In Praise of Margaret Thatcher


by Leon Georgiou

Margaret Thatcher was no libertarian hero — her policies were a mixture of success and failure — but I feel the classical liberal articles on her have been too harsh. Poll tax, Green concerns, and an increase in state spending were obviously awful, but you simply cannot ignore the mass privatisation, right to buy, and removing taxpayer subsidies for the failing coal mining industry.

Thatcher was not perfect, but she did more for the working class than the Left ever has. And the socialists hated her for it as much as the stuffy and turgid toffs of the pre-Thatcher Conservative Party, all of whom wanted to keep the proles in their place. There were many errors during her Prime Ministry, but she did much to smash the traditional and deeply-engraved class divisions and create a thirst for aspiration among the poor. She, flawed as the next man, was the radical the country needed.

Also, history has to be interpreted in a context. Had Thatcher not won, would we really have been better off under a Callaghan leadership? The alternative would have been unspeakably worse.

What is most admirable about Thatcher is her character and determination. A mixture of wonder and disaster, from a libertarian perspective, but certainly BETTER for the country.

All hail the Lady!

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14 responses to “In Praise of Margaret Thatcher

  1. I agree totally. That doesn’t mean I don’t share Sean Gabb’s concerns that Thatcher made a statist state more efficiently statist – which I think is his main concern. It’s the Boromir prlobem again, isn’t it.

    So how do we get out of this bind?

  2. Mr Harry Price

    I think her policies were not that good on relflection, her death has brought
    back many memories from the period, although I might say, during
    76 to 83 I earned more money than anyone could have wanted, It was not
    a good period for many, I think the only reason I got high paid work was
    because I took my SLC and FLT tests, whilst it is true people did earn 300
    400 per week in those day’s, there were many victims, I remember many
    of my friends some graduates, who were unemployed for a decade, unable
    to find work, some only securing part time jobs for a couple of months of the year, if they got very lucky, most of the time they were looking for work, I think in fair and proper comment, an education was no quarantee of work it,
    depended on what choice you made in relation to what jobs were available,
    whilst I accept, I’d rather have been a “Playboy” I took the attitude if I have
    to work, I will find the highest payed job I can, and it payed off for me. I
    saw friends kill themselves, and many others unable to lift themselves from the abyss of the dole and poverty, the more I reflect, the more I do indeed
    remember, the high unemployment for unskilled workers, the start of
    the police state, it was a winners and losers period in history, people were
    moving all around the country to find work, many who got to Norfolk fell
    on their faces in the early 80′s with the masses of redundancies in the area.
    It’s a tough situation to move from one part of the counrty and uproot, to
    find a job, only to be back on the dole a few months later, that was the
    reality for many, especially those who came down from the North. I think
    it was a Winners and Losers period of history, it provided no long term
    growth or permanent economic prosperity It was quick fix politics, nothing
    more than that.

  3. I think we must remember in 1980 we had 1.5 million on the dole, 84 to 85 the highest numbers of teenagers unemployed on record, during thatchers period in office we also saw inflation hit over 10%, If you think these times were bad, just look at the mess we are in now, and the possible things to come. History can indeed be unpredictable to say the least. Statism will blow a “Black Hole” in the economy from which there will never be any chance of recovery.

  4. Mrs Emelia Victoria Fox

    I saw that man on the television last week, doing a party boradcast for the Labour Party, he say’s he going to do something about immigration, Ed his
    name is, perhaps the Labour Party have realised we don’t have any money left to keep writing out those £25,000 housing benefit cheques, he looks a nice man, said his family came from Poland as refugees during the war. I don’t mind having a Polish priminister as long as he can do the job. There are rumours Tony Blair is trying to get back into politics, could we see him leading the labour party again. I really don’t know.

  5. Mrs Emelia Victoria Fox

    Yes it might have done, on deep reflection this period was far from good for many, the unemployment was diabolical that’s a fact.

  6. Of course, back in those day’s they also had the “Black Economy” so they called it, billions in this area, not that on reflection did any any harm it helped keep the economy a float, of course statisim was not as big in those day’s, in the main people were generally left alone, where now they are bleeding everyone dry of every penny, Tax Avoidance in business was also rife. you must also consider that the costs of things were much cheaper, in 78 a brand new triumph 750 was only £1,900 today the equivalent is about £10,000, you could buy a house for between 6 to 12 thousand, back then I could have bought one cash no problem, now people can’t even aford to feed themselves, in those day’s people payed little attention to gas or electric bills they were so cheap, you could rent a house for £10,00 per week in 79, mine was only £13.00, three bedrooms, rates were cheap as chips, I don’t even remember worrying about bills they were so small in those day’s in relation to earnings, mind you like i have said it was not like that for everyone far from it. i think statism and laws have F-ed the country, along with the police and these laywers, to this the facts are totally conclusive, added with the immigration issues it’s hopeless now, with many living an impossible existance, I wish someone like “Cromwell” would return, at least a chance for real change is nothing else, anything would be better than the cesspit we live in now.

  7. Mr Harry price.

    Of course there was a down side to those day’s, anyone earning high wages was subject to about a third in tax, PAYE was in some cases over 30%, NI was earnings related as well, many people working on 715 were robbed in taxes due to overpayment, as companies went bust, I remember many people who just gave up on tying to recover overpaid tax after paying 30% because it was a pain in the arse, satitism had really started to take hold under Thatcher, those in the hospitals got all sorts of allowances and perks, transport costs, clothes, the tax office and many in goverment got heavily subsidised meals, over generous mileage allowance much like they do today, including a pot of other perks, this is when the piss taking started to creep in at everyone elses expense. Now they totally take the piss.

  8. James Callaghan would not have remained leader of the Labour Party – the far left were already in place to replace him with one of their own.

    As for government spending – some of us attacked the Conservative party government for accepting the outgoing Labour government government pay deals (we were told that to fight the unions right away, in 1979, would have meant a return to the “Winter of Discontent”).

    However, after 1983 government spending was brought under some control – and it started to SHRINK as a proportion of the economy (by the late 1980s it was taking a smaller proportion of the economy than it had done in 1979).

    The same is true of Labour Market reform (i.e. in removing of mitigating the GOVERNMENT GRANTED union powers) – at first nothing much was done (thank you James Prior, you…….) but then (under Norman T.) some reform (not enough – but some) happened. And unemployment (which had EXPLODED) started to come down.

    One must also remember that some of Mrs T.s worst mistakes came from following “free market” advice.

    The “Single European Act” was sold (by the establishment) as a free trade, open market measure.

    Only “paranoid” people (such as the person I see in the mirror every day) thought it was really a Trojan Horse for endless regulations (by then I think the same of much of the, supposedly nonE.U., “European Convention on Human Rights” that Sean Gabb loves so much).

    Also the attack on “restrictive practices” in The City was sold to Mrs T. and others as a “free market” crusade.

    Sadly the massive divide between what the “mainstream” thinks the term “free market” means and what us evil Austrian School people think the term “free market” means, was never made clear to the govenrment.

    Overall……

    It is so much less difficult to be an armchair critic – than to actually be in office, subject to the tidal waves of lies and disinformation from the establishment.

  9. Bob Robertson

    If I may, the effort by Thatcher to rein in out-of-control bureaucracy did put off the disaster for 30 years.

  10. Slowed things down I will agree, we have an out of control “Snowball Now”
    without any doubt or question, spending thousands of pounds on court
    cases and appeals after loosing a piece of A4 paper, they are “Mad”.

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