Wednesday, May 06, 2009

30 years of Thatcher

The many myths surrounding the Iron Lady.

Tons of ink are being deployed to dissect the legacy of Margaret Thatcher. Many are in the vein of Peter Oborne's piece in the Daily Mail, perpetuating the idea that Maggie was one of the "two truly great Prime Ministers in the last 100 years" - and that she was multiplying bread and fish.

But the way Oborne massages the facts to fit them into his discourse is simply ace. When he writes about "the facts of social corrosion", he points towards the number of children born out of wedlock. "Back in 1979, three-quarters of all women between 18 and 49 were married", he says. "Only 49 per cent are now - and the number is falling fast".

Except, Oborne forgets to mention, the same numbers started nosediving during the Thatcher years. In 1986 one in seven families were headed by a single parent. By 1991 it was one in five. But , in the Mail's world, it's all hail-the-Lady nonetheless.

Johann Hari in today's Independent challenges all the lazy myths about the Iron Lady one by one.

For instance, that of the alleged "champion of freedom" who was -at the same time- a great supporter of white-only South Africa and of the fascist regime headed by General Pinochet in Chile. And more: Hari reminds us of Thatcher's unashamed onslaught on the LGBT community.

Not to mention the pernicious effect she had on the economy. Aside from the dearth of council homes, the destruction of whole communities and the rest, "thanks to her policies", Hari writes, "a whole generation of poor and lower middle class children remained stuck, unable to achieve their potential", adding that "the tragedy of Margaret Thatcher is that she sincerely believed rolling back the state would create a generation like her father, a moral, self-reliant grocer. Instead, it created a wave of parasitic, amoral businessmen".

1 comment:

Anita said...

What did my head in particularly was an article on MSN News & Weather!!! Yes, thats right, the webpage that takes you to your Hotmail account.

Now, these people, they normally write about the shallowest crap, celebs, bizarre stuff and football.
Yesterday they had this piece called "Why Margaret Thatcer was good for Britain". A whole load of bullshit.
The worrying bit, however, is that the tide may be turning and everything Tory, protofascist Maggie included, may be seen as
safe & sound.
Here's the link