MARGARET Thatcher, who died today, once said that her Conservative government was “engaged in the massive task of restoring confidence and stability to our people” because “unless the spirit of the nation which has sustained us is renewed, our national life will perish.
This “spirit”observes Archbishop Cranmer:
Was unequivocally and uncompromisingly Christian. She said: ‘I find it difficult to imagine that anything other than Christianity is likely to resupply most people in the West with the virtues necessary to remoralise society in the very practical ways which the solution of many present problems require’. Here, Margaret Thatcher comes as close as she can to identifying Christianity and Conservatism.
“His Grace” concludes a lengthy exercise in sycophancy with the words:
Perhaps no Prime Minister since Gladstone could have risked telling a journalist that she was ‘in politics because of the conflict between good and evil’, with the conviction ‘that in the end good will triumph’. But it is not her policies which ultimately saved her. It is not her programme of government, her political achievements or her world renown. Margaret Thatcher is saved because Jesus Christ was and is her Lord and Saviour: He paid the price: she is forgiven.
The angels are today rejoicing in Heaven at a pilgrim who has come home. But the name of Margaret Thatcher – The Great Lady – is sure to endure on earth and reverberate throughout human history.
It’s not only the angels who are rejoicing. Those in Britain’s gay community who remember the Thatcher years are most likely chanting “Ding-dong, the witch is dead!”
But not human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell. In a statement just issued, Tatchell said he was was an extraordinary woman.
But she was extraordinary for mostly the wrong reasons. So many of her policies were wrong and heartless. Nevertheless, I don’t rejoice in her death. I commiserate, as I do with the death of any person. In contrast, she showed no empathy for the victims of her harsh, ruthless policy decisions.
He pointed out:
In 1988, the Thatcher government legislated Britain’s first new anti-gay law in 100 years: Section 28. At the 1987 Conservative party conference she mocked people who defended the right to be gay, insinuating that there was no such right. During her rule, arrests and convictions for consenting same-sex behaviour rocketed, as did queer bashing violence and murder. Gay men were widely demonised and scapegoated for the AIDS pandemic and Thatcher did nothing to challenge this vilification.
To her credit, she shattered the sexist glass ceiling in politics and got to the top in a man’s world. However, on becoming Prime Minister she did little for the rights of women. She was a macho, testosterone-fuelled right-wing politician.
Her political agenda was almost entirely divisive and destructive, including mass unemployment and urban decay. She emasculated local government and boosted police powers to the detriment of civil liberties. The striking miners and their families were ruthlessly crushed on her orders. She oversaw the use of police state methods. Baton-wielding police struck down peaceful miners. People travelling to support the strikers were pre-emptively arrested. Protesting miners at Orgreave were framed on false police evidence.
Tatchell also pointed out:
Thatcher initiated policies that paved the way for the current economic crisis: the decimation of Britain’s manufacturing base, the get-rich-quick business mentality, the promotion of the free market and the poorly regulated banking sector. This led to imbalances in the economy. The financial sector gained undue influence, with few checks and balances. These distortions were exacerbated by Blair and Brown but Thatcher began the train of events that led to the present economic meltdown.