Jeremy Hardy thinks… about Margaret Thatcher

'I have no wish to speak ill of the dead, even when they are still alive'
April 2012

This is set to be Margaret Thatcher’s year. At the time of writing, she is still with us, but obits are being updated. I know this because I am sometimes asked to appear in programmes being prepared for posthumous broadcast. I refuse, because I have no wish to speak ill of the dead, even when they are still alive. But I’m sure all manner of people have lined up to pay homage, Tony Blair gushing, ‘She was the People’s Pinochet.’

No mention of her friendship with the Chilean mass murderer and torturer appears in the rather silly film The Iron Lady. Indeed, according to that version of history, her motivation in taking on General Galtieri was in part that he was a fascist. But, in common with her friend Reagan, fascist dictatorship wasn’t something she frequently held against people.

The one thing the film usefully reminds us of, as the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War descends upon us, is that she had sanctioned the winding-down of naval protection for the Falklands. The film might have gone further and shown that Argentina was being given a growing role in the future of the islands until they blew it by invading. In trying to use military force to rescue his popularity, Galtieri only succeeded in rescuing Thatcher’s. But in a sense, Argentina won the war. They got rid of their crazy, right-wing ruler; and we were stuck with ours for several more years.

In the end, it was her own party that ditched her, denying us the chance. Today, I bear her no malice. I’m sure she thought she was right. People generally do. But I’ll say it now rather than when her loved ones are grieving: she did terrible harm, and little of any merit.

Jeremy HardyJeremy Hardy is a comedian and writer who regularly appears on BBC Radio 4's The News Quiz and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.


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chris patten 14 April 2012, 11.42

The problem is she is cited as being a ‘conviction’ politician, hence she attended Eric Heffer’s funeral, respecting his different, but genuinely held, beliefs.

Unfortunately its not true, as the ‘market’ doesn’t decide, because its rigged. She was also the beginning of destroying the state to make large businesses’ richer and employ politicians.

Finally, not withstanding her mendacious attitude to her father, Councillor Roberts, she destroyed the concept of public service, replacing it with a poisonous culture of greed, which seems to drive people insane and distanced from 99% of the rest of humanity.

Reid Railton 14 April 2012, 12.32

Before Margaret Thatcher the number of children living poverty had been roughly level since the ’50s at 15% (one child in six)

Under Thatcher’s prime ministership the number of children living in poverty doubled – from 15% (one child in six) in 1979 to 35% (one child in three) in 1990.

In the ten years since then the rate has reduced by about 5% – but the IFS is currently forecasting that that reduction will be reversed in the next 2-3 years.


Jason 15 April 2012, 19.25

I was always taught if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything.

Bill Major 10 April 2013, 14.18

She began the revenge of the pre war ruling classes who believed that the enlargement of the franchise pre war,and the post war welfare state settlement, the increasing affluence of working classes,our retreat from empire,added up to the end of Great Britain. She laid the foundations of the myth of the property owning, share owning, entrepreneurial Britain.In fact the myth brought us debt, housing shortages and thousands of bankruptcies. She laid the myth that Britain was now “Great” again by retaking the Falklands, a myth that led to thousands of Iraqi and Afghan [not to mention British]deaths in the 21st Century.Her successors, from Major, through Blair and Brown to the present Thatcherites continue the rolling back of the post war settlement, with a vengeance.

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