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How Thatcherism outgrew its mistress A personality cult usurped her ideology

Are you a Thatcherianite? (Credit: Bettmann/Getty)


April 10, 2023   6 mins

An American news network rang, on 8 April 2013, to tell me that Margaret Thatcher was dead. Yes, I was happy to be interviewed. There was the usual awkward silence, long enough that I wondered whether they had forgotten me, and then I heard the words: “Thank you Dr Kissinger, now over to Richard Vinen in London.” It did not last long. By the evening, the death of Christine White — a middle-ranking Hollywood actress — was beginning to rival Thatcher’s in the American media.

British reactions to Thatcher’s death raised all sorts of questions. A Korean journalist told me that he had spent all afternoon trying to find someone who would admit to having voted for her, and came to wonder how she had won three elections. Meanwhile, the burning of effigies in mining towns seemed to me uncomfortably reminiscent of the head shavings inflicted on French women accused of “collaboration” with the Vichy government: misogynistic violence by men seeking to allay the humiliation of their own defeat. “Ding Dong the Witch is dead” was sent to the top of the British music charts: this, too, seemed simultaneously sexist and naïve. Britain was not a fairy-tale village that would live happily ever after if freed from a spell cast by one woman.

The focus on Thatcher as an individual in 2013 contrasted with the Left’s criticism of Thatcherism as a system through much of the Eighties. The term “Thatcherism” was first used, in a systematic way, by Stuart Hall in Marxism Today, in an article published in January 1979, before she had even been elected. It referred to “Thatcherism” nine times and only once to “Mrs Thatcher”. Hall, married to the eminent feminist historian Catherine, understood how personal attacks on Thatcher slid into sexist sneers. But his austerely impersonal approach was also representative of the Left’s at the time, which emphasised structures. Whereas I sometimes wonder whether my younger colleagues today are aware of anything that is not reported in the Guardian, Hall’s generation of Left-wing intellectuals were assiduous readers of the Financial Times, and always on the look-out for a “crisis of capitalism”.

Early Left-wing writers on Thatcherism were rarely sentimental about what it replaced. They had disapproved of the Heath government of the early Seventies — particularly because of its attempt to implement legislation that would have restricted trade union power. Equally, they often recognised that Thatcherism was part of broader wave of political rethinking that sometimes encompassed the leadership of both major political parties. The Labour government of Jim Callaghan, from 1976 to 1979, had been marked by both a degree of social conservatism (not for nothing was Callaghan a parliamentary representative of the Police Federation) and by a move to a more free-market kind of economics. Peter Jay — Economics Editor of The Times — was the leading British advocate of monetarism. He influenced people in both the Labour and Conservative Party, but he was himself a member of the former, and Callaghan’s son-in-law.

Now, sixth formers are ritualistically trained to write about the end of the post-war consensus; but they are rarely taught one simple fact: in the early Eighties, the fiercest attacks on consensus came from the Left. It was Labour who fought the 1983 election on a manifesto that would, among other things, have meant British withdrawal from Nato and the European Economic Community. Some on the Left had even felt a grudging admiration for the radicalism of the first Thatcher government. They shared its distaste for condescension that some citizens experienced when they dealt with powerful agencies of the state. Like Thatcher, they disliked the complacency that they associated with established politicians of both parties.

Everything changed after Labour’s crushing defeat in 1983. The challenge of Thatcherism demanded that the Labour Party ease its way back to the centre ground. The Tories, too, saw that there was not much point in ostentatious radicalism, once the major victories of the early Thatcher period had been won — particularly after the National Union of Mineworkers had been broken in 1985. They were now presiding over a new consensus, in which weaker trade unions and the sale of council houses were widely accepted. Privatisation, a word that they had barely dared use as late as 1979, was commonplace. Thatcherism had triumphed.

But Thatcher’s personal style — her flamboyant awkwardness and her obvious distaste for her political enemies — did not suit the new mood. She was never comfortable with consensus, even when the consensus in question was one that she had helped create. The personal myth of Margaret Thatcher began to diverge from Thatcherism. Earlier in the Eighties, for all her strident tone, Thatcher had been a politician, intuitively conscious that she needed to compromise and sometimes even retreat if she was to survive and achieve some measure of what she wanted. Later in the decade, she was increasingly prone to present herself as a kind of British de Gaulle — a national saviour who was above politics.

The emphasis on Thatcher as a person created problems because, as the writers behind Marxism Today had rightly sensed, Thatcherism had not really been about Thatcher. Her government had contained able and powerful ministers who pushed through different aspects of its policy. Indeed, Thatcherism was built on a kind of coalition that involved compromises and alliances between different kinds of people with different priorities. Keith Joseph was the most prominent political thinker behind the whole thing but useless at practical politics. Michael Heseltine and Peter Walker were indifferent about — in Walker’s case hostile to — some of the economic theory that underlay Thatcherism, but both men delivered spectacular practical results.

Not surprisingly, Thatcher’s emphasis on her own personal significance and her alienation from the mundane compromises of domestic politics annoyed her colleagues. (It was an alienation that was increased by the fact that she came to think of herself more and more as an international stateswoman rather than a British politician.) It helped precipitate her eviction from the leadership of her party and thus from Downing Street. Thatcher’s fall was, though, a revolution within Thatcherism rather than a revolution against Thatcherism. The economic policies of the Thatcher government continued. Indeed, in policy terms, Major was more Thatcherite than Thatcher: he privatised the railways — something that she had hesitated to do — and closed the last British coal mines.

Thatcher’s fall further divided the cult of Thatcher as an individual — let’s call this “Thatcherianism” — from the policies of Thatcherism. Thatcher had been on the Conservative front bench for most of her political career. Now for the first time she was freed from the constraints of practical politics. She became more extreme and was deeply bitter towards party leaders, especially Major, whom she believed had betrayed her. The myth of her martyrdom was cultivated by a small number of loyalists who had followed her into political exile, as well as by younger people who came into parliament too late to have direct experience of what the Thatcher governments had actually done.

“Thatcherianism” began to acquire its own political identity, separate from Thatcherism. It revived the social conservatism that had been part of Thatcherism in 1979 but had largely disappeared from the policies of the Thatcher government by 1989. Most important, it pushed a ferocious hostility to the European Union — particularly after Thatcher presented herself as the standard bearer of opposition to the Maastricht treaty in the early Nineties. This was quite a break with the past: it had been Labour that spoke of leaving the European Community in 1983. Thatcherites had welcomed West-European unity as a means of resisting Communism and promoting free markets. Thatcher was always emotionally ill-at ease with Europe but, during most of her years as prime minister, she was also realistic enough to know that emotion is a bad guide to politics. As late as 1988, she would regarded leaving the European Union as bat-shit crazy.

In an odd way, the rise of a personalised “Thatcherianism” cult played into John Major’s hands in the early Nineties. The intemperate, ungracious nature of attacks by Thatcher and her remaining allies occluded the extent to which the Major government was really continuing her economic policies. It also contributed to the sense that Major was a moderate and consensual figure — and this, in turn, helped make policies that might once have seen as highly controversial seem like a new kind of common sense. Tory frontbenchers in the Nineties managed to imply that they had moved on from the savage conflicts of the Eighties and that it would be unreasonable to hold them responsible for the policies of the Thatcher governments — governments in which many of them had served as senior ministers.

Of course, the success of Thatcherism extended beyond the Conservative Party. The truth is that large parts of the British establishment — civil servants, Labour politicians and even the occasional trade unionist, such as Frank Chapple — regarded much of what the Thatcher government did, notably breaking the miners, as necessary. There was also a more general shift in public opinion and behaviour. Dozens of small-scale actions — buying shares in privatised companies, voting for demutualisation of buildings societies (or taking the bonuses even when we voted against) — made most of the British middle class complicit in one way or another. Indeed, it is extraordinary how the free-market pervades everyday life in modern Britain. I am writing these words in Delhi. When I first came here, in 1984, the notion of haggling over money when, for example, one took a ride in an auto-rickshaw, still seemed odd. Now we are, in effect, haggling over money every time we book an Uber online.

Andrew Gamble was the single most important person to write on Thatcherism for Marxism Today. When he kindly came to speak to my students about this part of his career, he remarked on the brief commercial success of the magazine after it was stocked by W.H. Smith. The students asked whether this meant he got paid more. He grinned ruefully and said that he — and, so far as he knew, the other contributors — never even thought to ask about payment. Things have changed. A friend of mine gave a television interview after Thatcher’s death. A child of the Eighties herself and with a keen entrepreneurial instinct, she was much impressed that the leading public intellectual with whom she shared the studio negotiated ruthlessly about his appearance fee. Finally, the cameras went on and the interviewer asked what Thatcher had done to the country. The leading public intellectual paused to compose his features into an appropriately solemn expression and said: “I am afraid that she made us all much more selfish.”


Richard Vinen is Professor of History at King’s College, London. His book Second City: Birmingham and the Forging of Modern Britain is out now.


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John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

No analysis of Thatcherism or Thatcher herself as a politician is complete without mentioning the core principle that taxpayers are not pockets to be picked at will by the State, they are not the final underwriter for the consequences of government incompetence, and they are implictly owed value for the money that is confiscated from them.

This is something that is hated, of course, by Statists of any flavour. And it has to be recognised that a rejection of these principles has comprehensively won the main political arguments of past 30 years since Thatcher was removed from office. The only thing I want from politics at this point is the restoration of those principles. It is however clear not only that the existing political class has no intention whatever of being held accountable that way, but that as a voter I am in a small minority on the issue, so there will never be any significant political pressure to support them.

The size and recklessness of the state is pauperising us all. I wonder what it will take to put it into reverse.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

You touch on a fundamental philosophical point – does the State exist because of taxpayers or taxpayers exist because of the State?
Many would contend societal stability sufficient to enjoy one’s wealth dependent on the State. A point often forgotten by those chaffing about wanting to keep a bigger share of the pie.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

People don’t mind paying taxes, but not when the state starts to punish those who work hard in order to support those who contribute very little.

Last edited 1 year ago by Julian Farrows
j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Who would disagree with that. But what’s often conveniently forgotten is poor people pay a greater proportion of their income in tax. They may contribute much less in income tax, the most visible, but the State has found plenty of other regressive ways of taking it back.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

You are correct. It is the poor people that suffer the most from big government. But what makes you think big government gives more to poor people then their friends?
(who are not poor)

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

I didn’t think that. It depends on who’s running the Govt and what it can get agreed with legislature. Leadership and political decisions make a difference.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

I didn’t think that. It depends on who’s running the Govt and what it can get agreed with legislature. Leadership and political decisions make a difference.

Jeff Carr
Jeff Carr
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

First one has to define the ‘poor’ and one has to define ‘tax’.
If being poor is defined as an income lower than the living wage (rather than % of median per capita income) and tax is defined as the net contribution to the state then I would suggest that the ‘poor’ are net beneficiaries of the state.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The poor most certainly not pay a greater proportion of their income in tax. If they do not pay income tax what tax do they pay, and they certainly get far more from the state than they contribute.
In this country you have to earn £48K per annum before you are a net contributor to the Exchequer and that assumes you do not have children.
How no earth is this sustainable and who allowed things to get this far?

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

You are correct. It is the poor people that suffer the most from big government. But what makes you think big government gives more to poor people then their friends?
(who are not poor)

Jeff Carr
Jeff Carr
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

First one has to define the ‘poor’ and one has to define ‘tax’.
If being poor is defined as an income lower than the living wage (rather than % of median per capita income) and tax is defined as the net contribution to the state then I would suggest that the ‘poor’ are net beneficiaries of the state.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The poor most certainly not pay a greater proportion of their income in tax. If they do not pay income tax what tax do they pay, and they certainly get far more from the state than they contribute.
In this country you have to earn £48K per annum before you are a net contributor to the Exchequer and that assumes you do not have children.
How no earth is this sustainable and who allowed things to get this far?

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Who would disagree with that. But what’s often conveniently forgotten is poor people pay a greater proportion of their income in tax. They may contribute much less in income tax, the most visible, but the State has found plenty of other regressive ways of taking it back.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

We are a long way past the point where taxes support a state capable of protected the rights of property and person. It would be possible to slash state spending to 1/3 of what it is and still afford that most basic function of the state.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I think not without considerable societal unrest and destabilisation. Of course reality is a cut of a third is only a theoretical consideration as no political party could articulate how a sufficient majority would then be better off.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I think not without considerable societal unrest and destabilisation. Of course reality is a cut of a third is only a theoretical consideration as no political party could articulate how a sufficient majority would then be better off.

Selwyn Jones
Selwyn Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Which came first, the taxpayer or the state? Probably the state, but does that justify its infinite expansion? No, because the ideal situation is a figure of eight. But how big is each loop and how big should it be? Well, when the state side of the loop gets too big, then the tax payer side shrinks to nothing and we end up with a gigantic zero – grinding poverty and total control. That’s where we in the west are headed now.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Selwyn Jones

Infinite expansion? Not sure where you get that. UK tax revenue was 33% of GDP pre-pandemic, slightly below average for both G7 and OECD. (And perhaps related to the poorer state of resilience in absorbing the pandemic but a separate debate). I think latest Tory plans show a rise to 35% by 25-26. That’d be above average, but on assumption rest of G7/OECD stay the same – unlikely with aging populations and increases in Defence spending likely necessary. Tax revenue however has remained relatively stable by historical standards.
The issue is more how and who we tax. We continue to do much in a regressive manner with the poorest paying the most proportionally, whilst paradoxically the most well off complain the most. Clearly we need good sense behind setting incentives but we can be blind to how it works already for those less fortunate.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The tax state has made everything expensive. The problem for such states is that once people cash in, they vacate as soon as possible.

It only makes sense.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

I’d concur the richer do start to look for tax avoidance/dodges, and some may even relocate. But probably less than 50yrs ago when marginal rates much higher.
The UK tax system seemed to work v well for plenty of Russian Oligarchs of course, and having one’s money somewhere the rule of law is strong of consideration.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

I’d concur the richer do start to look for tax avoidance/dodges, and some may even relocate. But probably less than 50yrs ago when marginal rates much higher.
The UK tax system seemed to work v well for plenty of Russian Oligarchs of course, and having one’s money somewhere the rule of law is strong of consideration.

Selwyn Jones
Selwyn Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The poorest have been taken out of the tax system altogether. What you are describing is the famous poverty trap, which is itself a product of excessive taxation since it nullifies rises in salary and makes no difference between getting on and staying put. Rather than relying on tax to fund centrally directed “benefits”, then, we should revert to a network of private charities and rewards for marginal labour – road sweeping, gate keeping etcetera – as the means whereby the jobless can keep body and soul together. In other words, Victorian Liberalism, not the failed, stagnant model of socialist sloth.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Selwyn Jones

Taken out of the tax system? Do they get exempt from VAT or Council tax as just two examples?
As regards the rest of your rose tinted Victorian position, you’ll be having kids up chimneys next.

Selwyn Jones
Selwyn Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Certainly more merciful than sending them to a drug-ridden, brutal and anarchic comprehensive dump. Progress? Really? And you talk of rose tints!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Well they are effectively exempt from VAT since it is not charged on food and is only charges at 5% on domestic gas and electricity.
As for council tax, if you are on low income you are entitled to Council Tax Support which covers up to 100% of council tax liability.
You must know this.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Poorest 10% pay 42% of total income in tax – ONS data.
Taxes you are missing – duties on tobacco, beer/cider, wine/spirits, duty on hydrocarbon oils, Vehicle Excise Duty, TV licence, Betting taxes, Insurance premium tax (and poorest areas pay higher), commercial & industrial rates, even the Lottery.  Plus there are other consumption taxes the very poorest may or may not e.g air passenger duty.

Council tax and VAT were found to hit the poorest households particularly hard. Low earners pay an average of seven per cent of their income in council tax while the wealthiest households pay just 1.5 per cent. There is no set amount of Council Tax Support. What you get depends on your circumstances and where you live. Each local council is responsible for operating its own Council Tax Support scheme so the amounts of support given across the country may vary
A similar trend applies to VAT, on which the poor pay 12.5 per cent of their income while the rich pay five per cent. VAT may not be charged directly on food but will impact on the cost of production. Food prices rising hits poorest hardest. Hikes in VAT by Tories will have hit poorest hardest and they knew that.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Poorest 10% pay 42% of total income in tax – ONS data.
Taxes you are missing – duties on tobacco, beer/cider, wine/spirits, duty on hydrocarbon oils, Vehicle Excise Duty, TV licence, Betting taxes, Insurance premium tax (and poorest areas pay higher), commercial & industrial rates, even the Lottery.  Plus there are other consumption taxes the very poorest may or may not e.g air passenger duty.

Council tax and VAT were found to hit the poorest households particularly hard. Low earners pay an average of seven per cent of their income in council tax while the wealthiest households pay just 1.5 per cent. There is no set amount of Council Tax Support. What you get depends on your circumstances and where you live. Each local council is responsible for operating its own Council Tax Support scheme so the amounts of support given across the country may vary
A similar trend applies to VAT, on which the poor pay 12.5 per cent of their income while the rich pay five per cent. VAT may not be charged directly on food but will impact on the cost of production. Food prices rising hits poorest hardest. Hikes in VAT by Tories will have hit poorest hardest and they knew that.

Selwyn Jones
Selwyn Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Certainly more merciful than sending them to a drug-ridden, brutal and anarchic comprehensive dump. Progress? Really? And you talk of rose tints!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Well they are effectively exempt from VAT since it is not charged on food and is only charges at 5% on domestic gas and electricity.
As for council tax, if you are on low income you are entitled to Council Tax Support which covers up to 100% of council tax liability.
You must know this.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Selwyn Jones

Taken out of the tax system? Do they get exempt from VAT or Council tax as just two examples?
As regards the rest of your rose tinted Victorian position, you’ll be having kids up chimneys next.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

But Government spending was 43.2% of GDP in 2022/23 https://www.statista.com/statistics/298478/public-sector-expenditure-as-share-of-gdp-united-kingdom-uk/
Even at the lowest estimates, at nearly £3tn Government debt exceeds 100% of GDP. At the high end, £6tn, Government debt is double GDP.

Troy MacKenzie
Troy MacKenzie
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

One shouldn’t focus on tax revenue, but on spending as percent of GDP. Tax revenue is only one way the leviathan feeds itself.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The tax state has made everything expensive. The problem for such states is that once people cash in, they vacate as soon as possible.

It only makes sense.

Selwyn Jones
Selwyn Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The poorest have been taken out of the tax system altogether. What you are describing is the famous poverty trap, which is itself a product of excessive taxation since it nullifies rises in salary and makes no difference between getting on and staying put. Rather than relying on tax to fund centrally directed “benefits”, then, we should revert to a network of private charities and rewards for marginal labour – road sweeping, gate keeping etcetera – as the means whereby the jobless can keep body and soul together. In other words, Victorian Liberalism, not the failed, stagnant model of socialist sloth.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

But Government spending was 43.2% of GDP in 2022/23 https://www.statista.com/statistics/298478/public-sector-expenditure-as-share-of-gdp-united-kingdom-uk/
Even at the lowest estimates, at nearly £3tn Government debt exceeds 100% of GDP. At the high end, £6tn, Government debt is double GDP.

Troy MacKenzie
Troy MacKenzie
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

One shouldn’t focus on tax revenue, but on spending as percent of GDP. Tax revenue is only one way the leviathan feeds itself.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Selwyn Jones

Infinite expansion? Not sure where you get that. UK tax revenue was 33% of GDP pre-pandemic, slightly below average for both G7 and OECD. (And perhaps related to the poorer state of resilience in absorbing the pandemic but a separate debate). I think latest Tory plans show a rise to 35% by 25-26. That’d be above average, but on assumption rest of G7/OECD stay the same – unlikely with aging populations and increases in Defence spending likely necessary. Tax revenue however has remained relatively stable by historical standards.
The issue is more how and who we tax. We continue to do much in a regressive manner with the poorest paying the most proportionally, whilst paradoxically the most well off complain the most. Clearly we need good sense behind setting incentives but we can be blind to how it works already for those less fortunate.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

True but societal stability is at risk now.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

Always some risk, esp when we increase the proportion of folks in poverty and despair with little to lose.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

We increase the proportion of folks in poverty and despair with little to lose.
What a load of nonsense. My youngest brother has lived entirely on benefits since the age of 16. My other brother has lived entirely on benefits since the age of about 50. Buy no stretch of the imagination can they be described as living in poverty and despair.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

We increase the proportion of folks in poverty and despair with little to lose.
What a load of nonsense. My youngest brother has lived entirely on benefits since the age of 16. My other brother has lived entirely on benefits since the age of about 50. Buy no stretch of the imagination can they be described as living in poverty and despair.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

Always some risk, esp when we increase the proportion of folks in poverty and despair with little to lose.

Charlie Two
Charlie Two
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

no a great argument. few, especially Thatcherites, would disagree with the need for the state to exist. Indeed, the main purpose of the state is to create order, enforce law etc, but not spaff gazillions down the bog on social engineering and cretinous pet projects.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Charlie Two

Like Brexit perhaps?

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

That was disengenuous

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

That was disengenuous

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Charlie Two

Like Brexit perhaps?

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

People don’t mind paying taxes, but not when the state starts to punish those who work hard in order to support those who contribute very little.

Last edited 1 year ago by Julian Farrows
John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

We are a long way past the point where taxes support a state capable of protected the rights of property and person. It would be possible to slash state spending to 1/3 of what it is and still afford that most basic function of the state.

Selwyn Jones
Selwyn Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Which came first, the taxpayer or the state? Probably the state, but does that justify its infinite expansion? No, because the ideal situation is a figure of eight. But how big is each loop and how big should it be? Well, when the state side of the loop gets too big, then the tax payer side shrinks to nothing and we end up with a gigantic zero – grinding poverty and total control. That’s where we in the west are headed now.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

True but societal stability is at risk now.

Charlie Two
Charlie Two
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

no a great argument. few, especially Thatcherites, would disagree with the need for the state to exist. Indeed, the main purpose of the state is to create order, enforce law etc, but not spaff gazillions down the bog on social engineering and cretinous pet projects.

Kevin Ludbrook
Kevin Ludbrook
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I think that Thatcher did a job that had to be done. It could have been done differently but things needed to change. The problem I see is that there was never really any follow up to the destruction of old ways, it was a free market free for all and surely there are some roles that government can play to guide us. Tony Blair simply added to the problem. No different now really with say technology or green projects but then our taxes/government are significantly spent/spending on social care of some form or another so everything else is secondary. I’m not advocating that we should cut spending immediately but we need to scrutinise and understand where all the money goes and why. e.g we don’t have older family members stay with us any longer so one way or another we have to pay. I note my council tax bill (Surrey) has a line for Adult Social Care premium which is good but the % increases each year are wrong and manipulated. Apparently this is mandated by the government. Check your own.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Look to Weimar in 1933, and see what happened.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

You touch on a fundamental philosophical point – does the State exist because of taxpayers or taxpayers exist because of the State?
Many would contend societal stability sufficient to enjoy one’s wealth dependent on the State. A point often forgotten by those chaffing about wanting to keep a bigger share of the pie.

Kevin Ludbrook
Kevin Ludbrook
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I think that Thatcher did a job that had to be done. It could have been done differently but things needed to change. The problem I see is that there was never really any follow up to the destruction of old ways, it was a free market free for all and surely there are some roles that government can play to guide us. Tony Blair simply added to the problem. No different now really with say technology or green projects but then our taxes/government are significantly spent/spending on social care of some form or another so everything else is secondary. I’m not advocating that we should cut spending immediately but we need to scrutinise and understand where all the money goes and why. e.g we don’t have older family members stay with us any longer so one way or another we have to pay. I note my council tax bill (Surrey) has a line for Adult Social Care premium which is good but the % increases each year are wrong and manipulated. Apparently this is mandated by the government. Check your own.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Look to Weimar in 1933, and see what happened.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

No analysis of Thatcherism or Thatcher herself as a politician is complete without mentioning the core principle that taxpayers are not pockets to be picked at will by the State, they are not the final underwriter for the consequences of government incompetence, and they are implictly owed value for the money that is confiscated from them.

This is something that is hated, of course, by Statists of any flavour. And it has to be recognised that a rejection of these principles has comprehensively won the main political arguments of past 30 years since Thatcher was removed from office. The only thing I want from politics at this point is the restoration of those principles. It is however clear not only that the existing political class has no intention whatever of being held accountable that way, but that as a voter I am in a small minority on the issue, so there will never be any significant political pressure to support them.

The size and recklessness of the state is pauperising us all. I wonder what it will take to put it into reverse.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago

I hated Margaret Thatcher for what she did to the economy of the North. I was there. During the miners’ strike my mother and I discussed whether to go and lie down in the road to stop the lorries taking imported coal to the local power stations but decided that we couldn’t risk losing our public sector jobs. The civil service and the NHS were the only jobs left in town.
Nevertheless, I wish she had been in charge during the Covid hysteria. She was a hardworking, serious politician with a degree in a scientific subject, as well as being a lawyer. She would have listened to scientists across the spectrum and considered the issue holistically, with consideration of the economy and education. She would also have had the courage to stand up to Macron, Sturgeon and other politicians who were just trying to score points. I don’t know what her approach would have been, but we would have known that it was a seriously considered one, and would not have felt that we were being run by a bunch of headless chickens, as we did.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Doesn’t your experience of the Miner’s Strike make you appreciate how authoritarian she could be when she wanted? And thus she’d have no hesitation in imposing Lockdowns.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Lady Thatcher was a ‘daughter of the war’ and thus made of far sterner stuff than those ‘bed wetting spastics’ Johnson, Cummings, Hancock & Co.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

She was male identified which was abrasive in a women. And that voice!!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

“That voice”? A vast improvement on ‘Grocer’ Heath for one.

Incidentally Ms Knight are you “male identified”?
I only ask because you certainly sound like it, do you not?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

“That voice”? A vast improvement on ‘Grocer’ Heath for one.

Incidentally Ms Knight are you “male identified”?
I only ask because you certainly sound like it, do you not?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

She was male identified which was abrasive in a women. And that voice!!

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The lockdowns were cowardly and Thatcher was many things, but no coward.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Firstly, Thatcher was not authoritarian, she was merely powerful, but in any case it does not follow that she would have imposed lockdowns just because she had the power to do it. Thatcher, more than any politician since, did what she believed to be right, and it is very unlikely that she would have believed lockdowns to be right.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I am from a mining area. My parents house backed onto the slag heap for the neighbouring colliery. I lived through the miner’s strike at close quarters and Thatcher was entirely right.
Your comparison to the Covid lockdown is spurious. he miners chose to go on strike. Thatcher did not make them do so

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Thatcher was authoritarian in how she deployed the Police, the Courts and cut across civil liberties. Separate issue about whether justified at the time. Point was she didn’t hold back on authoritarian response when she felt needed.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Thatcher was authoritarian in how she deployed the Police, the Courts and cut across civil liberties. Separate issue about whether justified at the time. Point was she didn’t hold back on authoritarian response when she felt needed.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Lady Thatcher was a ‘daughter of the war’ and thus made of far sterner stuff than those ‘bed wetting spastics’ Johnson, Cummings, Hancock & Co.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

The lockdowns were cowardly and Thatcher was many things, but no coward.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

Firstly, Thatcher was not authoritarian, she was merely powerful, but in any case it does not follow that she would have imposed lockdowns just because she had the power to do it. Thatcher, more than any politician since, did what she believed to be right, and it is very unlikely that she would have believed lockdowns to be right.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  j watson

I am from a mining area. My parents house backed onto the slag heap for the neighbouring colliery. I lived through the miner’s strike at close quarters and Thatcher was entirely right.
Your comparison to the Covid lockdown is spurious. he miners chose to go on strike. Thatcher did not make them do so

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
1 year ago

My father was a Yorkshire coalminer, but just retired at the time, and I disagree. It was Scargill who damaged coal mining and other industry because he had no concept of competition or investment. UK coal was overpriced and if that had been allowed to continue all our energy would have been more costly and then the cost increases would have followed through into every other manufacturing industry and household costs.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

True Alan, but not as costly as the ‘green’ energy that is being pushed for by Liberals these days…

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Yes Scargill a disaster. And of course all happened before the issue of global warming changed perspectives (well at least some).
However worth bearing in mind how Thatcher and McGregor undercut the NUM and subsequent pit closures. South African imported coal increased, mined by workers under Apartheid. Not exactly what you’ll have meant by competition one would hope.
The other question of course is what redevelopment strategy was planned once they’d closed all the pits?

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

True Alan, but not as costly as the ‘green’ energy that is being pushed for by Liberals these days…

j watson
j watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Yes Scargill a disaster. And of course all happened before the issue of global warming changed perspectives (well at least some).
However worth bearing in mind how Thatcher and McGregor undercut the NUM and subsequent pit closures. South African imported coal increased, mined by workers under Apartheid. Not exactly what you’ll have meant by competition one would hope.
The other question of course is what redevelopment strategy was planned once they’d closed all the pits?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

How very honest of you to admit you didn’t want to risk your ‘public sector’ job!

However the Miners had been obscenely subsidised for many years and had allowed their arrogance to get the better of them.

In the event Lady Thatcher had very little difficulty in destroying them with her policy of ‘divide & rule’.
They should also have realised what a crackpot Marxist nutter Arthur Scargill was, but they allowed his vanity to lead them to their doom.
Scargill was the nemesis of the Miners NOT Thatcher.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Surely you mean the mining industry had been subsidised not the miners.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

You’re ‘splitting hairs’.

Jeff Andrews
Jeff Andrews
1 year ago

Now we all subsidise the banks and whole financial sector, Including you.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Andrews

I have been retired for eons so I think not.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Andrews

I have been retired for eons so I think not.

Jeff Andrews
Jeff Andrews
1 year ago

Now we all subsidise the banks and whole financial sector, Including you.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

You’re ‘splitting hairs’.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Surely you mean the mining industry had been subsidised not the miners.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
1 year ago

So you ‘discussed whether to lie down in front of lorries’ but didn’t yet you baulk at free school milk! Your hypocrisy smells worse than your remembered milk…..

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

That comment is unnecessarily harsh, Carl.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Was it harsh? A lot of children appreciated school milk, it was nutritious and welcomed no doubt by children whos parents couldn’t afford breakfast, yes there were some unfortunate ones. To dismiss the value of this subsidy because of an individual experience of warm milk is insulting and snobby (imo of course).
By the way, I thought about lying down in front of the tank in Tiananmen square but someone got there before me….. was my contribution impressive because I thought about it?

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Was it harsh? A lot of children appreciated school milk, it was nutritious and welcomed no doubt by children whos parents couldn’t afford breakfast, yes there were some unfortunate ones. To dismiss the value of this subsidy because of an individual experience of warm milk is insulting and snobby (imo of course).
By the way, I thought about lying down in front of the tank in Tiananmen square but someone got there before me….. was my contribution impressive because I thought about it?

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

That comment is unnecessarily harsh, Carl.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

If you look at a graph of the number of mines operating each year from the late ’40s to the mid-’90s, without a scale on the time axis, it’s impossible to distinguish the Thatcher years from those of PMs before and after. Same with a graph of the number of miners employed.
It’s only when you look at a graph of coal production that the severe dips resulting from the two miners’ strikes reveal the timings and identify the Heath and Thatcher premiership.
Mining was in a steady decline throughout that period under Labour and Tory governments. Ultimately, Scargill’s attempt to bring down the Government a second time did nothing to prevent the slow death of the industry and, I suspect, the antipathy generated stopped Thatcher from addressing seriously the support that mining communities needed to deal with the change.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

Of course Mrs Thatcher was herself, a scientist.

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Doesn’t your experience of the Miner’s Strike make you appreciate how authoritarian she could be when she wanted? And thus she’d have no hesitation in imposing Lockdowns.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
1 year ago

My father was a Yorkshire coalminer, but just retired at the time, and I disagree. It was Scargill who damaged coal mining and other industry because he had no concept of competition or investment. UK coal was overpriced and if that had been allowed to continue all our energy would have been more costly and then the cost increases would have followed through into every other manufacturing industry and household costs.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

How very honest of you to admit you didn’t want to risk your ‘public sector’ job!

However the Miners had been obscenely subsidised for many years and had allowed their arrogance to get the better of them.

In the event Lady Thatcher had very little difficulty in destroying them with her policy of ‘divide & rule’.
They should also have realised what a crackpot Marxist nutter Arthur Scargill was, but they allowed his vanity to lead them to their doom.
Scargill was the nemesis of the Miners NOT Thatcher.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
1 year ago

So you ‘discussed whether to lie down in front of lorries’ but didn’t yet you baulk at free school milk! Your hypocrisy smells worse than your remembered milk…..

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

If you look at a graph of the number of mines operating each year from the late ’40s to the mid-’90s, without a scale on the time axis, it’s impossible to distinguish the Thatcher years from those of PMs before and after. Same with a graph of the number of miners employed.
It’s only when you look at a graph of coal production that the severe dips resulting from the two miners’ strikes reveal the timings and identify the Heath and Thatcher premiership.
Mining was in a steady decline throughout that period under Labour and Tory governments. Ultimately, Scargill’s attempt to bring down the Government a second time did nothing to prevent the slow death of the industry and, I suspect, the antipathy generated stopped Thatcher from addressing seriously the support that mining communities needed to deal with the change.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

Of course Mrs Thatcher was herself, a scientist.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago

I hated Margaret Thatcher for what she did to the economy of the North. I was there. During the miners’ strike my mother and I discussed whether to go and lie down in the road to stop the lorries taking imported coal to the local power stations but decided that we couldn’t risk losing our public sector jobs. The civil service and the NHS were the only jobs left in town.
Nevertheless, I wish she had been in charge during the Covid hysteria. She was a hardworking, serious politician with a degree in a scientific subject, as well as being a lawyer. She would have listened to scientists across the spectrum and considered the issue holistically, with consideration of the economy and education. She would also have had the courage to stand up to Macron, Sturgeon and other politicians who were just trying to score points. I don’t know what her approach would have been, but we would have known that it was a seriously considered one, and would not have felt that we were being run by a bunch of headless chickens, as we did.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

I am told that my lefty cousin had “Thatcher the Snatcher” signs up at her house in the 1980s. Bless her heart.
The big picture point is that Reagan and Thatcher were needed to staunch the inflationary nightmare of the 1970s that we experienced after the end of Bretton Woods.
We are probably going to need Version 2.0 after the inflationary nightmare of COVID.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Wasn’t it “THE MILK SNATCHER”?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

It was.

She stopped the provision of free school milk provided at primary schools during the morning in crates of mini-bottles. There were always lots left over. I used to drink the creamy tops of several (and leave the rest!) whenever i got chance.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

She would have, at least, approved of that.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Ha!

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Ha!

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

If Wikipedia is to be believed, Labour started and finished the “milk snatching” :

“In 1968 Edward Short, the Labour Secretary of State for Education and Science, withdrew free milk from secondary schools for children over eleven. His successor, Conservative Margaret Thatcher withdrew free school milk from children over seven in 1971, earning her the nickname “Thatcher, the Milk Snatcher”.[16][17][18] Shirley Williams withdrew free milk for children between seven and five in 1977.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_Act_1944#School_meals_and_milk

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

School milk was vile. People who mourn its passing were never made to drink it.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago

Totally agree.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago

Yes, especially when left outside in a crate and allowed to get warm. Yuk!

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
1 year ago

22 Up ticks for this puerile comment, really? The milk tasted great to me, what snobbery Caroline!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

I don’t think it’s snobbery, that’s judgemental. Not everyone likes milk it’s a simple as that.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Judgemental? My goodness we can’t have that on the comments section of unherd! If only Maggie was alive she would put a stop to that because she wasn’t judgemental 🙂

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

Judgemental? My goodness we can’t have that on the comments section of unherd! If only Maggie was alive she would put a stop to that because she wasn’t judgemental 🙂

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  Carl Valentine

I don’t think it’s snobbery, that’s judgemental. Not everyone likes milk it’s a simple as that.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Aint that the ruth. I can remember being forced to drink ice cold milk on ice cold days and being forced out to an ice cold playground with an ice headache.

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

That sounds tougher than being a miner Clare, well done for scraping through….

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

That sounds tougher than being a miner Clare, well done for scraping through….

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago

Totally agree.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago

Yes, especially when left outside in a crate and allowed to get warm. Yuk!

Carl Valentine
Carl Valentine
1 year ago

22 Up ticks for this puerile comment, really? The milk tasted great to me, what snobbery Caroline!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago

Aint that the ruth. I can remember being forced to drink ice cold milk on ice cold days and being forced out to an ice cold playground with an ice headache.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Goodhand

School milk was vile. People who mourn its passing were never made to drink it.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Our were stuck out in the sun all day, so were warm and tasted strange when we had to drink them – and we had to; I think that they might have force fed us if we refused.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago

Sorry Linda, see you’ve already made my point!

George Wells
George Wells
1 year ago

Which is why to this day I still instinctively sniff milk every time I open a bottle, though I like to drink it straight. I have however had worse milk; in East Berlin before the wall fell. A triumph of communism, but sadly unrecognisable as milk.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

Nice and chilled in winter though …

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago

Sorry Linda, see you’ve already made my point!

George Wells
George Wells
1 year ago

Which is why to this day I still instinctively sniff milk every time I open a bottle, though I like to drink it straight. I have however had worse milk; in East Berlin before the wall fell. A triumph of communism, but sadly unrecognisable as milk.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

Nice and chilled in winter though …

Selwyn Jones
Selwyn Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I recall them vividly – disgusting glass bottles, half filled with rancid milk getting steadily smellier as the warm afternoons of primary school wore on. She did us all a favour in ridding us of that particular “benefit”, seemingly a direct inheritance from the world of the workhouse.

Troy MacKenzie
Troy MacKenzie
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

That doesn’t sound wasteful at all. I wonder why the program was cut?

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

She would have, at least, approved of that.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

If Wikipedia is to be believed, Labour started and finished the “milk snatching” :

“In 1968 Edward Short, the Labour Secretary of State for Education and Science, withdrew free milk from secondary schools for children over eleven. His successor, Conservative Margaret Thatcher withdrew free school milk from children over seven in 1971, earning her the nickname “Thatcher, the Milk Snatcher”.[16][17][18] Shirley Williams withdrew free milk for children between seven and five in 1977.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_Act_1944#School_meals_and_milk

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Our were stuck out in the sun all day, so were warm and tasted strange when we had to drink them – and we had to; I think that they might have force fed us if we refused.

Selwyn Jones
Selwyn Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I recall them vividly – disgusting glass bottles, half filled with rancid milk getting steadily smellier as the warm afternoons of primary school wore on. She did us all a favour in ridding us of that particular “benefit”, seemingly a direct inheritance from the world of the workhouse.

Troy MacKenzie
Troy MacKenzie
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

That doesn’t sound wasteful at all. I wonder why the program was cut?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

It was.

She stopped the provision of free school milk provided at primary schools during the morning in crates of mini-bottles. There were always lots left over. I used to drink the creamy tops of several (and leave the rest!) whenever i got chance.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Often forgotten her policies in late 80s regenerated significant inflationary pressures and subsequent recession. The mythology likes to draw a veil over this.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Wasn’t it “THE MILK SNATCHER”?

j watson
j watson
1 year ago

Often forgotten her policies in late 80s regenerated significant inflationary pressures and subsequent recession. The mythology likes to draw a veil over this.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

I am told that my lefty cousin had “Thatcher the Snatcher” signs up at her house in the 1980s. Bless her heart.
The big picture point is that Reagan and Thatcher were needed to staunch the inflationary nightmare of the 1970s that we experienced after the end of Bretton Woods.
We are probably going to need Version 2.0 after the inflationary nightmare of COVID.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago

As an American, I remember when Thatcher was in her prime. She really was a force of nature and raised the British reputation abroad, especially after the embarrassment of the IMF bailout in the 70s.
In the end, though, my sense is she started to believe her own legend and behaved in quite an imperial manner. Nowadays, although he is very different from Thatcher in many ways, whenever I see Macron I’m reminded of Thatcher toward the end of her premiership. Macron is much more comfortable on the international stage, pretending, for example, he can broker a peace deal in Ukraine, than at home dealing with a restive population and his poor ratings in the polls.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Macron is no Thatcher. People don’t like to admit it, but Thatcher had far more appeal to ordinary people – she came from an ordinary background and worked her way up the hard way. Not so Macron.
Thatcher actually did stuff. That’s why she became unpopular. It’s what happens when you make tough decisions. Eventually the cumulative losers from all those changes become a majority. Macron mainly talks.
Thatcher certainly stayed on about 3 years too long.
I would also suggest – unorthodox though this is amongst our commentators – that Thatcher was a politician who (like Boris Johnson and Tony Blair) had a gut feeling for ordinary people’s concerns and priorities. A rare quality these days – contrast with Heath, Brown, Cameron, May, Truss, Miliband, Starmer … probably Sunak too.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I’ve actually been very impressed with macrons efforts on ukraine and his recent comments after visiting china, I don’t say that lightly I didn’t really like him tbh, but he is trying to position Europe between America and China, not an easy task but I am impressed with his efforts.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Fair point. Even the Germans are trying not to be drawn into the bipolar US vs China worldview, although Macron is probably the boldest in pushing back on the US.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Thanks, yes I am relieved we have some leaders trying to calm the situation at least, I think he spoke of not decoupling from China which, just from the perspective that I feel it would cause us more problems with inflation and such, is probably a wise move for now, I think he described China and America as two nervous elephants that we really didn’t need fighting or something along those lines, I felt he gave a pretty fair and accurate assessment of the situation anyway last time he spoke.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

I gave you an upvote and it went to zero. It’s beyond me.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I think if somebody else has down voted at the same time it will cancel out.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

I think if somebody else has down voted at the same time it will cancel out.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

I gave you an upvote and it went to zero. It’s beyond me.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Thanks, yes I am relieved we have some leaders trying to calm the situation at least, I think he spoke of not decoupling from China which, just from the perspective that I feel it would cause us more problems with inflation and such, is probably a wise move for now, I think he described China and America as two nervous elephants that we really didn’t need fighting or something along those lines, I felt he gave a pretty fair and accurate assessment of the situation anyway last time he spoke.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Unfortunately Ms Emery he is indulging in traditional French ‘grandstanding’ to divert attention from the chaos currently engulfing Metropolitan France.

I very much doubt if the Chinese are impressed.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Well I don’t live in France his domestic politics aren’t my problem, my problem is ‘the most significant business disruption the world has ever seen’ if it kicks off over Taiwan.
I didn’t say the Chinese were impressed, they apparently are not impressed with ‘deriskng’ anymore than they are ‘decoupling’, it’s all very nervous elephants, von der leyden lady told the Chinese they couldn’t back russia I believe, another thing they were not apparently impressed by. I still think he’s doing the right thing by talking with them still though.
Anyone interested in what he actually said can be found here, note the disclaimer at the bottom of the article:

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/macron-says-europe-should-reduce-dependence-us-dollar-seek-strategic-autonomy

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Macron is doing precisely what De Gaulle was doing sixty and more years ago, and again to NO avail.

Nobody takes any notice of France since the debacle of June 1940, and that is fact of life and NOT an Anglo-Saxon conspiracy, as the Quai d’Orsay might say.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Who is the Quai d’Orsay?
Well I am listening. America has serial debacles and we still have to listen to them. Doing something is better than nothing in my books.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

The French Foreign Office.

I’m not exculpating the US, their record is atrocious but even so, better than either that of China or Russia.

However France is a paranoid pygmy and should be ignored, however well meaning.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Thank you, jolly good, we wouldn’t want to exclude anyone on the debacle list.
I am not really concerned with who has the finest moral compass, is there even an answer to that, but our ability to fight both russia and China at the same time that I am a paranoid pygmy over. You ignore Mr Macron if you wish. I wish not to.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Thank you, jolly good, we wouldn’t want to exclude anyone on the debacle list.
I am not really concerned with who has the finest moral compass, is there even an answer to that, but our ability to fight both russia and China at the same time that I am a paranoid pygmy over. You ignore Mr Macron if you wish. I wish not to.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

the coup de grace is a lawnmower

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Very good. France is for this as far as I knew:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=K706oNKwVF0

I don’t need French to do that. The British way is to TALK LOUDER. Eddie and Patsy get by just fine.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Very good. France is for this as far as I knew:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=K706oNKwVF0

I don’t need French to do that. The British way is to TALK LOUDER. Eddie and Patsy get by just fine.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

The French Foreign Office.

I’m not exculpating the US, their record is atrocious but even so, better than either that of China or Russia.

However France is a paranoid pygmy and should be ignored, however well meaning.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

the coup de grace is a lawnmower

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Who is the Quai d’Orsay?
Well I am listening. America has serial debacles and we still have to listen to them. Doing something is better than nothing in my books.