Margaret Thatcher and the new conservatism (from 1975) - Page 9 - U2 Feedback

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Old 04-10-2013, 09:44 AM   #121
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Thanks for posting that Russell Brand article - best one I've read yet on the subject matter.

I kind of find Thatcher to be loathsome but I also had the same reaction as Brand's friend..."another one bites the dust." She had personally become totally inconsequential. Unfortunately the effects of her policies live on. Shame.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:57 AM   #122
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Originally Posted by purpleoscar View Post
"Don't slam our guy, but it's okay to slam your guys because OBVIOUSLY they deserve to be slammed. Our guys are nice people"

Total classic.

This shit is why I don't really post here. Dumb and boring as fuck.
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:14 PM   #123
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"Don't slam our guy, but it's okay to slam your guys because OBVIOUSLY they deserve to be slammed. Our guys are nice people"

Total classic.


i was being a bit sarcastic there, but for real -- it's a thread about Thatcher, why the need to post another Obama cartoon?




(but viewing Obama and Bush as somehow flip sides of the same coin, or my guy vs. your guy, is an exercise is false equivalency, and most conservatives don't want any sort of association with GWB, but that's for another thread)
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:24 PM   #124
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ok, well, for the sake of argument, here's a pro-Thatcher essay that acknowledges her obvious shortcomings and failures. i'd love to hear from non-Americans about the good things Sullivan brings up -- i try to be very cautious writing critically about other countries leaders, because, as an American, i get glassy eyed and bored when people march up to you thinking they know everything there is to know about your country and what's wrong with it and what you need to do to fix things. the truth is that domestic politics are rarely truly felt and thoroughly understood by people who don't live them, and the author (a big Obama fan, btw) grew up in Thatcher's England. i have to think at least some of this has merit, and i've bolded the stuff i find most interesting as an outsider:


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I remember reading an article in the Washington Monthly back in the late 1980s by one of the smugger liberal British columnists, Polly Toynbee. It captured part of the true derangement that Margaret Thatcher brought out in her political foes. It was called simply: “Is Margaret Thatcher A Woman?” It’s still online. It was a vicious attack on her having any feminist credentials. It included this magnificent lie:

She has experienced nothing but advantage from her gender.

Toynbee’s case is worth hearing out, but it’s an instant classic of the worst British trait: resentment of others’ success. No culture I know of is more brutally unkind to its public figures, hateful toward anyone with a degree of success or money, or more willing to ascribe an individual’s achievements to something other than their own ability. The Britain I grew up with was, in this specific sense, profoundly leftist in the worst sense. It was cheap and greedy and yet hostile to anyone with initiative, self-esteem, and the ability to make money.

The clip below captures the left-liberal sentiment of the time perfectly. Yes: the British left would prefer to keep everyone poorer if it meant preventing a few getting richer. And the massively powerful trade union movement worked every day to ensure that mediocrity was protected, individual achievement erased, and that all decisions were made collectively, i.e. with their veto. And so – to take the archetypal example – Britain’s coal-workers fought to make sure they could work unprofitable mines for years of literally lung-destroying existence and to pass it on to their sons for yet another generation of black lung. This “right to work” was actually paid for by anyone able to make a living in a country where socialism had effectively choked off all viable avenues for prosperity. And if you suggested that the coal industry needed to be shut down in large part or reshaped into something commercial, you were called, of course, a class warrior, a snob, a Tory fascist, etc. So hard-working Brits trying to make a middle class living were taxed dry to keep the life-spans of powerful mine-workers short.

To put it bluntly: The Britain I grew up in was insane. The government owned almost all major manufacturing, from coal to steel to automobiles. Owned. It employed almost every doctor and owned almost every hospital. Almost every university and elementary and high school was government-run. And in the 1970s, you could not help but realize as a young Brit, that you were living in a decaying museum – some horrifying mixture of Eastern European grimness surrounded by the sculptured bric-a-brac of statues and buildings and edifices that spoke of an empire on which the sun had once never set. Now, in contrast, we lived on the dark side of the moon and it was made up of damp, slowly degrading concrete.

I owe my entire political obsession to the one person in British politics who refused to accept this state of affairs. You can read elsewhere the weighing of her legacy – but she definitively ended a truly poisonous, envious, inert period in Britain’s history. She divided the country deeply – and still does. She divided her opponents even more deeply, which was how she kept winning elections. She made some serious mistakes – the poll tax, opposition to German unification, insisting that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist – but few doubt she altered her country permanently, re-establishing the core basics of a free society and a free economy that Britain had intellectually bequeathed to the world and yet somehow lost in its own class-ridden, envy-choked socialist detour to immiseration.

I was a teenage Thatcherite, an uber-politics nerd who loved her for her utter lack of apology for who she was. I sensed in her, as others did, a final rebuke to the collectivist, egalitarian oppression of the individual produced by socialism and the stultifying privileges and caste identities of the class system. And part of that identity – the part no one ever truly gave her credit for – was her gender. She came from a small grocer’s shop in a northern town and went on to educate herself in chemistry at Oxford, and then law. To put it mildly, those were not traditional decisions for a young woman with few means in the 1950s. She married a smart businessman, reared two children and forged a political career from scratch in the most male-dominated institution imaginable: the Tory party.

She relished this individualist feminism and wielded it – coining a new and very transitive verb, handbagging, to describe her evisceration of ill-prepared ministers or clueless interviewers. Perhaps in Toynbee’s defense, Thatcher was not a feminist in the left-liberal sense: she never truly reflected on her pioneering role as a female leader; she never appointed a single other woman to her cabinet over eleven years; she was contemptuous toward identity politics; and the only tears she ever deployed (unlike Hillary Clinton) were as she departed from office, ousted by an internal coup, undefeated in any election she had ever run in as party leader.

Indira Gandhi and Golda Meir preceded her; but Thatcher’s three election victories, the longest prime ministership since the 1820s, her alliance with the US in defeating the Soviet Union, and her liberation of the British economy place her above their achievements. What inspires me still is the thought of a young woman in a chemistry lab at Oxford daring to believe that she could one day be prime minister – and not just any prime minister, but the defining public figure in British post-war political history.

That took vision and self-confidence of a quite extraordinary degree. It was infectious. And it made Thatcher and Thatcherism a much more complicated thing than many analyses contain.

Thatcher’s economic liberalization came to culturally transform Britain. Women were empowered by new opportunities; immigrants, especially from South Asia, became engineers of growth; millions owned homes for the first time; the media broke free from union chains and fractured and multiplied in subversive and dynamic ways. Her very draconian posture provoked a punk radicalism in the popular culture that changed a generation. The seeds of today’s multicultural, global London – epitomized by that Olympic ceremony – were sown by Thatcher’s will-power.

And that was why she ultimately failed, as every politician always ultimately does. She wanted to return Britain to the tradition of her thrifty, traditional father; instead she turned it into a country for the likes of her son, a wayward, money-making opportunist. The ripple effect of new money, a new middle class, a new individualism meant that Blair’s re-branded Britain – cool Britannia, with its rave subculture, its fashionistas, its new cuisine, its gay explosion, its street-art, its pop music – was in fact something Blair inherited from Thatcher.

She was, in that sense, a liberator. She didn’t constantly (or even ever) argue for women’s equality; she just lived it. She didn’t just usher in greater economic freedom; she unwittingly brought with it cultural transformation – because there is nothing more culturally disruptive than individualism and capitalism. Her 1940s values never re-took: the Brits engaged in spending and borrowing binges long after she had left the scene, and what last vestiges of prudery were left in the dust.

Perhaps in future years, her legacy might be better seen as a last, sane defense of the nation-state as the least worst political unit in human civilization. Her deep suspicion of the European project was rooted in memories of the Blitz, but it was also prescient and wise. Without her, it is doubtful the British would have kept their currency and their independence. They would have German financiers going over the budget in Whitehall by now, as they are in Greece and Portugal and Cyprus. She did not therefore only resuscitate economic freedom in Britain, she kept Britain itself free as an independent nation. Neither achievement was inevitable; in fact, each was a function of a single woman’s will-power. To have achieved both makes her easily the greatest 20th century prime minister after Churchill.

He saved Britain from darkness; she finally saw the lights come back on. And like Churchill, it’s hard to imagine any other figure quite having the character, the will-power and the grit to have pulled it off.

Thatcher, Liberator The Dish
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:50 PM   #125
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i just threw up a little reading that Irvine, thanks

this bit: "The government owned almost all major manufacturing, from coal to steel to automobiles."

thing is, there is now practically nothing left in Britain, there is no industry - it was all sold off and moved to China because labour was cheap, that's why the mines were closed - it was cheaper to import cheap coal from abroad... but now there are no jobs, people have no money to spend... the same is happening in France right now - Peugeot is closing down factories due to the economic crisis, families are losing their livelihood - the companies shipped out their manufacturing, for cheap labour, expecting still to sell French cars manufactured in China back to the French, only the French workers lost their jobs so don't have the cash to spend, and now Peugeot are complaining... the whole thing is nuts...

re. this expatriation of industry, which began in Thatcher's time, well, there IS a bit of a trend going on right now in the UK, repatriation has started in some small companies, bringing their factories back to the UK to create jobs as costs have gone up in China which has made Britain competitive once again...

also "Almost every university and elementary and high school was government-run."

and what is wrong with that? i was one of the last generation of students able to have a "free" university education - student loans were only just coming in, many student benefits had been cut, but i was still able to get a small maintenance grant and all my tuition fees paid and only needed a tiny top-up loan of a few hundred pounds, literally... (ok, i juggled three part-time jobs on the side at the same time as revising for my finals, but so did everyone, and that was the norm), but now, it's catastrophic for young people, university education is no longer available to all purely based on merit and ability - it is so expensive now, it's unreal... ok i understand this is now the same as it is in the States, but having been lucky enough to have a fantastic non-private education up to postgrad level without having to get into huge debt, and walk straight into a job at the end of it all, well, i feel that young Brits today are facing a tragedy...

i hate this guy, Irvine, sorry LOL

although this bit is partly true:
"but she definitively ended a truly poisonous, envious, inert period in Britain’s history." -sure, the Labour party were next to useless at that point, but she didn't end the poison, she just refined her own unique toxic brand of it!
what if things could have been better if we never had Thatcher, if we had a different leader who wasn't as hard as nails, who wasn't inhuman, and who had had a little compassion? what a missed opportunity...

and this:
"Her very draconian posture provoked a punk radicalism in the popular culture that changed a generation." sure- people can only take so much ABUSE before they rebel and want to smash things up

"The seeds of today’s multicultural, global London – epitomized by that Olympic ceremony – were sown by Thatcher’s will-power" UTTER FUCKING BOLLOCKS (sorry)

ok i will stop reading lol
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:04 PM   #126
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it's all good -- i just want to learn more, thanks for your comments!

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Old 04-10-2013, 04:12 PM   #127
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it's all good -- i just want to learn more
This is really admirable, it seems so many these days dismiss any point of view not their own.
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:22 PM   #128
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it's all good -- i just want to learn more, thanks for your comments!

cheers Irvine! i understand, i would be the same about US matters, not having first-hand experience myself, and would want a whole range of info as well...

Maggie Thatcher makes for very emotive discussion, but it's something i feel strongly about and feel able to comment on in some way as she had such a massive impact on people's everyday lives - i think it's because she took her fight right down to the people... to the grass roots...

i've never known another political leader in Britain with that same influence, well not in my lifetime, maybe Churchill, but in a more positive way perhaps...
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:35 PM   #129
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thing is, there is now practically nothing left in Britain, there is no industry -
This is a really important point. What are the main drivers of the British economy? The banking/financial sector? We've seen what happens to countries that hang their hats on it. Moreover essentially all of Britain's foreign direct investment is mobile - meaning that there is very little reason to invest in Britain when you can very easily (and much more profitably) take your business to places like China, India, Mexico, etc. As opposed to immobile FDI in the commmodities and resources sector, meaning if you want to buy oil, for example, you are stuck with the relatively few nations that can sell it to you.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:32 PM   #130
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Can you say anything without slamming Obama?
Frankly I think any president or prime minister of the past 2 decades pales in comparison to M Thatcher. But contrasted against Margaret Thatcher Barack "No White House tours" Obama is a small, petty politician who, unfortunately because of the size and scope of modern government, is able to do irreparable harm to the country, economy, healthcare system and the cause of liberty.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:39 PM   #131
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"No White House tours"
Holy shit, I forgot. Let's impeach him.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:40 PM   #132
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Frankly I think any president or prime minister of the past 2 decades pales in comparison to M Thatcher.
I bet you know next to nothing about the substantive national achievements of 90% of leaders around the world over the last 20 years.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:13 PM   #133
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As we were talking about Thatcher and Obama I was only speaking of U.S. presidents and British prime ministers. For example, I think Stephen Harper's guidance of the Canadian economy through the global banking collapse has been exemplary. American conservatives are quite jealous.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:20 PM   #134
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Frankly I think any president or prime minister of the past 2 decades pales in comparison to M Thatcher. But contrasted against Margaret Thatcher Barack "No White House tours" Obama is a small, petty politician who, unfortunately because of the size and scope of modern government, is able to do irreparable harm to the country, economy, healthcare system and the cause of liberty.

Tell me, how is Obama stealing your liberty?
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:13 PM   #135
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Holy shit, I forgot. Let's impeach him.
Gosh, I forgot about that as well. It must have been so traumatizing that I repressed it.

As a middle class Caucasian male, I feel reasonably liberated here. My collection of assault rifles, on the other hand, has to stay in the closet for now.
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