Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Divisive Leader

Today on radio former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser was asked about his impressions of Lady Thatcher's time as Prime Minister of Britain. He offered his opinions freely and seemingly honestly. One of the most interesting things he mentioned  was Rhodesia. This may strike a chord with a certain reader of my blog, and so I hope I have the details correct.

It seemed like an anathema, as while Fraser was oppressing Australian workers and behaving as conservative politicians usually do, I agreed with him on his stance about Rhodesia. He was pro independence, pro Robert Mugabe and anti Ian Smith. Thatcher was a supporter of Smith and the colonial vestige of Rhodesia. In no uncertain terms Fraser told her that she was on a road to nowhere and she needed to rethink her view, and she did.

Neither myself, Thatcher or Fraser could have imagined the country Zimbabwe and its leader Mugabe would turn out so badly.

And then there was the Falkland Islands. 97% of the residents wanted to remain English and Thatcher went to war about possession of the Islands. While it may have been a bit like our ex PM Howard's children overboard moment, an election winner, I think it was the right thing for her to do. That is about the best I can say about the woman who so divided England.

10 comments:

  1. Born to the squattocracy, Fraser seems to have a conscience that makes him remember the little people. Thatcher and too many others tend[ed] to forget how "the other half" live.

    There is no doubt England desperately needed to make some hard structural adjustments in Thatcher's day, but the way she went about it was callous. If, for example, coalmining had had its day then it had to stop, but it seems little thought was given to offering those affected other ways to build a future. And a flat rate poll tax? Obscene approach.

    I'll never be able to decide about the Falklands.

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    1. FC, Fraser may now but it is not how I remember his time in office. Thatcher was not a compassionate person. She ruined many lives. You can get things done without hurting people.

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  2. Is there a leader of any country that everybody 'likes'? It is a rotten job, and I do not know why any of them stood for selection in the first place. Nobody likes a woman who acts like a man.
    We have to acknowledge that she achieved the position, and held it long enough.
    When our PM Gillard actually succeeds on 14th Sept, people will be saying she is another Thatcher I suppose.
    We have to laud Maggie for dying in a suite at The Ritz though.

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    1. No Ann, there isn't, but some are hated much more than others. I do acknowledge that she was a skillful politician. I was impressed that she was living in The Ritz. Didn't Nancy Wake do the same, and we footed the bill.

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  3. Whilst there are many policies Thatcher pursued that I could not agree with, I have a certain admiration for her ability to never be swayed.She was quite formidable in the face of opposition and it was only her dogged determination that gave the UK such a beneficial financial EU deal which the present PM could not come anywhere near to securing. She also helped many, many people buy their own homes by allowing them( at discounted prices) to buy their council house. The country is still divided on her legacy but I doubt there is any such division in the Falklands.

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    1. Fun60, I am not educated on the EU deal, so I shall bow to your knowledge. Yes, she made a middle class buy selling the housing stock, but what about those who did not have the wherewithal to do that? She certainly made people passionate, one way or the other.

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  4. I think it's really hard for anyone not actually living in Africa to understand the politics there. Ian Smith WAS an African, he was born and raised there he just wasn't black, but he cared more about the people of Rhodesia than, it's obvious now, Robert Mugabe ever would/will. Seriously he should be dead now, why someone hasn't managed to knock him off is beyond me. It makes me so sad, it really was the most wonderful place to grow up, I have the best memories.

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    1. Grace, my memory is a little hazy, but wasn't Smith generally disliked by anyone who wasn't white? I am sure there must be many who would like to turn back the clock to pre Mugabe times, and who would blame them. It is a sad outcome for a place that you hold dear.

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  5. Fun50,

    Helping people to buy council houses at discounted prices just led to the depletion of the stock of public housing for those who in the future might need it.

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    1. Marcellous, you just beat me to it.

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