Robert Hampton

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8th April 2013

Thatch Dispatched
Posted by at 11.59pm | No responses | In the News

Margaret Thatcher has died. She was a greengrocer’s daughter who rose to become the most powerful person in the country. Ironically, such a feat would be much more difficult today, thanks to the policies she encacted, which widened the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” in society.

Tonight, an impromptu celebration took place on the steps of Lime Street station. I find it rather distasteful, but I can understand the sentiment. I was only eight when she left office, but looking back I can remember clearly seeing the effects of her reign all around the City of Liverpool in 1990: the empty shops, the derelict factories, the miles of abandoned docks left to silt up – oh, and the bus service my family relied on was withdrawn shortly after deregulation.

Thatcher shifted the country from state-subsidised industries to a free-market economy. But in doing so she ripped the beating heart out of the areas that relied on those industries. The North East coal mining communities that were ravaged by the Miner’s Strike have never fully recovered. It was nearly two decades before Liverpool’s fortunes finally started looking up again – just in time for another Tory government to arrive and mess it all up again.

While the City of London and its associated service industries grew fat under Thatcherism, the North was shrivelling and dying.

Her government introduced Section 28, the hated law that prevented children from being taught anything positive about gay people. She told the Tory Party conference in 1987: “Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay.”

She described Nelson Mandela’s ANC as a “terrorist organisation”.

There will be no celebrating nor dancing on proverbial graves from me, but I will not shed any tears. However, her place in history is assured, as a leader who stuck to her principles without compromise, pushed though drastic changes she believed in despite opposition, and left the political landscape permanently changed. What we need now, desperately, is a strong left-wing leader to do something similar, and save this country from the mess it’s in.

Further reading:
SevenStreets: Why Liverpool Won’t Mourn Margaret Thatcher
The Guardian: The lady and the land she leaves behind
Margaret Thatcher: Her role in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster


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