Margaret Thatcher: An Ireland ALMOST reconciled to a bitter legacy from the Troubles…

Margaret Thatcher may have the distinction of being a ‘great’ leader in some parts of Britain. In Ireland she was less ‘well got’ as we say. And the Anglo Irish Agreement is the dividing line. Unionists hated her for it. ]

They even hated the RUC for protecting Irish diplomats based in their fortified headquarters at Maryfield, just outside Holywood.

It was a tense period the sordid details of which many professional politicians may prefer to forget today, with a number of policemen being forced from their homes by threats from Loyalists.

For most nationalists it represented something of a limited rapprochement.

Limited in the sense that she cut an unattractive Boudiccian figure who quickly almost mythic proportions. What she did at home was too close and too uncomfortable to redeem her earliest impersonation of the Iron Maiden when ten Hunger Strikers went to their deaths on her watch.

But there’s some sense in which most on the island of Ireland have made their peace with her legacy:

Enda Kenny, Taoiseach is fulsome:

While her period of office came at a challenging time for British-Irish relations, when the violent conflict in Northern Ireland was at its peak, Mrs Thatcher signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement which laid the foundation for improved North-South cooperation and ultimately the Good Friday Agreement.

Peter Robinson, First Minister in Northern Ireland:

Whilst we disagreed over the Anglo-Irish Agreement, Mrs. Thatcher was committed to the Union and later described the Anglo-Irish Agreement as one of her greatest regrets. Although relations were frosty at that time, I had a private social lunch with her in more recent years in much more convivial and positive circumstances.

The passing of Baroness Thatcher draws to an end a remarkable life devoted to the service of the United Kingdom. She was one of a kind: tough, possessed of a supreme intellect and driven by conviction. The entire country is indebted to her for all that she achieved.

Micheal Martin, leader of Fianna Fail:

“In the coming days and weeks, there will inevitably be much discussion of Mrs Thatcher’s political legacy.

“It is important that such discussion take a balanced account of her approach to Irish affairs. While I or the Fianna Fáil party would have had little in common with the politics of Mrs Thatcher, it would be wrong not to acknowledge that the long journey towards the peace and respect that we enjoy between Britain and Ireland today, took its first faltering steps in the bilateral discussions between Mrs Thatcher and former Taoiseach Charles Haughey.

“However the British Prime Minister’s hard-line approach to an increasingly violent situation in the North was one of a number of factors which limited the potential of those early initiatives. Unfortunately her uncompromising approach to the escalating crisis in the early 1980s may actually have acted as a major boost for the recruitment efforts of the Provisional IRA at that time.

Mike Nesbitt, leader of the UUP:

“Baroness Thatcher was a colossus of conviction politics. Whilst we in the Ulster Unionist Party would not have agreed with her on everything, particularly the Anglo Irish Agreement, Northern Ireland has reason to be eternally grateful for her stance against terrorism, not least during the hunger-strikes when Northern Ireland was on the edge of something catastrophic.

Alasdair McDonnell, the SDLP leader:

“Margaret Thatcher was a controversial and divisive figure in the political landscape on our shores. Her politics and approach left her a hostile figure within nationalism.

“The SDLP disagreed fundamentally with Baroness Thatcher’s politics and approach to the north and my colleagues clashed many times with her.

“However, with significant assistance from America, she helped deliver the Anglo Irish Agreement which set the scene for the Good Friday Agreement and the much improved circumstances we find ourselves in today.

“Baroness Thatcher made history. Opinion on that history will divide. Recognition however must be given to the fact that she was the first female British Prime Minister at a time when that was largely inconceivable.

– An uncommitted note from Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore of the Irish Labour Party currently in Turkey:

“Baroness Thatcher was a hugely influential figure in British and global politics. Always controversial, her legacy is now for the historians. Today, I wish to extend my sympathies to her family and friends.”

– And Jim Allister of the TUV:

While many will remember her shameful decision to support the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the extent to which she regretted this in later life was to be welcomed.

“It is without question that there has been no Prime Minister of her strength since she left office. Who else would have stood with such iron will in defence of the Falklands?

It’s noteable that SF’s statement was released under Gerry Adams’ byline as party leader rather than the deputy First Minister, but it is the only resort on the day to unreconstructed rhetoric of the pre GFA past:

“Margaret Thatcher did great hurt to the Irish and British people during her time as British Prime Minister.

“Working class communities were devastated in Britain because of her policies.

“Her role in international affairs was equally belligerent whether in support of the Chilean dictator Pinochet, her opposition to sanctions against apartheid South Africa; and her support for the Khmer Rouge.

“Here in Ireland her espousal of old draconian militaristic policies prolonged the war and caused great suffering. She embraced censorship, collusion and the killing of citizens by covert operations, including the targeting of solicitors like Pat Finucane, alongside more open military operations and refused to recognise the rights of citizens to vote for parties of their choice.

“Her failed efforts to criminalise the republican struggle and the political prisoners is part of her legacy.

“It should be noted that in complete contradiction of her public posturing, she authorised a back channel of communications with the Sinn Féin leadership but failed to act on the logic of this.

“Unfortunately she was faced with weak Irish governments who failed to oppose her securocrat agenda or to enlist international support in defence of citizens in the north.

“Margaret Thatcher will be especially remembered for her shameful role during the epic hunger strikes of 1980 and 81.

“Her Irish policy failed miserably.”

It’s also notable as the only senior party statement on the island that attempts to play politics on the former British premier’s demise.

Given the controversial (and still red raw) dealings of the winter and spring of 79/80 Sinn Fein, it would seem, is the last major party remaining to be reconciled to Thatcher’s tough Irish legacy.

  • socaire

    Amazingly enough, even after all these years, some of us remain to be reconciled with the English policy of rape, pillage and theft in Ireland. Half of us bought and half of us silenced. As my granny would have said -Hell will never be full ’til she’s in it.

  • Ruarai

    “It’s also notable as the only senior party statement on the island that attempts to play politics on the former British premier’s demise.”

    And credit to SF for that. Agree or disagree with their political analysis and objectives but political parties have a duty to history to provide that analysis on the legacy of public figures, especially those as impactful as Thatcher. To that end, SF is the only party not “playing” here.

    Here in Wash, D.C., I lived through endless days of ‘restrained’, frequently saccharine and even sanitizing commentary following the death of Ronald Reagan. Disgraceful stuff.

    There are few things political parties do particularly well. One of them, at least, ought to be providing political analysis on legacies, not racing to utter platitudes.

  • Mick Fealty

    “Never, never, never, never…” – Ian Paisley said at the City Hall in 1985…

  • Kensei

    I think you are also missing how much SF are simply representing their electorate. The revulsion for her is pretty universal among the nationalist population, and not just for the hunger strikes, given the impact of the economic policies. Facebook is ablaze today.

    I know it seems quaint when parties actually do this, rather than going for bland MOR spun bullshit but thems the facts. I reckon even faint praise of Thatcher has enough power to lose SF votes, even now.

  • Mick Fealty

    “It was just a piece of undergrowth which had to be cleared away” on the legacy of the AIA… David Trimble on UTV

  • Mick Fealty

    Danny Morrison points out that special category status granted by Tories in 1972, ended by Labour in 76…

  • OneNI

    Gerry Adams:”Her Irish policy failed miserably”
    Do you really think so Gerry?

  • Reader

    Kensei: I know it seems quaint when parties actually do this, rather than going for bland MOR spun bullshit but thems the facts. I reckon even faint praise of Thatcher has enough power to lose SF votes, even now.
    If SF are going far out on a limb to protect existing votes rather than win new ones, then they are starting to realise how bad their prospects are. Gerry’s statement was so jam-packed with MOPE clichés that he didn’t even find space for the Anglo-Irish Agreement, surely Thatcher’s most important local legacy, but possibly too complicated for Gerry’s intended audience. And finally, in his public statement, Gerry has surely set the benchmark for how commentators can pronounce on Sinn Féin’s own dead – on the day of their deaths.

  • Reader

    Ruari: One of them, at least, ought to be providing political analysis on legacies, not racing to utter platitudes.
    Anglo-Irish Agreement?

  • seamusot

    Contemptuous poisoned grocer’s daughter would add the greasy halfpenny to the till and believe that such act was the theatre of economics. She was a heartless ghoul with the personality of lumpy dried wallpaper paste. May the Iron Lady (now for burning) Rust In Peace.

  • Ruarai

    Reader –

    I didn’t say I agreed with SF’s analysis (though some of it I would, albeit from a less hypocritical vantage point). Simply that’s it’s right that this is a political discussion, not a restrained veneration.

    Indeed, the AIA – since you mention it – is a damning indictment of Thatcher and SF. Both went to war on the basis that such an agreement was unpalatable – for them. Result: Wasted time. Wasted lives.

    Also, on the AIA, there’s the most bizarre story … that its genesis in tiny part happened when Ronnie Regan went to Irish Ambassador Dolan’s Residency – only to be met with a fallen tree blocking the door. Reagan had to climb over the thing – a tad embarrassing. Reago apparently says that there’s nothing more relaxing for him that logging in Cali. (Bear with me). So he comes back in semi disguise and him and Dolan spend a few hours logging the thing (bear with me). During this time Dolan’s dog takes a real fondness for Reagan and the feeling is reciprocated. Reago confides in Dolan that he has his own doggie but cannot stand the beast since every time he tries to catch a nap the damn thing yelps. Dolan says, “Well, Mr. President, now you’ve a new dog”

    6 months later at some diplomatic shindig Reago says to Dolan, “Mr Ambassador, I love the new dog and I’m in your debt. What can I do to return the favor?”

    Dolan: “No debt, Mr. President. Perhaps just remind Mrs. Thatcher that you’re Irish too and she may like to become a little kinder towards the Irish”

    And so the wheels towards the AIA are greased.

    Bollocks? You decide.

  • sherdy

    There is one less evil person in the world, so sympathy would be meaningless.
    Even her own Tories couldn’t stand her and dumped her.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Gerry Adams today stands as the leader of a party that has become the most powerful propaganda weapon in the hands of Britain, that relies on British funding for it’s very existence and the loyalty of it’s grassroots and which pushes through Tory cuts in the North.

    This all began in the summer of 1981 when Thatcher realising that Bobby Sand’s election victory and that of Kieran Doherty and Paddy Agnew plus a few near misses was something that needed to end before that August’s by election for Bobby’s seat.

    Adams and his kitchen cabinet needed the Hunger Strike to continue otherwise the SDLP would have stood against them.

    Six brave men died and Sinn Fein were led down a path that saw them become the SDLP and worse.

  • mac tire

    Mick “Danny Morrison points out that special category status granted by Tories in 1972, ended by Labour in 76…”

    Ach, c’mon you. Even in Long Kesh in 1997 prisoners were warned not to get excited about regime change in England (from Tory to Labour) …and pointed out Labour’s real record in Ireland. We know it and don’t need you nor the ikes of Fergal Keane (patronisingly) telling us about it.

    But, this woman, in her time, done damage which is, almost, irreversible.

  • Trimble and Jeffrey were laughable on UTV tonight. Both of them pounced on Thatcher’s regrets in her autobiography over the anglo-irish agreement, as if that nullified the effect of the AIG. Trimble claimed comicaly that the AIG had NO effect on the evolution of the early 90s agreements betweeen London and Dublin as if the AIG had never happened, and Jeffrey followed suit. So for unionists, the Downining st deal in early 90s actually REDUCED RoI involvment of RoI efect in Norn Ion? What level of e these two comedians in?

  • UTV debate involving Wee Jeffrey and Mr Trimble showed their desperation to paint thatcher in a good light for unionists. Denial is cover for inability to see things as they are Thatcher defeated unionists with the Anglo-Irish Agreement

  • Mick Fealty

    To be fair to Danny he did not use it to endorse British Labour..

  • mac tire

    Thanks, Mick, I appreciate the clarification.

  • Harry Flashman

    In the light of the truly vile and repulsive grave-dancing that seems to have taken hold of people, here and in the wider British society, an outbreak of spittle-flecked hatred that I imagine many of the people who are indulging in it will later ponder on and regret (I hope). I would like to ask the people who are gleefully celebrating the death of an old lady they never met, this question (and as there appears to be three threads on this now, I’ll post in all three);

    What is so unique about Margaret Thatcher’s political and government record that has your hearts filling with such sheer delight at her demise?

    Compared to contemporaries like Brezhnev, Castro, Adams, Bush, Mitterand, Mubarak, Galtieri, Deng Xiao Ping, Andropov, Zia al-Huq, Ghaddaffi, Honeckker, Caucescu, Ortega, Saddam, Pinochet, Suharto, John Paul II, Mugabe, Begin, Indira Ghandi, Ayatollah Khomeini, Giscard D’Estaing, Mobuto, or their successors like Blair, Clinton, Putin, Bush (again), Chirac, Chavez, Netanyahu, Ahmadinajad, Assad, Osama Bin Laden, most of whose passing would merit a mere “oh such-and-such is dead”, what was so uniquely evil about Margaret Thatcher that has you expressing such personal and shameful glee at her death?

  • Alias

    “Six brave men died and Sinn Fein were led down a path that saw them become the SDLP and worse.”

    And given that Adams/McGuinness rejected a deal that could have ended the Hunger Strikes much sooner, it is only naturally that they should seek to deflect the blame for prolonging the strike to Mrs T. It is also only natural that the sheep should croon in agreement.

  • Apparently if McGuinness had issued the statement instead of Adams the irony of the part about “old draconian militaristic policies” would have been too evident. So instead they give in to the man that has managed to convince the nationalist electorate that Sinn Fein’s Irish policy has always been parity of esteem. That way Gerry doesn’t have to appear ironic when talking about failed Irish policy.

    Thatcher joins Oliver Cromwell as an English person who will always provoke very strong reactions from English, Scottish, and Irish audiences but very different ones. In Ireland the only major English republican figure is regarded as a hate figure among Irish republicans. And in NI the most militant English unionist was regarded as a hate figure among NI unionists. The irony of it all.

  • babyface finlayson

    I have to agree with Harry Flashman on this.I was certainly no fan of the woman and I think she did a lot of harm.
    But the hate filled gloating remarks such as that of seamusot (a heartless ghoul?) only display a lack of common humanity in the poster, which they would no doubt be quick to condemn in Thatcher.

  • DoppiaVu

    1. If she p1ssed off both tribes in NI, she must have done something right.

    2. I do like the way Gerry drools over the “epic hunger strikes”. Someone pass him a kleenex.

  • Kensei

    @Reader

    I don’t think SF were going on a limb – in fact that was precisely the opposite of the point I made.

    However, I’ve zero problems with people saying what they want about SF members the instant they pop; these are public figures. the private person, the family, the funeral arrangements etc should be respected, but these are public figures. It’s entirely right their life and legacy should be open to public to debate: most of their lives were, and their influence live on. I don’t see the point of false piety, or some shield they were never granted in life.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Good grief Harry Flashman, what is it with you Sassenachs and your Stockholm syndrome? All a Leader needs to do is abuse the English people and everyone is clamoring for a State Funeral to thank them. Talk about “the Boots and the Doormat!” Firstly (many threads ago) you commend that idiot poser Churchill who lost your Empire with his woeful performance as an “International Leader” in the last war, and now you feel obliged to defend “that Woman” on three threads, no less!

    While I cannot fault your excellent “Rogues gallery” list of the equally culpable contemporaries and successors you compare her with who also aided and abetted the Globalisation process that has delivered us all into the merciless clutches of the out of control greed of international finance I feel that those who lived through the destructiveness of her terms in office are entitled to vent some indignation at the bizarre media hagiographic splash her death has unleashed on us all.

    I even found myself agreeing (for the first time) with the ex-Gauleiter for “Gau” London, Ken Livingstone, when he spoke of her radical work in destroying the real British economy to further the interests of international banking disguised as a patriotic support for the interests of the City of London. And, to quote Lady Bracknell about another Revolution “And I presume you know what that unfortunate movement led to?”—Where we have all (Britain, Ireland, the world….) ended up today, with massive debts and the need to import almost everything we use without the means to pay for it all other than by borrowing! And can anyone tell me why it is so much better for the banks to own the houses we live in rather than the local councils?

  • BarneyT

    There is a difference between thought provocation and the debate that follows…and a SF swipe (which I have sensed on this site you are famed for) and wind up for the sake of it Mick. You were doing well up to a point until you became distracted.

    The statement from the Taniste is more political that that of SF. You do not have to pick the bones out of Gerry’s statement. It is at least honest and consistent with their beliefs and experiences.

    SF’s comments, although from a different reference point, would not be too far removed from those that might emanate from Durham, Barnsley or Doncaster. The ill-feeling of the north of England is strong, and perhaps stronger than in west Belfast. ““Margaret Thatcher did great hurt to the British people during her time as British Prime Minister……working class communities were devastated in Britain because of her policies”.

    That is fact and as plane as day. Now is the time to be direct, which SF were.

    Should she be congratulated on her signing of the AIA given that it became a source of regret for her and she felt duped and misled with respect to the unionist feelings on the mater. Very odd. She had her hand forced to an extent and had she not compromised her position with the “out”, “out”, “out”, it may have remained unsigned.

  • Mick Fealty

    Barney,

    I’ll be coming back to that later… But if you recall that old Sesame Street song, “which of these things is not like the other…” that’s what I was calling to attention…

    May be I should have left it for commenters to chew over for themselves… That’s a judgement call.. But the divergence from others is quite marked…

  • Drumlins Rock

    I believe Thatcher did pave the way for the ceasefires and subsquent agreement, not at Hillsborough but at Loughgall.

  • FDM

    @Drumlins Rock

    “I believe Thatcher did pave the way for the ceasefires and subsquent agreement, not at Hillsborough but at Loughgall.”

    ————————

    What do you call those mythical cave-dwelling chaps who are rather ugly in appearance and countenance?

    Answers on a postcard to…

    The Cave
    Drumlins Rock
    Bitter Mor
    Citron

  • BarneyT

    It take your point Mick that the SF response stands out..but precisely because it is the only statement that does not elude to something else. It’s direct and expected, which I welcome. Many of the other comments are weak. I do agree that history will judge her…but not entirely. For comments to “diverge” they have to take into consideration the comments of others. This is an independent statement and they did not demonstrate at any point they were on the same path as others, from which they could branch.

    There are big questions about the hunger strikes and not all of the answered from both sides. Clearly Thatcher was not going to be moved and perhaps that should have been clear. The notion of Bobby Sands becoming and MP and then an MP being the first hunger striker to die, was tragic, but also politically very smart.

    Even if you choose to cherry pick the SF statement, for example on the treatment of “her own”, then the statement is to be welcomed. She did cause hurt when she decimated the coal industry on personal and ideological grounds….and the list goes on.

    If they had put many alternative sources of power in place (environmental – unlikely, nuclear – haft heartedly) they could have justified the shift from carbon sources. However it was as we know designed to kill the unions. From a governing perspective, I understand the need to null your greatest threat so it’s not unexpected. However, the coal mines still has an economic and social role to perform and that was lost on her….but we know she did not believe in society or indeed human grace.

    The NUM, via Scarghill gave impetuous to Thatcher. He was on the other extreme and clearly was more interested in toppling the government than merely fighting for his industry. As Kinnock stated, Thatcher was fortunate in the enemies she had…and perhaps the IRA contributed to her political sustenance and longevity too. Thatcher proved to be a cornered rat when challenged and smart politics was perhaps the best way to fight her and everything she represented.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Lets cut out the crap, it wasn’t the AiA that brought the IRA to the negotiating table it was the SAS, the Iron Lady quickly saw the agreement was a failure, and essentially took the IRA on, with infiltration and losses eventually took its toal.

    The most common phrase I heard on reports from those that knew and worked with her was “pragmatic” even when it went against her instinct, the AiA was an example of when she got that wrong, her tough reaction later proved right in the end.

  • FDM

    @Drumlins Rock

    “Lets cut out the crap”

    Are you going to stop commenting on slugger or just reduce your output?

    “it wasn’t the AiA that brought the IRA to the negotiating table it was the SAS”

    And yet in the British Armys own review of Operation Banner they freely express that they failed to defeat the IRA, in 37 years of trying. Despite series of extra-judicial killings, using the most sophisticated intelligence the world has to offer, using vaults of cash for bribery, sub-verting the courts and the police, assisting in the state murder of members of the legal profession and using all the advanced weaponry and equipment that a 1st rate military power had to offer and they couldn’t defeat a bunch of amateurs with 3rd world equipment and resources on a patch of land you could stretch a towel over, surrounded by oceans and seas.

    Seemingly you will have to convince the Army that the limited interventions of one of its specialist regiments managed to defeat the IRA strategy. Maybe this is an oportune time to drop a letter to the MOD with your version of events? I am sure they wil delighted to hear they won another war?

    Thatcher was an emotional cripple. Her own children describe her as distant. This had outworkings in her political life. She was a little-Englander with no time for the Irish. So it was easy for her to show little to no empathy at all with the Irish. It was similarly easy for her to opt to try and force a military solution and not worry too much about casualties amongst people she did not care for.

    She opted for a military strategy [against all advice] to achieve victory and the army admitted in their review that this failed. Thatcher would have liked to have reversed the AiA but we have the people she attempted to destroy militarily actually at the heart of power and governance. Something that Thatcher regretted.

    By acting as brutishly/britishly [delete as appropriate] she extended the conflict by 15 years at least.

    Her legacy is there for all to see. Even Major, who continued her policies, had to be replaced by Blair before things got really moving on the political front.

    Thats my final word on Margaret. Not going to waste another second of my life on her. Dusts hands and moves on.

  • Seamuscamp

    There was a time when I would have sung along with Elvis Costello and danced on her grave. And that had little to do with how she dealt with the Irish Question (what can you expect from a self-absorbed English politician). I lived in England at the time and witnessed not only the devastation her policies wrought in communities where industry was devastated as a policy priority and nothing was put in place to fill the void. I saw her support of Pinochet and her labelling Mandela as a terrorist. The “modernising” of the City from necessary controls led eventually to the Bank Crisis. The selling off of council houses at a discount led to the current shortage of “social housing” that seemingly requires punishment for those individuals with a bedroom AND a dining room. Then there was the Poll Tax debacle; and the failure to repair school buildings; and the blind support of the police, however malevolent and incompetent.

    It isn’t a coincidence that the first street parties to celebrate Mrs T’s death were in the North of England. As I’ve said, there was a time when that reflected my sentiments. But with the passage of years, I’ve come to realise that she was only another human being corrupted for a time by overweening power, luck in her incompetent enemies, a lack of empathy – and contempt for people who didn’t see things her way.

  • BluesJazz

    What’s the beef about Augusto Pinochet? Turned Chile from a basket case into a well developed economy. Along with Stroessner decent bloke as well as great leaders.

  • Seamuscamp

    BluesJazz

    I just don’t think he’s a suitable manager for Sunderland

  • sonofstrongbow

    Margaret Thatcher was a politician who’s years in power began and came to a close with the murder of close political friends by nationalist terrorists.

    Setting to one side for the moment those attacks on unarmed men, if Thatcher had been the militarist that nationalists conjure in their fevered brains she would have eviscerated the terrorist gangs rather than continue the policy of holding the line and trying to contain the terrorist onslaught by police action.

    Whilst it is charming to observe nationalists grasp at straws, even those (as they mistakenly interpret) provided by the Saxon foe themselves, I suspect that they know that should any Prime Minister have wished to adopt the tactics of some South American junta or African dictator the Army was, and is, more than capable in making effective interventions.

    However the last few hours have demonstrated that Margaret Thatcher’s success continues to be evident. The dancing in the streets in West Belfast and Derry ably demonstrates that Maggie’s victories still resonate to this day.

  • tacapall

    Funny enough SOS –

    “It would apear that the Dept. of Trade and Industry (DTI) inspectors missed this schedule when they raided Astra and took files in the run-up to the Scott Inquiry that looked into the Arms to Iraq scandal,” said the British source this week.

    The source also verified significant amounts of money during the Thatcher era was laundered to a company called Casalee, a company moving arms to the Middle East owned by John Bredenkemp, an international arms and tobacco dealer operating out of an office at Sunningdale, UK”

  • FDM

    @sonoflemontastingcider

    Or alternatively you could comment on the fact that “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” is flying to no.1 in the charts?

    http://uk.movies.yahoo.com/%E2%80%98ding-dong–the-witch-is-dead%E2%80%99-charts-after-thatcher-dies-101051208.html

    Now sitting at number 4 after just over 24 hours.

    Ken Loach additionally has called for her funeral to be privatised and sold to the lowest bidder.

    Her legacy is apparent.

  • BluesJazz

    SoS
    Just to be clear:
    Neither Augusto Pinochet or Alfredo Stroessner murdered anyone during their leaderships of Chile and Paraguay. Indeed they remain highly respected in their native countries. Unlike the brutal thugs Chavez or Ortega.
    Both may have been intolerant of opposition but maintained dynamic economies.

    The faux ‘socialist’ celebrations over one persons death reflect only on the mentality of the celebrants. Few, if any, are/were capable of employment, but blaming the wicked witch for their fecklessness makes them feel a bit better, for now anyway.

  • Gopher

    The Country was in a downward spiral and Thatcher arrested it. Remember before Maggie very well. One of the true greats. R.I.P.

  • tacapall

    “Seven police officers were injured when violence flared at a gathering in Bristol to celebrate the death of Baroness Thatcher”

    Protests were also held in Brixton, south London, by people who said they were celebrating.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-22077072

  • Seamuscamp

    BluesJazz

    Both Pinochet and Stroessner were involved in Operation Blue Condor, a coordinated programme of state terror by several South American military dictators, supported by tthe US.

    Re Pinochet:
    “The new government rounded up thousands of people and held them in the national stadium, where many were killed, setting the stage for decades of brutal repression that followed. As many as 3,000 people died during Pinochet’s years in power, and more than 1,000 are still missing” (Wikipedia)

    Re Stroessner
    “While Stroessner’s rule saw more stability than any living Paraguayan had ever known, it came at a high cost; corruption was rampant (Stroessner himself did not dispute charges of corruption at some levels in his government) and the Stroessner government’s human rights record was considered one of the poorest in South America. During Stroessner’s regime, an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people were murdered, and 400 to 500 more were “disappeared.” (Wikipedia)

    But perhaps all that should be forgiven as he was very fond of Milton Friedman (like Mrs T) and applied the principles of the Chicago Boys to the development of the drug trade.

  • BarneyT

    Why does there appear to be a strong alignment with many of the unionist commentators on here and those to the right…even far right. Surely it is wrong that such representation is apparently given to unionism. Unionism is surely about retaining a union with England and not about aligning with the extreme racist intolerant right (regardless of geography or acts committed). Are some of the folks on here distracted by the fact they feel that their immediate “enemy” seems to align with the left..hence the reactionary lurch in the opposite direction?

    Personally I dont believe Unionist = Nazi.

  • Blue Hammer

    FDM
    “By acting as brutishly/britishly [delete as appropriate] she extended the conflict by 15 years at least”

    The “conflict” ended with the PIRA ceasefire/surrender (delete as appropriate) in August 1994. Based on your comment above, Thatcher extended it by 15 years, so by your reckoning it could have ended in August 1979, only weeks after her election. I call “bullshit” and fear you are simply repeating the SF line so constantly drip fed to you from Connolly House.

    Someone (who might lead me to fall foul of Godwin’s Law) stated that if you want to tell a lie and have people believe it, make it a really big fucking lie.

    Good work FDM.

  • BluesJazz

    Barney T

    The persons mentioned above were not ‘extremists, they were neo-liberal conservatives who turned around their countries economies. While they were somewhat intolerant of opposition, decent blokes if a tad ‘old school’.

    The far left vilifies them for being successful.

  • FDM

    @BarneyT

    “Why does there appear to be a strong alignment with many of the unionist commentators on here and those to the right…”

    —————————-

    It is actually noticeable that practically all the “unionist” posters seem to be eulogising about Thatcher???

    Surely this is very strange since SHE was the politician who basically sold Ulster down the swanny.

    She made direct agreements with the old “foreign power” completely over their heads and gave the game away by giving those Irish types in Dublin direct input into decision making in the affairs of this state.

    Perplexing.

    Maybe they are just very forgiving?

  • Seamuscamp

    BluesJazz

    You think it’s right to murder and torture provided the economy is turned round? Or are you being Swiftian? Or Thatcherite?

  • John Ó Néill

    Playing politics on Thatcher’s demise?

    Enda Kenny … the Anglo-Irish Agreement which laid the foundation for improved North-South cooperation and ultimately the Good Friday Agreement.
    The AIA being a Fine Gael project (which Fitzgerald wanted to stop the rise in support for SF), which suggests that by proxy Enda now wants some GFA love (becoming more Bertiesque by the day)? Sounds pretty political.

    Peter Robinson: … committed to the Union and later described the Anglo-Irish Agreement as one of her greatest regrets..
    Emphasising cornerstones of DUP position sounds pretty political too.

    Michael Martin: While I or the Fianna Fáil party would have had little in common with the politics of Mrs Thatcher…
    Slight bit of standard delusion here on Fianna Fáils part – maintained social conservatism and had strict political censorship long before Tories introduced it, fiscally she would also have dreamed of the type of open, unregulated system FF created. Bit of serious delusional political revisionism here from Martin.

    Mike Nesbitt: Northern Ireland has reason to be eternally grateful for her stance against terrorism…
    I’m going to come back to this at another time, but the overt policy she followed was the continued deployment of loyalist paramilitaries as counter gangs with state protection, weapons and intelligence. In the preferred political narrative of unionism that didn’t happen (despite all the proofs to the contrary).

    Alastair McDonnell: However, with significant assistance from America, she helped deliver the Anglo Irish Agreement which set the scene for the Good Friday Agreement and the much improved circumstances we find ourselves in today.
    Another politicised AIA/GFA mash-up riff. Again, as with Inda, ignoring key changes in personnel and impetus (in particular Tipp O’Neill) and the diverging ethics of marginalization (AIA) and inclusion (GFA).

    Don’t think anyone didn’t play politics with their comments, Mick.

  • BluesJazz

    Seamuscamp
    The relatively small numbers (of communist insurgents) who were killed knew what they were letting themselves in for.
    In vulcan terms “The needs of the many”
    Both gentlemen pursued a progressive economic regime which brought prosperity, unlike the unsavoury Allende and his corrupt cronies.

  • FDM

    @BluesJazz

    The relatively small numbers (of communist insurgents) who were killed knew what they were letting themselves in for.
    ————————————–
    “The relatively small numbers of RUC who were killed knew what they were letting themselves in for.”

    “The relatively small numbers of UDR who were killed knew what they were letting themselves in for.”

    “The relatively small numbers of British soldiers who were killed knew what they were letting themselves in for.”

    All of the above knew when they signed on the dotted line that they were getting involved in situations which could lead to their death.

    As you quite readily admit to the fact that they extra-judicially killed people [some of us call that murder by the way] on the behest of their pay masters. Said pay masters may or may not have made the killing order decisions on the “needs of the many” principle.

    Once a state starts to kill its subjects then it loses its right to govern. If some of the citizenry fight back then they are morally right to do so and even overthrow the broken state. This all stems from the natural laws of supporting the natural rights to defend oneself and ones family, resistance of oppression, and civic duties to act in concert in defense of the nation.

    You seem to have no problem with the state killing its own citizens but have an issue with the citizens fighting back?

  • Seamuscamp

    BluesJazz

    The relatively small numbers for Pinochet were 3200 murdered and 30000 tortured. By an unelected dictator. No wonder you admire Thatcher – you lack a moral compass.