Articles - China Daily

 

Last respects to Lady Thatcher

There are times when I feel ashamed to admit I’m British. This past week has been one of those occasions.

The death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has highlighted yet again the depths to which this once great nation has sunk, with many people who were not even born when she led the country using the occasion to behave like yobs, attacking her in the most offensive and disgusting tones.

And the fact that an anti-Thatcher anthem called ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’ has seen a surge in popularity and looks set to retain a top slot on the BBC’s Official Chart Show Is in my view way beyond bad taste.

As a journalist, I met Margaret Thatcher on two occasions – and on one of those she signed a book of her speeches for me. I can honestly say I found her charming and engaging each time I saw her perform at the Conservative Party conferences.

She was one of the most influential political figures of the 20th Century and her legacy had a profound effect upon the policies of her successors, both Conservative and Labour, while her term in office saw thousands of ordinary people gaining a stake in society, buying their council houses and eagerly snapping up shares in newly privatized industries.

In the early 1970s she earned herself the ‘title’ of ‘Milk Snatcher Thatcher’ when, as Education Secretary, she implemented cuts to free school milk – something that ironically she had argued against in cabinet when ordered to make those spending cuts.

Thatcher argued against a system of endless free handouts from the state and preached her deeply held belief that it is everyone’s duty to look after themselves: that instead of seeking entitlements, one should instead think of one’s obligations.

Ironically it was the issue of Europe which, eventually, brought about her downfall. But look at the mess into which Europe has got itself now and what she was warning about has a great deal of substance to it.

Yes, I firmly believe that history will look back on the Thatcher era as a great one for Britain, while the opportunist and incompetent policies brought in by Tony Blair and his ilk – not least, the killing off of one of the world’s best pension schemes by his chancellor Gordon Brown – will bear testament to how much poorer the UK is without such a leader as ‘Maggie’.

And to that idiotic community drama teacher from south London – Romany Blythe – who has been the main organizer behind the street parties to 'celebrate' Mrs thatcher’s death, I can only wince and say this is the kind of thing one would expect from a country that is fast heading for third world status.

As I say, there are times when I feel ashamed to admit I am British. I will certainly be watching her funeral on TV and hope desperately that those low-life idiots who have shown such disrespect this past week won’t spoil the occasion. I fear my hopes may, however, come to nought.