over the mistakes that she made.

So I thought it would be helpful to put a magazine together of my blogs, pulling together my personal remembrance of Mrs T.

When the news broke of her stoke and death I wrote an off the cuff post on the amazing self belief that she had and her self reliance and suspicion of advisers

On reflection I wrote a better and more balanced piece on the impact she had on the UK, remembering how bad it was when she took over but also considering the things she didn't fix and some that she broke

On the day of the funeral I dug out her five point plan from 1979 - she actually delivered the whole package and very few politicians even commit to a plan let alone execute on it

And finally I looked at the impact of economic theory and dogma on political leaders, contrasting the problems George Osborne has created for himself with Margaret Thatchers romance with Milton Friedman and Sir Alan Walters.  The moral is that politics and economic theory rarely mix well - ask Karl Marx!


As an interesting postscript to this sad week Simon Johnson at the Telegraph rages against Ed Miliband's desire to rip up the legacy of the 1980s market economy.  From a high point in February this error of judgement could see the end of Miliband's opportunistic bid for power.  We will see if Margaret Thatcher remains a force from beyond the grave!

My final thoughts were devoted to my next door neighbor's daughter who went to the funeral to protest against Margaret Thatchers 'values'.  As a privately educated and some would say over privileged young lady her sense of timing made me really angry.  Has she ever demonstrated against Thatcherism before?  No!  will she ever do so again?  No!  Is it good timing to take up the chant 'Maggie, Maggie, Maggie - Out! Out! Out! at the old ladies funeral?  I think not!

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