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Why the lady is for mourning

Why the lady is for mourning

🕔10.Apr 2013

maggieI really, really, didn’t want to write this piece, for as far as Birmingham’s cosy liberal-left media community is concerned anyone who confesses that they rather admired Margaret Thatcher risks being cast into outer darkness and condemned as mad, or even evil.

But the events of the past 48 hours have forced my hand and I have decided to ‘come out’.

First, let’s praise the fact that we live in a democracy where freedom of speech within the law is paramount. This is something that the following people might do well to understand:

The Birmingham journalist who took to social media to suggest that Baroness Thatcher would by now be sipping hemlock in hell with General Pinochet; the Labour PR specialist, I won’t give him more publicity by naming him, who wrote that he truly hated Thatcher; the Labour leader of Birmingham City Council, whose own childish little protest is to refuse to fly the Union Flag at half-mast on the day of Lady Thatcher’s funeral.

That all of these people are able to express their views strongly and openly without risking a knock on the door in the small hours from some state security force is due primarily  to the efforts of people like Lady Thatcher and Ronald Reagan who stood firmly against the Soviet threat, even though at the time that meant embracing unpopular policies including allowing American cruise missiles to be stationed in Britain.

Lady Thatcher was, by any measure of political achievement, one of our greatest prime ministers. Arguably, the greatest peace time leader the country has ever known. It is right that the Queen, our head of state, will attend Lady Thatcher’s funeral, the first time this has happened for a former prime minister since Churchill died in 1965.

Never mind riots in Brixton from rent-a-mob anarchists, I’ll take a bet that the crowds lining the route of Lady Thatcher’s funeral procession and paying their last respects will include substantial representation from those whom we can compare with Chesterton’s people of England that have never spoken yet.

Why do I believe that Lady Thatcher deserves such recognition? Because she changed things for ever, finally putting paid to the post-war Keynesian consensus that meant, apart from a little tinkering around the edges, you got broadly the same result whether you voted Labour or Conservative. That is to say, a commitment to ever increasing public spending and an effort to retain full employment, even when economic conditions indicated that full employment could not be attained and that swollen public expenditure could not be afforded.

This sorry state of affairs was memorably dubbed Butskellism by the Economist magazine in the 1950s and referred to the very similar economic policies pursued by Tory Chancellor Richard ‘Rab’ Butler and his Labour counterpart Hugh Gaitskell.

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