Tuesday, 9 April 2013
Margaret Thatcher's Legacy
Possibly the abolition of free milk for schoolchildren when she was Secretary of State for Education which earned her the nickname 'Maggie Thatcher the milk snatcher'.
It could be the 'Maggie's millions', the 3.3 million unemployed, the highest number of out of work Britain's since the 1930s as the country plunged into recession following her election and led to riots on Britain's streets.
As riots greeted the start of her tenure, the sounds of public protests and charging riot police also saw her out with the poll tax riots, quickly abolished by her successor John Major.
The miners strike was a big part of her legacy, closing or privatising 150 of the 174 coal mines resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and devastating entire communities.
We could say that the Falkland Island conflict was what she would be remembered most for, with a popularity rating in the low 20's, a recession in full swing and riots in the streets, the Falklands War was a god-send for her and her Government, the victory euphoria pushing her to an election win a year later, a result that looked almost impossible twelve months earlier.
The case could be made for allowing the US to station nuclear missiles at Greenham Common, supporting apartheid in South Africa and the General Pinochet regime in Chile as well as Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge and the introduction of section 28 which banned promoting the acceptability of homosexual relationships, all which meant that for those who wanted to throw brickbats at the Prime Minister, they had no shortage of ammunition but for me, her must destructive policy was privatisation, the pain being felt decades even after she left power.
She spread the myth that privatisation would provide a more efficient and cheaper way to provide services and set about selling off nationalised utilities such as gas, water, and electricity and allowed the private companies to snap up British Rail, British Telecom, British Aerospace, British Airways, British Steel as well as the coal mines, ports and British Petroleum.
The eye watering price of a rail ticket and the purse emptying utility bills dropping on our doormats, the 4.5 million households in fuel poverty while private companies rack up billions in profits, Thatchers legacy for me is the poisonous and destructive greed-is-good culture that she actively encouraged.
Rip off Britain is her legacy to this country and all but those with the thickest of rose tinted spectacles should be able to see that we will be living with the disastrous consequences of her policies for decades yet.
She may now be gone but the rising cost of the necessities will mean that she will never be forgotten or forgiven.