Margaret Thatcher was of the leaders of the side that won the Cold War. A number of the Thatcher-haters were on the other side. I am betting that is one of the reasons why they hate her so much.
The above may read like hyperbole. But if the jackboot fits …
Newly discovered documents showed substantial sums of money in hard currency were secretly transferred to the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) during the major industrial action.
They also stated that the former German Democratic Republic offered free holidays to the country for striking miners and their families in 1984 and 1985.
Food parcels and clothing were also shipped to those taking part in the strike, which ended in a historic defeat for the miners.
Professor Stefan Berger, from the University of Manchester, and Dr Norman LaPorte, from the University of Glamorgan, detail the documents in their new book, Friendly Enemies: Britain And The GDR 1949 to 1990.
Prof Berger, who is based at Manchester’s School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures, said: ”My research finds that the NUM and the East European communists wanted to keep the affair secret and had some consequential problems getting the money to the NUM.
”The documents talk about the possibility of using a ‘go-between’ from the French communist union CGT who would deliver the money straight from Eastern Europe to representatives of the NUM.
”They also allege that the East German FDGB union (Free German Trade Union Federation) helped the miners by providing free holidays for the families and children of British miners in the German Democratic Republic.
”The FDGB, the documents say, also co-ordinated the shipping of food parcels, clothing and so on to British miners.”
He added: ”The communists perceived the NUM as an ally in the international class struggle against capitalism - hence the close interest in the strike.
”Relations between the NUM and East European communism had been good since the 1960s.
The article is from 2010, so the documents and the information are no longer “newly discovered.” However, I don’t see many Thatcher remembrances bringing up this issue, so I thought I should.
Here is another thing worth noting:
Baroness Thatcher would have viewed the parties held to celebrate her death as a “remarkable tribute” to her achievements, one of her closest friends has said.
Conor Burns, a Conservative MP who visited Lady Thatcher on a weekly basis in her final years, said she would have been pleased they felt “so strongly” about her.
He said that when he told her that “death packs” including commemorative T-shirts had been sold at the TUC congress last year she saw them as a tribute.
He said: “Funnily enough the parties that we’re seeing, the things in some of these mining communities and those young people opening the champagne in Glasgow, they’re a remarkable tribute to her you know.
“I remember telling her last year about the TUC congress selling the Thatcher death party packs.
“She said the fact that they felt so strongly about her more than 20 years after she left Downing Street was a tribute to the fact she had done something in politics rather than simply been someone.”
If death partiers wanted to insult Thatcher, they would have ignored her passing. They can’t even hate competently.
Having dispensed with the Thatcher-haters, we can turn our attention instead to the Economist, which critiques Thatcher in some respects in its remembrance, but gets the main point right:
Because of the [economic] crisis, the pendulum is swinging dangerously away from the principles Mrs Thatcher espoused. In most of the rich world, the state’s share of the economy has stubbornly risen. Regulations—excessive as well as necessary—are tying up the private sector. Businesspeople are under scrutiny as they have not been for 30 years and bankers are everyone’s favourite bogeyman. And with the rise of China state control, not economic liberalism, is being hailed as a model for emerging markets.
For a world in desperate need of growth, this is the wrong direction. Europe will never thrive until it frees up its markets. America will throttle its recovery unless it avoids overregulation. China will not sustain its success unless it starts to liberalise. This is a crucial time to hang on to Margaret Thatcher’s central perception: that for countries to flourish, people need to push back against the advance of the state. What the world needs now is more Thatcherism, not less.