Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Maggie Thatcher (1925-2013)

There was some amount of discussion in Left Blogostan about whether there should be a speak-no-evil rule about recently departed major political leaders, this one occasioned by the passing of former British Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Glenn Greenwald's Margaret Thatcher and misapplied death etiquette Guardian 04/08/2013 makes the case against excessive reverence.

But any decent report on a political leader's career would have to include reasons that people criticized them. This Euronews report dealt with her critics, and included her not-at-all admirable friendship with the Chilean dictator and torture perpetrator Augusto Pinochet, Margaret Thatcher: The Iron Lady who divided a nation 04/09/2013:

Here's Peter Coy recalling Margaret Thatcher's Forgotten Tax Increase Bloomberg Businessweek 04/09/2013.

A short report from Euronews, Margaret Thatcher: The Iron Lady who divided a nation 04/09/2013:

This is a Spanish-language obituary report from TV Pública argentina, Murió Margaret Thatcher 04/08/2013:

Aljazeera English's Inside Story recaps Thatcher's career, The legacy of the 'Iron Lady' 04/09/2013:

Also from Euronews, Joy not grief as those opposed to Thatcher celebrate her death 04/09/2013:

Here's John Fugelsang: Saying ‘Hateful’ Things About World Leaders On The Day They Die Liberals Unite 04/08/2013:

Hans Hoyng in Eisernes Misstrauen. Thatcher und die Wiedervereinigung Einestages 09.04.2013 recalls Thatcher's opposition to German unification.

Joe Conason looks at her legacy with an unsentimental eye in Her Tea Party: What Margaret Thatcher Really Meant To England And The World National Memo 04/09/2013

Paul Krguman asks, Did Thatcher Turn Britain Around? 04/08/2013

This is an obituary from Argentina's Página 12: Marcelo Justo, Murió la mano de hierro del ultracapitalismo 09.04.2013

The front page of Página 12 for 04/09/2013 gives a hint that Maggie Thatcher isn't universally highly regarded there. Argentina had a war over the Malvinas/Falkland Islands against Britain under Thatcher. Even though it was lead by a much-hated military dictatorship, which fell as a result of losing the war, the war was popular because there's no real disagrement in Argentina over whether the islands are theirs. Also, trials in Argentina are still going on over crimes committed by the military dictatorships. And trials just opened that include Chilean defendents over the international cooperation among military dictators in the early 1980s under what was known as Plan Condor.

The headlines: "Those cruel years"; "Bad memories"; "Galtieri is waiting for her in Hell"; "Thatcher will be remembered but didn't leave anything positive"; "Only Videla and Bush are still alive"; "There are no reasons to cry for her." At least they didn't use, "Don't cry for her, Argentina." [groan]

Yanis Varoufakis in Farewell Mrs Thatcher: In spite of everything, you are being missed already 04/09/2013 writes of her contradictions:

She was the first woman Prime Minister but had little sympathy for the suffragettes (and the women’s movement in general) that broke the barriers to women’s progress, thus allowing her to rise up. She wanted to liberate Britons from the state but ended up granting Whitehall (Britain’s London-based functionaries) hitherto unheard of authoritarian powers. She sought to impose libertarian values, only to discover that she needed an autocratic state in order to do so (which explains nicely her fondness for, and defence of, General Pinochet). She preached judiciousness, on matters economic, and thrift, yet her government built the ‘British Miracle’ on the twin bubbles of real estate and the City created by spivs who worshipped her. She was keen to see the end of the old Etonian ruling circle but, unwittingly, created the conditions for the resurgence of that aristocratic clique (just take a look at the present cabinet). She championed a ‘share owners’ democracy’ but delivered a Britain in which ownership of businesses (and wealth) is more concentrated in the hands of a minority than at the time she became Prime Minister. She campaigned against totalitarianism in Moscow while insisting that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist who deserved to languish in gaol. Above all other contradictions, she argued passionately about a return to the Victorian moral life but gave rise to a regime in which it was impossible to imagine anything good being done for its own sake (as opposed to for profit).
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1 comment:

Theophrastus Bombastus von Hoehenheim den Sidste said...

Speaking only for myself, I am glad that the witch is dead.