December 18, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Re: World needs more Thatcherism (April 9). Margaret Thatcher did what most people agreed needed to be done. She crushed the militant coal miners, stopped the unions from destabilizing Britain and reorganized an inefficient government.
Then she did a lot of stuff she didn't need to do and should not have done. She allowed the number of those living below the poverty line to jump nine per cent on her watch and developed policies that allowed inequality to skyrocket. Current research shows that unequal nations fare worst by almost all standards of social well-being such as mental illness, life expectancy, incarceration, happiness, etc.
The deregulation mentality she embraced is directly responsible for the economic crisis and the recession we are still currently in. She referred to Nelson Mandela as a terrorist and supported South African apartheid. She was friends with Saddam Hussein, Augusto Pinochet and Gen. Suharto, who were responsible for the deaths of millions. The U.S.S.R. had been in the process of collapsing since the mid-'50s, and the necessity of supporting murderous dictators to prevent other countries from embracing socialism is debatable.
The notion that we should not speak ill of the dead has merit. As Thatcher was an influential public figure, however, speaking out against her failed policies is our duty. Putting them off limits for debate in the name of good taste allows a historically revisionist narrative of her legacy to solidify. Nobody suggested doing it for Hugo Chavez despite his widespread support in Venezuela, and we should not do it for Thatcher.
Margaret Thatcher used her political influence and power to release the well-known criminal dictator of Chile, Augusto Pinochet, on humanitarian grounds as being too ill to stand trial. Judge Baltasar Garzón of Spain had requested that Pinochet be prosecuted for gross violations of human rights, torture and the disappearance of thousands of Chileans decades earlier.
Thanks to Thatcher, the tyrant arrived in Chile in good health and free from legal action. Thousands of survivors and victims of Pinochet's abuses are not paying reverence to the so-called Iron Lady.
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 12, 2013 A13