Monday, 8 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher R.I.P.

Today has seen the death of the last British politician of any real stature. We can be immensely grateful for Baroness Thatcher's successful battles with stagnant and complacent leftist collectivism at home and with the tyrannical monster of Soviet communism abroad, whilst retaining a certain degree of uncertainty and scepticism about the long-term effects of her policies on the viability of the British economy and, indeed, on the creation of a type of political conservatism which paradoxically, and unintentionally, undermines much of what is traditionally considered to be of value in our culture. The necessary 'reassertion' of the rights of the individual against those of the collective, despite its undoubted economic benefits, cost us a certain gentleness, mutual respect, and Christian concern for others which had nothing at all to do with the left-wing ideology which often sheltered behind it.

Of course, many still accuse Margaret Thatcher of being almost singlehandedly responsible for the deep divisions of British society in the 1980s; however, anyone growing up in the previous decade will know that those divisions were already not only in existence but worsening, heading towards an explosion, exacerbated by catastrophic economic and social decline and the seeming ungovernability of Britain and the contempt demonstrated by many on the left for our system of representative democracy.
Margaret Thatcher's political weaknesses were also her strengths; one either loved her or loathed her, she had the ability to polarise opinion like no one else in our lifetime. Those who are now expressing great delight at her death (yes, really) should reflect that such sentiments say far more about them than about her.

Like most great politicians, she was 'lucky' - both in the timing of events and the self-regarding  stupidity of opponents such as Arthur Scargill and General Galtieri.
But we should remember her, as no doubt posterity will, as a political giant and a passionate defender of freedom -  someone who believed in the possibility of  national recovery and who changed the direction of our history. 

And when Mrs Thatcher uttered that much criticised phrase, 'there is no such thing as society,' she prefaced it with the words, 'There are individuals and there are families...'  It puts things into context, just a little...

Pray for her soul. May she rest in peace.

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