Christopher Lee


Thatcher Stripped Bare By Her Own Words And Deeds.

22nd March 2013
The Prime Ministerial papers of the almost late Mrs Thatcher (as then she was)  have been released by Churchill College Cambridge.  They show a bunch of second rate politicians and a Prime Minister who declared she was thrilled at the triumphs of her brave boys in war.

The fact that a bunch of guys getting shot at and too many of them killed were less than thrilled seems to have passed by the great lady.  The basic fact is this: utter incompetence by the government of the greatest iconic British leader of the 20th century after Churchill allowed the Argentineans to walk into the Falklands. The islands were defended by a handful of Royal Marines and a governor in a plumed hat who drove around the main island in a London taxi.

Thatcher was billed as a brilliant leader.  She was the Iron Lady. She beefed the European Union and she’s been promised a state funeral.  On the showing of these papers, she deserves nothing of the sort. Apart from a bunch of nostalgia-ridden Tories it is difficult to see anything in these papers that rate her any higher than second rate.

Her government was split over what to do after the Falklands were invaded.  She had a a chief of the army and the head of her airforce and a stand-in chief of the defence staff (yet another airman) who told there was nothing that could be done to get them back

If it hadn’t been for an old school admiral, the then first sea lord Admiral Sir Henry Leach, it’s doubtful that she would have sent a task force. He went to see her, told it could be done and told her if she didn’t do it that every tin-pot crackhead of a foreign dictatorship would be trying his luck with British interests worldwide.  It was the sort of thing she should have said in the first place but failed to.

She had a Joint Intelligence Committee that was so dysfunctional that it had no idea how to pull together all the Intelligence in-coming London, could not know if the analysis was even vaguely correct and couldn’t convince the Prime Minister of anything.

She had a defence minister who withdrew the naval guard ship, so suggesting to the Argentine government of the hideous General Galtieri that the UK did not care for the islands.  She had one of the few men she could trust, the sometimes brilliant Lord Carrington, in the Foreign Office who could not tell her in harsh enough terms that something was wrong in the South Atlantic.

On top of this, the one person in her Cabinet she believed to be utterly like herself, the now late Nick Ridley, made a complete cock-up of his reading of the House of Commons attitude to the idea of  a Hong Kong type leaseback of the islands to Argentina.

Thatcher was the boss – as she kept reminding people – and she surrounded herself with mediocre people who would not oppose her in the crucial first three years of her political reign.

So now, for this period anyway, the Thatcher Papers are on show.  They are supposed to make her luvvies even more adoring of the baroness, as now she is. Read them carefully.

Take one example and wonder. This is a Prime Minister who designed her foreign policy with Israel on the basis that she believed the majority of her electorate in her Finchley constituency were Jews. That about sums up the icon of  1980s political Britain. Incompetent and with doubtful integrity.  But none of us knew that.  We were proud in the UK of tough Maggie. How little we knew.

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