I don’t intend to comment on the putative legacy of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher [Too early to say? – Ed] Perhaps. And Mick has it covered… But I will point to Tom Chivers’ observations on some of the more, erm, extreme reactions.
My own hypothesis, and it’s only a hypothesis, is that she’s hated by some of the less thoughtful elements of the Left in the same way that Sir Alex Ferguson is hated by less thoughtful Liverpool fans: because she won, and won emphatically, and in the process brought her opponents down from lofty pedestals and made them irrelevant. (The analogy works even better because, like Liverpool, the hard Left really sowed the seeds of their own destruction: Fergie didn’t “knock Liverpool off their f***ing perch” so much as Graeme Souness did; a combination of Arthur Scargill, Michael Foot and Tony Benn made the Left essentially unelectable for the 1980s, making Thatcher’s job of crushing them that much easier.) Labour and the Left only became serious opponents again when they took on the free-market capitalism that Thatcher had made normal. The unions and the Socialist Workers’ Party and so on hate Thatcher so much because before her they were powerful, and after her they were not.
None of this is to say that her legacy is overall a good one. I don’t feel in a position to judge. My own instinct is that she did some things that needed to be done, even if some were painful; she also did some stupid, divisive and unnecessary things. Like every politician she is a complex character. But because for some people politics is essentially a football game – my team against theirs, win, lose or draw – and because Margaret Thatcher essentially ended the hard Left as a political force, the supporters of that particular team reserve a special loathing for her. [added emphasis]