Letters: Voice of majority lost in the cacophony

These letters appear in the print edition of The Independent, 10th April, 2013

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While we endure the cacophony of political eulogies for Margaret Thatcher, the voices of the majority, whose lives and communities were blighted by her actions, will not be heard. No doubt someone will bemoan the celebratory drinks and parties held in what is left of working class communities, where the comments and toasts have been less than pleasant.

Thatcher demolished much of what was really great about this country and paved the way for the neo-liberal policies of Tony Blair and, more notably, the neo-feudal Coalition of Cameron and Clegg.

She should be remembered for this wilful, ideologically driven destruction rather than some sanitised rubbish spouted by sycophants and cowards.

John Griffin, Burntwood, Staffordshire

All of the eulogising about this awful woman is sickening. I know that one is not supposed to speak ill of the dead but I say what I said when she was alive and well: she was a terrible woman and a worse PM.

Her first few months in power saw me made redundant from a job which helped teenagers who had problems with school or home to settle back into society. I was out of work but, worse, the youngsters were back on the streets. In the “spirit of Thatcher”, I set up in business. I had a home worth £300,000 and a business worth around half a million: interest rates and changes of various regulations took care of both. At 71, I now live in a rented one-bedroom flat and struggle to make ends meet on my pension. During that ruinous period of my life, I lived in the affluent South-east of England and south Wales, but had to move to the North to share a house with friends until I had sorted myself out.

Mrs Thatcher was not a great PM and definitely not a caring one. She set up the problems with the banks, destroyed manufacturing industries and created a climate in which big business could do what it liked. She will not be missed by me or by millions of others whose lives she ruined.

Mike Wood, Thornton, Lancashire

Amid the right-wing media adulation of the life of Margaret Thatcher, is it possible to recognise that a large proportion of the population loathed her?

Sarah Pegg, Seaford, East Sussex

Without her, we are left with the men of straw

The death of the longest-serving British Prime Minister (1979 to 1990) marks the passing away one of the towering leaders of Britain and the world. Margaret Thatcher was a strong leader with the courage of her convictions. She translated her beliefs into action.

The three most remarkable milestones of her life and career are: she transformed Britain from a socialistic pattern of society to a free market economy and mobilised the power of the middle classes in trade and development; she played a pivotal role along with President Ronald Reagan and President Mikhail Gorbachev in ending the Cold War; and she was a women of strong courage and integrity. As PM she even insisted on paying for her own ironing board, at her official residence.

She was a brave lady and, despite attacks on her life, she did not waver from her policies. She narrowly escaped injury in an IRA assassination attempt at a hotel in October 1984. Next day, she adhered to her itinerary. She was also far-sighted. She realised China’s growing importance and built bridges with the country.

The daughter of a simple grocer, she was a fierce patriot. Her leadership was always characterised by a strong vision for Britain, clarity in her views and an endeavor to transform society. It is sad that eventually her own party dethroned her. However, her legacy of building a strong and independent Britain inspires Britons even now, 23 years after she relinquished office.

In an age when politicians are doubted and often abhorred, Mrs Thatcher is highly respected, even by those who disagreed with her policies and style of management. Compared with her, many contemporary politicians seem to be men of straw.

Rajendra K Aneja, Dubai

I voted Labour in 1966, 1970 and 1974 (twice). Later, it became obvious to me that I had been voting for the destruction of the UK by this thoughtless adherence to socialism. The result was increasingly widespread, intimidating strikes by power-mad and greedy unions, the dead-handed hopelessness of our nationalised utilities, the NHS a shadow of what it is today, the humiliation of the IMF intervention and the Winter of Discontent.

Even the prospect of a Tory government led by Margaret Thatcher, with that voice and that hair, had to be better than this, and in the end it was. It was a rocky road, but unions were reined in, infinitely improved privatised utilities were created (despite today’s failure to control energy firms), a new direction was established for the health service and a revitalised economy generated. Moreover, the recent banking crisis would not have happened if Gordon Brown had not prevented the FSA, set up by Thatcher, from doing its regulatory job.

The security of home ownership for millions brought a massive windfall for local authorities to spend on affordable rented housing (where, pray, did that money go?). And, on the way, two dictators were brought down: Generals Galtieri and Scargill.

Sure, she wasn’t perfect – name a prime minister who hasn’t upset a lot of people – but if critics of Thatcher are saying that they want a return to the days before the Iron Lady, then a Third-World future for the UK awaits us.

Mike Park, London SE9

Opportunity not to be missed

Of course it is right for the Labour leadership to distance itself from unseemly rejoicing at Margaret Thatcher’s death. But nor should it so fall over with respect that it fails to unequivocally condemn the destruction of the social fabric which flowed and continues to flow from her years in power. Labour has been offered an opportunity to highlight the divisive and regressive legacy of Thatcher, to attack the continuation of Thatcherite policies by the present Government and assert a better vision. It is the sort of opportunity that Thatcher in her heyday, so finely tuned to what was possible, would not have missed.

David Parker, Holmfirth

Ill judgement

Many Conservatives believed that Clement Attlee ruined Britain. However, I wonder how many distasteful comments were made by right-wing Tories when he passed away in 1967? I very much doubt there would have been many.

Contrast this to the passing of Margaret Thatcher and the social democratic left; there has been many quite distasteful comments made about her at the National Union of Students conference and by individuals on the Internet, such as “Is Margaret Thatcher dead yet?”

It does not matter if one dislikes an individual’s legacy, but it is wrong and disrespectful to speak ill of the dead.

James Paton, Billericay, Essex

Social assistance

On Monday, Margaret Thatcher, who told us that there was no such thing as society, died. Also yesterday, by chance, I broke down in the car in rural Norfolk on my way to pick up my wife and children, who were a few miles away on their bikes. A woman who was a complete stranger stopped to see whether she could help, then went and got my wife and the children, plus bikes, in her own car and took them all to the house where we were staying so that I could wait for the breakdown truck without worrying about my family being out on a cold evening. I’m glad that Margaret Thatcher was wrong.

Nick Wray, Derby

Indecent haste

For those elements of the media who do not understand standards of decency which frown on the public discussion of a person’s funeral before they have actually died, I would like to say: now you can haggle about whether the late Baroness Thatcher is entitled to a state funeral or not.

Daniel Emlyn-Jones, Oxford

It is estimated that the costs of the semi-state funeral of the late Baroness Thatcher will be £5m. Surely the ever-prudent housewife would not have wanted so much money spent in times of austerity?

Valerie Crews, Beckenham, Kent

Mrs tea

Knowing that Margaret Thatcher spent her last days at the Ritz Hotel, having “tea at the Ritz” will never be quite the same again.

Ivor Yeloff, Norwich

I was pleased to see that Margaret Thatcher never lost touch with her humble roots as the daughter of a shopkeeper spending her last few months in the Ritz!

Henry Knowles, Lower Largo

Few gains made

Before Mrs Thatcher, the country was ruined by greedy corrupt trade unions, but thanks to her all that has changed. Now it’s ruined by greedy corrupt captains of industry.

Andrew Walker, Knowle

Memory boxes

My abiding meory of the Thatcher years is that my children grew up thinking it was normal for people to sleep in cardboard boxes on the streets of our cities.

George Macleod, Birmingham

Extra! Extra!

Could you not have just published a supplement that we could discard (or not), rather than devote 32 pages (28 + obit) to Mrs Thatcher? (Independent, 9 April). Or just rename the paper The Daily Thatcher for the day?

David Sharp, London SW15

Chemical romance

We can debate her politics, but ice-cream lovers everywhere thank Mrs Thatcher for her cemistry.

Christina Teague, London SW18

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