The Greatness of Margaret Thatcher: An Alternative View

The Greatness of Margaret Thatcher:
An Alternative View
Speech Given to the Property and Freedom Society
Bodrum, 2nd September 2016
Sean Gabb

When she died in April 2013, the mainstream assumption was that Margaret Thatcher had been something like the kind of person Donald Trump is hoped to be. She had humbled the left. She had brought about fundamental reforms in economic policy. She had made her country strong again and respected in the outer world. This being the assumption, conservatives went into ostentatious mourning, and the leftists rejoiced. Continue reading

Margaret Thatcher, the Miners’ Strike, and the Triumph of Middle Class Leftism (2015), by Sean Gabb

Margaret Thatcher, the Miners’ Strike,
and the Triumph of Middle Class Leftism
Sean Gabb

Sean Gabb

20th April 2015

A few days ago, I put the following post on my Facebook account;

It’s about thirty years since the end of the Miners’ Strike – the final humbling of our working classes. Thinking back, I am filled with hatred for Margaret Thatcher, and despise myself for having believed in her.

I appeared to be siding with the workers in a loss-making nationalised industry against the woman who is generally credited with saving the country from socialism. My posting led to an often sharp discussion, in which, among others, these points were made against me: Continue reading

Thatcherism: What went wrong?

Mustela nivalis

‘“Economics is the method; the object is to change the soul,” Margaret Thatcher declared in 1981, revealing the way in which Thatcherism for her was always about transforming values rather than simply GDP,’ writes Eliza Filby in the Guardian. Filby has also recently published a book about Mrs T., called “God & Mrs Thatcher – The Battle for Britain’s Soul”.

It is clear that in this goal of “changing the soul”, the former prime minister failed (which she herself admitted, apparently: “I cut taxes and I thought we would get a giving society, and we haven’t”). However, her basic idea was not completely off the mark, for the conflict between individual freedom and serfdom is pre-eminently a religious one.

I haven’t read Filby’s book, and if her article is anything to go by, I probably won’t. Filby is not an economist but an historian with a degree from Durham. Predictably, she flunks on the economic causes of Thatcher’s failure.

‘Thatcherism laid the foundations for a culture in which individualism and self-reliance could thrive, but ultimately it created a culture in which only selfishness and excess were rewarded. Thatcher liked to quote John Wesley’s mantra, “Earn all you can, save all you can and give all you can,” and yet it was only ever the first instruction that was sufficiently encouraged.’

Yes Eliza, but why? Why was ‘saving’ not encouraged? And why not ‘giving’ either?

Continue reading

Margaret Thatcher and the cult of personality

by Robert Henderson

Two Cults

Margaret Thatcher was the subject of a cult of personality. This was not the result of calculated propaganda, but simply the creation of her extraordinary personality. Because the cult of personality developed not in a totalitarian state but a country where public opposition was possible, there were two cults of personality attached to her in a relationship which mimicked the matter/antimatter duality. These were the Thatcherite religious believers fulfilling the role of matter and the Thatcher-hating Left acting as the antimatter.

Both the matter and the antimatter Thatcher cults were potent. The religious believers bowed down before the great god MARKET (and Thatcher was his prophet) and, when things went wrong, did what all religious believers do until they lose their faith, denied reality by simply pretending something had not happened or by giving a calamity some absurd spin to ”prove” the god had not failed. Continue reading

Further Thoughts on the Legacy of Margaret Thatcher

By Sean Gabb

Because I’m busy on something else, this will be an abbreviated argument, and will be short on facts. But I feel obliged to give some explanation for my claim, made elsewhere, that Mrs Thatcher did great harm to British industry and to the industrial working classes.

The lefties claim she pulled the plug out of the British economy in the early 1980s, and deliberately put millions of workers on the scrapheap. The Thatcherites claim that all she did was to allow the liquidation of previous malinvestments, and that the industrial concerns that failed were unviable. Both are wrong, but I suspect the lefties – if for other reasons than they normally give – may be less wrong than the Thatcherites. Continue reading

The good is oft-interr-ed with their bones

David Davis

Since Margaret Thatcher is to be in-terr-ed tomorrow, I just thought we’d throw one last punch at her enemies and ours. I found this wonderful piece on The Last Ditch the other day, and one para deserves to be highlighted in our usual way:-

“If you want to know who freedom’s enemies are, mention her with approval. Mad eyes will light up all around you and foul sentiments will fill the air. Note their names and never leave them alone with anything you value; material, spiritual or ethical.”

Yes of course, I _know_ that we object to her having

(a) made the British State more efficient – as a recipe for disaster one would recommend this since the British-Political-Enemyclass is efficient already at making a powerful tyrannical state, and

(b) because she failed to absolutely destroy socialism at home and in the world, before members of that same EnemyClass destroyed her.

But I think that Tom Paine’s paragraph sums up who we are up against, whatever we as classical liberals think of Thatcher herself. I think we can lay her to rest now. May The Iron Lady Rust In Peace.

El legado de Margaret Thatcher

Note: A most fluent and generally exact translation. I’m also impressed by the very helpful editorial note on the meaning of Enemy Class. SIG
15 Abril, 2013

Mucho será dicho durante las próximas semanas acerca de los “logros” de Margaret Thatcher. Lo dicho se dividirá entre los elogios del ‘Daily Mail’ y las quejas del ‘Guardian’. Mi visión personal es que ella fue algo malo para Inglaterra.

Ella comenzó la transformación de este país en un estado policíaco “políticamente correcto”. Su gobierno se comportó con desprecio por las normas constitucionales casi hasta el punto de regodearse por ello. Incorporó leyes de lavado de dinero que ahora se han extendido hacia una supervisión general sobre nuestras cuestiones financieras. Ella facilitó las condiciones para las pesquisas y confiscaciones policíacas  Incrementó el número y poder de la policía. Debilitó al juicio por jurado. Debilitó las protecciones del debido proceso de los acusados. Le otorgó a las agencias ejecutivas el poder de multar y sancionar sin que medie el debido proceso. Comenzó los primeros pasos hacia la criminalización total de la posesión de armas. Continue reading