From a 2004 column in Daily Mail on what happened to the working class in Britain after Margaret Thatcher’s successful crusade to kill the miners’ union:
… What the [coal miners’] strike represented to us was a set of values worth fighting for. It was never simply about pay. It was about the threat Thatcher’s free-market philosophy meant to their way of life, to their communities, to the very idea of trade unions.
Looking back, the Right wing Press cleverly presented Thatcher’s ideology as the inevitable future – an economy based on privatisation and deregulation.
This meant closing the pits, so the miners were represented as fighting for the past. Nobody much mentioned that this past included a time when a working man’s dignity, self-sacrifice and solidarity were considered virtues.
But look who was right and who was wrong.
The future that Thatcher fought for has arrived in the pit villages where the mines are shut down. It is the future of drug addiction, social deprivation and part-time, temporary, non-unionised jobs.
Thatcher worked like a pearl-bedecked fanatic to transform the Britain of Clement Attlee into a lean, mean corporate machine — a middleweight version of what the USA has become. It’s almost as if her policies were conceived to flatter Ronald Reagan, the union-busting blowhard who was her ideological paramour. Too bad the two of them didn’t run off together in the early 1980s and buy a million-acre plantation, or a dude ranch, instead of wrecking millions of lives.
When [Thatcher] walked into Downing Street promising harmony instead of discord, only one in seven children was poor and Britain was more equal than at any time in modern history. But within a few years, a third of children were poor, a sign of the yawning inequality from which the country never recovered.
One more: I’ll bet E.P. “Yip” Harburg, who wrote the lyrics for The Wizard of Oz movie (1939), would have loved that Thatcher’s death breathed new life into “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead.” which almost reached the top of the pops this week in Britain. As Ed Lamb recently noted, Harburg was a lifelong leftist who also co-wrote “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime,” an anthem from the Depression that preceded the one we’re in now.