R.I.P. Margaret Thatcher: Britain’s ‘Iron Lady’

“She inherited the sick man of Europe and she transformed the United Kingdom into a superpower” – Brian Mulroney, Canadian PM 1984-1993.

There was no Lady Thatcher when I left England in 1966.  “Doctrinaire socialism” had clamped is cold, clammy grip on Britain and its economy in 1964 when Harold Wilson had become Prime Minister, and I came to Canada in 1966 more than a year after initially applying to become a “settler” as we were called in those days.

I could not live in a union-dominated socialist economy.

Here are some quotes from a previous post of mine, there is a link to that and others below:

“I have no love for British unions, and one of the first events of my union career in Canada was receiving press coverage for making a speech condemning the National Union of Mineworkers, after visiting NUM reps. spoke at an Ontario Federation of Labour convention in Toronto at which I was an elected delegate.

“My first experience of unionism in Britain was in the winter of 1963/1964 while working as an internal auditor, travelling throughout West Yorkshire doing stocktaking and other work for British Relay, a pioneer cable television company.

“After I ordered unionized workers in Wakefield to stop taking heaters out of the sales stock to use in the workplace, shop steward Harry Carver ordered his troops out into the street, where they stood shivering by the roadside until senior management arrived.

“I went back to Leeds, and the next day when I reported for work I was told I now had a head office job preparing statistical sales and stock reports.

“It was a good job, certainly not a demotion, but the message was clear- unions are sacred and cannot be crossed. More to the point, although the union involved had a contract at that time, the mini-strike I caused was perfectly legal. The time-honoured term “Everybody out!” acquired a very real meaning for me.”

Anything those bastards didn’t like, they just walked out and refused to work until they got their own way, and to hell with anyone else.

Maggie Thatcher put an end to the idea that workers could dominate the country and have more power than government, and socialism in Britain has never had the same Marxist arrogance since.

She stood firm until victory was achieved during her epic battle for control of the country with the National Union of Mineworkers, during which three people were killed, some twenty thousand injured, and over eleven thousand miners and supporters were arrested and charged with criminal offences.

And, she also decisively trounced Argentina for its juvenile attempt to appropriate British territory.

On one occasion, when her friend and political ally Ronald Reagan was President of the United States, I told an Ontario Federation of Labour convention that “Ronald Reagan is a shop steward for the Free World”.

Few people have ever had the privilege of being hissed and booed by several thousand people simultaneously, but I have, and I regard it as a badge of honour.  In my own small way, I have done my best.

Rest well, Dear Lady, you did us all proud.

Below is a number of informational links to articles regarding her legacy.

Jeff Goodall.

Reuters: “Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher dead at 87“

Christina Blizzard: Toronto Sun – “Margaret Thatcher was a visionary who deserved better”

Peter Worthington: Toronto Sun – “Margaret Thatcher put Britain back on the map”

Brian Mulroney: Canadian PM 1984-1993

Simon Kent: Toronto Sun – “Thatcher steamrolled coal miners’ union”

Daily Mail: “She will be held in honour for as long as English is spoken: The definitive account of Margaret Thatcher’s incredible life”

Thatcher speech “The Moral Foundations of Society” delivered November 1994 at the Hillsdale Center for Constructive Alternatives in Michigan.

Read my own posts “U.K: No limit to trade union hatred for Margaret Thatcher” (Sept. 2012) here, “British mineworkers boss: Typical chardonnay socialist” (May 2011) here, and “Union thugs threaten strike on Royal wedding day” (Jan. 2011) here.

To really make your hair stand on end, listen to “I’m A Union Man” by “The Strawbs” circa 1973 here