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Very confused about Margaret Thatcher watch

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    Since she died there has been so much coverage about her and what she said and did. Some hate her, some love her, but personally I'm really confused about her and what she believed. Perhaps there are others who feel this way or could shed some light on the questions below.

    1) She is seen by her critics as heartless, or by her followers as bold and progressive. Most would agree she subscribed to the philosophy of survival of the fittest/ social darwinism. Yet her first speech after victory in the 1979 election contained a prayer. Not only that, but the prayer of St. Francis, noted for helping the weak and begging with the poor. Why did she do this if she genuinely did not care about helping people?

    2) Is it fair to judge Thatcher's ideology by how it was interpreted and what it led to? The concept of individual liberty is great in theory, as is the notion that we should not rely on state regulation for discipline and guidance. Her belief that the individual should be responsible for their own actions and should discipline themselves is valid and perhaps the ultimate solution. but, free market capitalism did not lead to this as we all know and it went horribly wrong. Do you think she knew this would happen and just went along with it to get elected? Or was this (legitimate) ideology abused?

    3) What was her long term plan for the replacement of social housing? It's widely seen as unsustainable but presumably she believed the market could replace it. But how? Where the 8-10% unemployed supposed to live? What was her plan for this? Before I judge her, I would like to find out more about her beliefs on this.

    So, my main question is do you think Thatcher had the right ideas but the problem lies in how they were interpreted, or do you think she was more cynical than that and knew what would happen and just served her own interests.
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    (Original post by MTR_10)
    Since she died there has been so much coverage about her and what she said and did. Some hate her, some love her, but personally I'm really confused about her and what she believed. Perhaps there are others who feel this way or could shed some light on the questions below.

    1) She is seen by her critics as heartless, or by her followers as bold and progressive. Most would agree she subscribed to the philosophy of survival of the fittest/ social darwinism. Yet her first speech after victory in the 1979 election contained a prayer. Not only that, but the prayer of St. Francis, noted for helping the weak and begging with the poor. Why did she do this if she genuinely did not care about helping people?

    2) Is it fair to judge Thatcher's ideology by how it was interpreted and what it led to? The concept of individual liberty is great in theory, as is the notion that we should not rely on state regulation for discipline and guidance. Her belief that the individual should be responsible for their own actions and should discipline themselves is valid and perhaps the ultimate solution. but, free market capitalism did not lead to this as we all know and it went horribly wrong. Do you think she knew this would happen and just went along with it to get elected? Or was this (legitimate) ideology abused?

    3) What was her long term plan for the replacement of social housing? It's widely seen as unsustainable but presumably she believed the market could replace it. But how? Where the 8-10% unemployed supposed to live? What was her plan for this? Before I judge her, I would like to find out more about her beliefs on this.

    So, my main question is do you think Thatcher had the right ideas but the problem lies in how they were interpreted, or do you think she was more cynical than that and knew what would happen and just served her own interests.
    Progressive in politics refers to the opposite of conservative, therefore it cannot apply to politicians such as Margaret Thatcher.

    If you would declare yourself "progressive" in the 1920s-30s, they would refer to you as 'party-less Socialist'. Progressives were, inter alia, the Fabians that started the LSE.

    Ed Miliband spoke of himself as a Socialist back when he didn't even dream about holding the labour leadership, but when he did see this possibility as realistic he changed it to "progressive democrat" to sound less controversial.

    Thatcher wouldn't want to be known as progressive, but a conservative, it's very simple.
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    1) Her idea of helping the poor was very different to the poor's idea of helping the poor.

    2) I think she was naive to it, 'there is no such thing as society' wasn't thought through for example.

    3) There wasn't a plan.
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    Thatcher reformed the economy. Yes people have more money nowadays, but the price is we have to work much harder, there is a lot of inequality and people don't do altruistic things much more anymore and have to spend a lot more time cleaning up other people's mess. But at least we have more money.
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    (Original post by Presenttime)
    Thatcher reformed the economy. Yes people have more money nowadays, but the price is we have to work much harder, there is a lot of inequality and people don't do altruistic things much more anymore and have to spend a lot more time cleaning up other people's mess. But at least we have more money.

    I'm confused with what you're saying here. Are you implying we have to work longer hours? Or be more productive whilst we're working?
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    1) Thatcher didn't care where you came from, if you were poor and hardworking then she wanted you to succeed as much as everybody else.

    2+3) Thatcher had a habit of acting on principle but not bearing in mind the deeper long term effects and practicalities, the "right to buy" was a very good example of a great policy not backed up by forward thinking and this occurred several times through her tenure
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    (Original post by MatureStudent36)
    I'm confused with what you're saying here. Are you implying we have to work longer hours? Or be more productive whilst we're working?
    I suppose both
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    (Original post by MatureStudent36)
    I'm confused with what you're saying here. Are you implying we have to work longer hours? Or be more productive whilst we're working?
    I would say nowadays we work longer hours, and we are naturally more productive within those hours.
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    (Original post by Presenttime)
    I would say nowadays we work longer hours, and we are naturally more productive within those hours.
    Actually we don't work longer hours according to the Office of National Statistics.

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171776_247259.pdf
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    I'll just do a quick response as I've got to write an essay, but I'll be on tomorrow if anyone wants to debate on the points I make.

    Maggie was a religious woman, hence the prayer. She didn't 'not care about the poor' as many of her detractors would put it, but she believed in standing on your own two feet as opposed to the state owing you something, the employer owing you something. So she very much is at odds with the Left who believe the working man is owed everything in life by virtue of being a working man.

    Free market capatalism does work, with the right regulation. Attlee's naive statist approach to things after WWII was the trendy thing at the time, but it left a huge legacy of inefficiency, the nationalised industries were essentially welfare. They were not profitable and were being propped up by huge subsidies from the State, and because the power of the Unions was unchecked it wasn't uncommon to find 4 people doing the job of 1 person in some areas. We had rolling blackouts in some cities of the UK, it's unimaginable now, but that's what we let the Unions do to the nation. Have you heard of the 3 day working weak? So this is where Maggie was so devisive. She 'smashed' the unions, she took a lot of their power along with privatising the floundering national industries so the nation could never again be held to ransom by them. You'll often hear the claim that she made 'war on the working class,' this is a lie, infact you'll find as many people from the working class that support her as oppose her. Those on the Left tend to forget it was only the working class in some areas that were at war with the Government, and those that didn't work in those sectors suffered because of the Union's actions and the nationalised industries inefficiency.

    I'm not totally read up on the housing issue, or what her plan was afterwards, but I know many people who bought their council houses and were happy with the policy.

    So, obviously those on the Left will oppose her policies but the reason some of them want to turn her into a hate figure is so they can justify their 'class-warfare' mentality, they have to convince you that she was evil and hated, or at least didn't care for, the working man. If they can convince you of that then it's much easier to make everything she did seem bad, everything their opponents do seem bad, like it's specifically an attack on them and the working class, rather than simply the economic policy that makes the most sense to them.
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    (Original post by Quady)
    1) Her idea of helping the poor was very different to the poor's idea of helping the poor.
    Thats because the poors' idea of helping the poor is to expect someone else to pay for everything for you.
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    (Original post by RtGOAT)
    Thats because the poors' idea of helping the poor is to expect someone else to pay for everything for you.
    Thats everyone's idea.

    The funding models change from person to person though.

    As this is a student board I assume most people aren't paying their way and are getting fee loans and subsidies, maintenance loans, interest free overdrafts, money from mommy and daddy...
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    (Original post by Quady)
    1) Her idea of helping the poor was very different to the poor's idea of helping the poor.

    2) I think she was naive to it, 'there is no such thing as society' wasn't thought through for example.

    3) There wasn't a plan.

    Could you explain the 'there's no such thing as society to me
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    (Original post by MatureStudent36)
    Could you explain the 'there's no such thing as society to me
    She meant 'society' in the sense that there was this entity, apart from people and the Government, that people felt owed them something. In the context of the discussion, Maggie was talking about how people felt something was owed to them by society and by the government. Maggie's point was that this 'society' didn't exist immaterially, it was made up of people, if people want 'society' to help them, by definition they have to help themselves. The term and context in which society is used confuses a lot of people. To keep the same meaning, you can change it though.

    Consider a group of 10 people, this group is called the Plod. Now, if members of the Plod all agree that the Plod owes them something, then that's fine and dandy, but the Plod doesn't exist outside of them. It is not it's own entity. The Plod can do nothing if the members of it do not.
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    I heard frank field on the radio saying he'd asked her what her greatest regret was a few years back... He says she answered that she'd hoped to create a giving society.
    What I'd interpret that as meaning is that
    1. the mean spirited libertarian fanboys who get off mocking the worst off in society missed her point.
    2. A lot of the criticism of what she was doing at the time was accurate.
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    (Original post by Steevee)
    She meant 'society' in the sense that there was this entity, apart from people and the Government, that people felt owed them something. In the context of the discussion, Maggie was talking about how people felt something was owed to them by society and by the government. Maggie's point was that this 'society' didn't exist immaterially, it was made up of people, if people want 'society' to help them, by definition they have to help themselves. The term and context in which society is used confuses a lot of people. To keep the same meaning, you can change it though.

    Consider a group of 10 people, this group is called the Plod. Now, if members of the Plod all agree that the Plod owes them something, then that's fine and dandy, but the Plod doesn't exist outside of them. It is not it's own entity. The Plod can do nothing if the members of it do not.
    good boy. I just thought you had got it wrong like most people. It's normally taken out of context.
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    (Original post by Joinedup)
    I heard frank field on the radio saying he'd asked her what her greatest regret was a few years back... He says she answered that she'd hoped to create a giving society.
    What I'd interpret that as meaning is that
    1. the mean spirited libertarian fanboys who get off mocking the worst off in society missed her point.
    2. A lot of the criticism of what she was doing at the time was accurate.
    The last bit is still debatable, If the criticism was accurate then why does she continually get top billing on best PM polls?
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    (Original post by Quady)
    1) Her idea of helping the poor was very different to the poor's idea of helping the poor.
    If I was to help a begger, I'd help them get a job not give them money..


    (Original post by Quady)
    2) I think she was naive to it, 'there is no such thing as society' wasn't thought through for example.
    You should put in context. She was talking about personal responsibility


    (Original post by Quady)
    3) There wasn't a plan.
    You have a point- the 1979 manifesto was very vague ,so no one as really ready for hurricane maggie!
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    (Original post by MatureStudent36)
    Actually we don't work longer hours according to the Office of National Statistics.

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171776_247259.pdf
    Perhaps you are right, but we have the longest working hours in Europe, France has a 35 hour working week and a bigger GDP than the UK. So although I am neutral in regards to Thatcher, the French route seems better.
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    That quote from St Francis of Assisi was given to her by her speech writer. Her cabinet and close friends thought it was ridiculous at the time because she was not heavily religious and it gave out the wrong message.

    People say she's like Marmite, but I disagree. If you love her, you're wrong and similarly if you hate her. She did beneficial/strong things e.g. quashed union power, got economy moving in the right direction, calmed the Cold War and gave some people a strong sense of belief in both their own capabilities and their country's. She did this also at a time when women were expected to be housewives or have menial, part-time jobs. (Grace Dent writes about this wonderfully.)

    She also made life very, very difficult for a lot of confused, afraid people (Caitlin Moran's article in the Times was good for this) and therefore, people used her as a figurehead/hate-figure to blame all the problems on...when in reality, it was her policies/the economy/the cabinet/the unions that caused all the strife...but I suppose in a sense, it was directly her.

    So, in short, I think she's not like Marmite. I think we should be ambivalent. She was clever/strong/independent/innovative and she was cruel/harsh/bullying.
 
 
 
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