On my travels in Latin America I've been viewing the reaction to Baroness Thatcher's death with some interest.
As was to be expected opinions and thoughts about her passing have been anything but reasoned and rational; sadly this is true of both left and right sides of the debate. The dichotomy between left and right opinions in the country certainly is as gaping and narrow minded as ever. The left have seized the opportunity to see her time as Prime Minister as wholly negative without considering the possibility that anything positive happened - and attack right leaning people in general - whilst the right have jumped on their moral high horse to simultaneously attack the left and bely a slightly hipocritical reaction to this vilification.
The left and right is so obsessive in it's love or hate of her Tory government between 1979 and 1990, that it's almost impossible to work out what good or bad she actually did. On the good side she certainly got the economy moving again (although her economic policy of privatisation and greater emphasis on financial services may have left us off worse in the long term) and on the bad she single-handedly destroyed industry in the west and north of the country (although would things have got worse if the unions had remained as they were). As you can see, even I can't make a straightforward decision about whether her good was good and whether her bad is bad. She is just that complex a figure to evaluate and it pains me to see people try to apply simplistic left or right propaganda for the sake of point scoring.
A look at the Daily Mail and it's comments shows one side, which focuses on people holding "death parties" in celebration of her passing whilst making the silly sweeping association between celebrants and nerdowell marajuana smoking underclass. On the other side of things there's a vitriolic obiturary written by George Galloway, who seems incapable of holding anything close to a moderate opinion on anything. I can half imagine him calling his cornflakes grubby facists if he happened to disagree with their favour. Two very extreme examples for sure, but symptomatic of how two sides so engrained by their convictions can spew nothing but salacious drivel attacking the other side at any cost.
I assume this goes to show that as usual there's "nought as queer as folk," but it's always a shame when people affix their political bias blinkers at times like this as it completely blurs any clear understanding of what she actually did or didn't do. History is full of these cases and due to the narrow interpretation of the world some people seem to live through where light is light and dark is dark without deviation.
I suppose whether you liked her or not she was our first female Prime Minister as well as the longest continuous one we've ever had, and whether you consider her morally dubious or not that's quite a feat. For certain she should be given some kind of public (state funeral may be a bit much) funeral and be remembered accordingly. That being said her legacy may be more checkered. Whilst she might have been correct in saying when she resigned in 1990 that "the country was in a better state than when they found it" was that a case of internal policy alone or that working hand in hand with external factors and how long did that last for?
It's probably true to say we don't know everything about her time as Prime Minister and in some cases never will. Like other historical revisions of dead public figures such as Jimmy Saville or Robert Maxwell what she really may not become clear until later, although we may never know it due to the propagandist Punch and Judy show of the single mindedly left and right sides. Like her maybe we should let things lie for a while (bad taste I agree).
If you enjoyed this be sure to have a look at my other blog project here. It's all about travel...... Punch and pie.