The left still has much to learn from its defeats to Margaret Thatcher

Ever since Margaret Thatcher stopped appearing in public due to poor health, the left has seemingly been split between those readying themselves to celebrate her eventual passing and those who have resigned themselves to adopting her ideas.

Margaret Thatcher

Ever since Margaret Thatcher stopped appearing in public due to poor health, the left has seemingly been split between those readying themselves to celebrate her eventual passing and those who have resigned themselves to adopting her ideas.

Undoubtedly much of the news in the coming days will gloss over the political life of Mrs Thatcher with empty platitudes, focusing on the superficial aspects of Mrs Thatcher’s “firm government” at the expense of more detailed analysis of her policies.

Many on the left, however, are unlikely to forget the lives her government destroyed, the dictators she championed or the lives thrown on the scrapheap by her government’s casual disregard for the fate of the unemployed. One can accept the notion that capitalism is the least bad economic system without parroting the dictum that we are ‘all Thatcherites now’.

Many of us are not and never will be Thatcherites, and we will continue to believe that a more responsible capitalism would roll back much of the consensus championed by Mrs Thatcher and her government.

There are of course those on the left who will view Thatcher’s death as an opportunity to get one over on her family, her friends, and her supporters in a way that was not possible in an era when her ideas triumphed so emphatically. For these people, Margaret Thatcher’s death will not only to be greeted with sullen contempt but with active celebration.

Considering that during her reign Mrs Thatcher trounced the left at every opportunity, the desire to see the back of the woman is perhaps understandable. As well as this being deeply unpleasant, we on the left would do well to remember that the ideas embodied by Mrs Thatcher are not going to be dented, let alone killed-off by the departure of Mrs T from the physical realm.

The left would do well to examine with clear-sightedness where it went wrong in the 1980s, how it has behaved since then and how it can continue to learn from those historic defeats.

25 Responses to “The left still has much to learn from its defeats to Margaret Thatcher”

  1. odinschild

    Rest in peace in the sure knowledge that you put the Great back into Great Britain. When the time comes for BLiar & his cohorts, as it surely will, there’ll be street parties & fireworks. “Let lefties sneer, we’ll keep Maggie’s memory here”.

  2. Chris Kitcher

    ………and about time to. Three hearty cheers from me.

  3. Andrew Boff

    To revel in the deaths of Chavez or Thatcher says something the revellers, not the departed.

  4. XerxesVargas

    Surely we can be nuanced enough to separate Thatcher the political figure from Thatcher the woman? I never knew the woman so I don’t know what she was like socially and of course it terrible for a family that their mother has died. Should that need saying?

    But to hate Thatcher the political figure is also self-evidently justified for many. Your right to point out that with her Thatcherism didn’t die. But on a day, and in the coming weeks, when we get empty lauding of one of the most divisive figures in British politics is it not reasonable for those who oppose her legacy, or directly suffered from it, to challenge that soft focused view and point out the damage she did to this country and the damage her legacy continues to do?

  5. odinschild

    What a nasty piece of work you are. Never mind, we know you are a sad person, and we sympathize with you.

  6. odinschild

    Surely you are talking about BLiar and Brown? Now that IS damage, and the sort that we will be paying for over many years. One word for you, IRAQ!

  7. Selohesra

    indeed sometimes its better to think a few minutes before posting hate – whether from left or right

  8. Gary Gatter

    Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!

  9. dregj

    it would be nice to think of her as an unfeeling inhuman monster with all the things she did.
    But the fact is, of course, she was human and she did it all anyway.

  10. Gary Gatter

    And she put the bankrupt back into bankrupt Britain, I can’t stop smiling.

    Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!

  11. Gary Gatter

    Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!

  12. XerxesVargas

    No Thatcher. You know the woman who destroyed working class communities up and down the country for nakedly political ends. She did more damage to the UK than any other post-war Prime Minister.

  13. odinschild

    Blame Scargill & Hatton plus the rest of the leftie militants. I’m glad that she shattered your warped world. God bless her.

  14. XerxesVargas

    Its not about “leftie militants” you myopic fool. Your post above shows you are no better than they. Its about normal working class communities, some of whom did organise to resist her nakedly political attack on their jobs, communities and way of life. As is their right. What did you expect them to do?

  15. bootsy

    You can say many things about her, but taken from the last few lines of the Guardian’s obituary: “Speaking engagements made her moderately wealthy and she made her final home in London’s Belgravia.”

    Compare that to some other people I could mention. I think you know who I mean. So who is the better person exactly…

  16. bootsy

    You can say many things about her, but taken from the last few lines of the Guardian’s obituary: “Speaking engagements made her moderately wealthy and she made her final home in London’s Belgravia.”

    Compare that to some other people I could mention. I think you know who I mean. So who is the better person exactly…

  17. bootsy

    What, by building a country that feels entitled to receive welfare and handouts rather than having to work for it*. For taxing the middle classes more and more, both directly and via stealth tax, than ever before in our history.
    For taking us into unwanted wars.

    Oh wait, that was the other bunch who did ‘well’ for Britain wasn’t it.

    * Not including bankers

  18. XerxesVargas

    I’m no supporter of New Labour. So your point is? In relation to Thatcher I mean? Oh yeah you don’t have one do you? Just generalised Daily Mail lines about New Labour.

    But you could look at Thatcher decimating working communities and then leaving them to rot, for totally political reasons, as a good place to start with the blame for your supposed “country that feels entitled to receive welfare and handouts rather than having to work for it” and you can include the grapsing bankers in that too.

  19. bootsy

    Yeah, like Blair decimating the middle classes-depends on who you hate doesn’t it. Personalyl I don’t have a problem with rich or poor, black or white, as long as they did it without cronyism and govt support, otherwise any success is fake.
    Let alone the architect of the destruction of the middle classes swanning off to work for dubious regimes and companies, some of which were beneficiaries of govt bailouts. Can you spell JP Morgan?
    Not forgetting his dubious tax set up with his consulting companies.
    Don’t tell. It was Thatcher’s fault wasn’t it.

  20. Democritus

    Like who? tony Blair? he gives most of his earnings to charity. Both Blair and Thatcher commanded huge fees for speeches especially in America.

  21. Democritus

    1983 3m unemployed, 1993 2.7m unemployed, 2003 800,000 unemployed, 2013 2.5m unemployed. Which decades were conservative? which one was labour?

  22. XerxesVargas

    Oh I loathed Blair and his brand of Thatcherism lite. Everything you rail against are just echos of what she started. Se deregulated the financial markets. She kicked off the rampant individualism which has led us to a place where it’s ok to avoid taxes, take massive bonuses from state owned banks, pay the top 10% massively while the wages of the rest of us fall in real terms year after year. This is her legacy. We are reaping it now. The attack on social security and social solidarity, the attack on the NHS, the demonisation of the “shirkers”. That’s her empty legacy.

  23. NoBigGovDuh

    The right is likely to freak out and misbehave with the disrespect for thatcher.

  24. NoBigGovDuh

    Put Hitlers name in there and tell me if your statement holds.

    Stop the stupid shame both sides nonsense.

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