If it seems to you that the death of Margaret Thatcher evokes a sense of deja vu, it is because we went through the same MSM myth-mongering routine when President Reagan died. Their supporters pulled out all stops in glorifying these twin reactionaries, who were said to greatly admire each other’s uncanny ability to screw everyone but the wealthy and get away with it.
You have to look around a little bit to set the record straight about Thatcher’s record, because her beatification as a saint of the super-rich is still commanding lots of coverage. But it’s out there for the willing. As Michael Hudson and Jeffrey Sommers write at Counterpunch:
When Mrs. Thatcher took power, 1 in 7 of the England’s children lived in poverty. By the end of her reforms that number had risen to 1 in 3. She polarized the country in a ‘divide & conquer’ strategy that foreshadowed that of Ronald Reagan and more recent American politicians such as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The effect of her policy was to foreclose on the economic mobility into the middle class that ironically she believed her policies were promoting.
Pundits the world over are chirping about her role in “saving” Britain, not as indebting it – destroyed an economy in order to save it. Her rule was historic mainly by posing the conundrum that has shaped neoliberal politics since 1980: How can governments nurture and endow financial kleptocrats in the context of rule by popular consent?
…Nowhere in the world is banking more short-term than in Britain. Nobody better exemplified this narrow-minded perspective than Lady Thatcher. Her simplistic rhetoric helped inspire an inordinate share of simpletons conflating supposed common sense with wisdom.
Thatcher’s real socio-economic legacy (said to have inspired the term “sado-monetarism”) needs to be outed more honestly, as it undoubtedly will be in the days ahead, at least in the progressive press. But weep not for the Iron Lady — it’s not like she doesn’t have plenty of defenders to whitewash her record. The critics will surely be drowned out in a tsunami of glorification.
Meanwhile, enjoy this performance of “Stand Down Margaret” by the English Beat, flagged by Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly.