How to remember Margaret Thatcher


      When senior  figures of other parties  have died I have not thought it right to use their funerals  as an opportunity to go over  the disagreements I had with them in life.

        I would just remind Margaret Thatcher’s critics that she won three General Elections with large majorities. Everything she did was approved by Parliament, and  subject to challenge in Parliament by the opposition of the day. The main opposition to her later  had thirteen years with large majorities of their own when they could overturn or correct anything they did not like from her past actions.

        She did not cause the banking crash of 2007-8, the deep recession of 2008-9, nor the decline of industry of the last decade. The whole financial regulatory framework was changed by the new government in 1997. The Labour government  chose not to renationalise privatised industries, not to restore free milk in schools (which they had taken  away from secondary pupils), not to change most  of the new Union laws, and not to put the Income Tax rates back up.

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  1. lifelogic
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Indeed except that, in effect, she and her policies won four elections. This with John Major as her substitute choice. This until, very rapidly. it became clear he was nothing like her. He then pushed the party to 3+ election defeats. Still no overall majority now, even against the hapless Gordon Brown, thanks to Cameron.

    The only sensible criticism is surely that she was too pro EU and did not go nearly far enough in reducing the size of the state sector, too little, too slowly alas. But we know how she was held back by what Norman Tebbit referred to as “her friends”.

    I hear, on PM last night, that even the BBC seems to have finally realized that electric cars are a nonsense. Why on earth are they subsidised by the state (and not tax on the fuel on level terms)? They are clearly less environmental and functional, than proper cars. So why are the Tories and the Libdems, using tax payer money to subsidise something that is a net negative to the environment and far less flexible in use?

    Anyway it seems that almost no one is buying the Nissan leaf, this despite the absurd MPG claims in their adverts, and the absurd tax payer subsidies they get.

    • Popeye
      Posted April 13, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Do you think her “friends” will have the brass neck to attend the funeral on Wednesday?

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2013 at 3:58 am | Permalink

        Yes I am sure the ones still around will do, career politicians have no shame.

        It was, however, very good to see the sound, Cecil Parkinson, looking very well at 81, and taking good sense on the BBC the other day.

    • Bazman
      Posted April 14, 2013 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      She hardly rolled back the state and it could be argued that she in fact expended it by making it rely and the population rely on corporate welfare.She made a big deal of being an outsider: a middle-class woman in a party of aristocrats. But she was an individual, an exception to the rule. She made no attempt to change party structures to help others like her. Today, the Tory leadership is dominated by Etonians and there are only four women in the cabinet. Thatcher always forgot to mention that her political career was financed by her millionaire husband. She expressed disdain for feminism and embraced patriarchal, male values.

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2013 at 4:18 am | Permalink

        Is not thinking that their are “patriarchal, male values” rather sexist. Like thinking that woman cannot play chess, park card, do physics or are wonderful multi-taskers might also be. I just judge individuals on merit myself.

        Surely Lady Thatcher just thought that she would take the best man or woman for the job who was available. Anything else would clearly be blatant discrimination against men and only Harriet Harman types (and perhaps Cameron with his gender insurance nonsense ) seem to want such blatant discrimination by law.

        I agree she hardly rolled back the state – certainly far from enough.

        I do not really mind if they come from Eton or some comp so long as they have the right values. There is perhaps though, some advantage in being in touch with the real world and having some understanding of typical working, and benefit dependent people.

        I have however found state school people rather better value as employees. Perhaps because they often need the money rather more.

        • Bazman
          Posted April 17, 2013 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

          They are more desperate is what you are saying.

  2. oldtimer
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink


  3. Alan Wheatley
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Could it be that one of the reasons voices opposed to Margaret Thatcher from outside the Conservative Party have enjoyed traction, such that myth has become reality in many peoples minds, is that there were so few voices from within the Conservative Party prepared to speak wholeheartedly on her behalf? I am very pleased that on this site credit is given where it is due.

  4. Richard1
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The venom and I’ll grace of Lady T’s critics is extraordinary to behold. It is unusual that they all feel the need to air their differences at all at this point. Their criticisms are absurd, blaming her for events which took place decades after she left office, ignoring her transformation of the UK’s economy to the benefit of millions of citizens, including in particular the former working class. They also ignore the disastrous state of the country by the late 1970s. The BBC has played baleful role in this with its constant assertions that she was ‘divisive’. (Which political leader isn’t ‘divisive’? President Obama is divisive if you ask the 50% or so of Americans who don’t support him).

    I thought Gordon Brown was a disastrous chancellor of the exchequer, whose statist policies and incompetence caused loss and hardship to millions. I thought he was a hopeless Prime Minister. But I don’t wish him any ill-will and, should I outlive him, I won’t regard his death as a cause for celebration.

    • sm
      Posted April 13, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink


    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted April 13, 2013 at 9:06 am | Permalink

      Richard–I agree with all you say except the bit about not wishing Brown ill-will. Remember it was that (man-ed) who inter alia single-handedly destroyed the best pension arrangements in the World.

      Reply It would still not be right to rejoice at any personal misfortune that affected him

      • margaret brandreth-j
        Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:51 am | Permalink

        This is exactly how I feel about all who suffer misfortune whether you are in agreement with them or not. There is something very savage about wishing bad times in any ones life or the memory of that life.

      • Leslie Singleton
        Posted April 13, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Comment on Reply–You must speak for yourself, but in fact I didn’t say Rejoice, although as I said I do wish him every kind of ill-will. Obviously you edited out what I called him (in fact very mild and absolutely true) to protect any relationship you still have with him. Personally I think you should give him the cut direct whenever you meet

      • zorro
        Posted April 13, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        Kismet…what goes around, comes around, and all that….but I understand how those with private pension agreements which were mangled by him feel aggrieved….


    • A different Simon
      Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Richard1 ,

      I agree Mrs T is incorrectly blamed for a lot of the things which happened after her and her successors (and predecossors) failures .

      In my opinion there are even some similarities between Mrs Thatcher and Mr Brown .

      Both of them were naive , particularly with regards to the financial services sector and dynamics of markets .

      No doubt they both had advisers who were worldly so why didn’t they enlighten either them ?

      Our civil servants , regulators and politicians are still awarded defined benefits pensions . They have no need ever to take any financial risk .
      How many of our Chancellors of the Exchequer have ever bought a share or would be able to set up an online SIPP ?

      I don’t think George Osborne would have the slightest idea which is perhaps why it is so easy to persuade him that the AIM market needs fresh meat rather than to clean it’s act up .

      The outcome will be a financial success for professional politicians , civil servants and regulators regardless of what it is for the electorate .

      • A different Simon
        Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        PS I’m not using “naive” as an insult , just pointing out that well meaning and well intentioned is not enough .

        • Richard1
          Posted April 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

          Where there were problems and errors in both cases it was because government intervened in areas best left to the markets. Brown’s errors were an order of magnitude worse than Thatcher’s because Brown believed in big government whereas Thatcher believed the opposite. Lady T’s economic errors stemmed mainly from government manipulation of interest rates (including joining the ERM) though she knew and taught us that you can’t buck the market. Brown’s errors were deficit spending when there should have been surpluses combined with excessively loose monetary policy, and useless over-regulation which ignored the main problem – excessive leverage in the banking system.

    • P O Pensioner
      Posted April 14, 2013 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

      I also cannot believe the blame that Margaret Thatcher is getting for all the things that have gone wrong.
      She is blamed for shutting down the coal industry even though Labour closed far more coal mines than the Conservatives. British coal had become uncompetitive when industries needed cheaper energy and cheaper fuel was available in British Gas.
      She is accused of destroying manufacturing although during her premiership between the 3rd quarter of 1979 and 1990 overall manufacturing output in the UK increased by 7.5%.
      Currently manufacturing represents some 12% of our total output similar to France and the USA.
      Far from destroying our economy she made us face up to the fact that we had to become more efficient and therefore less labour intensive with more output. That unfortunately meant that some workers who had no transferable skills found themselves on the scrapheap.
      The people who shout the abuse against Margaret Thatcher are the kind of socialist dinasaurs who would reduce us to a bankcrupt state. This was almost achieved by the Last Labour government.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2013 at 4:22 am | Permalink

      Indeed I agree fully. The left can indeed be very bitter and twisted, the power of raw irrational emotions over intelligent thought and logic.

      • Bazman
        Posted April 17, 2013 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

        Still awaiting your answer on Switzerland. Logic required not ranting emotion as you just come out with.

  5. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Many of her critics cannot accept that on so many important issues she was right and they were wrong. Rather than face up to and deal with issues, as she would have done, they adopted a childish attitude of “I don’t like you”. For years they have tried to portray their own failures as caused by her. These people need a figure they can hate, and encourage others to hate, in order to obscure their own shortcomings. After she has been buried I wonder if they will let her rest in peace and find another live figure to hate. In some cases, sadly, I think not.

  6. Steve Cox
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    The pathetic sight of teenagers who weren’t even born when the traitors ousted Margaret celebrating her death is testament to the hideous legacy of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The British have become a nation of Wayne and Waynetta Slobs.

    • A different Simon
      Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      There is irony in what you say .

      Tony Blair surely modeled himself on Mrs Thatcher fan .

      Butterfly Tony had a much lower boredom threshold which is perhaps why he got tired of being PM so soon and went off to save the world .

      • lifelogic
        Posted April 15, 2013 at 4:25 am | Permalink

        Was it not Gordon (some bigoted woman) Brown who saved the World?

  7. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    I believe I heard Will Hutton attribute the banking collapse of 2007-08 to Margaret Thatcher.

    An incredibly stupid remark from someone who appears to regard himself as an economist.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 13, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      Will Hutton is not a person to be taken seriously on these issues. In 1992/3 he wrote a turgid book called ‘the state we’re in’ predicting economic doom & gloom due to Conservative economic policy. It was timed – just like the predictions of the famous 364 economists of Q2 1981 – in time for the beginning of a sustained long-running recovery. I heard Mr Hutton give a speech in 1988 in which he extolled the German banking cross-shareholding model (dismantled as an acknowledged failure in the following 15 years) and in particular what he saw as the superior Japanese economic and ownership system (just in time for the collapse of the Japanese stock market and 20 year stagnation). i’m pleased to say i challenged him on these at the time. The odd thing about these leftists is,
      no matter how wrong they are and how over-whelming the evidence against them, they persist in the righteous propagation of statist policies. Think back to 1979/80 – Margaret Thatcher proved spectacularly correct and successful in so many areas in the years to come, beyond the reasonable hopes of any of us. The Left just can’t take it.

      • Bazman
        Posted April 17, 2013 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        How does a dreamer like yourself explain the stagnation and degradation of large ares of Britain due to The Tory rights economic dogma? Are all these area to blame for their own demise? The deregulation of the stock markets allowing the bankers to do what they like helped by Labour I might add. Your answer bing more of the same. What in geographically isolated industrial areas that have companies who once employed thousands as a main defence contractor. They where reckless in believing the government of the day of more work and buying houses and having children based on this. Theories put forward by a know nothing with no experience of these areas or much else I suspect. Ram it.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2013 at 4:27 am | Permalink

      I do not think I have ever heard Will Hutton say anything much that is sensible, or that has proved to be right. Yet the BBC have him on all the time perhaps this is the reason?

      • Bazman
        Posted April 17, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

        Twitter like a bird don’t you. A right wing (words left out) parrot in fact.

  8. uanime5
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    I would just remind Margaret Thatcher’s critics that she won three General Elections with large majorities.

    In 1979 Thatcher won the election with 43.9% of the votes and got 339 of the 635 seats (a majority of 21).
    In 1983 Thatcher won the election with 42.4% of the votes and got 397 of the 650 seats (a majority of 71).
    In 1987 Thatcher won the election with 42.2% of the votes and got 376 of the 650 seats (a majority of 50).

    So while Thatcher won three elections I wouldn’t say that the first one was with a large majority.

    Everything she did was approved by Parliament, and subject to challenge in Parliament by the opposition of the day.

    But if she had a majority wouldn’t she just be able to ignore any challenges provided that they didn’t reduce her majority by too much? One problem that frequently occurs in the UK is that when one party has a majority there’s very little any other party can do to stop this party doing whatever it wants. Especially when the Prime Minister can create as many Lords as they want.

    The main opposition to her later had thirteen years with large majorities of their own when they could overturn or correct anything they did not like from her past actions.

    True but it’s often difficult to renationalise something that’s been privatised, repurchase council houses that have been sold, or try to re-obtain industries that have left the UK.

    • zorro
      Posted April 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      ‘True but it’s often difficult to renationalise something that’s been privatised, repurchase council houses that have been sold, or try to re-obtain industries that have left the UK.’…..It’s not that difficult to do actually, it’s just that governments have chosen not to do it. 1979 posed a number of challenging situations. Whoever was in power would have been forced to make radical decisions to come to terms with/turn around our economic decline.


    • suchan104
      Posted April 13, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Permalink


      I don’t know where you have your information but the Conservative majorities under Thatcher were:

      1979 – 44 seats; 1983 – 144 seats and 1987 – 123 seats

      Your figures are the number of seats above the threshold needed to form a majority. You’ve forgotten that for every seat over that threshold that is one more for the governing party and one less for the opponents.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 13, 2013 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      You’ve got the numbers wrong. The majorities were bigger. have another crack.

  9. Gyges
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Thatcher is the great scape goat of the left. Should a left leaning MP do something for the working classes? Nah, just say it was Thatcher’s fault and you’re relieved of any action or accountability for your lack of action. This happens time and time again such that it is overtaking religion and sport as the opiate of the masses, and what’s worse is that it is administered by the left.

  10. Sue Doughty
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Speaking ill of the dead, they can’t answer back, is a damnable thing to do. Especially so before the funeral. As to the meaning of the word damnable – it means you ain’t going up. Those that damn themselves in life are damned for eternity. And for those who say they are immune because they are non believers remember – you might be wrong.
    Even Stalin didn’t have people speaking ill of him until the duties were done.
    And as for all those organising nasty parties over mobile phones and other devices – it was Mrs T’s privatisation of BT that made those advances possible and kept you free to protest.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2013 at 4:33 am | Permalink

      “And for those who say they are immune because they are non believers remember – you might be wrong.”

      Well we might be wrong, but then we cannot follow all the countless religions can we? Any one of them might be “right”. Anyway, any fair minded God would surely understand that that he had failed to give us much real evidence to go on, and then make some allowance for us?

      • Bazman
        Posted April 17, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        You follow the religion of the right and when questioned on your beliefs have no answers.

  11. suchan104
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Your post is spot on Mr. Redwood. It is actually a measure of how much damage to the socialist cause Margaret Thatcher did that the Left have felt the need to demonise her for so long, and now even in death. As you point out, this march away from the Left was not performed by a dictator but by a party and Prime Minister that was elected into office for 18 years. The Left were unable to defeat her ideas and so they continually lie about her achievements and do their best to discredit her in every possible way. Sadly much of the youth growing up under Blair and Brown believe the lies without understanding that Blair/Brown did nothing to reverse most of her policies.

  12. John Orchard
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    If you saw footage on TV the day Baroness Thatcher died I only saw young and as we called them in The Met “The great Unwashed” who were drinking and no doubt drugged up to the eyeballs and I would think who were not born when she was in charge of this Country. OK Scotland hasn’t forgiven her for the Poll Tax implementation a year before England and Wales.

    Yes she is The Marmite Lady in that you either love her or hate her and she didn’t do everything right but it showed how this Country has declined in morals and we should be grateful she came along when she did. What would it be like with the then Labour useless crowed she kept at bay for three terms of Parliament voted in not kicked out as Lord Tebbit says,” By her friends”.

  13. Peter Davies
    Posted April 13, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    And her policies were so bad they were copied all over the world

    • Bazman
      Posted April 14, 2013 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      And certainly not for the best. She did not really have any policies as that would have meant having a plan which she was always on the whole against.

  14. James Reade
    Posted April 14, 2013 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Firstly – for those who castigate me on here as a lefty beyond cause – celebrating the death of anybody is reprehensible.

    Second – by saying that the subsequent Labour government had 13 years to correct all the things the previous government did assumes that all political decisions are totally reversible – are they really? Don’t all governments do their utmost to ensure that their decisions are not reversible, in order that they have a “legacy”?

    Of course, you move on to political points scoring which is beneath essentially everything said since Thatcher died, and is sad and regrettable. Thatcher and her government were politicians first and foremost, and by pure chance got some things right, and others completely wrong.

    The number of changes in the monetary policymaking regime over Thatcher’s government hardly suggests she got everything right, and if it does so happen that the system of financial regulation she left was the right one (I have my doubts), I suspect that was more the product of good fortune rather than anything else. The fact the financial crisis happened while a Labour government was in power is mere coincidence unless you can convincingly argue otherwise (which you haven’t done).

    Reply I have regularly written and spoken about how the new system of financial regulation and the wrong call the new regulators made was an important part of the Boom and Bust of the noughties, which had nohting to do with the politicians of the 80s. I have never said Margaret got everything right – joinging the ERM was a bad mistake which her Ministers forced on her. Her signature on the Single European Act was I thought at the time unwise.

    • lifelogic
      Posted April 15, 2013 at 4:41 am | Permalink

      JR you say “I have never said Margaret got everything right – joining the ERM was a bad mistake which her Ministers forced on her. Her signature on the Single European Act was I thought at the time unwise.”

      Indeed very “unwise” indeed. She also did much to kill Grammar schools, pushed the green religion, failed to sort out the dis-functional NHS, the education system, the BBC, failed to cut the state sector down to a sensible size and much else that was rather bad – but she was always far better than the alternatives – perhaps why she kept winning elections.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 15, 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      The causes of the financial crisis were excessive leverage in the banking system (and the implicit and explicit state guarantees), overly loose monetary policy and deficit spending by govt when there should have been surpluses, useless box ticking over-regulation by the FSA which ignored the main issue (leverage and moral hazard) and foolish and incompetent behaviour by individuals. All this happened in the 2000s when Labour were in power. The crisis can no more be blamed on Lady Thatcher than on Gladstone or Disraeli.

      • Bazman
        Posted April 17, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        Who deregulated the markets not that is an excuse for Labour fantasy.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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