Chris Hayes On The Thatcher Legacy


As Chris Hayes noted in the opening of his show this Monday, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was known for pulling no punches and "out of deference to that legacy, we should pull none ourselves" and reminded his viewers of some of the "hallmarks" of Thatcher's career.

Here's more on that same subject from his site: It’s Thatcher’s world. We’re just living in it:

Margaret Thatcher may have been out of office for nearly a quarter of a century, but we’re still living in her world.

The former conservative Prime Minister of Great Britain died Monday morning of a stroke, but her legacy remains at 10 Downing Street.

The government is once again locked in a pitched battle with British trade unions. And the Labour party—led, ironically, by Ed Miliband, son of the Marxist intellectual Ralph Miliband—is a lukewarm, deracinated shadow of what it was before Thatcher came to power. Wave after wave of budget austerity have wracked the country’s finances and contributed to the gradual dismantling of the welfare state. Even the National Health Service, the crown jewel of the United Kingdom’s social safety net, is being irrevocably transformed.

Here are some of the moments that brought us to this point and embody the essence of Thatcherism, the political ideals of the “Iron Lady” that live on.

1) The miners’ strike

Thatcherism’s economic program was one of austerity, privatization, and aggressive union-busting. In the mid-1980s, Thatcher’s government said it would shut down 20 coal mines across Great Britain, costing some 20,000 miners their livelihoods. When the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) responded by going on strike, the government dug in its heels and waged a lengthy campaign to break the power of one of Great Britain’s largest unions.

Tensions reached a breaking point at the “Battle of Orgreave,” a violent clash between thousands of police and and thousands of striking miners at the coking plant in Orgreave, South Yorkshire. There were no casualties, but more than 100 people were injured, and the union eventually called off the strike. Thatcher’s defeat of NUM was a crucial moment in British labor relations, on par with President Reagan’s successful attack on the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization.

2) The Falklands War

Early in Thatcher’s government, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, a territory of the United Kingdom, over a territorial dispute. Thatcher sent in troops, and was able to force Argentina’ s surrender within two months. 255 Britons, 649 Argentinians, and three Falkland Islanders died during the war.

Thatcher later thanked Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet for his support of British action in the Falkland Islands. When Pinochet was arrested for war crimes for his treatment of Chilean citizens, Thatcher campaigned for his release; Pinochet eventually served house arrest in London and received thanks from the prime minister.

“I’m also very much aware that it is you who brought democracy to Chile, you set up a constitution suitable for democracy, you put it into effect, elections were held, and then, in accordance with the result, you stepped down,” she said during a visit to the home where Pinochet was serving his house arrest in 1999, the BBC reported. Read on...


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