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Former British PM Margaret Thatcher dead at 87

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When I was a kid,my granddad had no love for her.Growing up in England she wasn't for the poor or working class. She was the same age as my grandmother who died Oct 31st last year and my gramps used to called them contemporaries. But she came through with the decisive action/victory concerning the Falklands that still resonates today. But her quote that I respect most is,"A woman's job is never done." I remind my missus of that when she has a whinge.

R.I.P. Iron Lady. You were a champion.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

She was a polarising figure. Some loved her, some hated her.

Whichever side of the fence you sit on, there's one thing you can't deny: she was true British grit, the last true Prime Minister of Britain, before politics in the UK became nothing but populist driven rubbish.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Morally, ethically, spiritually, physically, positively, absolutely, undeniably and reliably Margaret Thatcher.

Does anybody feel the same way?

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Luca, I guess you do not know how the people who also claim "Las Malvinas" , called the Falklands by the UK feel. Anyway, call them Las Malvinas or Falklands, I do hope she can RIP.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

I really don't know what to think of Thatcher on the whole, but I do agree without a doubt she was strong and passionate. Whether that made her a good 'leader' is another debate.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Margaret Thatcher was a truly great leader. There isn't a national leader in office today worthy of standing in her shadow. RIP .

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Somehow she seemed like the kind of person who would live forever. But she helped create the heartless, mean-spirited, PR-driven state that is modern Britain. On balance, the country is certainly the worse for her legacy.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Mass unemployment, division, greed and soldiers dead in the Falklands to win an election. The divisions she created have yet to heal. There is such a thing as society and she left it disfigured. I remember her speech quoting the bible about bringing harmony to discord - let her be judged on her hypocrisy.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

@Jimizo I grew up during her time as PM and can't understand why so many people here in Japan talk about her like the sun shone out of her tradesman's entrance. Ding-dong, I say.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Well her politics live on, as we can all see and feel in Europe's austerity regime. Rest in peace.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Jimizo - I won't comment on the societal impact you mention, but I will say that modern political studies and analysis of popularity polls, etc, have proven that she would have won the 1983 election without the Falklands War and actually the impact of the war was minimal.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Oh, and no state funeral.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

She requested not to have one.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

She was certainly single minded and had a lack of empathy for many others. She was though sincere in her beliefs. She was not bad or did evil things for self gain or two faced, the leader who did that was Blair.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@Ewan Me too. I grew up on Merseyside in the 80s at a time of 25% unemployment in the county. Liverpool itself was undoubtedly much higher. It was a moral failure, deliberately demonizing others which split England and the UK as a whole. Her legacy has seen the Tories all but wiped out in Scotland and Wales. Most Japanese are shocked when I tell them of a 25% unemployment rate in my home county - the media didn't seem to mention that....

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Thumbs down, but the facts are clear. The first past the post electoral system and the Labour split into Labour and LDP-Liberal alliance show quite clearly how the 1983 was won by the Conservatives (Labour/LDP-Liberal would have needed over 75% of the vote, which is impossible). History also shows us that war success is by no means a positive electoral factor, considering Churchill lost power after the Second World War. Soldiers did not die in the Falklands to win an election in the UK, and saying so insults the families and the memories of those who died.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

the impact of the war was minimal

Not for 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel and 3 Falkland Islanders, it wasn't.

I never liked her but she's gone now, so I won't speak ill of the dead.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I left school in 1982 when she was at the height of her power... and it was a horrible time. Strikes, ill-feeling between those in work and those not in work, the greed of the must-have culture she created... closing down factories, mines and decimating our car industry.. privatising everything in sight to raise more money. It was an unpleasant time.

The state the UK is in now is Nirvana compared to what it was like under Thatcher. I'm sorry she's passed on, but she was a nasty piece of work.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Cleo - I was referring to the impact of the war on the election, not on the individual lives (or anything else), in response to Jimizo's post about the war being used to win the 1983 election. Of course the impact was not minimal for those it affected, and considering I have family that were affected by it, I would never say such a thing. Please don't skew my words to mean something else.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

kringis, sorry to hear your family were affected by the war. I agree with you that the soldiers did not fight to win an election and that it's insulting to suggest that they did, but I think it is true that all parties tried to make use of the war. For too many people - who themselves stay safe at home - war is a chance to roll out the jingoism and benefit at the expense of those sent into harm's way, and I do not think the Falklands was any exception.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Not for 649 Argentine military personnel, 255 British military personnel and 3 Falkland Islanders, it wasn't.

Some people forget what kind of regime ruled Argentina at the time.

They don't seem to be aware of the history of Argentina's 'Dirty War'.

Look it up and find out what Argentina's 'leaders' did to their own people.

Given that reality, I think it was perfectly understandable for the Falkland Islanders to vehemently oppose being ruled by Argentina... and understandable for the British Government to go to those lengths to protect their right to remain British.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Rest in Peace Mrs. Thatcher. You were one of the last great leaders of the free world. Your contributions will be remembered. Now that you're in heaven be sure to say hi to Mr. Reagan for me.

RR

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

@choiwaruoyaji

Look it up and find out what Argentina's 'leaders' did to their own people.

Sure. And then look up what Thatcher's buddy Pinochet did to the Chileans. And then look up what her "candid friend" Botha did to his fellow (black) South Africans.

She was an opportunistic, manipulating power-mad automaton. I'm not going to go over to England to dance on her grave, but I'm certainly not going to shed any tears over a fascist/apartheid sympathiser.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

RIP Lady Thatcher.

At home, broke militant union slavery and entitlement to create a thriving modern economy; no matter what pain the British people endured, it was worth it.

Abroad, you protected the self-determination of the Falkland Islanders; if only Hong Kong could have been saved as well.

Globally, you helped defeat the Soviet Union without a shot fired.

You are a towering figure. No wonder one MP recalled today that he was once asked by a young child if men were allowed to lead the country or be king.

Bless you and RIP.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

People are talking about the misery that Thatcher created but, in reality, the unemployment and upheval was the medicine for a generation of Labor tax and spend (badly, at that) cock ups that had pretty much run Britain into the ground. The same stuff that's run Greece into the ground this time around. Blaming Thatcher for the pain is like blaming the doctor because that broken arm hurts. It's amazing that, with all the history that shows how economics works, some people still don't get it.

Thatcher did a great job. Pity you can't say the same for the current lot.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

if only Hong Kong could have been saved as well.

Well the people could have been "saved", only Thatcher didn't choose to issue proper British passports to them; we can't have too many Asian-looking folk running around the UK, you know.

And a child asked if men could become king? Obviously an unfortunately ignorant result of the savage cuts she and her Tory friends made to the education budget, along with the other state services.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

the unemployment and upheval was the medicine for a generation of Labor tax and s

You're obviously not British, and know nothing about our history. Labour were in power from 64-70 and again from 74-79. How the heck is that a "generation"?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@lucabrasi

The large immigrant populations from Commonwealth countries disproves your cheap racist attack. Hong Kong in 1997 had a population of more than 6M. That's 60 times more than all the other Overseas Territories put together and nearly 10% of the population of the UK. If even only 10% had emigrated to Britain, there would have been no place to house them, no jobs to employ them, and an already-stressed welfare system unable to care for them.

No, the answer was to keep at least Hong Kong Island. For all their bluster, China would not have risked war with the UK for it, especially after the Falkland Islands.

As for your other cheap comment, having the two leading offices of the UK dominated by women, to a young child, the correlation that men weren't allowed to serve in those positions isn't unreasonable.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Gelendestrasse,

"People are talking about the misery that Thatcher created but, in reality, the unemployment and upheval was the medicine for a generation of Labor tax and spend (badly, at that) cock ups that had pretty much run Britain into the ground."

Well said.

The extinction of the once great British auto industry is but one example of how monumentally failed pre-Thatcher socialist policies helped drive Britain onto the rocks.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

She stuck it up the Argies good and proper. Good enough for me.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Rest in peace, Iron Lady. My favorite quote, "If you want something said, ask a man, if you want something done, ask a woman."

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I won't be celebrating Margaret Thatcher's death, but nor will I be joining in the gushing chorus of crocodile tears. By her actions and her words when she had power, she proved herself to be a completely morally bankrupt human being.

The best I could possibly say for her is that she believed in her ideals and fought to see them through. But that is damning her with faint praise, as her "ideals" were greed, money-grubbing, and a war on the poor, the legacy of which Cameron's government is doing its best to uphold. She was a fanatic for a detestable cause, and hundreds of thousands of people have been paying the price in poverty and alienation ever since. She supported the most appalling regimes, including South African apartheid and Pinochet's military junta in Chile, both of which murdered thousands of dissidents with her tacit support. In everything she did, she proved to be a heartless, egotistical, and spiteful person, ruining and taking lives with sadistic glee.

Given the devastating effects of what she did, I will not support anyone who is cheering tonight, but nor will I condemn them in very strong terms.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

RIP. Nothing to cheer, we did years ago when she retired.

Given that reality, I think it was perfectly understandable for the Falkland Islanders to vehemently oppose being ruled by Argentina... and understandable for the British Government to go to those lengths to protect their right to remain British.

What a tale ! Besides, there were over 100,000 other Brits living in Argentina and possibly suffering from the regime. When did Thatcher even lifted a little finger for them ?

If even only 10% had emigrated to Britain, there would have been no place to house them, no jobs to employ them, and an already-stressed welfare system unable to care for them.

Ruined Japan in 1945 took back all its colons and they managed. France took back 1 million from Spanish war , then God knows how many post-war, and a few years later another 1 million from Algeria and nearby countries. West Germany has taken in the whole East Germany. Britain is not able ?

Blaming Thatcher for the pain is like blaming the doctor because that broken arm hurts.

To keep the analogy Dr Thatcher has amputated both arms, the broken one and the second in prevention. Now good luck to regrow them...Hard to list anything she has made (I'm not a specialist, there must be 1 or 2 little things to list as legacy at her funerals). The list of what she unmade... She has sold ailing British mining, agriculture and industry on e-bay (before the site existed). She has burnt all social standards and national unity on a huge bonfire. What for ? To make room for the biggest crooks on the planet, to give up the economy to the City of rotten finance wizards and all the big slave-masters, mafiosi, drug and arm dealers (including her clan) turned multi-millionaires in need of a haven. Yes, London is richer than ever. The mass of Brits moved backward in times, for access to education, to health care, to possibility of getting a fair salary and stable work conditions, roughly all that they had gained since 1900. Thanks to her, Dickens' Britain has been revived from its ashes. Now it's Ken Loach's Britain, they don't die of starvation, but the hardship is back.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I had the fortune of hearing her speak about her years as Prime Minister and on foreign policy in '92 when she visited my university. Not being from the UK I can't speak to her domestic policies but in my opinion we've lost one of the greatest world leaders in recent history.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I... can't understand why so many people here in Japan talk about her like the sun shone out of her tradesman's entrance.

Because Britain's GDP doubled in size during her tenure, and the British population as a whole got much richer. The Japanese, by contrast, have endured stagnation for over two decades.

I left school in 1982 when she was at the height of her power... and it was a horrible time.

I agree. I was there in 1983. And when I returned in 1994, I couldn't believe the transformation, particularly the emergence of a wealthy and confident middle class.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@Jeff

Great post!

RIP, you were really a strong, admirable and a woman that will be truly remembered.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Because Britain's GDP doubled in size during her tenure, and the British population as a whole got much richer. The Japanese, by contrast, have endured stagnation for over two decades.

Don't know why you would even consider comparing the GDP growth of GB and Japan during the period of 1979-1990.

http://ecodb.net/exec/trans_weo.php?type=WEO&d=NGDP_RPCH&c1=GB&c2=JP

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@JeffLee

"Because Britain's GDP doubled in size during her tenure"

LOL, no it didn't. She was PM from '79 to '90. To double GDP in 11 years, you would need 6.5% growth/year on average. She didn't even achieve anything close to that.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

" The extinction of the once great British auto industry is but one example of how monumentally failed pre-Thatcher socialist policies helped drive Britain onto the rocks."

Madverts, you're beginning to sound like a libertarian, economically at least.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"It may be the cock that crows, but it is the hen that lays the eggs"

-Margaret Thatcher

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Thatcher and Reagan's neoliberalism and austerity measures are what clearly caused the banking and financial crisis that nearly destroyed US and EU's economy. And now the banks are being bailed out and the people who are responsible are getting paid handsome salaries in the tens of millions. Austerity measures in EU are destroying and splitting EU into half. Greece and others are dying due to harsh austerity measures. What destroyed Greece and others are what saved the banks in Germany, etc.

The "free world" envision by Thatcher and Reagan is now sinking. EU may not recover for decades. Ironically, Japan of all places, may be getting out of this mess by doing the opposite of what the Thatcher and Reagan has done: Full Keynesian policies instead of austerity measures.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@ Steven C. Schulz Sorry, but I must repudiate your gushing review of Thatcher and her years in power. You are American an look as if you were born in the nineties. You didn't live there, the legacy of Thatcherism has left us two things; Yuppies and Chavs.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Don't know why you would even consider comparing the GDP growth of GB and Japan during the period of 1979-1990.

I didn't. I compared to what she achieved in her time, and more recent conditions in Japan.

She didn't even achieve anything close to that.

How so? In 1979, UK GDP was 422 billion. By 1990 it had reached 1.01 tril. Is this not "doubled in size" as I wrote?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@JeffLee

Are you actually comparing net GDP, instead of GDP per capita ? LOL, that's pretty useless since you don't take population increase into consideration.

FYI, Japan's net GDP increased more than 3 times in the same time period '79 to '90.

http://countryeconomy.com/gdp/japan?year=1990

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@JeffLee. That is not double when taking inflation into consideration. Unfortunately she created policies that have now turned the UK a dump with a population that us more interested in talent shows and soaps than anything else. She did not single handedly do this, she was in fact a follower of the shock doctrine, her policies were mostly not from her own mind.

I would say that a lot more damage was done to Britain by Blair with ridiculous extreme right wing policies of further education for all which is designed to make people in debt and nothing else and being a poodle for Bush and his friends.

We also hear a lot about Thatcher and Reagan bringing down the Soviet Union which is not true, the USSR was on the verge of collapse from the late 70's anyway.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

To th people going on about GDP. It is a scam a trick that means nothing except something for politicians and bakers to go on about. It also shows nothing about quality of life for the population. GDP can rise because of extra spending because of natural disasters or wars, which are not good things. As we see here people going on about GDP and thinking it is a competition when in real terms it is mostly meaningless and eaten up at the same time by the rate of inflation.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Are you actually comparing net GDP, instead of GDP per capita ?

Believe it or not, Hide, GDP (aggregate output) is a pretty important metric. FYI, UK's population growth was also extremely slow during that long period,, from about 56 mil. to 57 mil. So the economy doubled in size, even when adjusted for population growth.

FYI, Japan's net GDP increased more than 3 times in the same time period '79 to '90.

Which Japan was not able to sustain, since its growth was largely based on a massive asset bubble. The UK, by contrast, maintained its growth consistently and over the long term until the global meltdown in 2008. Japan, during all that time, stagnated before it sank.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Ewan

I always love a compliment about my age, since I was around for Reagan.

I admit to being American, but there's a perfect control experiment for Britain without Lady Thatcher: Detroit, Michigan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

^ How can you compare an industrialised American backwater city with the rot that affected the whole((U.K) country. The whole nation is in disrepair since Thatchers government, first the school milk went, then the breaking up and selling off of all our industries, then the dodgy property deals. The tories and later, New (old conservative) Labour strived for a classless society...... I guess they envisaged that when all the old, sick and poor had died off, there would be a classless society, comprised of just one class, the fat headed bourgeois.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Surf,

"Madverts, you're beginning to sound like a libertarian, economically at least."

Just a realist.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

" then the breaking up and selling off of all our industries"

You mean the industries that were brought to their knees by labour governments' nationalization?

As I mentioned earlier, but one example is the demise of the once formidable British auto industry - which can be firmly laid to rest in the laps of doomed socialist mismanagement. An national shame to this very day.

There were very few nationalized institutions that actually made a profit.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The UK, by contrast, maintained its growth consistently and over the long term until the global meltdown in 2008.

That growth mostly benefited the wealthy. Thatcher was primer minister from 1979 to 1990. In the 1980s the gulf between the top and bottom 20% widened by a full 60%, one of the most dramatic widening of income differences on record. The share of income received by the top 1% was actually falling prior to Thatcher taking office. See: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16545898 If you were in the top 1%, those were the best of times. For those in the bottom 20%, not so much. Back in Japan during the same period, the income share of the top 1% pretty much stayed the same, hovering between 4% and 5%.

Anyway, there seem to be quite a lot of people celebrating Thatcher's death throughout the UK. So called "death parties" are being reported from London to Glasgow. You even have members of parliament like George Galloway joining the celebration.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That growth mostly benefited the wealthy.

Yes, but it also benefited society as a whole. Britain's overall standard of living has improved drastically since the mid-1970s.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@JeffLee; Afraid that is not true, household debt is the highest ever, home ownership is a dream for only a few. In the mid 70's it was mostly only one parent working now mostly both work. Britain is a dump since the mid 70's, i should know i was there. GDP means nothing when your pay is so low you rely on state benefits, something 8 million working Britons do. That did not happen in the 70's.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My father as a qualified builder was put out of work and saw his wages halved by Thatcher's policies. She sold public utilities back to the public that they had already paid for-deception or what? 50% of shops on my high street closed-not to reopen. All of the pain of the 80s gave way to a boom in the 90s. For me I'd had enough and got out.....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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