Mark Leftly: Margaret Thatcher's foe got it right on Canary Wharf

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The Independent Online

Outlook Love her, loathe her, or just plain sick of hearing about her, the death of Margaret Thatcher should have at least focused the spotlight on one of her greatest enemies this week: Lord Heseltine.

One of the flaws in Baroness Thatcher's reforms of outdated industries like coal was that her thinking failed to address what would happen to workers once they had lost the only jobs they had known all their lives.

These workers felt emasculated (they were almost all men), struggled to find other jobs, and were left embittered to the extent that some of them, 30 years on, think that it is acceptable to celebrate an old woman's sad physical decline and death.

Lord Heseltine may still be something of a traitor to Baroness Thatcher's dearest remaining friends and supporters, but he at least identified a way of dealing with some of the nastier consequences of tough monetarist policy and the free market.

It was Lord Heseltine who pressed for urban development corporations in the 1980s, setting them up to boost a badly neglected area of east London and the Merseyside docks.

Their record was mixed, but Lord Heseltine was rightly convinced that great swathes of the country should not be left to rot.

The success of Canary Wharf, while not loved by all of the residents of nearby Poplar and Isle of Dogs, shows that he was, on this one, surely correct.