Posts Tagged ‘Thatcher’

Christopher Lee

April 8, 2013

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Thatcher Is Gone – God Help God!

 

8th April 2013

It’s surprising that the baroness lived so long – 87 years.  Margaret Thatcher, famously Not For Turning, turned mortal on 8th April 2013.

She was born on the most famous date in Saxon history, the 13th October – the day remembered each year as the doomed eve of the Battle of Hastings as the British throne prepared to perish at the Norman French of William the Conqueror.  It was the last successful invasion of the United Kingdom. 

Thatcher spent almost all her time as prime minister making sure that there would never be a second European invasion of her shores.

Born Margaret Hilda Roberts in 1925 she was the intellectual property of Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School rather than her tutors in chemistry at Somerville College Oxford. 

The Grantham grammar taught common sense.  It was a class of lower and middle class tradesmen’s daughters where an empty purse meant you didn’t buy until it jingled with enough coinage to pay everyone.  She applied the simple economic example to the torturous eleven years of her premiership that started in 1979 in double-digit inflation. Few go into Downing Street as expert Prime Ministers and First Lords of the Treasury. Thatcher was no exception.

In fact her triumphs were not economic. Led by the last of the Whigs, Lord Carrington, she fixed the decades problem of what to do about the rebellion in Northern Rhodesia. Within months, Carrington brought about a solution and modern Zimbabwe was created and a political and diplomatic backside pain was cured. None guessed the future of the Mugabe regime.  She was just glad that it was no longer her problem.

The next problem was almost her political end.  In 1982 the faithful Lord Carrington failed to convince Cabinet and Thatcher that there was a real danger of invasion of the Falklands.  When the event occurred, she was about to accept the advice of her army and RAF chiefs of staff that Britain did not have the logistics and forces to take back the islands.  It was only the last moment intervention of a crusty admiral, Sir Henry Leach who told her he could put together a carrier task force that saved her.  If she had lost the Falklands, she would have lost the next election and there would have been no Iron Lady, a Russian term for her, and no Thatcherism.

Along with her political Tory guru, Sir Keith Joseph aka her Mad Monk, she set about changing the way Tory governments thought British society should change. Fundamentally she believed there was no such thing as a society that could expect cradle to grave cosseting. It was the Grantham Purse Economics school of running the country that was, she believed running into the incompetent clutches of an increasingly federally include Europe. She’d have none of it and even considered withdrawing.  Single currency? Euro? Over her dead body.  Europe of course didn’t wait for that event, but the Tory party did. If Thatcher would be remembered for anything in particular about her Party is that she left a Conservative movement fighting each other over Europe.  She would say, recent events proved her correct.

Now she will have her state funeral. She wanted to lie in state for adoring thousands to pass, pause, reflect, pay respects and move on wiping a tear.  Maybe the truth is that few would have queued to pay their respects. She was no Queen Mother. She was no Diana. She was Thatcher who created division in her realm.  Ask them in Lewis Merthyr in south Wales where the last Rhondda pit closed on her watch.  Ask them in the north east where the yards and steel closed. Ask them almost anywhere outside the Thatcher belt of Bucks, Berks, Surrey and Hants.  Few would don black to line the route to St Pauls. Few would even remember what Thatcherism was. The media will write Iron Lady headlines and others will tell us she was the greatest prime minister since Churchill.

Our thoughts should be with the baroness’s family for their loss. But outside there will be fewer tears at her going.  Thatcherism was all so long ago.

There is one thought none of us can imagine the consequences: where has she gone? If it’s where she imagine she was going, then the great archangel of all will remember why she is on her way and why among her Cabinet colleagues (sic) she was known as Tina – There Is No Alternative

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Christopher Lee

March 22, 2013

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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.