The reverence accorded to Margaret Thatcher needs be seen in context. I did very well out of Thatcherism, but then I am a (reasonably) well educated, middle-class white man from the south east of England, so the chances are that I would. I also won with the National Health Service, free further education, easy employment when I wanted to work and a very generous social security system for when I didn't. Oh yes, and the minute I bought a house, property values soared, securing me a valuable asset for later. My generation got all the goodies and then pulled the drawbridge up behind us. Thatcher would be proud of that, hell, she was proud of that.
She was my MP in the 1960s when I lived in Finchley, I disliked her then, grew to distrust her and finally to detest her and everything she and her bully-boy government stood for. But time has mellowed me [Not much - Ed.] and it is time for a more objective take on it all, in a subjective way of course.
Leaving aside the lack of precedent for what is in effect a state funeral for someone who was not a head of state, does not have the suport of the whole (or even half) of the population, and was not a 'national treasure', her ceremonial funeral is costing in the region of £10m. The chances are that the majority of the bill will be paid by the tax payer - and I doubt the £10m includes 'lost production' while the great British public, lucky enough to have a job, watch the display at their workplaces, or just take the day off. All this in the same week as the disabled and unemployed have their benefits cut to save the public purse £100m, the equivalent of a handful of City bonuses.
This was the Prime Minister who did not know the meaning of the word compromise, who brought the 'big bang' to the City of London and paved the way for what turned out to be unregulated financial services that destroyed the savings and pensions of millions of Britons, sowed the seeds of the greatest, and most destructive social divide between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots' since Victorian times, and celebrated greed and personal gain over communal wellbeing. She also befriended General Pinochet in Chile (if you don't know, Google him), thought of Nelson Mandela as a terrorist and, and, and...
Many who revere her appear to have done very well out of Thatcher and her spiteful regime. They seem to see the cost of things rather than their value. They have bought into the gung-ho simplicity of Thatcherism 'making Britain great' again. Maybe one of them can tell me how that greatness manifests itself? Preferably without recourse to saying how extreme the unions were in the 1970s. At the same time, maybe they can explain how extremes in either direction are anything but divisive.
Time of course will tell exactly how much damage her crass worship of market forces will wreak on our society, but while we wait here is a summary of the various achievements of two British Prime Ministers as recorded on the official Downing Street web site: