The Alternative Eulogy to Thatcher: Dead in Body, Alive in Spirit

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Today sees the death, by stroke, of the UK’s longest serving and only female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.  Champagne corks might well be popping in Trafalgar Square, but we must remember that while the woman has died (nothing to gloat over in and of itself); her damaging world view has seized the body politic and continues to choke it of all compassion.

Thatcher’s Finest Moments

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Margaret Thatcher led the country for 11 years, between 1979 and 1990 and during that time she successfully oversaw the transformation of the UK economy and society from neo-socialism to neoliberalism.  If neo-socialism was deemed a disaster for leaving the UK with a National Debt of 45% by 1980, then what can we make of neoliberalism which has racked up a debt of 138% by 2013?

Tony Benn, speaking of Thatcher to the BBC today rightly stated that Thatcher realised that to destroy the Left in the UK you needed to do three things: neutralise Local Government, crush the Trade Unions and most importantly, convince people there is no alternative to neoliberalism.  It must be accepted that in all three aims she has been enormously successful.

Let us take a look at the key policies and outcomes of her government, and the enduring legacy of her premiership.

Section 28

Thatcher’s Local Government Act 1988 contained the notorious Section 28.  This clause stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

This meant a generation of young gay and lesbian children growing up in a vacuum where their own developing sexuality was invisible.  As one of those gay children, I remember the isolatiom.  It was left to programmes like Brookside broke with the Beth Jordache storyline, to teach me I was not alone.

The Council House Sell Off

The great council house sell off, Thatcher’s plan to turn the working class into the new property class, was a manifest failure; more than a third of ex council houses now sit in the property portfolios of wealthy landlords.  In fact, the son of Thatcher’s Housing Minister at the time the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme was launched is now the proud owner of no less than forty ex council houses.

The limited remaining council housing rationed out to the poorest of the poor with council housing waiting lists and mortgages ever further out of reach, everyone else is a hostage to the private rental market dominated by these landlords.

Since then, decades of defunct housing policy has left the UK with a housing shortage crisis. The UK is building 100,000 homes a year less than it needs to in order to meet requirements. The National Housing Federation issued a report last year which showed Housing Benefit has doubled in recent years as a direct result of an astronomical increase in housing costs.  The report shows an 86% rise in housing benefit claims by working families, with 10,000 new claims coming in per month.  House prices are now 300% higher (in real terms) than in 1959.  If the price of a dozen eggs had risen as quickly, they would now cost £19. Rents across the UK have risen by an average of 37% in the UK in just the last three years.

Unemployment

In 1973 unemployment was at a record low of 3.4%.  In 1979, the UK unemployment rate was 4.7% and 53% of the public felt it was the largest issue facing the UK.  Unemployment in the UK reached a record high under the Thatcher government in 1984 with 11.9% of working age people in the UK unemployed.  The legacy of high unemployment is being continued by the current Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition who oversee an unemployment rate of 7.8%.

Privatisation

A great sell off occurred under the Thatcher government from 1979; British Aerospace, Cable & Wireless, Jaguar, British Telecom, British Steel, British Petroleum, Rolls Royce, British Airways,  and utilities such as water and electricity all went up for sale.  The state-built, subsidised housing stock was put up for sale.  Prior to Thatcher, all services and industry listed above were state owned, with wages and prices controlled by a democratically elected government.

These policies have been continued since, and the result has been a dramatic rise of the cost of living.

In the ten years between 1999 and 2009, the annual salary rose 13.6%.  During the same period, house prices went up 130%, a loaf of bread went up 147%, a litre of petrol went up 42%.  This goes some way to accounting for the fact that personal debt rose during this period by 158% as access to credit created consumer demand which concealed the gap between wage and cost of living inflation.

Inflation according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 17% during the same period.  This means a real terms wage drop of 7%.

However, CPI figures represent a wide range of purchases which many average or below average earners do not buy.  The UK Essentials Index which focuses on the kinds of everyday items which the UK’s working and non working poor buy showed an inflation rate of 33%.

It is clear and beyond doubt: it simply costs more to live in a state where the basics we need to survive are handed over to private interests to profit from.  We had it better when we shared.

The Big Bang

The Big Bang was the Thatcher government’s rampant deregulation of the financial services industry in 1986. The main changes were the abolition of commission charges, the removal of stockjobber intermediaries which made stockbrokers into market makers, and the rise of computerised trading.

The shockwaves of Thatcher’s Big Bang led directly to our Big Bust with the 2007/8 Financial Crisis. Despite current propaganda that the national debt and the ensuing austerity policies are required to roll back excesses in public spending, the reality is the Financial Crisis was caused by the unregulated financial services sector.

There was collusion between government and the financial services industry, to avoid proper regulation of financial services in general, and the derivatives market in particular. There was intense lobbying in the US and the UK to maintain this position, with senior government figures on both sides of the Atlantic stepping in directly to prevent the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (in the US) and the Financial Services Authority in the UK, from ever coming close to putting the appropriate safeguards in place around these products.

This left banks, brokers and insurance companies free to mount the biggest assault on fiscal logic known to man. They started to rapidly expand their theoretical balance sheets by leveraging debt to almost infinite ratios.

High Street Banks and Mortgage Providers, credit card companies and other debt merchants chased the custom of individuals with little or no regard for their ability to pay back the loans. They did this to sell on to Investment Banks as Collateral Debt Obligations.

This product was then, with the support of the Cartel’s gatekeeper, the Credit Ratings Agencies, declared Triple A for its credit worthiness; the same as a government bond.

The banks then took these investment products and sold them to unknowing pension companies who bought them on the basis that they were now deemed perfectly safe.

The same banks then insured for the very product they sold the pension firm going toxic. These are called Credit Default Swaps (CDS). There was no limit on who could set up these CDS’s either. So, banks could place greater risk into the market by betting not only on their own toxic sell offs, but those of other banks.

At every point of these exchanges, significant fees are being handed over, generating paper profits, making balance sheets look amazingly positive, with no actual product or service underpinning them.

Finally, in 2007 all those little over leveraged consumers around the world started to find it impossible to repay their loans.  As CDS claims went in the insurers couldn’t cope with the financial hit and started to fold, the brokers balance sheets couldn’t handle the hit and started to fold, and the high street banks, unable to claim from broker, bank or insurer started to fold.

However, instead of these corporations collapsing, this extraordinary mountain of toxic private debt was transferred into public debt by the Bank Bailout.

In the bailout of 2008/9, the UK government chose (without consultation) to guarantee funding to the banking sector, of 101% of GDP.  That is, the UK diverted over £2trn of tax payer money from public expenditure, to a handful of banks.

This is equivalent to almost 3 times its entire annual budgettwenty years of NHS spending (£106.7bn a year); forty years of education spending (£48.2bn); or five hundred years of job seekers allowance (£4.9bn a year).

Not one banker went to court or jail. Not one new regulation has been placed on the financial derivatives market. These same products are being packaged and sold across the financial services industry right now. The Banks were left free to carry on business as usual, on our dime.

Tax Reform

Thatcher also radically overhauled the tax system in favour of corporations and the wealthy at the expense (literally) of the average wage earner.

UK Corporation Tax in 1984 was 52%.  By 1986 it was 36%.  In 1999 it dropped to 30% and in the most recent budget it was cut to 20%.

Company taxes now constitute only 12.5% (Corporation Tax is just 7%) of the tax revenues of the UK.  In comparison, the people’s taxes, (income tax and VAT) make up more than 60% of the tax income.  Corporation Tax is lower today than at any time in its history.

Workers Rights

Heroes of Thatcher credit her with ‘taking on the unions’ as if this were some sort of benevolent act for the country as a whole, and not simply a dismantling of the rights which had protected the British worker from the overwhelming power of the corporate system.

Among the Thatcher government’s union busting policies were the abolition of the closed shop policy which meant people no longer had to join a union to seek employment in a trade.  They imposed strict rules for secret ballots which had to be held before a ballot which removed the successful tactic of flash strikes, or flying pickets.

As a result, the Unions were effectively neutered, Union membership has halved since 1980, and what has the result been on the wages and rights for workers? I wrote this up in an article recently.

The Bitter Legacy

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But beyond the Poll Tax, the Union Busting, the Big Bang and Section 28, the bitterest legacy of Thatcher has been the neoliberal consensus.  Thatcher’s announcement that ‘there is no such thing as society’ was perhaps the death of a cooperative culture in the UK.  We are a crueller, less equal society for it. In the UK today, the richest 10% are 100 times richer than the poorest 10%.  The gap between richest and poorest is double that of our European neighbours. For these reasons, whilst many of us are far too decent to gloat the death of the woman, we reserve the right to refuse mourning her as a national hero and work towards the day when we can burst champagne corks at the demise of her brutal legacy.

49 thoughts on “The Alternative Eulogy to Thatcher: Dead in Body, Alive in Spirit

  1. Pingback: AnimalFarm.org » RT @Scriptonite: The Alternative Thatcher Eulogy http://t.co/rMa9YbG1PZ #thatcher #thatcherfuneral #dingdong #ripthatcher #occupy #ows # …

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    • Today sees the death, by stroke, of the UK’s longest serving and only female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Champagne corks might well be popping in Trafalgar Square, but we must remember that while the woman has died (nothing to gloat over in and of itself), but she has invariably left the world a better place

      • Margaret Thatcher led the country for 11 years, between 1979 and 1990 and during that time she successfully oversaw the transformation of the UK economy and society from neo-socialism to neo-liberalism. If neo-socialism was deemed a disaster for leaving the UK with a National Debt of 45% by 1980, then, a drawing back, thereafter, in a direction towards neo-socialism, has actually racked up a debt of 138% by 2013 !

        • The great council house sell off, Thatcher’s plan to turn the working class into the new property class, was a manifest success; more than a third of ex council houses now sit in the property portfolios of wealthy landlords. In fact, the son of Thatcher’s Housing Minister at the time the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme was launched, is now the proud owner of no less than forty ex council houses. But on-balance, UK.plc is better off !

          • Since then, decades of housing policy has indeed, left the UK with a housing shortage crisis. The UK is building 100,000 homes a year, less than it needs to in order to meet requirements. The National Housing Federation issued a report last year, which showed that Housing Benefit has doubled in recent years as, a direct result of an astronomical increase in housing costs. The report shows an 86% rise in housing benefit claims by working families, with 10,000 new claims coming in per month. House prices are now 300% higher (in real terms) than in 1959. If the price of a dozen eggs had risen as quickly, they would now cost £19. Rents across the UK have risen by an average of 37% in the UK in just the last three years. But on-balance, UK.plc is better off !

  4. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Dergulating the financial sector was an enabler that allowed a massive creativity for companies to make hay in other peoples’ fields’.

    Things ‘went up in the 80′s’ and continued in the 90′s not just because of deregulation but purely because things went up. It sounds like theres no basis to my last comment. Thats true – companies were not necessarily worh more, things went up, in part due to reaganite/thatcherite polices but, as a previous poster pointed out there are other world and socio-economic fators that could be convenniently linked together. Buoyed by confidence perhaps as this is the same unvalidated term that analysts use today ‘Why are markets going up’, ‘Because we feel confident that the economy is recovering’. Cool. And if China called in the loans?

    Banks and the markets were not any cleverer or devious or evil or holders of divinity any more then than they are now. They continue to operate in this way becuase THEY CHOSE TO DO SO – becasue they can. Morals vs Ethics.

    The individual cannot be blamed as the products they were sold were done so, to a degree (there were exceptions but don’t get too specific, its painful) in good faith. To to say that no one has to borrow, have a mortgage, get a loan for a car is true. But you do. The process from the individual signing the agreement onwards through to the corporation bundling and rebroking products no-one really understood is not in the individuals control – except through the ballot box. Those investment vehicles exist…because they can. Other resrtirctions, in reality wage reductions, increased food and fuel costs, helped when the debts were reflected back to the high street in ensuring it was a crisis. Individually it remains to be seen if separately either of these factors would have caused such a collapse, or, indeed, if they could not have happened together enayway. Either way the combination was eventually wrought back on the individual, but we socialised the private debt of banks – becuase it was seen that that was what should happen. I wonder if the major high street banks were allowed to go their own way what would have happened. Hmmm. Turmoil for maybe a year but from the ashes, ethical institutions would have to have arisen, or exisiting untarnished institutions would have grabbed the availble pieces of the newly available pieces of the pie – why, because they are capitalists. For instance, the CO-OP bank has expanded over the last 5 years (NO, I don;t work for them). The government (read – our taxes) yes, would still have had to underwrite the losses, it may have cost more. Who knows, but what a true revolution would have been instigated. Or, putting it in pure financial terms WHAT AN OPPURTUNITY TO MAKE MONEY.

    Becuase my new world order above didn’t happen, the structure of how the banks work and reward themselves remains unchanged. Now, whether they make massive losses or not, its the MO – of course we award ourselves massives bonuses. We have done for the last 30 years or so, so…er we can. Sorry, It just hurts a little more now. Its how it works. But to propose an alternative, as previous posters have pointed out successive governments ahve at best just dicked with it, inolves a radicalism that is just too much to swallow.

    Personally, I would have let the fuckers burn. Sorry the last comment is not as balance as my post but thats my OPINION. I would love now to be 4/5 years in to a much changed world. Sure, the markets would have suffered, rich folk would be slightly less wealthy, but we would have a different structure. New boss same as the old boss. No, thats what we have now. The new boss, give the ‘fuckers burn’ scenario would have welcomed legislative assistance to ensure this never happens again. My agruments are flawed but so what, they are mine.

  5. This is brilliant ; such a relief to hear the truth being said rather than this awful right wing rubbish on the main news channels

  6. Excellent article highlighting everything that was wrong with “Thatcherism”. An egotistical warmonger who decimated communities and who showed a complete disregard for the working class of this country. The only sadness I feel at her passing is for the victims of her policies and the way of life she so cold heartedly destroyed.

  7. A very reasoned argument but looking at some of the pro-Thatcher arguments here, I think it’s safe to conclude that Thatcherism had divided this country more than anything and that the UK is not likely to recover from the deep enmity between it’s people. Once Wales and Scotland leave the UK it will be interesting to see how long the Northeners will put up with the huge social divide that Thatcherism started and which, as some of the contributors above have noted, has continued to grow under successive governments.

    • The North of England, particularly the North East England may have a new problem if Scotland and Wales leave Great Britain. At this point in time Labour are not too bothered about putting much time or resource into the North East because they know they will win any vote. They would rather put their effort into marginal seats.
      The Conservatives know they will never will any votes so the same applies to them.
      consequently the North East basically has nothing to use as leverage. If Scotland separates, the North East ( Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Cleveland) and Cumbria become the most Northern Regions of the new independent state of England rather than the mostly northerly part of England, which is the most southerly country in Great Britain. I think will makes us even more isolated from the seat of power

  8. Hmm. a bit harsh for the day of her passing. Interestingly, you have given your views on what didn’t work about her leadership and not acknowledged any of what did work. She also had many accomplishments. Its common sense that people celebrating her contribution are acknowledging where she made difference which is valid… don’t you think? It’s not all about a one angled viewpoint on things. To totally get Margaret Thatcher you need to look at the facts – all of them! goo ones, bad ones, hidden ones. overall effects of her leadership…..:)

    • Would you like to suggest what she did as PM that was worthy of celebrating? It’s not harsh, it’s just fact. We can’t rewrite history because we feel sentimental. Did she do well to become first female PM? Yes. That’s where it ends for many of us. I appreciate that other might feel differently. But quite often this is simply a feeling, unsupported by the reality of her performance.

      • That first para went wrong, somehow! It should say:

        “Agree with you, almost wholly, except that for her first term, when she was a strong leader who rectified an economy that was in melt down. Don’t know how old you are, but 25% inflation was hard to live with, as mortgagee, single wage earner and a family to raise. The sad thing is that the Blair / Brown New Labour government did nothing to stem this appalling rise in debt, afraid to put the brakes on the feel-good factor of an economy, that was actually fuelled by unsupportable levels of credit that burst its bubble in 2008. And yes, deregulation of the financial markets in the 80′s was disastrous, leaving free-spinning YUPPies taking huge risks with money that wasn’t their own, using financial instruments that were nothing but a passport to riches for few using smoke and mirrors.”

        Apologies for lack of self-editing :/

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  13. If her funeral costs are to be covered by tax payers, I would like to know how much we are all conributing because that is the amount I will be refusing to pay next yrear. And yes, I would rather go to prison than contribute.

  14. What a load of utter, sulky teenager nonsense. If I had the time, which I don’t, I would refute every single one of these one-sided plops of self-pitying loser rubbish. One by one, but I can’t, because I run a company, which I started, and have a presentation to write, to deal with an adult world business problem, as opposed to sitting in Starbucks all day composing my angst ridden blog and pasting Wikipedia and Daily Mirror articles. Ok, just one: how about the complete ignorance of the role of Thatcher in reforming the financial sector? She went to war on the vested interest, old-boy clubby networks and cosy cartels that existed before and would have utterly despised the ultimately self-defeating and lax stewardship ushered in under Gordon Brown’s tenure at the Treasury. Thanks to her, financial services is now one of the largest creator of jobs by foreign companies in Bournemouth (JPMorgan); Leeds (Northern Trust); Glasgow (Morgan Stanley); Manchester (Bank of New York), paying not “bankers salaries” but the sort of 25-100k jobs that power the local economy. As for the role of pension and insurance companies in the financial sector, the origins of excess leverage and the steps needed to stabilise weaknesses in the system, which will, for the record be repaid, at a profit, to the Chancellor upon re-floating of RBS, you demonstrate an almost total lack of understanding. As does the complete absence of any mention of responsibility on the individuals who have borrowed too much. Even atheists and the Bible agree when it comes to the dangers of over-borrowing. Such a complete range of ignorance would normally be unfathomable: from the state of the employment market in 1978, where you make no mention of the 3 day week; to the joy of liberation felt by ordinary hard-working low paid individuals who got to own property; to the benefits of privatisation (ahem, Rolls Royce was declared insolvent, but is now a world leading company; do you not remember British Telecom?); the demographic sources of the current housing crisis. All this ignorance would be unfathomable until, that is, your declaration of a plain old fashioned lesbian axe to grind over section 28. Like “Milly Tant” from the Viz comic of the 90′s, it blinds you even to the most universally accepted truths: socialism is dead, even in Russia. What is “Neo-socialism”? Are you too young to remember, let alone acknowledge, the state of the country before Thatcher became PM? “Anyone who is nostalgic about the mines never worked down them”, said working class artist Jack Vettriano, son of a coal miner, whose father pleaded with him to get a trade. Have you ever asked someone who grew up in Russia or East Germany what it was like in the 80′s? Have you visited the Museum of Communism in Prague to laugh and remember like the Czechs do now? Have you worked with any young aspirant Chinese people who are embracing the types of reforms that Thatcher initiated? I have. Have you not seen what’s happening in Europe? Where the bloated public sectors and state benefits are strangling economic activity? Have you met any graduates of Madrid business school (IE) who now work in London, frustrated at how they are driven to London while lamenting their own country’s failing? I have. Try starting your own business, creating jobs, taking on graduates, like my company does, and then recognise how hard it is to add value and pay taxes. You demonstrate exactly the sort of thinking, based on what society “owes me”, that Thatcher stood against. Work abroad, see what is happening, and then come back here and get some perspective. The world has moved on and Britain needs to find a new role and all the people need to work hard to make a future possible. Or you can live on benefits and moan, campaign for the state to suffocate innovation and entrepreneurship, all of which is your call. From my perspective, as long as you spend more time writing pointless blogs like this with no-hoper, bitter followers posting crude comments like the one above, you will be away from harms way. I will take time out of the day to honour this great woman who saved our country from the brink and made it possible for me to start a company and add value.

    • I don’t think there is any need to refute your unreferenced response, given the fact it undermines itself rather too well. Thank you for proving the points my my final paragraph better than I could imagine. Tip: never mistake your own assertions for facts. Dangerous. In life and in business.

      • Er, sorry, but the gentleman-poster is right on the money. You have, in a large number of your assertions about Thatcherite Britain and modern-day Britain, either identified the wrong cause of the consequence complained of, or have deliberately attributed the causation to something else.

        While your civility is pleasant (and certainly a far better way of getting your point across than ‘grr maggie you cunt’), it does not really make much difference to the fact that many of the ‘problems’ you identify as being caused by Thatcher are just wildly implausible. As ever, given the enormous number of social, political, and economic factors which invariably inform any analysis of history, there is always some degree of subjectivity when identifying causation of effects. Nevertheless, on any objective view, your analysis is at best, wanting, at worst, intentionally disingenuous.

        I think the greatest stinker in your essay is your discussion of the 1970s and the ‘brutality’ of Thatcher’s supply-side reforms which were enacted in response to the prevailing macroeconomic and socio-political conditions in that decade. I don’t know your age, but you are demonstrably and almost irrefutably incorrect in characterizing the 1970s as an era of prosperity, happiness, and plenty. The reality is that the nation’s economy was largely stagnant, inflation was out of control, state-owned industry was uncompetitive, inefficient, and quite literally un-productive (with so many workers on strike on an almost constant basis). Taxation was also at immoral levels, with the highest marginal tax rate going above 80% viz. over a certain threshold, the government felt entitled to help itself to every 4 out of every 5 pounds you made. State-owned industry either was or was in the process of becoming incapable of surviving without a state-subsidy or monopoly.

        I could go on, but I think it’s more or less unnecessary. You will undoubtedly remain defiant and insist that Thatcher broke Britain, but I would urge you to reconsider your position, look at the historical, statistical evidence (one can draw empirical observations and conclusions from data available from various gov’t or quasi-governmental departments, including HM Treasury, BoE, BIS, and ONS), and question whether or not it really was the person who wanted to make Britain a nation that could improve the living standard of all citizens that ‘ruined’ Britain, or the luddites that demanded that everything stay the same and that the Britain of the 1970s was as Great as it could ever become.

        • A mischaracterisation of the arguments herein. Nowhere in the article does is say the 70′s were ‘happy’ or that the 70′s were the pinnacle of social development. But you have demonstrated point 3 of Benn’s argument: to argue that any other means of development is somehow impossible, that there is no workable alternative to neoliberalism. I always find it bizarre that defenders of a system which just maifestly failed so spectacularly have the nerve to call those questioning it ideologues whilst ignoring their own ideological position. Taxation was ‘immorally high’ for example. Immorally high? The article however is fillu referenced to demonstrate in real terms the difference in performance. I note you have not challenged the real figures but simply made an assertion that things were better under Maggie. This is ideology over facts.

          If you wish to admire Maggie,do. You are most welcome. But for goodness sakes don’t rewrite history in order to make youself feel comfortable doing it.

    • who is this, Mark Thatcher lol… Listen you self-obsessed ego maniac, firstly nobody cares about your “business”. Secondly, why on earth do you think you are any different from the guy that wrote this article? you have done everything you accused him of doing, you arrogant toff. Enjoyed the tax breaks?

    • “Teenager nonsense” ? At least the original was punctuated and spelled correctly. It also referenced sources and didn’t rely on personal/anecdotal evidence. Your stream of non-sequitors would be embarrassing in a child’s essay let alone what would purport to be a well-reasoned adult refutation of the OP’s thesis. Thank God I don’t work in any company you “started” because I would fear for any decision you took on that basis.

  15. im more tham happy ro gloat this evil old hag ruined millions of lives and removed manufacturing feom the uk good bye lets hope we never see her like agian
    rot in hell

  16. Reblogged this on attempts at living and commented:
    While I’m not going to celebrate the death of an elderly woman, I can’t say I’m sad at the passing of the symbolic nomination “Margret Thatcher”. While sections of the left celebrate (only time has won in this) we should be aware that her passing is also the marking of a transition from the neoliberalism that she helped inaugerate to the accelerative neoliberalism that doesn’t require people with such outmoded notions as nation, family, or any other transcedent signifer outside of capital. If Thatcher is a name as much as she was an individual, then what that name names is far from dead. While revellers take to the street in morbid joy, a festival of resentment, the recomposition Thatcher sanctioned (although didn’t truly cause) continues. There is nothing to celebrate here.

  17. Very good article, small issue, the sentence, “They started to rapidly expand their theoretical balance sheets by leveraging debt to almost infinite ratios.” Almost infinite ratios? Could you please clarify what you mean by this?

      • So because there’s no limit on the amount of assets that can be rehypothecated in the UK and people rehypothecating collateral over and over the ratios can grow arbitrarily large?

          • With the obvious qualification that noone is being forced to borrow, nor is anyone being forced to lend. In a perversion of the latin, caveat emptor! In any case: hypothecation was certainly not ‘invented’ by Thatcher, nor is it fair to blame her for it. If you want to blame anybody, blame the successive governments who have failed to enact any primary legislation to curb the practice (John Major and Blair and Brown could all have done so, had they wanted to accept the cost associated with limiting the volume of trade in London).

            At the end of the day, if you’re concerned about the creditworthiness of the lender in the late 2000s, do some bloody investigation instead of blaming financial deregulation which occurred nearly two decades earlier.

  18. The final irony is that the woman who wanted to privatise everything owned by the state, will have her funeral paid for by the state. I can sympathise with her family on a personal level but they should be picking up the cost… or maybe it could be sponsored by one of the big corporations.

    • Curious this – she didn’t want to privatize everything. Do you recall the government shutting down and turning into HM Gov’t (PLC) during her 11 years in government? The only things she wanted privatised were rubbish nationalised companies.

    • Sorry “Aaaaaaargh”, but I have to disagree with you. In true Thatcher style, the funeral should be put out to tender and offered to the lowest bidder!

      This article is excellent. I would put forward one (and only one) point in Thatcher’s favour though. I believe she was primarily honest (unlike inherently dishonest politicians such as Blair). Almost all of the odious policies she introduced were in the Tory manifesto. People actually voted her and the Tory Party in, knowing in advance most of the horrific things she would do (with, perhaps, the exception of the military actions).

      The only time I remember her being profoundly dishonest (or perhaps just profoundly dilusional) was when she quoted the so-called Franciscian prayer:

      Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
      where there is injury, pardon;
      where there is doubt, faith;
      where there is despair, hope;
      where there is darkness, light;
      where there is sadness, joy.

      That was another major FAIL!

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