Baroness Thatcher – RIP
18/04/2013 Leave a comment
Over the past few days since the announcement of the death of Baroness Thatcher I have read many comments and articles about her and her life. I have also been somewhat surprised at the lack of respect shown, accordingly yesterday like many of us I watched Baroness Thatcher’s funeral procession with some trepidation but it was remarkable the number of people who lined the route of the procession, a few boos and apparently something thrown at the horses in one spot, idiot, but completely drowned out by people chapping as the gun carriage passed by.
I grew up and voted for the first time when she was in power and am a tory boy through and through and much admired her conviction politics, in my own tiny way something I hold true that politics is not about being a politician but about what are you going to do and what are you going to change and then having the work ethic, drive, determination and yes conviction that it is right to carry it through.
But my family are far from unanimously in praise of her, in fact quite the reverse but half my family being my Partner Lisa’s side are from Barnsley and every single man of a certain age worked in or about the mining pits. The stories over the years and the outright hatred of her was quite something to behold and I think given what they lived through there is appoint about something bigger, which it was, being played out with them in the middle.
Don’t get me wrong who ran the county was something that needed to be sorted out as was the out of balance union power, and that this amongst many other factors had brought her to power to tackle the problems, lest we forget at the time Britain was the sick man of Europe. But perhaps with hindsight it could have been done differently who knows. Can you imagine 17 years ago a suited and booted tory boy in his BMW going up there for the first time to meet the family! I seem to recall on my second visit being shown where the NUM headquarters were and where Arthur Scargill lived. Interesting just as with Mrs. Thatcher’s he’s not quite the folk hero amongst all those I have spoken to over the years; for many there are mixed feelings about Arthur Scargill, about his political positioning during the strike to his moving to a much bigger house in the middle of it, a point that comes up much more often than you might think.
One of the things that has been revisited in the past few days was just how big a mess the county was in in 1979 then as now Conservatives have been voted in to sort out the mess. Fiscal easing and Euro bailouts are now common place but I recall Dennis Healey getting off a plane back from America having got a loan from the World Bank, I did not really have a clue what that meant at the time but I do remember my father being told by my mother not to swear at the telly and in front of the kids as he ‘lost it’ when the news can on. It’s quite a thing that it appears that when we as a county are in trouble we return Conservatives to sort the mess out and when they have, and we feel secure again, the county votes in Labour to have another go at the idealistic socialism and then when they have spent all the money, as they always seem to do, what do we do?
There is a lesson for the Conservatives to learn yes we must take the tough decision but we must remember how hard things can be for people. In local government I am convinced our policy of freezing the Council Tax is the right thing to do to support people in these difficult times, and on door step after door step people have been agreeing but we must always make sure we protect the most vulnerable in our society and take people with us about why and what we are doing.