Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Thatcher

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  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Of the 200 civilians who died in its terror, 140 were black.

    Reading up wiki.... he WAS in prison a decade or two before the bombings which killed civilians.
    Here's wiki/Mandela on the decision for the ANC's turning to violent means:

    According to Nelson Mandela, all of the founding members of the MK, including himself, were also members of the ANC. In his famous "I am prepared to die" speech, Mandela outlined the motivations which led to the formation of the MK:[3]
    "At the beginning of June 1961, after a long and anxious assessment of the South African situation, I, and some colleagues, came to the conclusion that as violence in this country was inevitable, it would be unrealistic and wrong for African leaders to continue preaching peace and non-violence at a time when the government met our peaceful demands with force.

    This conclusion was not easily arrived at. It was only when all else had failed, when all channels of peaceful protest had been barred to us, that the decision was made to embark on violent forms of political struggle, and to form Umkhonto we Sizwe. We did so not because we desired such a course, but solely because the government had left us with no other choice. In the Manifesto of Umkhonto published on 16 December 1961, which is exhibit AD, we said:

    'The time comes in the life of any nation when there remain only two choices - submit or fight. That time has now come to South Africa. We shall not submit and we have no choice but to hit back by all means in our power in defence of our people, our future, and our freedom.'

    Firstly, we believed that as a result of Government policy, violence by the African people had become inevitable, and that unless responsible leadership was given to canalize and control the feelings of our people, there would be outbreaks of terrorism which would produce an intensity of bitterness and hostility between the various races of this country which is not produced even by war. Secondly, we felt that without violence there would be no way open to the African people to succeed in their struggle against the principle of white supremacy. All lawful modes of expressing opposition to this principle had been closed by legislation, and we were placed in a position in which we had either to accept a permanent state of inferiority, or take over the Government. We chose to defy the law. We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and then the Government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer with violence."
    In 1961, MK published a manifesto entitled "Umkhonto we Sizwe (Military wing of the African National Congress): We are at War!"[4]
    "Our men are armed and trained freedom fighters not terrorists.

    We are fighting for democracy—majority rule—the right of the Africans to rule Africa.

    We are fighting for a South Africa in which there will be peace and harmony and equal rights for all people.

    We are not racialists, as the white oppressors are. The African National Congress has a message of freedom for all who live in our country."

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1574 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I think asking people to be above celebrating her death is failing to acknowledge just how much harm she did ... individually to real people with real lives. I may not condone pissing on her grave but I understand the emotion that leads people to that.

    She led a government that did very real personal harm to very many people.

    Yes indeed. My family came from, and still live in, the north of England right up next to Liverpool. I lived in the UK in the late '80s and the vibe of Thatcher's Britain was inescapable. The hatred and mistrust of the Met, Section 28, and the freedom for people to espouse nakedly racist, xenophobic and generally awful views in the name of being pro-British and pro-capitalist was repugnant. It was a particular sort of bullying patriotism.

    I visited my family up north during that time, and while it was economically wrecked up there I was stuck by the way family life had hung together depsite all. It felt welcoming and decent in a NZ sort of way, unlike the vaguely threatening vibe you often got around London, especially after dark. My partner and I loved going up there for some chill time and to be around a family who had that typical of northern ability to laugh at the blackest of situations. My grandmother used to do her ironing late at night listening to BBC radio and manically arguing with Thatcher's speeches, as if they were sitting across a table from each other. We'd laugh at her but for her it was no laughing matter and she often stated it was the middle and upper middle class shopkeepers (Thatcher's father) who were the most vicious and corrupt to poor and working people, ripping them off during the 1930s depression.

    When we went back in 2008 it had all changed. London was more affluent, cleaner and friendlier. This was heartening. When we went up north though it was a different story. Economically the place is still wrecked but the strong northern family bonded world I remember has disappeared. It just seemed rough and unwelcoming, and depressing. What Thatcher couldn't achieve in the 80s she's certainly completed since. And this is the most unforgiving thing to my mind, even if you give her the benefit of the doubt and accept that she was breaking down inefficient industry so that a re-energised market could jump in and provide opportunities for anyone willing to seize the day, it just didn't happen. The destruction happened but it was never backed up with any kind of market-led creative investment or growth and, for that huge proportion of British people who live north of the Watford Gap, they've been left decimated for decades. And I'll never forgive her for that. Never.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 889 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Russell Brown,

    You did rather feel like The Enemy at the time

    I guess I was briefly: I worked for CND for six months or so until I decided I was not a co-operative sort. It was a surprising education for me in the ways of the London left -- which didn't sit at all well with my lacksidaisical Kiwi version of politics. It was in the era of Lambeth council banning black rubbish bags and Haringey renaming manhole covers because of the sexism and racism supposedly implied. I left that experience with an aversion to ideologues of any shade.

    A lasting interest and commitment for me from those years came from the mad cow/BSE disease and salmonella in eggs scandals. I was appalled by what was being done to the British food supply in the name of profit and started quietly researching it. Then returned to NZ and started gardening and growing organically, studying horticulture, and keeping watch on the creeping chemicalisation (probably not a word) of our farms and food supply. So Maggie can be credited with spurring me on to becoming an organic gardener.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    Slightly off-topic, but some weird trivia on TV3 last night: Dennis Thatcher's father was born in...Whanganui. Crikey.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 612 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    If I ever manage to write a book about this endless, endless goddamned interleftiegument from which I can apparently never escape, it will be called: Identity Politics Ruined the Left! How These Dudes Know What's Really Important And The Rest of Us Should Just Shut Up.

    Put me down for a signed copy.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 487 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Yes some things were a mess, but it wasn't necessary to use the methods she and her government used in order to make the changes Britain did indeed need to make. They chose a path they knew would cause significant personal harm - and forty years later some of those people remember the very personal harm for which she was responsible. Yeah it's Ok that those people are still angry.

    That might be a lesson that some of our current politicians might learn before they choose the path of most harm.

    Our politicians have learnt the lesson.

    The situation in Britain in the late 70s bears some pretty strong similarities to what exists in Britain (and Europe today). Both times there are institutions that are inefficiently crap at what they are supposed to do, but politically to big to fail.

    Maggie Thatcher chose a neo-liberal remedy so is reviled by large numbers (and applauded by others). Francois Hollande now is trying a very different route and is also very unpopular. They are dammed for doing.

    The only way to avoid being unpopular is to do nothing to solve the problem, kick the can. The problem gets worse, but the politicians are safe in mediocrity.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Peter Darlington,

    even if you give her the benefit of the doubt and accept that she was breaking down inefficient industry so that a re-energised market could jump in and provide opportunities for anyone willing to seize the day, it just didn't happen. The destruction happened but it was never backed up with any kind of market-led creative investment or growth

    Just like NZ in the 80s and 90s under the same inhumane, selfish and downright stupid policies. Doubt many will be shedding tears when Roger Douglas, Richard Prebble, Ruth Richardson or Jenny Shipley leave us either.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16746 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Hebe,

    I am infuriated that you are trying to pin my abhorrence of her style and her political beliefs on her being an aggressive woman. Unlike you, I lived for years under Thatcher and felt and saw the consequences of her policies on me and my closest friends.

    Please do not try to pull a gender politics smokescreen over total political diasgreement.

    OK, Hebe – shall we go back to what I actually said?

    I’d also respectfully suggest Greenwald has the dick privilege to not see the pretty rancid and intensely gendered shit that got thrown at Thatcher. And still does at any “aggressive” ANGRY un-woman in politics – from Gillard through Hillary Clinton to Angela Merkel.

    I don’t think any “gender politics smokescreen” needs to be lowered over the (ex-)Tweep who opined that Margaret Thatcher was a ‘cunt’ who should have been murdered decades ago. And, yeah, while we’re talking about infuriating things please extend me the presumption of good faith when I say I find it profoundly culturally and spiritually offensive when people blithely chunter on about desecrating anyone’s grave. My family doesn’t remember the Fourth Labour Government with an excess of affection, but I don’t recall anyone expressing a desire to go take a slash on David Lange’s grave either. At least, nobody foolish enough to do so in my earshot.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    over the (ex-)Tweep who opined that Margaret Thatcher was a 'cunt' who should have been murdered decades ago.

    How about you read my posts Craig rather than ascribing all your offended feelings to thingsI have not said or implied? I cannot be alone on PAS in finding your responses to disagreement with your view to be bullying and somewhat overbearingly sexist. One of the wonderful things about PAS is the relative lack of abusive postings: stop it now.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    I guess so long as you were white (and Protestant - he became the only Ulster Unionist MP not actually from Ulster) you were inside Powell's tent.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4463 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    My family doesn’t remember the Fourth Labour Government with an excess of affection, but I don’t recall anyone expressing a desire to go take a slash on David Lange’s grave either

    wrong bloke

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16746 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    London was more affluent, cleaner and friendlier. This was heartening.

    I thought that was more of a sign that the poor and disgruntled were now in prison, or some distant township type area, which wasn't very heartening. I went back to Brixton a year or so ago and noticed that most people were white, which was a symptom of the same thing.

    Lambeth council banning black rubbish bags and Haringey renaming manhole covers

    A total fabrication by the Tory media (empowered by the new technology Maggie's police helped them introduce). It's a sign of the power of the lie that this is thought true by a progressive person many years after the fact.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4463 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Hebe,

    How about you read my posts Craig rather than ascribing all your offended feelings to things I have not said or implied?

    I don't see much point to further engagement with you on this, Hebe, but it just seemed polite to note I've read your last.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    A total fabrication by the Tory media

    So it is: google confirms it! I have been well suckered. Still, my experience of working in such a group was not so far away from those stories that they stood out as untrue.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I thought that was more of a sign that the poor and disgruntled were now in prison, or some distant township type area, which wasn't very heartening. I went back to Brixton a year or so ago and noticed that most people were white, which was a symptom of the same thing.

    Yes, sad but true. London now looks like a place only milionaires can live in, until you get to the very outer edges.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 889 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I don't at all appreciate being credited with other people's views, especially when they are so divergent from my own.

    I do appreciate -- and learn from -- the differing viewpoints commenters hold: I believe many people desire the same outcomes in politics but their opinions on how to reach those goals vary. And that changing my opinion after hearing others' is a sign of strength, not weakness. As is the ability to apologise. I saw none of these EQ qualities in Margaret Thatcher or her governments.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg,

    I suppose one has to be grateful to Maggie that she served a purpose as a unifying enemy for so many bands in the eighties. The passion of their hatred is evident in the music by The Specials, Everything But The Girl, Billy Bragg, The Style Council, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Morrissey, Redskins, Kirsty MacColl, Capital Letters, Robert Wyatt, Crass, The Communards and Elvis Costello.

    To name but a few.

    Thanks Maggie.

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Gabor Toth,

    All of this takes me back to THAT day when she was rolled by her cabinet. I was working for The Independent at the time and the excitement and tension building up in the office in the weeks leading up to the coup made this period one of the most exhilarating work experiences of my life. In the two minutes it took to walk from the tube station to my office the announcement that she was standing down was broadcast over BBC Radio 4. I walked in the door and a colleague announced to me "she's gone". We immediately rushed outside (this was in the City of London) where we witnessed an extraordinary bush-telegraph system which appeared from no where. In a pre-internet, pre-txting age, the news spread rapidly through the streets via....black cab taxi drivers. Word had been sent out over their radio network and suddenly almost every taxi stopped dead in its tracks, stopping all traffic. Some drivers were yelling out the news at the top of their lungs, I saw a couple dancing a jig together while many of the City of London-types looked shocked and stunned. It was a remarkable experience.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 120 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason,

    What a great pity her unbelievably nasty policies didn't die with her.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I don’t think any “gender politics smokescreen” needs to be lowered over the (ex-)Tweep who opined that Margaret Thatcher was a ‘cunt’ who should have been murdered decades ago. A

    Can we agree that Hebe did not say, imply or endorse anything of the kind?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18960 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Angus Robertson,

    Maggie Thatcher chose a neo-liberal remedy so is reviled by large numbers (and applauded by others). Francois Hollande now is trying a very different route and is also very unpopular. They are dammed for doing.

    The monetarists came in everywhere -- and as Rob notes above, at the very least, they achieved much-needed price stability everywhere they had policy influence. But nowhere else (Chile excepted, where Thatcher's friend Pinochet -- her words -- killed thousands and tortured tens of thousands) did they act in such a divisive, brutal fashion. There is actually a reason that this has carried over successive generations.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18960 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Can we agree that Hebe did not say, imply or endorse anything of the kind?

    Yes, please-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Gabor Toth,

    We immediately rushed outside (this was in the City of London) where we witnessed an extraordinary bush-telegraph system which appeared from no where.

    My cycle courier friends had pagers. The first to hear the news sent the message “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie! Out! Out! Out!” – to which the response was well yeah, then oh, you mean

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18960 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Peter Darlington,

    And this is the most unforgiving thing to my mind, even if you give her the benefit of the doubt and accept that she was breaking down inefficient industry so that a re-energised market could jump in and provide opportunities for anyone willing to seize the day, it just didn’t happen. The destruction happened but it was never backed up with any kind of market-led creative investment or growth and, for that huge proportion of British people who live north of the Watford Gap, they’ve been left decimated for decades.

    See above for my quotes from Thatcher’s key mentor, Keith Joseph. He explicitly proposed leaving the North to rot. He was basically a monster.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18960 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    My family doesn’t remember the Fourth Labour Government with an excess of affection, but I don’t recall anyone expressing a desire to go take a slash on David Lange’s grave either. At least, nobody foolish enough to do so in my earshot.

    And yet, probably millions of Britons feel some degree of that this week. That's the point, really. There's a difference between seeing her as a distant ideological hero -- as Chris Finlayson seems to -- and having been there on the rough end.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18960 posts Report Reply

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