When Prime Minister Winston Churchill new he lost the elections, just after the Second World War. he exclaimed: “THAT IS WHAT FOR WE WON THE WAR: TO LET PEOPLE VOTE AS THEY WISH…”
General Pinochet aided the British war effort by allowing them to use Chilean ports. Thatcher treated him as an honoured friend after that, despite Pinochet having overthrown the elected government of President Salvador Allende in a military coup and having thousands of people tortured and killed.
She condemned Nelson Mandela’s ANC as terrorists and refused to place economic sanctions on Apartheid South Africa, though we are assured that in private she was putting verbal pressure on South African Presidents to free Mandela. Sanctions would have made considerably more difference and much sooner.
Thatcher’s government also provided training, tens of millions of pounds of money and dozens of jet fighter bombers to Mugabe’s military as he was massacring members of the tribes of his political opponents by the thousand. Perence Shiri, one of the officers who headed the genocide was subsequently allowed to come to Britain to train at the Royal Defence College. The massacres were played down by the Foreign Office as “exaggerated” (21) – (22).
She even armed Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s and right up until the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in the middle of 1990; including selling him chemicals used as ingredients for chemical weapons, spare parts for tanks and attempting (but failing) to sell him hawk jets which could be used to bomb ground targets (as they later were in Indonesia) while Saddam was using chemical weapons on Iranians and Iraqi Kurds and carrying out his Anfal campaign of genocide against the latter. (23) – (24)
On top of this, British taxpayers ended up having to pay the £1 billion bill for Saddam’s purchases from British arms companies, as after the 1991 Gulf War there was no chance of his government paying – and Thatcher had approved the exports under Export Credit Guarantees (25).
She signed the Al Yamamah oil for arms deal with the Saudi monarchy, which continues to be an absolute dictatorship imposing a medieval version of Islamic law – and torturing confessions out of suspects before executing them by beheading. Her son Mark Thatcher had a £1 million house purchased for him by a company based on a tax haven and owned by Wafic Said, a dodgy Middle Eastern arms deal broker. Said also gave Mark a £14,000 Rolex watch. Said’s wife donated large amounts to the Conservative party before the 2010 election . Mark Thatcher has denied rumours that he received millions more as part of the deal (26) – (27).
Margaret Thatcher also sent the SAS to train the mass murdering Khmer Rouge’s monarchist allies in laying land mines in the 1980s (28).
Supporting mass murdering dictators, monarchist allies of ultra-nationalist regimes guilty of genocide and governments which gave black people no rights whatsoever seem like strange ways to promote freedom, but then Thatcher never really supported freedom or democracy in the sense that most people use the words.
A Prime Minister who divided Britain – just like Major and Blair and Cameron
Thatcher was the first post-war Prime Minister to divide Britain, largely through strident English nationalism thinly disguised as British nationalism, combined with constant attempts to divide the majority in order to make conquering them easier.
Those who had jobs were encouraged to hate those who were unemployed as supposedly all lazy scroungers, while Thatcher continued to drive unemployment higher and higher. Those who worked in the private sector were told they should disdain public sector employees and trade unions as supposedly selfish “vested interests” – and the working class were encouraged to hate the middle class as effete namby pamby liberals who were meant to be out of touch with reality and had more education than was good for them. Hatred of foreigners, minority nationalities, religions and ethnic groups, as well as refugees and asylum seekers was also encouraged.
This was all continued under Blair to some extent, with opposition to his policies also blamed on the “middle class” as if a bunch of former lawyers who were now on over £100,000 a year ministerial and Prime ministerial salaries weren’t middle class.
Under Cameron we are back to all the divide and conquer tactics used under Thatcher.
Thatcher’s period as Prime Minister did more than anything to boost support for Scottish and Welsh devolution and for independence for Scotland – and this has been cemented by the continuation of many of her policies by her successors.
(1) = BBC News 08 Apr 2013 ‘David Cameron: Baroness Thatcher ‘saved our country’’, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22068771 (2) = Telegraph.co.uk 15 Apr 2013 ‘Margaret Thatcher’s funeral: it would be extraordinary not to spend so much, says No 10’, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/margaret-thatcher/9994872/Margaret-Thatchers-funeral-it-would-be-extraordinary-not-to-spend-so-much-says-No-10.html
(3) = ITV news 16 Apr 2013 ‘Poll: 60% oppose taxpayer funding of Thatcher funeral’, http://www.itv.com/news/update/2013-04-13/poll-60-oppose-taxpayer-funding-of-thatcher-funeral/
(4) = BBC News 02 Apr 2013 ‘George Osborne: Benefit critics talk ‘ill-informed rubbish’’, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21998784
(5) = Office for National Statistics 20 Mar 2013 ‘Labour Market Statistics, March 2013’, http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/march-2013/statistical-bulletin.html
(6) = Office for National Statistics 20 Mar 2013 ‘Labour Market Statistics, March 2013 – Vacancies’, http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/march-2013/statistical-bulletin.html#tab-Vacancies (7) = Guardian 15 Jan 2013 ‘Statistics cast doubt on coalition’s ‘500,000 new jobs’ claim’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/jan/15/statistics-doubt-coalition-500000-jobs
(8) = BBC News 03 Apr 2013 ‘George Osborne: Benefit critics talk ‘ill-informed rubbish’’, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21998784
(9) = Guardian 22 Oct 2012 ‘Extra 10,000 working people a month reliant on housing benefit, says report’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/oct/22/working-people-housing-benefit-report
(10) = Guardian 01 Apr 2013 ‘The day Britain changes: welfare reforms and coalition cuts take effect’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/mar/31/liberal-conservative-coalition-conservatives
(11) = Ian Gilmour (1992) ‘Dancing with Dogma – Britain under Thatcherism’, Simon and Schuster, London, 1992, Chapter 4, pages 60 – 65
(12) = Observer 09 Oct 2011 ‘Big Bang’s shockwaves left us with today’s big bust’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/oct/09/big-bang-1986-city-deregulation-boom-bust
(13) = Ha Joon Chang (2007) ‘Bad Samaritans’, Random House, London, 2008
(14) = Guardian 02 Dec 2011 ‘Big six energy firms face fresh accusations of profiteering’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2011/dec/02/energy-firms-accusations-profiteering-electricity
(15) = Guardian 12 Apr 2013 ‘Big six energy firms accused of ‘cold-blooded profiteering’’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/apr/12/big-six-energy-firms-accused-profiteering
(16) = BBC News 31 Dec 2010 ‘New Year Honours: Broughton and Carr business knights’, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12093737
(17) = BBC News 15 Apr 2013 ‘Benefit cap ‘will encourage people to work’’, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22148764
(18) = BBC News 01 Jun 2005 ‘Secret Falklands fleet revealed’, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4597581.stm
(19) = Freedman, Lawrence (2005) ‘Official History of the Falklands Campaign Volume 1’, Routledge, 2005, chapters 8 – 9
(20) = Lenman, B. P. (1992) The Eclipse of Parliament: Appearance and Reality in British Politics since 1914 (London: Edward Arnold)
(21) = Campaign Against The Arms Trade ‘UK Arms Exports to Zimbabwe’ by Emily Mitchell, Section 3, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe , http://www.caat.org.uk/resources/countries/zimbabwe/ and http://www.caat.org.uk/resources/countries/zimbabwe/#3
(22) = Programme Transcript – Panorama, “The Price of Silence” , RECORDED FROM TRANSMISSION: BBC 1-10 Mar 2002, http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/audio_video/programmes/panorama/transcripts/transcript_10_03_02.txt
(23) = Financial Times 29 Jul 1991 ‘Britain Exported Poisonous Gas Ingredients to Iraq’
(24) = Financial Times 30 Dec 2011 ‘UK secretly supplied Saddam’, http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/52add2c4-30b4-11e1-9436-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2QfcSoZKo
(25) = Guardian 28 Feb 2003 ‘How £1bn was lost when Thatcher propped up Saddam’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/feb/28/iraq.politics1
(26) = Guardian 13 Apr 2013 ‘Mark Thatcher’s return to the spotlight’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/apr/11/mark-thatcher
(27) = Guardian 28 May 2010 ‘Questions raised over Conservative party donations by businessmen’s wives’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/may/28/donations-tory-wives-businessmen
(28) = Pilger , John (1998) Hidden Agendas Vintage , London , 1998, pages 33-34 , 260-261 of paperback edition