Margaret Thatcher’s long shadow 30 years after her downfall

It is the antithesis of Woman without a shadow (the woman without a shadow) from the opera Richard Strauss. His long shadow – such as that of the early morning or late afternoon – continues to dominate British politics and society just three decades after his fall, when after eleven years in power and victory in a trio of consecutive elections, with a European policy that displeased large sectors of the Conservative Party, he had lost touch with reality.

“My great achievement was Tony Blair“, said the woman of iron before his death in 2013 at the hotel Ritz from London, where he spent his last months of life, when the former Labor leader had also left power. He meant that his main legacy consisted of ending the social democracy and collectivism that had been a characteristic of the United Kingdom, to the point of leading to Labour to renounce Marxism and become a formation of the center (and according to some opinions, of the center-right), while converting United States in the epicenter of the country’s foreign policy and moved its axis of Europe al Atlantic.



With Clement Attlee (the creator of the British welfare state and public health), Margaret Thatcher is the most influential figure the UK has had since the end of the World War II. And without a doubt the most divisive and controversial, because it dedicated its existence to destroying what the Labor Prime Minister who succeeded Winston Churchill.


It deindustrialized the country, closed mines and textile and steel factories and surrendered to the City

It deindustrialized the country, ruined entire communities of miners, stevedores, and workers in textile and steel factories that in its language were “not productive,” ended state monopolies of railways, aviation, electricity, water and water companies. gas, the telephone, and privatized everything fell into their hands, under the slogan of “society does not exist, what exists are families and individuals.”

Maggie, the first woman to arrive on 10 Downing Street Although she is not a feminist heroine, she is topical not only because yesterday marked the thirty years of her forced resignation when the members of the cabinet themselves informed her that they had lost confidence in her, but also because of the premiere of the fourth season of the Serie The Crown, which shows his peculiar relationship with Queen Elizabeth, first of absolute insecurity and later – after the victory in the Falklands War – of disdain, giving lessons and almost pouting the monarch when he complains that there are three million unemployed and the national finances are a mess.



Thatcher still has as many fans as detractors today, some of whom celebrate the day of her death. Boris Johnson’s populism is the logical consequence of his conservative revolution (parallel to that of Ronald Reagan in the United States), just as the financial crisis of 2008 was the result of the deregulation of banks that she undertook and the economic power of the City at the expense of manufacturing and heavy industries. The heartless austerity of the last decade is his daughter. And the current Johnsonian strategy of stealing voters from Labor by Brexi and the promise to equalize the poor north of the country with the rich south reminds the way in which Iron Lady he cajoled working-class voters by selling the official protection flats in which they lived at a bargain price.


It moved its epicenter from Europe to the US.
and supported dictators like Augusto Pinochet

Thatcher admirers remember how the Britain From the 1970s, until its arrival in 1979, it was a dysfunctional country, the “sick of Europe”, dominated by unions, with sclerotic state companies losing money, without any incentive to take risks. And that she, with her iron fist, brutally and insensibly if you will, without paying attention to the consequences for those affected and their families (especially in Yorkshire, Gales Y Scotland, where she is hated), changed all that. He gave free rein to speculation, consumption and materialism.



She destroyed, but built nothing in return, and the deindustrialized regions that she ruined are still a wasteland today, a breeding ground for Brexit. The spirit of camaraderie and working solidarity that reigned in them has not been replaced by anything, the most absolute desolation reigns. But despite the cult of the free market and the cost of the absolute renunciation of a sense of social responsibility, only in two of the eleven years of his mandate (1987 and 1988) did economic growth exceed that registered during the Labor mandate James Callaghan in the late 1970s, and rarely did the country’s finances show a surplus.

He did not believe in consensus but in division, whether in domestic or foreign policy. Although he used anti-European rhetoric, he approved the Single Act and did nothing to reverse the income in the European Economic Community that he had also orchestrated tory
Edward Heath. He helped make the first Gulf War possible, resisted German reunification, called Nelson Mandela and the members of the African National Congress (ANC) of terrorists, he was totally indifferent to the hunger strike of Bobby Sands (member of the IRA who died in the prison of Maze in 1981) and politically supported General Suharto from Indonesia, a Sadam Husein and the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. But his great dance partner was the American president Ronald Reagan, who shared his vision of the world (end communism in any way, something they achieved) and of the economy (that the rich are richer so that the crumbs that fall from their table reach the poor, something that in reality was never fulfilled).




Britain went from a social democracy
to be a paradise of neoliberal capitalism

Britain before and after Thatcher are two different countries, the first a European social democracy and the second an individualist and neoliberal paradise based on the North American model, divided in two politically and geographically, based on financial services, with a few weak unions and a cult of money as the supreme pagan god. Before assuming power, as bad as the economy was, only one in seven children was poor. Shortly after his arrival it was a third. He left behind an inequality that thirty years later the country has still not overcome, not even with the Labor interregnum of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. In 1984 there were 184 open coal mines, employing 170,000 miners. In 1990 there were only two thousand left.

The Falklands War was his lifeline, without it – and the wave of patriotism it unleashed – he might not have survived the criticism. He was also helped by the fact that during his first term, when he was in the water around his neck, the Labor leader was Michael Foot, a decent person but too far left to be chosen. In the end he fell due to differences with his ministers over policy towards Europe, for trying to impose a linear tax (the poll tax), the same for the rich as the poor, and above all because of their arrogance. As is often the case, the least expected stabbed him with the knife, Geoffery Howe, who had been his minister of economy and foreign affairs, in an electrifying fifteen-minute speech in the Commons on November 13. Nine days later, he presented his resignation through tears.



Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.