I took no pleasure in Lady Thatcher’s death, and wish her family well; but I saw her life as tragic for the country. Here was a gutsy, intelligent, hard working, scientifically educated, strong leader, our first woman Prime Minister, facing the failure of previous policies, a weak and deeply divided opposition, and the huge opportunity of the onset of North Sea oil and she totally blew it. Well not totally; she did some needed things around unions and national self respect etc.
But instead of putting the UK firmly on a path like Singapore or Germany around value add manufacturing, hi tech education and scientific research, investing North Sea oil in infrastructure, nuclear power for when said oil ran out, and science. She took us down the road of an entertainment centric, parasitic consumer society. And, she fostered the illusion that, under the guise of middle class ambition, we could all be white collar financial advisors or City croupiers.
She fostered the belief, we didn’t need to make things any more; we could be a ‘service economy’ as if the rest of the world would get their hands dirty making things, while we ‘administered’ it like old style colonials. Fine to make the City more market oriented. Not fine to make the City the foundation of the economy. And Thatcher’s children Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron, lacked her character, but carried on the madness, adding dependency culture to the mix as the jobs were simply not there unless we made up non value add government jobs to keep the peace and feed the old industrial areas sans industry.
A national tragedy that is what I mourn: Margaret Thatcher as lost opportunity on a grand scale..
And as for her successors: Thatcher’s Children John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron, I am reminded of Marx’s quip: ‘History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce…’