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United Kingdom News Politics

Margaret Thatcher Dies At 87 539

Posted by samzenpus
from the rest-in-peace dept.
syngularyx writes "Margaret Thatcher, the former British prime minister who became one of the most influential global leaders of the postwar period, died on Monday, three decades after her championing of free-market economics and individual choice transformed Britain's economy and her vigorous foreign policy played a key role in the end of the Cold War."
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Margaret Thatcher Dies At 87

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  • the BBC at least... (Score:5, Informative)

    by johnjones (14274) on Monday April 08, 2013 @07:42AM (#43390137) Homepage Journal

    at least the BBC have :

    In quotes: Margaret Thatcher [bbc.co.uk]

    Obituary: Margaret Thatcher [bbc.co.uk]

    Video obituary [bbc.co.uk]

    whatever the politics at least link to the BBC...

    John Jones

  • Re:Good riddance (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheLink (130905) on Monday April 08, 2013 @07:49AM (#43390185) Journal

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_cream [wikipedia.org]

    One important development in the 20th century was the introduction of soft ice cream. A chemical research team in Britain (of which a young Margaret Thatcher was a member)[21][22] discovered a method of doubling the amount of air in ice cream, which allowed manufacturers to use less ingredients, thereby reducing costs. It made possible the soft ice cream machine in which a cone is filled beneath a spigot on order. In the United States, Dairy Queen, Carvel, and Tastee-Freez pioneered in establishing chains of soft-serve ice cream outlets.

    How's that not nerdy enough for you?

  • Re:Good riddance (Score:5, Informative)

    by Goose In Orbit (199293) on Monday April 08, 2013 @07:55AM (#43390221)

    Not forgetting the great 80s selloff of British Gas/Petroleum/Telecom under the guise of "greater share ownership for all" - whereas in reality most people bought their allocation, sold at a profit 3 days later and spent the "free" money they got as a result on stuff... ...result? Most of the shares ended up with Zarquon-knows-who and they've been getting away with making vast profits at our expense ever since... profits that could have saved taxpayers having to pay untold billions extra from their hard-earned wages - all that was needed was to get some decent managers in to run the damn things properly...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 08, 2013 @07:55AM (#43390225)

    Sadly. Even in death she is a blight on country.

  • Re:Ding dong ... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Goose In Orbit (199293) on Monday April 08, 2013 @08:04AM (#43390281)

    You might want to try checking your facts before posting. Here's a hint: No she won't


    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1034634/Lady-Thatcher-honoured-State-funeral.html [dailymail.co.uk]

  • Re:GoodBye Maggie (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 08, 2013 @08:06AM (#43390295)


    Sorry, US-based feeble troll, but if you were actually British you'd know that that which is thrown away, and collected weekly by trucks, is called "rubbish" (or formally "refuse").

    Now back under your bridge.

  • Re:Tragic loss (Score:5, Informative)

    by SkunkPussy (85271) on Monday April 08, 2013 @08:09AM (#43390317) Journal

    Ever since she shut down the unions, social inequality has shot through the roof. CEO's wages have increased dramatically more than the median wage. This is a direct result of breaking the back of the unions. No longer were employees empowered to demand a reasonable share of the profits of their endeavours.

  • Re:Good riddance (Score:5, Informative)

    by Onymous Hero (910664) on Monday April 08, 2013 @08:10AM (#43390325)
    The unions killed manufacturing (as it was then). Thatcher killed the unions. The value of UK manufacturing increased since Thatcher was in power: http://tutor2u.net/economics/content/essentials/manufacturing_industry_in_uk_clip_image002_0000.gif [tutor2u.net]
  • Re:Ding dong ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by EdZ (755139) on Monday April 08, 2013 @08:14AM (#43390369)
    The Daily Mail. The Daily Mail.

    For those outside the UK, the Daily Mail (along with other tabloids, e.g. The Sun) are about as accurate a news source as Fox News.
  • Re:GoodBye Maggie (Score:5, Informative)

    by jcupitt65 (68879) on Monday April 08, 2013 @08:17AM (#43390405)

    I think it's a reference to the Winter of Discontent [wikipedia.org], which I'm old enough to remember well.

    This was a wave of strikes triggered by the government's cap on public sector wages in a period of high inflation. From the article above:

    The most notorious action during the winter was the unofficial strike by gravediggers, members of the GMWU in Liverpool and in Tameside near Manchester. As coffins piled up, Liverpool City Council hired a factory in Speke to store them. On 1 February a persistent journalist asked the Medical Officer of Health for Liverpool, Dr Duncan Dolton, what would be done if the strike continued for months, Dolton speculated that burial at sea would be considered. Although his response was hypothetical, in the circumstances it caused great alarm. The gravediggers eventually settled for a 14% rise after a fortnight's strike.

    (not a maggie fan, just providing some background)

  • Re:Good riddance (Score:5, Informative)

    by Confuse Ed (59383) <edmund@greeniu[ ]td.uk ['s.l' in gap]> on Monday April 08, 2013 @08:19AM (#43390419) Homepage


    PS. How is this News for Nerds? Why isn't the story tagged "troll"?

    Unusually these days for a politician she was originally a science graduate ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Thatcher#Early_life_and_education [wikipedia.org] ) rather than coming in as a career politician or purely legal background (although she did switch track and become a barrister)

    Some of this showed through in her leadership style - trying to do the logical thing for the best long term results (at least in her analysis) rather than trying to win the popularity contest and appealing to the masses. Sometimes this worked out (surely everyone can at least agree that earning the nickname 'iron lady' is pretty cool? and my memories of the 80s are that most peoples standard of living improved significantly) but in other cases it contributed to her downfall - e.g. the per-person 'poll tax' vs. a property-based tax for local services (such as rubbish/refuse collection) surely makes some logical sense to many slashdot readers? but unfortunately it made a larger number of people pay more tax than those unaffected / getting a a tax reduction so it was a political disaster.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 08, 2013 @08:23AM (#43390447)

    Britain voted her into power again and again. She was chosen by Brits to lead because she was a good leader.

    Also, the coal strike fractured the coal miners union into two. A lot of miners resented the strike and wanted to work. They believed they'd win the a strike vote and prevent a strike. Scargill tried to shut them down using mob picketing of the Nottingham mines.
    The '6 person picketing rule' meant the police came in. The mob would be kept on the other side of the street, only 6 were allowed at the gate.
    Then we had the motorway killings, workers buses would be hit by bricks and railway sleepers, people died, that led to a further loss of support for Scargill.

    She did other things too, she increase corporation tax to held reduce the debt, and reduced the top rate personal tax from 83% to 60%
    (yes it really was that high! If your income came from sales, you'd pay 98% sales+income tax!).


    She raised taxes and cut spending.

    It's difficult for the left to accept her success. Largely because they'd have to accept the 1970's labour governments were a disaster. But thats why Britain voted for her.

    Mod points won't hide things. She was a good competent leader. Far better than the people dissing her now.

  • Re: A sad day (Score:4, Informative)

    by singer-scientist (956421) on Monday April 08, 2013 @08:31AM (#43390529)

    Sounds like she is partial author of the current turmoil.

    In no particular order:

    • "Warehouse economy"
    • Deregulation of credit and banking
    • "Demutualisation" of not-for-profit savings and mortgage societies (Building Societies)
    • Fire sale of state assets, including state housing
    • Squandering of North Sea oil revenues
    • "Dash for gas" for electricity generation, killing off research into renewables and coal gasification (for political reasons)
    • Normalising crippling levels unemployment, and lifetime benefit dependency
    • Encouraging those out of work to move onto sickness benefit to massage unemployment statistics
    • "There is no such thing as society"


  • Re:Good riddance (Score:5, Informative)

    by nukenerd (172703) on Monday April 08, 2013 @09:27AM (#43391113)

    The value of UK manufacturing increased since Thatcher was in power: http://tutor2u.net/economics/content/essentials/manufacturing_industry_in_uk_clip_image002_0000.gif [tutor2u.net]

    Well, I have seen plenty of lies with statistics. Not saying this is a lie, just that I cannot remember the last manufactured thing I bought that said "Made in the UK" - apart from a box of Xmas crackers. It is no longer possible to buy a sane british car (I don't count Jap assembly plants in the UK, because the clever designing is done elsewhere and those plants are just chimps banging things together). You do realise that stuff coming from abroad as a kit and assembled here is counted as made in the UK as far as the spin doctors are concerned?

    I also know that whole areas of cities that were once factories have been flattened and replaced by housing and "retail outlets". Small anecdote - I want to get something cast in iron. Despite being in South Wales, once a centre of iron and steel making, I cannot find anywhere for it. Suggestion gratefully received.

  • Re:Good riddance (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 08, 2013 @09:29AM (#43391133)

    I would suggest the latter is subjective too. For instance:

    Does the manufacturing industry graph include North Sea Oil revenues which were nothing to do with government policy?
    How was the huge drop in manufacturing in 1979 good for Britain, where would we be if we didn't have that drop?
    Was the big recovery in the late '80s really just a housing price bubble?

    Not taking a position either way on her legacy, BTW, only pointing out that most economic data is useless for isolating the efficacy of government policy.

  • Re:Good riddance (Score:5, Informative)

    by bfandreas (603438) on Monday April 08, 2013 @09:40AM (#43391237)
    That was a great one and was copied by the whole of Europe.

    What happened was that a lot of infrastructure payed for by the tax payer was sold off. The countries held onto a couple of shares. The services became cheaper but so became the policies.
    While a government run Telco had to guarantee service for even the remotest bits of the country the privately held ones only had to go after the juiciest bits and leave the scraps for the plebs who dared to live in the sticks.

    Same goes for the German railway system. While the lion share of it is owned by the public it is run as a for profit company. In which time they allowed the infrastructure to deteriorate in order to run the company cheaply on order to go public with better looking books. The going public bit never really materialized and the railway network is now so bad that we daren't run our high-speed trains at high speed. Every once in a while there will be a breakdown, the whole mess returns to the news and a fortnight later it is forgotten again.

    Essentials should always be run by the state or with lots of oversight to make sure said essentials are equally available to everyone. Why else bother with having a country? To fund a huge military as a masturbatory aid for backbench MPs? That hardly seems worth the bother.
  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Monday April 08, 2013 @09:43AM (#43391267)

    Britain voted her into power again and again. She was chosen by Brits to lead because she was a good leader.

    She had the good fortune to be invaded by the Argentinians. Prior to that, her ratings were terrible, and she was on track to lose the next election. But winning a war where part of Britain's remaining empire was attacked, was enough to make her popular. Even though the economy was in the toilet.

    Economic success later in the 1980s was down to North Sea Oil. It would have benefitted any government in power in the 80s. Just as a Falklands invasion would have.

    She was a nasty person with foul policies who happened to be in the right place at the right time, and took credit for it.

  • Re:Good riddance (Score:5, Informative)

    by Xest (935314) on Monday April 08, 2013 @09:54AM (#43391375)

    I think you have to take into context the starting point, and that was that the UK had had to go to the IMF for a bailout. Also, 11 years is a reasonable enough time span to expect that it was at least in part due to political policy, were it only say, a 4 year run you could indeed reasonably argue that political policy hadn't had enough time to take effect to be relevant.

    But however you look at it, it's still going to be better than completely subjective opinion which has as much validity as me claiming that Thatcher was in fact an alien from outer space who came here for no other reason than to troll humans by making a nation divided over her. Certain facts, such as the fact she was elected 3 times, are pretty hard to dispute, especially so when you look at the percentages of popular vote of her party vs. Labour at the time:

    1979: 43.9% vs. 36.9%
    1983: 42.4% vs. 27.6%
    1987: 42.2% vs. 30.8%

    Those are some pretty damning majorities against the idea that she was universally horrible and hated.

  • Re:Good riddance (Score:5, Informative)

    by progician (2451300) on Monday April 08, 2013 @10:03AM (#43391491) Homepage

    You're so out of touch with reality that it amazes me. Yeah, everybody can invest... except that some people, in fact, the majority of people has no money to do so after they paid their living costs. Some people, having more money than their living, and a few of them has far more than a country could spend on food, shelter, basic healthcare and education.

    Everybody can invest, the law allow them to do so. But of course, people can also lawfully die in hunger in most of the countries on Earth.

    I heard this tired argument so many times. Having a theoretical possibility by some abstract freedom does not translate at all widespread ability to use that freedom. There is a group in society who can afford to invest and thus own basically the entire economy.

    There's an "investor class", but that is called more precisely the capitalist class. Because they run the show, they have massive assets at their disposal that produces enough dividend that they can re-invest and thus blocking the access to all newly created wealth. Sometimes there's some reshuffle of course, but socially the class division is untouched.

  • Re:Good riddance (Score:4, Informative)

    by deoxyribonucleose (993319) on Monday April 08, 2013 @10:05AM (#43391521)
    I'm curious: are you able to find a pure <INSERT_NATIONALITY_HERE> car anywhere these days? Using non-Soviet-era technology? Welcome to the 21st century and global supply chains. Oddly enough, trading with foreigners doesn't necessarily make you poorer...

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