Look Left – The legacy of Margaret Thatcher, Paris Brown and the Royal Mail

James Bloodworth looks back at the week’s politics, including our progressive, regressive and evidence of the week.

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Margaret Thatcher, the longest serving British prime minister of the 20th century, died on Monday from a stroke aged 87.

During her stint in Downing Street Lady Thatcher fiercely divided opinion, and this was evident as the news of her passing broke, with many paying tribute to the former prime minister but others choosing to mark the occasion with celebrations.

The official line is that Margaret Thatcher is not being granted a state funeral. Yet her body will be taken by gun carriage from St Clement Danes in the Strand, down Fleet Street and into St Paul’s Cathedral next Wednesday.

This week Richard Carr looked at how Thatcherism has outlived its great protagonist,while James Bloodworth looked at five progressive things done by Mrs T. Anna Turley of IPPR North looked at how the North was hit By Thatcher’s rule compared to the South. James Bloodworth looked at whether the poor got richer under Thatcher and Marco Attila Hoare looked at how Mrs Thatcher turned the left upside down.

• Controversy erupted this week after Britain’s first youth police commissioner was found to have posted what appeared to be homophobic and racist posts on Twitter several years ago.

The Daily Mail led on the story, demanding to know if Ms Brown was suitable to be “the future of policing” considering her past behaviour. Well she won’t be now. An apologetic Paris Brown said she had “declined the offer” of the position of Kent Youth Police and Crime Commissioner on Tuesday after the media campaign against her.

This week Joe Jones asked whether it was appropriate to punish a young girl for tweets made when she was 14. He also looked at whether the Daily Mail were really the right ones to take the moral high ground on homophobia and racism, as well as the lessons to take from the debacle.

• It was this week claimed by the campaign group Save Our Royal Mail that the price of a stamp could hit £1 with the sell off of Royal Mail

Cost cutting that will follow a sale will also place a big question mark over services to rural areas and the various freepost services for the blind and the armed forces overseas, the group claimed.

This week Mario Dunn of Save Our Royal Mail wrote for Left Foot Forward about the potential dangers of privatisation.

Progressive of the Week:

Left Foot Forward contributor Ed Jacobs has started a petition calling for a guarantee of access to appropriate mental health treatment within 28 days on the NHS.

One in four of us will at some point suffer from a mental health problem, and many will require treatment and support. Ed is hoping that through the petition he can put pressure on the three major parties to commit to a 28 day limit.

Regressive of the week:

Guido Fawkes this week produced a graph which he claimed showed that under Margaret Thatcher the poor got richer.

What he didn’t consider is the fact that over the course of a decade most people do tend to get slightly richer, whoever is in power. He also ignored the fact that relative poverty skyrocketed under Thatcher as the poor received a much smaller share of the growth pie compared to previous years.

Child poverty also exploded in the 1980s, as this graph by James Bloodworth showed.

Evidence of the Week:

Canadian-based bank Scotiabank this week looked at GDP forecasts as applied to the UK economy over the past three years. They showed that this is the third consecutive year in which the consensus for growth has started out at around 2 per cent before gradually being pushed down towards zero a short time later.

Making a prediction based on trends depicted in the graph, Scotiabank say that by mid-summer they expect to be forecasting near zero GDP growth.

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