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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2784

Widespread public discussion in the UK about the legacy of Thatcherism

By Jinadasa Bamunuarachchi
London, 17 April, (Asiantribune.com):

Briton’s longest serving Prime Minister of the last century Margret Thatcher will go her final journey today, Wednesday the 17th April in London.

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died a week ago, aged 87, after suffering a stroke. She is to be accorded today with a ceremonial funeral with military honours, one step down from a state funeral. Winston Churchill war time British prime Minister was the last to have received a state funeral in 1965.

A senior police officer has said extra resources will be brought in to Londonderry to deal with any violence in the city on Wednesday, the day of Margaret Thatcher's funeral.

There have been sectarian attacks by nationalist youths on residents in the mainly Protestant Fountain estate every night since her death.

A protest event is expected at Free Derry Corner after her funeral. About 25 petrol bombs were thrown in the Fountain estate on last Friday. Police also came under attack. There were more troubles over the weekend.

Supt. Stephen Cargin said lives were being put at risk, and warned of the consequences for those involved in the violence. “We have CCTV footage, we have gathered our own evidence and we're going to be coming looking for people," he said. “If we see people breaking the law we will arrest them and certainly we will be coming looking for a lot of these young people and there will be consequences. “I am concerned about Wednesday night, I am concerned about this planned party and I would just also support calls to call it off. I will have sufficient resources on in the city to react to whatever happens."

Community leaders from both sides have been meeting since Monday to discuss how to end the trouble.

Community worker Charlie McMenamin said they were on the ground to try and get the trouble stopped. "It is not as bad as what it is being made out to be," he said.

"Children are involved in violence at the interface, children are involved in rioting in Nailor's Row and a lot of times also as community workers we have been face-to-face with a lot of children and stopped a lot of what happened over the weekend."

Margaret Hilda Roberts, later to be known as Margret Thatcher was born on 13 October 1925 in Grantham, Lincolnshire, and the daughter of a grocer. She went to Oxford University and then became a research chemist, retraining to become a barrister in 1954. In 1951, she married Denis Thatcher, a wealthy businessman, with whom she had two children.

Thatcher became a Conservative member of parliament for Finchley in North London in 1959, serving as its MP until 1992. Her first parliamentary post was junior minister for pensions in Harold Macmillan's government.

From 1964 to 1970, when Labour were in power, she served in a number of positions in Edward Heath's shadow cabinet. Heath became prime minister in 1970 and Thatcher was appointed secretary for education.

After the Conservatives were defeated in 1974, Thatcher challenged Heath for the leadership of the party and, to the surprise of many, won. In the 1979 general election, the Conservatives came to power and Thatcher became prime minister.

She was an advocate of privatising state-owned industries and utilities, reforming trade unions, lowering taxes and reducing social expenditure across the board. Thatcher's policies, it is said, succeeded in reducing inflation, but unemployment dramatically increased during her years in power.

Victory in the Falklands War in 1982 and a divided opposition helped Thatcher win a landslide victory in the 1983 general election. In 1984, she narrowly escaped death when the IRA planted a bomb at the Conservative party conference in Brighton.

In foreign affairs, Thatcher cultivated a close political and personal relationship with US president Ronald Reagan, based on a common mistrust of communism, combined with free-market economic ideology. Thatcher was nicknamed the 'Iron Lady' by the Soviets. She warmly welcomed the rise of reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Her Immigration policy was the most unsuccessful of all her policies. It was during her time LTTE build up their business empire in the UK and brought hundreds and thousands of active carders to England and Europe.

In the 1987 Election, Thatcher won an unprecedented third term in office. But controversial policies, including the poll tax and her opposition to any closer integration with Europe, produced divisions within the Conservative Party which led to a leadership challenge. In November 1990, she agreed to resign and marked the end of an era.

Thatcher was such a controversial politician, the Green-Independent group at the Scottish parliament has decided to debate on her legacy today but postponed on account of pressure from the Scottish Conservatives and Lib Dems. The debate will however is scheduled to be held on Thursday.

She was a woman who did not care a dam for her Ministers. She set the tone of events and forcibly altered the trends of the time. She is responsible for strengthening the capitalism and destroying the communism in the Eastern Europe and fixing the Briton in the US axis firmly.

The imprint she left on British Society is displayed by the fact that hundreds of people took to the streets carrying placards and shouting slogans with beer canes in their hands.

As I treasure my Asian Buddhist culture, I do not want to disgrace the dead by referring to such derogatory slogans of her people.

- Asian Tribune –

The coffin of British former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher rests in the Crypt Chapel of St Mary Undercroft beneath the Houses of Parliament in central London on Tuesday April 16, 2013. The funeral of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher will be held at St Paul's Cathedral on Wednesday- Today
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