Margaret Thatcher has left a deep legacy not only for the people of the neighbouring island but also for the Irish people and for the oppressed and suffering peoples of the world.
Thatcher epitomised the arrogance of the long imperialist traditions of the British ruling class. Her policy in regard to the H-block hunger strikes exposed her deep contempt and hatred for those who opposed British imperialist interests. Under her rule the British army gained greater freedom to develop and perpetrate its dirty war in the North of Ireland, when selective assassinations and the management of loyalist paramilitaries became more central to the British war machine.
Thatcher was one in a long line of British rulers who had a deep hatred of working people, such as her great hero, Churchill, another person who carried as a badge of honour his hatred of Ireland and the Irish people’s struggle for independence as well as for the British working class. Thatcher saw workers as mere cannon-fodder in imperialist wars, whether in Ireland or the Malvinas, or simply strategic pawns in her anti-communist crusades, as with “Solidarity” in Poland.
Her name has become a byword for aggression, selfishness, and rampant individualism. She has left a legacy of destroyed lives, shattered communities, rampant militarism and chauvinism and the destruction of what was left of British manufacturing and raised the adoration of the “market” beyond all previous levels.
Her policies have been continued by all subsequent British Governments, whether Conservative or Labour, Tony Blair being her most enthusiatic and most effective disciple.
No tears will be shed for her among the families of the hunger-strikers or of those assassinated by the British army and loyalist paramilitaries, nor in the mining villages of Wales and many other mining communities in Britain. She had no ears for the cries of suffering from the families of dead coalminers as she shackled and trampled on workers’ rights.
Margaret Thatcher was a product of the material conditions in which that monopoly capitalism created. She represented the most aggressive interests of monopoly capitalism, the political forces that had defeated the exponents of the post-war economic and social compromise. In this she also exposed the shallow and duplicitous nature of British labourism.
Unfortunately, as history shows, the very nature of this economic system throws up and requires such arrogant and ruthless individuals.