Sunday, 14 April 2013

My last words on Mrs T (hopefully)

The rather tedious adulation of Mrs Thatcher continues and will continue until after her funeral on Wednesday. I'm not sure what I'll be doing when it happens but I think it's safe to say that I won't be glued to the TV.  I'm not going to bang on anymore about her policies but, as a last hoorah, I will mention just one particular aspect of her personality that always rankled with me: her attitude to the people made redundant as a consequence of her policy to close coalmines  (and lots of other manufacturing industries for that matter).

You can agree or disagree with the justification given for the closures but I, for one, cannot forget or forgive her lack of compassion and sympathy for the hardships and suffering caused to the thousands of workers and their families thrown onto the “scrapheap” of unemployment. This was done with little thought or effort made by her government to the creation of alternative industries and training as a means of providing paid work (and I speak from my observations and knowledge of what happened in the coalfields of South Wales). She callously abandoned these people and then cynically went on a publicity-seeking solo “walkabout” in a derelict area (Crosby, site of a large steelworks)  talking about re-generation when she had no plans and little enthusiasm as to how to achieve it. It was this lack of compassion and sympathy that exposed the cynicism and hypocrisy of her quoting St Francis of Assisi on the steps of No 10 “Where there is discord may there be harmony” when she and her government thrived, encouraged and prospered on discord.

And finally a word about those celebrating her death. You do not have to eulogize her, admire her or even like her, but I do think the feelings of her family should be respected. Having said that, am I alone in thinking that the criticism of the celebrations by the likes of Posh Dave is somewhat devalued by the fact that he travelled to Libya to celebrate the overthrow and death of Colonel Ghadaffi? Do unto others.......?

(And the painting? It's by John Opie and is called 'Boadicea Haranguing the Britons'. In its fashion, it reminds me of the way Mrs T imperiously berated both foes and friends in the House of Commons).

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