Margaret Thatcher is one of those people who polarizes opinion. Nearly 18 years since she left office, there is still a visceral hatred of her and her policies across pretty much most of Scotland. The Poll Tax would be top of most people's list, followed by her treatment of the Unions (which in a way they deserved) & ordinary workers generally (which in no way they deserved). Her use of "Scotland's Oil", to fund tax cuts for the rich and putting people on the dole, creating the feral classes that we have today is another of her great policies. Oh and the Falkland's has to be in there too, 250 British soldiers sacrificed for a landslide win in the following Westminster election. The best way to sum up Thatcherism would be Eddie George's quote, several years after she had gone funnily enough, that "Unemployment in the North is a price worth paying for low inflation". Not the most, um, unifying of periods shall we say.
Funnily enough I had bought a book on the Miners Strike, David Peace's "GB84" a couple of weeks ago, still not read it yet, so this predate's my real reason for bringing up Thatch. Our fearless leader, Alex Salmond, gave an interview for an online politics magazine, where it is said that he praised Thatch. The interview was by Iain Dale, the Conservitive blogger, and the offending piece goes something like this…
Dale: "Ten years ago, the Conservatives were seen as a terrible enemy by the SNP, and they saw you as very left-wing. It seems to me that you have tried to change that, and create a big tent for the SNP."
Salmond: "I suppose I have tried to bring the SNP into the mainstream of Scotland. We have a very competitive economic agenda. Many business people have warmed towards the SNP. We need a competitive edge, a competitive advantage - get on with it, get things done, speed up decision making, reduce bureaucracy. The SNP has a strong social conscience, which is very Scottish in itself. One of the reasons Scotland didn't take to Lady Thatcher was because of that. We didn't mind the economic side so much. But we didn't like the social side at all."
So there we have it, we didn't mind the economic side of her policies so much. We. Thankfully for Salmond's sake, there are not any lynching parties with torches and pitch forks outside Bute House from the communities which Thatch destroyed . What planet is he from to come away with something as ludicrous as that? Has his foot been surgically removed from his mouth yet?
Of course, because this is the first, huge, own goal from Salmond. The New Labour politicians have been demanding an apology for the remarks, conveniently ignoring the theft of several conservative policies by New Labour to gain votes with the Daily Mail reading middle England. PFI/PPP, ID Cards, 42 day detention, scrapping of the 10p tax rate, tax cuts for the rich, Non Dom tax cuts, still no taxation plans for private equity firms, Out sourcing of our Civil Service, ram-rod refusal to scrap Council Tax… the list goes on.