In Which Die Tageszeitung Misses Badly

Other, better writers have already eulogized the passing of Margaret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Baroness of Kesteven, and LG, OM, PC, FRS.  As happens with all great men and women, she has come in for no small amount of criticism on the occasion of her passing, some of it simply, puerilely, shameful.

Other criticisms, though, demonstrate a broad misunderstanding of the lady’s accomplishments, the good she did for the UK and for the world.  Die Tageszeitung (The Daily Newspaper) is one such that badly misses.  This newspaper demonstrates its left-wing (the liberal Spiegel International Online‘s characterization, not mine) cred with these remarks, and I cannot let them go unanswered, even at this late date.

Very few people get a political ideology named after them.  Thatcherism stands for deregulation, privatization and the destruction of the welfare state, as well as of a sense of community.  No one divided British society as much as former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.  She is responsible for the destruction of the trade unions and the ruin of the public sector, and especially of the National Health Service.

Actually, they got the first part of this right.  But then they talk about her being the cause of the reduction of union power and of the public sector as though these were bad things.  Britain’s unionism and its then public sector were at the heart of British economic malaise and symptomatic of the nation’s retreat from the world stage—and of Britain’s willingness to lie prostrate in the face of Soviet expansionism, hoping to be passed by, unnoticed.

The failures, the rate death through negligence of children, pensioners, and ages in between while in the tender mercies of the NHS is legendary.  Thatcher’s attempts to rein in this travesty did not achieve enough, unfortunately; although it wasn’t, as DT backhandedly notes, for her lack of effort.

Thatcher got away with her authoritarian leadership style for a long time.  She publicly snubbed difficult colleagues, or just sacked them.  During her time in office she used up more than 100 ministers and surrounded herself with yes-men.  The hope that she, as the first female leader of a major nation, would fan a feminist wind into politics went unfulfilled.  She was never interested in the women’s movement, and only one women made it into her cabinet during her long tenure.

If you can’t effectively attack Thatcher’s policies, attack her person.  And demonstrate a lack of understanding of leadership, and of what it is to be a “yes-man,” to boot.  If a subordinate is being…insubordinate…he should be terminated.  Dissension and debate are required while decisions are being worked out, but refusing to get fully behind a decision once taken is inexcusable.

And as for DT‘s feminist claptrap….  Thatcher was “never interested in the women’s movement” because she was the embodiment of everything that “movement” claims to stand for.  She was a Briton and a PM who happened to be a woman.

It’s hard to imagine greater success.

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