As a British citizen living in California, I observed, from a distance (and with a great deal of anger, dismay, and frustration), the willful and irrational actions of Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady (or, more aptly, the Baroness of Bellicosity), when she served for three contentious terms as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, over a dreadful period of eleven years, from May, 1979, to November, 1990. Many people, for varied reasons, now find it easy to overlook her vile record of repeated offenses against the human values of the British character, but I believe that, in the interest of acknowledging the hideous truth to the fullest degree, her name should not be whitewashed.
Margaret Thatcher, the daughter of a grocer, grew up in a flat above the family shop in Grantham, Lincolnshire, and her direction in life was guided by bold ambition and spiteful cunning, combined with a fierce allegiance to the depraved principles of pure capitalism. She first entered Parliament in 1959, as MP from Finchley, in north London, and became Secretary of State for Education and Science in 1970. After she had brazenly seized the leadership of the Conservative Party from Edward Heath in 1975, she pursued a clear path to Downing Street. Throughout her time as top leader, she thrived on the waves of ill will that were created by her malicious policies, drawing a perverse strength from the heated anguish of those who rightly loathed her.
Margaret Thatcher and her ruthless henchman promoted a shameless philosophy of extreme greed and utter selfishness, directing their primary activities toward her stated goal of abolishing the British welfare state that had been established by the Labour Party during the late 1940s. She took vicious pride in her unreasoning opposition to socialism, preferring to advocate, in its stead, a bestial way of life (imported from America) in which citizens were allowed to grasp whatever they wanted and keep it all to themselves. In particular, she mounted a grievous assault on the British tradition of community, eagerly seeking to set one citizen against another. Millions of workers became unemployed, and those citizens who already were living in poverty soon found that their piteous lot grew much worse as Margaret Thatcher increased her power.
The longer that Margaret Thatcher continued her fearsome rule as Prime Minister, the more it seemed that her opinion of herself was heightened and expanded by her own exploits. In April, 1982, she rashly decided to enforce British dominion over the Falkland Islands, a small and rocky colony off the coast of Argentina, carelessly waging a foolish war that resulted in hundreds of people being slaughtered on both sides. She appeared to be hugely delighted by the warfare itself, apparently regarding herself as a wartime commander in a Churchillian mode, daringly courageous and worthy of being included among the glorious leaders of history, and she skillfully used the conflict to further build her support among the most unthinking elements of the British public.
In 1987, I returned to England for an extended stay in Warrington, the northwestern town in which I was born, and I had the opportunity to see Margaret Thatcher contend in her last general election as Prime Minister. I remember that on the evening of the election, Spitting Image, a television show on ITV that used outlandish puppets to poke fun at celebrities and current figures in politics, portrayed the PM and her toadies rejoicing to "Tomorrow Belongs to Me," a Nazi anthem from the film, Cabaret. When the votes were counted, Warrington North, the constituency where I was living, had gone with Labour, as it always did, but the Conservatives held the country, and Margaret Thatcher gained a third term. Three years later, however, she was deposed by rebels among the Tories, in the same manner that she once had deposed Edward Heath.
Margaret Thatcher was a staunch enemy of freedom, both at home and abroad, and a friend to fascist dictators. She rode roughshod over the country of my birth, bringing untold pain to the working masses and doing an enormous amount of ruinous damage to the essence of the British mentality. She was a wily bloodsucker in the guise of a dowdy matron, a hardhearted destroyer with a handbag, a venomous woman whose hunger for tyranny was so deep and so constant that she attempted to devour her own nation. She was determined to wipe out every bit of honesty and humanity in the United Kingdom, and she nearly succeeded. The memory of her hateful misdeeds must not be swept aside.