Margaret Thatcher dead at 87

KingGorilla wrote:
I was listening to NPR today. It seems a stretch, but people are seeking to draw a connection between the Falklands and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here's one connection:

DanB wrote:
obirano wrote:
If she was so hated, how did she keep getting elected?

broad press support from the murdoch controlled tabloidscable news press.

obirano wrote:
Regardless of how you feel about someone, isn't celebrating their death a little extreme?

It isn't to me. I'm not saying I feel that way about Thatcher, I don't have much of an opinion about her one way or the other.

I am enjoying this. Pundits I follow on twitter are very moderate or full of praise on her career and legacy. All of the UK artists and animators and game devs I talk to on twitter are just as full of bile as can be. And they are funny.

bombsfall wrote:
I am enjoying this. Pundits I follow on twitter are very moderate or full of praise on her career and legacy. All of the UK artists and animators and game devs I talk to on twitter are just as full of bile as can be. And they are funny.

Aye, my facebook is 90% "good riddance" and 10% "RIP".

EDIT - here's an excellent piece in The Guardian that call BS on the idea of "speak no evil of the dead" when it comes to public figures who are rightfully reviled by some.

obirano wrote:

I am just trying to feel out whether this is a party thing that is being applied to the whole country or actually a whole country thing.

To quote someone from another website:

In Scotland, the Conservatives got 31% of the vote in the 1979 General Election, 28% in 1983 and 24% in 1987. One of the issues was that there was a clear dividing line between the Tory south-east and the non-Tory everywhere else. It really wasn't a case of the Tories being elected because a "whole country" voted for them.

My memory of that era was that there was a bitter class war going on.

zomg i didn't see this thread and made one in everything else.

DOH!

my apologies to all. and to the iron lady's family, my condolences.\

while I didn't agree with many of her decisions, she does have my respect for having bigger balls of adamantium than most.

Jonman wrote:
obirano wrote:
Jonman wrote:
obirano wrote:

If she was so hated, how did she keep getting elected?

Remember Dubya? Hated, right? Elected, right?

So that means someone obviously liked him. Remember Obama? Hated by tons of people as well? Elected again.

I am just trying to feel out whether this is a party thing that is being applied to the whole country or actually a whole country thing.

These days, you'd be hard pressed to find many people in the UK with good things to say about her. Obviously, she had enough supporters to get elected at the time, but politics is a more complicated situation than that - again, to draw an American comparison, there were people who really disliked Romney (or Obama, for that matter), yet voted for him.

Disdain for Thatcher has only grown since she came to power as the repercussions of her time in office have wrung out over time.

Don't forget that with a plurality voting system (first past the post) combined with a split of the lefts vote over Labour and Lib Dems meant Thatcher only had to get around 40% of the vote to gain a majority. Plurality voting is only acceptable in two horse races but once you include one more, it becomes incredibly anti-democratic. Tony Blair, for example, won his 2005 majority with the laughable percentage of 35.2% of the votes.

There's few in Scotland that will mourn her passing. Though I'll give her this - because of her there are less Tories in power in Scotland than there are Panda bears (to paraphrase Salmond). And LONG may that continue.

EvilShawnAndrich wrote:
zomg i didn't see this thread and made one in everything else.
.

This is one RIP thread that's probably best contained in P&C

In any event, there are going to be a lot of hungover ex-miners tomorrow.

bombsfall wrote:
I am enjoying this. Pundits I follow on twitter are very moderate or full of praise on her career and legacy. All of the UK artists and animators and game devs I talk to on twitter are just as full of bile as can be. And they are funny.

So it does break down to a liberal/conservative thing (or whatever the equivalent is in the UK)?

If you only read GwJ, you'd think Reagan was some universally hated person here in the USA. I don't think I could find 5 people of everyone I know that dislikes him.

sheared wrote:
bombsfall wrote:
I am enjoying this. Pundits I follow on twitter are very moderate or full of praise on her career and legacy. All of the UK artists and animators and game devs I talk to on twitter are just as full of bile as can be. And they are funny.

So it does break down to a liberal/conservative thing (or whatever the equivalent is in the UK)?

If you only read GwJ, you'd think Reagan was some universally hated person here in the USA. I don't think I could find 5 people of everyone I know that dislikes him.

No it would be a Labour/conservative thing. I guess saying that may not help though.

If you asked people on the street how close Reagan came to actually being thrown out of office for what's essentially treason, they'd think you were crazy. (He had to publicly admit and apologize and offer up aides for prosecution to get out of it.) Yet he was far more culpable than Clinton, and did far more damage than any recent president other than Bush II. We're still suffering from his policies.

"A few months ago, I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that is true. But the facts of the evidence tell me it is not." - Ronald Reagan, admitting selling US arms to our enemies, ultimately in order to raise money for a covert war which had been specifically outlawed by Congress several years before.

We are capable of ignoring a whole lot of mess when we like someone in power.

Most of my understanding of Thatcher was culled from The Clash, which did not paint the most hagiographic portrait.

Robear wrote:
If you asked people on the street how close Reagan came to actually being thrown out of office for what's essentially treason, they'd think you were crazy. (He had to publicly admit and apologize and offer up aides for prosecution to get out of it.) Yet he was far more culpable than Clinton, and did far more damage than any recent president other than Bush II. We're still suffering from his policies.

"A few months ago, I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that is true. But the facts of the evidence tell me it is not." - Ronald Reagan, admitting selling US arms to our enemies, ultimately in order to raise money for a covert war which had been specifically outlawed by Congress several years before.

We are capable of ignoring a whole lot of mess when we like someone in power.

Yeah, I actually think that the closer Reagan comes to being an historical figure, the less kindly we're going to look on him. I think you're already seeing that with the Millenials and younger GenXers. To a lot of them, Carter is the kindly old man who started Habitat for Humanity, and Reagan is a senile cartoon character that shows up on Family Guy from time to time.

SpacePPoliceman wrote:
Most of my understanding of Thatcher was culled from The Clash, which did not paint the most hagiographic portrait.

Mine was culled from Dire Straits.

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:
SpacePPoliceman wrote:
Most of my understanding of Thatcher was culled from The Clash, which did not paint the most hagiographic portrait.

Mine was culled from Dire Straits.

We only covered her briefly in my curriculum:

You clearly went to a better school than me.

sheared wrote:
I don't think I could find 5 people of everyone I know that dislikes him.

That might be a geographic / generational thing. I could dig up dozens. Other than being the last one in line to shut the door on the cold war and being generally likable on camera, most people I know under 50 consider his policies and legacy to be an utter disaster, particularly people who were politically aware during the 80s. And I can't imagine that's not going to grow on account of his loudest deifiers (is that a word?) being not particularly popular these days.

Not to derail, but when Reagan died I was working at my first animation job, a startup run by dudes who were all part of the constitution party and Christian Exodus. There were actual tears and wailing. There was a mandatory meeting to watch his funeral. It was awkward.

Robear wrote:
"A few months ago, I told the American people I did not trade arms for hostages. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that is true."

That's why I said "At least her dementia came after she was in office." When Reagan said he couldn't remember stuff about Iran Contra, he wasn't lying. He couldn't remember. Outside of the U.S., the man was a senile cartoon; those Spitting Image puppets had him dead to rights.

Getting back to Thatcher, her "best" legacy is the City of London. That is ultimately her single claim of success in that she improved the state of the UK economy. That is true in so far as GNP went up, nobody can argue with that fact. However she left a huge employment problem in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Entire towns in these regions are now vacant due to a policy that was needlessly harsh. You can argue that the industries involved were uncompetitive but I'm fairly sure wiping them out isn't the answer either. The industrial base of the UK is now a third of that of Germany or France which has resulted in a yawning trade gap with any trading partner.

It pretty much goes without saying that the success she did have, deregulation and liberalisation of financial trading, was a doomed policy. We know that now. The idea that you can shift the country the size of the UK to a services based economy is also proving to be a doomed policy.

On the foreign policy front she was all over the place. By all documented accounts she liked to see thing in very much black and white. This lead her to holding hardline positions on issues that only served to store up resentment for years, if not decades to come. The two I'd be most familiar with is her policy in Northern Ireland and the EEC/EU.

On Northern Ireland, she was an unmitigated disaster becoming a hate figure for both the Nationalist and Loyalists. A mean feat, to say the least (The details are a very long story). On the EEC (EU at the time), she did indeed win the famous rebate for Britain but the cost of vetoing every Council meeting until she got her way. This has now left Cameron and the UK with a continent or Member States that frankly doesn't trust him. Cameron wielding of the veto last year was almost cringe inducing given how ineffective it was. Again for a country that is heavily dependent on other people selling them actual physical things, not a good place to be.

The politics of how British end up in the south Atlantic aside, I'll give her her dues on Falkands. She was wrong to be quite so zealous about the Belgrano but she was right to defend her citizens. I've no problem with that and to try and compare it to Blair's Iraq is just silly. It was a brave mission that very nearly was scuppered by equally brave Argentinian pilots.

And lets be clear, Reagan and Thatcher legacy's on apartheid regime in South Africa was appalling. Cameron felt the need to apologise for her role in that relationship but I'm sure to some opposing communism, no matter how well its hidden, is always justified.

Touched on above by DanB, her privatisation policy was so bad that it is used as a template of how not to privatise state assets. We have learned that the only thing worse than a state monopoly is a private monopoly. Heck, oligopoly is just as bad. Given how far the UK rail network has fallen behind the rest of Europe's, the only way I can see it improving is through the large semi-state companies like Deutsche Bahn or SNCF which will make a mockery of the policy. You could argue that privatisation in the telecoms market did improve things but it was only until Ofcom was given proper oversight to regulate the market and put manner on BT. I'm not against privatisation as a policy but following it as an ideology has proven to be unwise.

To be fair to her though, the unions had gotten ludicrously out of control in the 70s' and in a way they created the stick they were beaten with. While Thatcher finished off a lot of British industry, the unions left to their own devices would have done the same albeit in less time. In 1979 I would be hard pressed to see how I wouldn't have voted for Thatcher given the state the country was in at the time. 83 not so much.

I could have expanded on all the points above all night but sum up (some of) the US and the City of London thinks she is wonderful. Everyone else not so much. A little bit like Churchill actually but that's other story and I'm sure she wouldn't mind the comparison

I would just like to quote one of my friends from facebook right now, think it sums up a lot of people's feelings very well

"I'm not going to celebrate someone dying because I gain nothing from it and I do feel genuinely sorry for her family. I'm also not going to stop considering someone to be a monster because their mortality has been proven.

For the record: Supported Pinochet, Khmer Rouge and Saddam. Used homophobic language to call HIV/AIDS the "gay plague" with her cabinet calling for concentration camps for AIDS victims. Supported Apartheid for financial gain. Just to clarify that again, supported Apartheid for financial gain. Was anti-feminist, was against EU equality legislation and her policies often hit women hardest. The Right To Buy policy caused a long lasting housing crises that primarily benefited her friends and benefactors while being directly linked to the current financial crisis. Tax policies (including the poll tax) which were deliberately regressive, decreasing social mobility and increasing inequality. Used excessive force in the miner's strikes to increase her popularity with her base. The Community care act greatly reduced our ability to deal with mental illness causing an increase in suicides, homelessness and pensioners with mental illness.

I could go on, but I don't think I need to. I'm choosing not to celebrate one death, but please refrain from questioning my right to mourn the many who died or had their lives ruined directly as a result of her actions instead.!

With all the celebrating and vitriol spewing some folks are doing around here you'd think Hugo Chavez just died...

Running Man wrote:
With all the celebrating and vitriol spewing some folks are doing around here you'd think Hugo Chavez just died...

Nope. He passed away quietly with no dancing on his grave.

In my world, it's not really celebrating until there are balloons and invitations, and something gets uncorked.

obirano wrote:
Running Man wrote:
With all the celebrating and vitriol spewing some folks are doing around here you'd think Hugo Chavez just died...

Nope. He passed away quietly with no dancing on his grave.

Were short a sizable Venezuelan community + 20 years to reflect on how his policies have actually shaked out.

Also keep on dancing. I agree with the guardian article.

I'm not from the UK, so I can't say Thatcher directly affected my life. It does seem to me that some of the dancing on her grave is in poor taste. When Reagan died I certainly had liberal friends who talked about how overrated he was, but I didn't see people breaking out the champagne bottles like I'm seeing now.

If what Onewild says is true, I certainly don't support her social policies. But from what I've read Thatcher helped solve the problems of runaway inflation and public debt that was spiraling out of control. It also sounds like the unions were way out of hand, even if Thatcher may have been heavy handed. And I think it's very important to recognize her role in being willing to reach out to Gorbachev but still hold a hard stance against Communism. Hindsight is 20/20, but there was no guarantee the Soviet Union was going to collapse when it did, or that it would collapse without first starting a war with the West. I'm sorry but Im going to give credit to both Reagan and Thatcher for being the relief pitchers who successfully closed out the 9th inning of the Cold War.

At any rate, thought I'd post a pretty good article from the Daily Beast that balances both her failures and successes:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...

strangederby wrote:
Demosthenes wrote:
...ok, apparently I need to read more history on her or something. I always got the vibe of quiet but badass, like Janet Reno or something...

No

No no

No no no no no.

A lot of people...a great many people ABSOLUTLY HATED HER.
And what you need to understand is that hatred is too small a word for the bile, loathing, and utter festering, feculant contempt people have for her. Think I'm exaggerating? Do some googling. You'll discover I'm not.

jdzappa wrote:
When Reagan died I certainly had liberal friends who talked about how overrated he was, but I didn't see people breaking out the champagne bottles like I'm seeing now.

Personal taste here, but I think this actually gives the edge to Uk'ers when it comes to healthy relationships with heads of state. In the US we tend to deify and/or forgive just about anyone as long as they are powerful and or wealthy. I give you both Nixon and Donald Trump as examples of this. I kinda like the fact that most people I know who dislike Thatcher are like "No. She did terrible things that hurt millions, and she was often a total jerk about it. We are better off without her, and may her legacy be forgotten." Rude, yes, but better than the default US mode of Burkean "approach to the faults of the state as to the wounds of a father, with pious awe and trembling solicitude."

Again, personal taste.

I celebrated when she was forced from office. That was a long time ago. Yesterday, an old woman died of a stroke. Can't say that I gain any satisfaction from that, no matter how much I hate what she did to this country. This is like a last hurrah for lazy comics, journos and pundits who haven't been able to let go of their decades-old material.

About the only good thing I can say about her is that she seemed pretty up-front about things, for a politician, unlike that sweaty ham-faced elitist we have now, or that devious snake we had last-but-one.

I like David Frum, jdzappa, but he is demonstrably wrong on several points here. Its even the opposite case in a few. His points on how the UK was constructed economically are correct and mirror the points I made in the previous post so we are largely in agreement there. After that however it gets onto very shaky ground.

Not joining the euro is the oddest claim. If you claim that Britain avoided disaster by joining the euro, then the follow up question would be "How did Germany avoid disaster then and, given the rather poor state of the UK economy, what is disaster for the UK exactly?". The ultimate irony of Thatchers opposition of the euro is her greatest legacy, the City of London, is heavily dependent on the euro for its success. She may have opposed it but she left Britain incredibly relient on it as well.

The Falklands War was not an extension of the Cold War. I'm frankly very concerned of Frum's knowledge on politics outside the US when he makes this claim. We know that the junta wasn't opposed by the US (they weren't left leaning) but even that aside, the most memorable images of that conflict are the A4 Skyhawks and Mirage IIIs hugging the islands ground cover to avoid the formidable British air defenses and if not for six fuses would have finished the conflict in Bomb Alley. US and French made planes deploying US, UK and French made weapons should give you some hint as to where the Argentinians were politically.

The major problem I have with the Falklands War support is the claim that this brought down a dictatorship. It might have but she supported some really horrible regimes as onewild points out with apartheid South Africa being the absolute worst. She was certainly not ideologically opposed to dictatorships. However, as I said above, she was correct to protect her citizens and I wouldn't expect less of any head of state.

Gorbachev and Kuwait I'd be happy to accept his points in a broad view. German reunification, she opposed it quite vociferously. Again, for Frum to get this wrong is deeply worrying for a guy who presents himself as a political analyst.

On minorities, Frum is simply out of his depth here. He cites an article from his own site as proof of her sympathy for the gay community. Its a pity he didn't read the full article:

The Daily Beast[/url]]Sadly, as Prime Minister, she would squander much of that credit (ironically enough, for a politician who put such stock in thrift) by lending her support to one of the nastiest anti-gay measures of modern times: the infamous Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, which forbade schools from teaching "the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship". This was despite the open secret (among Westminster insiders, at least) that several prominent members of her government were themselves gay, albeit in reinforced-steel closets. It remains one of the darkest spots on her legacy.

I won't go further but Frum is talking about something he clearly has only the most superficial grasp of. Even her supporters admit that it was a shame she wasn't more supportive of women and failed to promote enough into cabinet.

Frum's final paragraph is probably the best in a poor article and a little swipe at those that call him a RHINO but in all its a very poorly researched article that really doesn't serve the reader well.

Indeed, spider_j. I'd go so far as to say that she is to the 20th century that Bismarck was to the 19th. There is no question that everyone at the very least respected her even if they disliked her.