Coffee House

The difficult legacy of Margaret Thatcher in Sunderland

11 April 2013

5:59 PM

11 April 2013

5:59 PM

Margaret Thatcher remains a truly hated figure in the north of England. The 1984 Miners’ Strike and retrenchment of the shipyards had a phenomenal social impact which has pretty much written off a generation (or more) of voters for the Conservative party.

Sunderland makes a good case study of the challenges faced by Tories in the wake of Thatcherism. As this anecdote from a Tory activist on the stump highlights, voters in the neck of those woods seem unable to forgive her:

“I met a man in his mid 60s from Morton. He started to call Thatcher all the names under the sun for no apparent reason — I had not remotely mentioned her — and said that the “only thing that f***ing woman had ever done for me was let me buy my council house and my British Gas shares”. He then spat on the pavement in memory of the former Prime Minister and walked off.’

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Robert Oliver, head of Sunderland Conservatives for the past two years, says those who do approve of Thatcher admire her bravery ‘whether it be facing down aggression in the Falklands War or standing up for us in Europe’, along with some of her more populist policies:

‘Policies that appealed to independent-minded people such as the right to buy and low tax are often mentioned [on the doorstep] especially by people who bought their council house and improved it.’

The reality of Thatcher’s legacy in Sunderland is not quite as disastrous. As I noted when I visited the region in December, the Nissan car factory in Sunderland is a prime example of how Thatcher’s reforms were’t entirely harmful. Today, more people work in the car plant — which has just had a £250 million boost — than in the shipyards when they closed up in the 1990s. The 125-acre Doxford International Park, designated an enterprise zone at the end of the 1980s, has also seen a successful new stream of employment for the city through call centres. Andrew Adonis has been been visiting Sunderland today to launch his North East Economic Review but something was missing:

These positive aspects of Thatcherism do little to convince voters the move away from coal mining and shipbuilding was the right one. At the 2010 general election, a big push by Conservative HQ to get behind candidate Lee Martin in Sunderland Central resulted in a 5.6 per cent swing — above the national average — but Labour still managed a 6,000 majority.

As James reported last week, one of Westminster’s brightest minds is forming a new group to take up the challenge and convince such spitting Northern voters the Tories are on their side. And part of his job is trying to unravel the complex legacy of Margaret Thatcher in northern constituencies like Sunderland. That’s still a tough task.

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Show comments
  • Fat Bloke on Tour

    SP

    Any chance of taking the debate forward?
    Any thoughts on how Nissan in the UK developed under TB /GB?

    It I’d definitely more than a screwdriver plant today.
    Only fair that you list it’s development.

    Along with Cranfield.
    And the styling centre.

  • Rinta Mathew
    • Fat Bloke on Tour

      RM

      Just what did Maggie do in the war?

  • http://www.facebook.com/s.walker.northeast Steve Walker

    Have you ever worked in a call center or at Nissan, I’d rather be in a ship yard or down the pit! we fought against the axis of evil, JAPAN taking money out of Sunderlands population, where have our British industries gone! Banks and mobile phone companies putting people in demeaning jobs on crap wages in call centres – T-Mobile let me guess GERMAN, EDF – FRENCH. – Think again.

  • Big Harry

    Only by dyed in the wool Labour supporters, and they’re getting less and less and at close inspection tend to show they have conflict of interest, needing Labour council largesse for their pet project, and by mouthy Labour councillors. Those old enough to remember the truth have memories, I say to those not old enough, look up a bit of history. When it was cheaper to burn coal in Newcastle that had been mined and transported half way round the world than it was to burn coal mined in Easington, the miners unions closed shop and plastic communism were to blame for the state of the coal industry, Same for steel.

    • Fat Bloke on Tour

      BH

      Have to love your analysis on the global coal industry 1980-85.
      You seem to forget the major sources of export coal at the time –

      South Africa – Enough said.
      Indonesia / Starting up – Child Labour / dictator.
      Colombia – Child Labour / authoritarian regime
      Poland – Generals running the show desperate for hard currency.

      Not really a fair market no matter the cost of the coal.

      • itdoesntaddup

        You clearly have no knowledge of coal mining if you think that coal was being picked by urchins in South Africa and Colombia. These are giant open cast operations, operated with machinery the size of large houses.

        • Fat Bloke on Tour

          Struggling with figures

          The clue was in the date: 1980-85.

          Apartheid South Africa had no need for child labour when they could abuse the adult men who happened to be black.

          Ah yes the paradise on Earth that was the Colombian coal industry of 30 years ago. You only have to look at that country today to understand how bad things were 30 years ago.

          No matter the death rates, the sub Victorian H+S standards, the subsistence wages – Barnsley had to meet the challenges of Bogata.

          Aye right.

          • itdoesntaddup

            As I actually spent time in Colombia during the 1980s while the Cerrejon project was under development, and I have also actually been to several South African coal mines, I think I know more about it it than you.

            Aye, you’re wrong.

            • Fat Bloke on Tour

              Struggling with numbers.

              There is more to the Colombian coal industry than Cerrejon.
              It did not start with its discovery and it end with its development.

              In addition questions might be asked on the role you had?
              Given its links to rural poverty, para-military death squads and

              • itdoesntaddup

                I don’t know where you get your distorted history from. In Colombia, it was the narco-traficantes and the left wing guerillas in the form of M-19 and FARC etc. who enforced rural poverty, and sought to attack economic developments that could undermine their position. So much so, that Occidental sought to sell out of its oil interest in Caño Limon, where weekly sabotage on the oil export line was highly problematic.

                As I pointed out, I spent time in Colombia, and travelled fairly widely there, during PRECISELY the period you allude to. Did you?

                • Fat Bloke on Tour

                  Struggling with numbers

                  You really are having a laugh now.
                  Your suggestion that FARC “enforced” rural poverty is risible.
                  You have been in the country but you do not understand the country.

                  You say nothing about the poverty.
                  You say nothing about the inequality.
                  You say nothing about the private armies and the land grabs.

                  FARC developed out of the struggle of the rural poor to hold onto their land. They were a reaction to the plans to industrialise farming and clear the poor farmers to make way for export led agriculture.

                  Who has benefited from the export coal industry?
                  Who has benefitted from the discovery of oil?
                  Who has benefitted from all the US aid?

                  You are in good company here at SpeccyLand.

                • itdoesntaddup

                  You are living a fantasy world: you have no experience of the place at all, do you? I’ve seen shanty towns up close and personal in quite a few countries on different continents (the most shocking was perhaps in supposedly highest GDP per capita in the world at the time Kuwait). The Colombian poor were much better off than others I’ve seen for the most part. Much of Colombia is fertile: it has long been the “bread basket of the Andes”, exporting food to its neighbours. I travelled by road. You seem to travel by what you read on the internet.

                • Fat Bloke on Tour

                  Struggling with numbers

                  Just what did Maggie do in the war?

                • Fat Bloke on Tour

                  Struggling with numbers

                  Away over to TripAdvisor if you want to boast about your collection of air miles.

                  You seem to be great at finding poverty overseas.
                  Well when you were doing your Around the World by way of “8 Coal Exporting Regimes with a record of human rights abuse / para-military death squads” you seem to have missed out all the human misery and poverty that were the rage in South Yorkshire and the Valleys in Wales as the mining industry was butchered in the late 80’s.

                  Shame on Maggie.
                  Shame on you.

                • itdoesntaddup

                  Actually, I also spent time in the Welsh mining valleys in the 1980s.

                  What have you done?

                  Nothing, except read rent a rant, it seems.

                • Fat Bloke on Tour

                  Struggling with numbers

                  You really are a lucky charm for the mining industry, aren’t you.

                  It is my experience of the valleys that has developed my loathing for Maggie and her industrial revenge / vindictiveness .

                  After 85 it took them 15 years to rebuild their communities and move forward. And those 15 years generated a huge number of casualties that are still with us.

                  They wanted coal not dole.
                  And they have been proved right.
                  Mark it down as another issue that Maggie got totally wrong.

                • itdoesntaddup

                  So you’ve no experience of the real world outside those narrow confines then. Perhaps you should look outside your cave sometime. There are sons and daughters of the valleys who have spectacular achievements to their credit: they rejected your turned in hatred and went out into the world to show what they could do. They deserve your respect – they already have mine.

                • Fat Bloke on Tour

                  Struggling with numbers

                  Fair enough.
                  You are new to the parish and a bit slow on the uptake.

                  I hail from West Central Scotland.
                  I work in the auto industry trying to generate export earnings.

                  I do not own a cave, I do not live in a cave.
                  Now if you don’t mind, just what did Maggie do in the war?

                • itdoesntaddup

                  You have no experience of the place at all do you?

                  Just what you read somewhere on the internet.

  • PlumedHat

    The end of shipbuilding in Sunderland and the UK was a self-inflicted injury. The work went to Japan, which had fewer natural resources and where yard workers were paid the same as in the UK. 80 plus unions in each yard and bloody-minded incompetence is what did it for the UK. The industry could have prospered, but huge investment was needed and no sane investor could do it. We threw it all away.

  • erikbloodaxe

    Why is Napoleon Bonaparte standing behind Maggie in that picture?

  • Reconstruct

    The other thing that’s worth mentioning in connection with the Northeast is the pernicious influence of disproportionate public sector employment which arrived like a plague of locusts in response to the closure of heavy industry. Perhaps this was well-intentioned at the time, but academic research shows that where you stuff a region with public servants, the labour markets get distorted and horizontal supply-chains are forgotten and before long the private sector moves away. Note, these are the conclusions not from any ‘right-wing think tank’ but from the LSE itself. Here’s the link to the research: http://spatial-economics.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/public-sector-employment-bad-for-local.html

  • Fat Bloke on Tour

    SP

    No matter what you write …
    No matter the quality of what you write …
    No matter the points you make …

    If you or your editor resort to censorship …
    If you or your editor do not allow debate …
    You have lost …

    The argument.
    The moral high ground.
    The future.

    • fantasy_island

      Couldn’t agree more

      • fantasy_island

        Who down arrowed my post?

        I would rather read fatties rants than have him silenced, that is not the conservative way.

        • Makroon

          That is fair enough, but when every thread on here is systematically sidetracked by Labour trolls churning out relentless piles of turgid crap, you can understand a certain amount of impatience.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Is this poetry, Fat Bloke? Are you a modern poet? It certainly makes f*ck all sense. Must be poetry then.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Oh and ‘Freddie’ thinks Blair and Brown and the rest of that [enter as many epithets as one wishes] rotten government aren’t equally if not more held in contempt in parts of the south?

    In 2010 the Tories won 40+seats in northern England. Outside London Labour won just 10 seats in the south. And they constantly bang on about the Tory problem when Labour are offering the children of Brown as Brown’s replacement! SHISH!

    Talk about ‘Townie journos’ with their head stuck up their orifices! It really is time they changed the broken records and wrote about something we haven’t heard 5 dozen times over!

  • HarryTheHornyHippo

    Whatever the rights and wrongs, Thatcher wiped out the working class Tory vote without which winning elections outright remains beyond their reach.

    • Russell

      I’m working class, and all my acquaintances and friends of similar circumstances would disagree with your assumption that our vote has been wiped out.

      • HarryTheHornyHippo

        Well I’m not working class, I’m just going on how few constituencies the Tories have in working class areas compared to the number they had pre ’79.

        • Russell

          And which areas are ‘working class’ areas? As far as I was aware, working class people live in every area of this country.

          • HarryTheHornyHippo

            Okay fine, have it your way, the working class love the Tories and they’ll win a landslide in 2015.

            • Russell

              Now , now, calm down dear. I never mentioned a Tory landslide or even a Tory win in 2015. It is a certain self declared non working class person who claimed the working class vote was wiped out and has mentioned a Tory landslide!
              As in all elections some millions will vote for each of the three main parties with perhaps a significant number of people hopefully voting for none of them and deciding to give UKIP a chance, if for nothing else than to shake the political class to its roots.

              • HarryTheHornyHippo

                The North and industrial cities, that’s what I meant. And no, before you ask, I’ve not been much north of Birmingham except to shoot up the M6 to blast defenceless birds from the skies of Scotland.

                • Russell

                  You are clearly demonstrating how out of touch you are on working class people or where they actually live. Not surprising for someone who claims to be not working class, hasn’t been much up north of Birmingham for game shoots.
                  You sound more like Harry Worth than Harry the hippo, perhaps you fancy yourself as Prince Harry?

                • HarryTheHornyHippo

                  Well given his latest squeeze I wouldn’t mind. Out of touch on WC people? Not sure I was ever in touch with them tbh. When I was kid there was someone known as the ‘working class tory’, it’s not a phrase I hear much these days and with the exception of David Davis I don’t see too many in the Tory ranks, so I figured they’d all defected to New Lab or the SNP post Mrs T.

  • Radford_NG

    I forget the details;but I’m pretty sure the Sunderland shipyard was closed on orders of the 4th. Reich Commissioners—in Brussels.It was decided only a certain number of ship-yards were needed in the Europe-state.Britain was allocated a certain number and the others were closed down;including the highly effecient yard at Sunderland—-it not being poitic to close the last yard in Scotland.[Ultimatly this did not save the yards at Bremen.]This is not the only interference from Brussels;others being the enforced privatization of railways and the problems of the Post Office and Royal Mail./………/I tend to get such information from `June Press/eurofacts`,which is edited by Ian Milne of `Global Britain`;both of which sites are worth looking-up.

  • David Lindsay

    They do relatively well for the Council. It’s the parliamentary seats where they haven’t a hope. But Sunderland was never going to be the Tory North. Travel a few miles to leafy Lanchester, darling, where I am standing down after 14 years on the Parish Council, seven as Labour and seven as an Independent.

    Until 1995, the Conservative Party massively dominated the Parish Council from the Dawn of Time, while the place returned two Tories out of three to the old District Council. Think of a smaller version of Hexham, or Altincham, or Harrogate. Think of the North depicted on Last Tango in Halifax.

    Yet Lanchester has not elected a Conservative above Parish level since 1991. That party has not had a significant presence on the Parish Council since the elections in 1995. It returned only one, a sound Tory farmer, to the Parish Council in 2009, our term of office being then extended by two years in line with that of the new unitary County Council.

    The sole Conservative candidate for this two-member County Ward comes from as far away as Gateshead, which is not even in County Durham, never mind here in the middle of it. One of the two UKIP candidates lives in the Ward, although not in Lanchester as one would expect; the other does not even live here. There is no Lib Dem.

    For the Parish, following the withdrawal of a Labour candidate who is standing for the County elsewhere, there are now 15 nominations for 15 seats, and therefore no election. The only Tory is the one who was already on. In Lanchester. (A farmer, not someone from the commuting, middle-class, once ardently Thatcherite village, where they always saw
    Labour as integral to everything that they had gone up in the world in order to escape.)

    One of the Independents was first elected for Labour and is a millionaire businessman to whom the Conservative Party is clearly of no interest even after his having broken with Labour, while another was at least a Labour voter until the Iraq War. In Lanchester. There is a third Independent. Plus 11 Labour. Eleven. More than two thirds. Elected unopposed. In Lanchester.

    The minimum age having been lowered, my record as the youngest ever member has been beaten by a full two years. It had stood since the last century. But a 19-year-old who works in the office of the local Labour MP, who herself lives here and whose husband has also just got back on, has now been elected. Unopposed. In Lanchester. This time last year, he was a schoolboy. Good for him, say I. But this would have been unimaginable in the very recent past.

    I cannot believe for one second that Lanchester is an isolated, or even a terribly unusual, example. Across the rural and the middle-class North, including among people who even throughout the Blair Era loathed Labour as they loathed their own former accents or the people whom they had felt obliged to invite to their children’s weddings, the Conservative
    Party has become only the faintest shadow of a shade, while UKIP is not really getting anywhere, either.

    In each case, if it cannot take or even fight the likes of Lanchester, then it has no constituency in the North. Without which, it simply cannot win a General Election.

    • Barakzai

      Jeez. Pooter lives . . .

    • telemachus

      And a youthful figure you cut on the website too!

  • Fat Bloke on Tour

    SP

    Nissan in 84 was a screwdriver plant looking for low wages.
    It was a sop to the EU for the huge volume of vehicles coming in from Japan.

    It was the second Nissan involvement in the EU – Alpha Romeo in Italy was the first.
    It was even the second Japanese involvement in the UK.

    BL got there first with Honda and the Triumph Acclaim.
    Please work the numbers, the success of Nissan in the UK owes more to TB / GB.

    • anyfool

      You do not know what you are talking about, there is plenty villages around Sunderland who need an idiot to walk their whippet and wash their flat cap while they go to work at Nissan and make really good money.
      You are the type of Labour asshole who holds the real actual working class in deep contempt.
      Thatcher got the Nissan factory because the Japanese respected her and believed her when told the north east could do the job, the two turds you mention had nothing to do with it.

      • David Lindsay

        We don’t say “asshole” in Britain. You have clearly never been here. Most Thatcher fans are Americans who know so little about Britain that they do not even know that we do not say “asshole”. Least of all in the North East, where the first vowel sound in the corresponding word is very elongated indeed.

        • anyfool

          Some of us have actually worked abroad, not everyone in the North East is a parochial little Hitler on the parish council, I actually served my time on Chester-Le-Street Rural Council, stupid boy go to bed.

          • David Lindsay

            Well, considering that Chester-le-Street RDC was abolished in 1974, that does give some perspective on how in touch with matters here you are at the moment. Or in the Eighties, even.

            I am an American taxpayer, I’ll have you know. And I used to write for the American Conservative under the Editorship of Freddy Gray, now of this parish. Among other things.

            • Colonel Mustard

              An American taxpayer no less? And you’ll have us know it. Tee hee.

          • monty61

            I remember this numpty, going on about how he had a ‘Drivers License’. Not exactly in touch with the UK zeitgeist anyway.

        • Fergus Pickering

          I’m sorry Mr Lindsay, people do say ‘asshole’ hear. Young people who watch American television. I don’t sy it, but then I am old. So are you, it seems.

      • Fat Bloke on Tour

        Any …

        I fear you are havering.

        The biggest attraction to the area was the fact that the North East equipped the Japanese Navy with battleships to fight the Russo-Japanese War.

        The connection was so close that in the run upto the First World War the Japanese Navy had better battle cruisers than the RN.

    • Radford_NG

      It was because Nissan came to respect the British workforce.They had a ten year development for Spain but gave-up after three years because of the Old Spanish Traditions of the unions[as they were known in Britain pre1979—-not `Practices`;younger writers please note].

      • David Lindsay

        British workers have never been the problem. It has been British managers. As much within the trade unions as anywhere else.

      • Fat Bloke on Tour

        Raddy

        The Growing Nissan plant in Barca must be a mirage then.

        The Ford plant in Valencia must be a mirage then – still going strong while Dagenham is just a memory.

        The GM plant in Zaragoza must be a mirage then – the one that carries on while we have the regular panic over the Astra at EP.

        I would welcome a debate about the Snatch’s economic and industrial legacy but tripe like yours just makes all to easy.

        Consequently away oot an’ play tig wae the buses ya trumpet.

        • Radford_NG

          My reference is BBC Radio 4 business documentary.

          • Fat Bloke on Tour

            Raddy

            Well that might be a warning to question the upper middle class, private school educated, establishment numpties that run the Beeb then.

            They were talking tripe then.
            They are talking tripe now.

            And you are a sheep that follows the crowd.

        • Colonel Mustard

          “Raddy”? Looks like it’s going to be you that’s “away oot” in 2014. And not before time. The departure of Scotch socialist politicians from England will be cause for real celebrations. Get orf my land.

  • anyfool

    Why do journalists and television reporters especially the BBC always hunt out mindless morons like that man from Murton not Morton, he is no more a symbol of the NE than the men in a club in Consett who were plied with beer by Channel 4 unit on Monday until they could secure a suitable reactionary comment on Thatchers death.
    There is a sizeable contingent in the NE who neither supported nor wanted the miners strike to happen and that was in the pit villages.

    • David Lindsay

      But they didn’t want the pit closures, or that of the (profitable) Consett steelworks or the Sunderland shipyards, either.

      • Andy

        I missed the Miners strike when they stuck against the massive programme of pit closures undertaken by . . . . . Harold Wilson between 1964 and 1970s. Do tell us all about it.

        • David Lindsay

          Does the phrase “lost the historical narrative” mean anything to you?

          People, who may even be correct about the facts, will write funny little “revisionist” books saying that sort of thing. They will review each others’ in this magazine, But no one else will read them. Tough.

          • Andy

            I am right about the facts. Harold Wilson closed more pits in 5 years than were closed under Maggie in 11 1/2 years. And lets also remember that when the strike finished some mines were in such a bad state they couldn’t be reopened. So credit where it is due. The two men who destroyed the British Coal Industry are Harold Wilson and Arthur Scargill. Both of whom are great heros for the Left, be it the soft or Fascist Left.

            • David Lindsay

              I am right about the facts.

              But no one outside a weird little world of sectarian Rightism is ever going to care.

              Tough. But true.

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              Don’t bother he is far to arrogant and stupid and consumed with his desire for a one party state to be influenced by facts and reason.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            That sounds like the start of your autobiography – print run one copy.

            • David Lindsay

              My existing books sell so healthily that I am now a taxpayer both in the United Kingdom and the United States. They have posted me a slip all the way from San Bernadino to prove it. I should ask where my American vote is, on Jeffersonian principles. But my autobiography would not be as marketable. Or as printable. That’s right. Both.

              • Fergus Pickering

                Bet you don’t sell as many books as Jeffrey Archer.

        • Fat Bloke on Tour

          Pandy

          In the same vein how about 300 words on the Education secretary that closed the biggest number of Grammar schools?

          As mentioned before you SpeccyLand muppets just make it so easy.

          Crack shot though – one bullet – both feet and a ricochet through your left nostril.

          • Colonel Mustard

            The closure of grammar schools was a Labour party policy originating from Crosland – Circular 10/65 was a Labour instrument. Under Labour it was compulsory for LEAs to close them. As Secretary of State for Education Thatcher ended the compulsion on local authorities to convert. However, many were so far down the path that it would have been prohibitively expensive to attempt to reverse the process. She didn’t “close grammar schools” the LEAs created comprehensives.

            So not so easy and your shot misses by a mile. You crack yourself up to be such a clever clogs with facts but you blew that one.

            PS Your little trick of using the diminutive is moronic.

            • Fergus Pickering

              Crosland said he would close every fucking grammar school in the land. And why shuld he worry. He went to a public school.

      • anyfool

        No one except Scargill and co wanted the closures but when you have a very few men actually hewing the coal out of the face having to support hundreds of non productive fellow workers? it is easy to see why they were not viable, of Consett I do not know about.
        I worked on the finishing jobs on the construction of the covered shipyard at the Pallion in Sunderland and the disputes about minor childish details were unbelievable, ffs they even stopped because there was no hot water, they went back after a few hours with no loss of pay, we went home another wasted day.

    • Jamie

      How big was this “sizeable contingent”? If it was smaller than those who did support the strike then to use one of them would have been less representative. But I don’t suppose you’d mind that.

      • anyfool

        What are you talking about, this is a blog for people to express opinions.

        I live in a ex pit village and during the strike it was a pit village, I worked in a pit village during the strike, judging from what I have heard over the last 28+ years it could have been either way, as time went by people became less afraid to speak out.

        • Jamie

          Sorry, I don’t understand what you’ve written. Could you use English?

          • Fergus Pickering

            Oh ef off Jamie. What he said is entirely clear.

            • Jamie

              Really? Even the “could have been either way bit”? What is the subject there? By the way, it’s ‘Eff off”. Two Fs.

  • Hookeslaw

    Once a thick socialist always a thick socialist. The Thatcher Conservative govt brought Nissan to Sunderland and the trade unions objected.
    Keep these stories coming, the more the socialists expose themselves the better. Who can doubt the value of voting conservative now.

    If anyone were in any doubt I read that the BBC will likely play anti-Thatcher song ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’ over the weekend.

    • David Lindsay

      They say that they only will if they have to, because it is Number One or the highest climber (how hearing that term again takes one back). But I remember when they would not play Number One records by Robson and Jerome purely because they were, so to speak, Number Two.

      And the Beeb will also be covering the equally Third World “Ceremonial Funeral”, a concept invented for Diana. We do not have “Ceremonial Funerals” for politicians. Nor do we dance in the streets when they die. This is not somewhere up the Congo. This is Britain.

      • Andy

        You are a mindless cretin at times – usually all the time.

        Ceremonial Funerals were not ‘a concept invented for Diana’. They are a regular feature of our public life. Queen Mary had a Ceremonial Funeral, Earl Mountbatten had a Ceremonial Funeral, so did Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. None of them had State Funerals.

        Since the War there have been just two State Funerals. One was for our late Sovereign King George VI, and the second, by command of the Queen, was for Sir Winston Churchill. And that required a motion in both Houses.

        • David Lindsay

          No, what she is having was invented for Diana. The only other one since has been for the Queen Mother, for whom they would othwerise have had to have invented something anyway. But it didn’t turn out that way..

          And “full military honours” for someone who had no connection to the Forces (the Irish Guards carried the Queen Mother’s coffin because she was the Colonel), like her hijacking of the Falklands Victory Parade, stealing the proper role of a Commander-in-Chief whose own son has been

          • terregles2

            Think it easy to be brave when you are sending other people to do the fighting.

            • David Lindsay

              I have no problem with the war itself (nor had, for example, Michael Foot), although it was her incompetence that had brought on the initial invasion, whereas the previous Government had successfully prevented one. But it is not for the Prime Minister to take the salute like that.

              Nor did it do her any electoral good: Labour and the Alliance, both pro-war, took far more votes between them in 1983 than the did the Conservatives, who took fewer than they had managed in 1979, when an even swing throughout the country would have resulted in a Labour victory.

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                Your assertion in your second paragraph may or may not be a “fact” but you seem to have “lost the historical narrative” on this occasion. The suggestion that Labour with it’s lengthy “suicide note” might have won the 1983 General Election under any circumstances is risible in the extreme.

                • David Lindsay

                  Only if you can’t read numbers. As soon as anyone falls back on the “1983 suicide note” line, then you know that they are as they speak, tabloid trash. It is one of those terms never deployed with a straight face, if at all, by any serious person, by definition. It is an excuse for not having voted for the only major party ever to have gone into a General Election with a manifesto commitment to withdrawal from the EU.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  No mr Lindsay, your disgusting postings following the death of Lady Thatcher, many of which,thankfully, were removed by moderators were “tabloid trash”. Your rewriting of recent history is merely deluded.

              • http://twitter.com/TheAgedP The Aged P

                FYI since 1950 every “winning” party has polled less than the others combined – I am astonished by the audacity of your pontifications…lol..

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  I am not in the least bit surprised.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  This is a recent Labour trick to claim the winning party has no mandate because a majority did not vote for it – e.g. there were more people voting for other (socialist or socialist leaning) parties. It is deployed regularly in these threads by all the usual suspects. There must be a script somewhere.

              • Fergus Pickering

                As I remember Michael Foot’s solution was to send a task force and then have t steam in circles until Galtieri surrendered.

    • JamesdelaMare

      Hookslaw – It’s all very well trying to make a virtue out of Nissan replacing ship-yards and coalmines but had the shipyards and coalmines been more carefully managed and not destroyed, then we’d have had the advantage of all three industries – not just one. And moreover, far less of the shocking hatred felt by some (whatever portion it may be) in the north against the Tories and their bovine southern supporters.

      • David Lindsay

        Very well said.

      • http://twitter.com/TheAgedP The Aged P

        Good grief – are you still banging that drum? “Careful management” was the policy tried 1964-79. It basically meant pouring taxpayers money into ramshackle infrastructure totally controlled by a bovine union mafia. Those industries were not competitive and were essentially part of a system run to benefit producers rather than customers and therefore doomed to fail

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        These shipyards and coal mines were uncompetitive having been torn to shreds by inflation, militant trade unionism, poor management and feeble productivity. They were kept afloat by constant subsidies of taxpayers money thus taking resources from that part of the economy that was competitive. By competitive, I mean those businesses that were profitable and forced to pay higher taxes to subsidise failing industries instead of being allowed to keep more of their profits to reinvest in their own activities. No amount of wishful thinking would have made those failing industries competitive in the face of cheaper and better quality foreign competition. Had the mines, shipyards etc been profitable when these subsidies were removed then they might have survived and might still be here today. They were not and like any other failing business they closed. The same can be said for the indigenous car industry. Thatcher simply faced up to reality as the previous Labour government should have done and stopped throwing good money after bad.

        • JamesdelaMare

          NC – Things were going wrong long ago. Back to 1945, long before Thatcher. You do what almost every commenter and politician has been doing for decades and still continues to do. You give a mere accounting system priority over real work, the real needs of a population, the good of the country.

          Mrs Thatcher, having grown up in the limits of a provincial greengrocers, and then for thirty years represented the interests of her north London constituents, many of whom were skilled Jewish commercial people who knew very well what measures would benefit them best, never embarked on the sort of financial reforms that have recently become so obviously necessary.

          This isn’t a matter of choosing free markets and enterprise over “socialism” as the Tories generally claim, but investigating and finding real solutions to economic idiocy that has beset us since 1918 at least, and will continue to do so until we address it properly. They tried to address it by the formation of NEDC (where I was employed fifty years ago) but shied away from it later. Only Major Douglas of Social Credit and very few others tried to address it seriously.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            I genuinely sympathise with your feelings here but you simply cannot ignore the fundamental truth that if you try and sell something for less than it cost you to produce it then your business will inevitably fail. You can call it unfeeling, unimaginative or an accountants mentality but it will not stop it from being true. The only viable solution I can conceive of is to try and ensure that the local populace is well educated and trained and that taxes are low enough and the transport, distribution etc infrastructure are good enough to encourage businesses to locate in that locality. Sadly, that is still no guarantee of success.

            • JamesdelaMare

              Come on, NCh.! “sell something for less than it cost you …” Exactly the point I’m making. Why does it “cost” you more? Who fixes the prices and the value of money? Or the amounts of money? We’re told that prices of houses are high because there’s a shortage. Always told that – every week. But it’s nothing to do with any “shortage”. The prices are high because much money is made available for the purchase of houses. If the unions – and far, far more particularly, the management and owners – could not receive the rewards they do, while the goods and services are still needed, then you must look at why so much money is made available for those rewards – which in turn stacks up the prices under our accounting system.

              Politicians, be they socialist or conservative – have not made any serious attempt to remove this vast flaw in our economy since the 1930s, and it wasn’t a very serious try then. Thatcher did not even seem to understand the need to do so, and the result was the ludicrous free-for-all which caused the mess today. And the mess will get worse.

              • dalai guevara

                Finally a balanced comment free of party political posturing – not often seen on this site.

              • fantasy_island

                If we could import coal from Poland for a lower price than we could mine it here then our domestic industry was doomed to fail.

                It really is this simple, in a Global market socialist’s have nowhere to hide.

                • Fat Bloke on Tour

                  FI

                  Coal not dole.

                  You try to fix the cost issues – investment, new mining techniques.
                  If they are structural then you are into managed decline.
                  Start with the high cost pits and work on employment alternatives.

                  In the 80’s adding £10bill to the import bill would have crippled the £.

                  Pound plummets, uemployment rockets, tax revenue falls, government spending soars …

                  Cars / food / holidays go up and what happens to the cost of the Polish coal?

                • fantasy_island

                  All the coal is still there and no doubt will be mined once the price of extraction is below the market price, providing the green loonies don’t throw another spanner in the works.

                  This coal not dole mantra leaves me cold, I live in a former mining village only 1 mile from Corton Wood (now a really convenient shopping centre by the way, creating new jobs)

                  New mining techniques fair enough, 30 years have passed so we may be well on the way to a workable solution, all we need now are some coal fired power stations!

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                It is probably best to leave comparisons with the housing market to one side on this occasion. You seem to have identified a flaw but I will be honest, I am not sure what that flaw is. I was simply pointing out that if it costs you £200 to produce a ton of coal (management, labour, plant, depreciation etc) and the world market price is £120 a ton then the mine/business in question is not viable and will inevitably close. That seems to me to be a major flaw but the only way I can envisage solving it is to reduce costs dramatically and that inevitably means labour costs. Management costs, whilst they might seem high at an individual level, are a minimal component of the overall cost of production. If you can come up with a viable solution to this problem which does not involve the government taking money in taxes from profitable businesses in order to subsidise unprofitable businesses I and many others would love to hear it. Remember, if you keep taking money from profitable businesses in this way it restricts their ability to invest in new plant, people etc and they too run the risk of becoming unviable and putting their workers jobs at risk.

          • Fergus Pickering

            I said Maggie Thatcher was a Jew.

  • Russell

    “Margaret Thatcher remains a truly hated figure in the north of England.”.

    Really?

    I grew up in the North of England and she had massive support for her policies in many areas. Even in areas like Sunderland she had some support.

    I wish journalists and in particular bbc news presenters wouldn’t just accept this tosh and repeat it endlessly, until it is accepted by them and repeated as if fact, misrepresenting the true situation.

    Of course she was hated/detested in some areas of various constituencies, as are other ex PM’s Blair & Brown, Even Miliband & Balls, are hated/detested in many constituencies along with Cameron and Osborne.

    • anyfool

      Could not agree more, I still live in the North East and even during the strike the only trouble was on the picket lines, the strike was kept going by hardline union reps who were receiving multiples of picketing fees from the union.
      If the newspapers actually did a proper job they would find Scargill runs Maggie very close in the hate stakes.

      • David Lindsay

        I hear that.

        But he hasn’t a said a word this week. He must have been asked, and we’d certainly have been told. Other people have danced in the streets, or shot their mouths off on the telly, sometimes both. But not him. He does deserve some credit for that.

        • HarryTheHornyHippo

          Perhaps he’s worried about the comb over.

      • telemachus

        He said when told by friends that Thatcher was dead
        “Scargill is alive”

        • David Lindsay

          The old ones are the best, I suppose.

          It is said that when George IV, who had legendary marital difficulties, was told of Napoleon’s death with the words “Your Majesty’s greatest enemy is dead”, he replied, “Really? I didn’t know that she was ill.” He might even have been serious.

    • telemachus

      Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliot told the Echo: “It is a sad day for her family, however, her policies had a devastating impact on Sunderland and the North East.”

      • David Lindsay

        Yet that was a Tory seat in the Seventies. When the Tories ran the councils in Glasgow, Newcastle and Liverpool, and returned more than half of that last’s MPs. Read that over again: until 1979, over half of the MPs from Liverpool were Tories.

        • telemachus

          Then the Tories forgot

          • David Lindsay

            They have now forgotten completely. They are convinced in their own minds that no one in the North or in Scotland ever did vote for them, so that they themselves have not lost anything. Oh, yes, they have.

            • dalai guevara

              Which means that if Scotland absconded in 2014, the Tories would face the dilemma of sporting a clear majority in Parliament. Dave would have to stay on for four more years.

              Now, I can almost hear the brains of Shapps & Co. rattling in true ‘yeah but no but yeah but no’ little Britain fashion.

              • Mynydd

                In 1979 election the Conservative party won 22 Scottish seats, in the 2010 election the Conservative party won 1 Scottish seat. Scotland and Wales are already lost to Mr Cameron. The Conservative party will never again win an overall majority while Scotland and Wales remain in the Union thanks to Mrs Thatcher, well done the lady..

                • dalai guevara

                  correct…which means that you agree with me, so you have voted the wrong way round. As you would when voting for the scaremonger in 2015.

                • Mynydd

                  Scotland and Wales must stay within the UK if only to keep Cameron and the conservatives out of power.

                • McRobbie

                  You are certainly correct in that the english conservative voters would be ensure a tory majority in a english parliament. But in the longer term, when Scotland and Wales etc find out just what left wing governments do with economies when their hands are free then there will be a realisation that conservatives are the only party to trust with the economy, and the Scottish in particular like their money to be safe.

            • telemachus

              The Tories are now a Home Counties faction
              We cannot trust them with Northern Tax Money

      • Fergus Pickering

        Oh well, if Julie Elliot said it then it must be true.

    • HJ777

      Yes, I worked in manufacturing industry in County Durham from 1982. I never heard anyone express any hatred of her.

      I know plenty of people who were learning Japanese in view of employment opportunities at Nissan, Komatsu, etc..

    • Jamie

      Could you give evidence that she has “massive support in many areas” of the North East? Because history suggests that you have disregard for facts http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/mar/26/north-east-general-election-guide

      • Russell

        Pathetic attempt of distortion to my words (a labour trait).

        I said I grew up in the North of England and she had massive support in some areas, and I actually said she had some support even in Sunderland!

        Nowhere did I say she had massive support in the North East.

        Reading was obviously not one your best subjects, try reading my comment again, carefully!

        The North of England represents many millions of voters, and many millions voted Conservative.

        Instead of misrepresenting what I said like your chums in labour do, try adding up the total Conservative votes in the North of England (of which the North East is a small part),

        • Jamie

          You are right. I was wrong about East – I misread. You did say “I grew up in the North of England and she had massive support for her policies in many areas.” Name some of the many (you said many, not some) areas of the North where Thatcher had massive support.

          • Russell

            Maybe though your reading skills are poor, your maths skills may be better. If you bother to trawl through the election results for her 2rd term of election (after pit closures and unions were brought under control, and de-nationalisation had begun), and trawl through the seats in Cheshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cumbria for starters perhaps even you may be surprised.

            In 1983 she obtained the Conservatives best election results since 1945 (with 13 million votes compared to labours 8.5 million)

            1.4million votes in the Northwest compared to labours 1.2million!

            Only in North Yorkshire did labour get a higher % of votes and then only by 680,000 to 590,000!

            • Jamie

              Matbe? Where are your figures from? Please give a link. IF they are accurate, for that one election, where opposition was split three ways with the formation of the SDP, then mentioning two areas is short of “some” and far short of”massive support in many areas” which was your contention. ps I think you mean arithmetic, rather than maths.

              • Russell

                Try doing a little bit of research yourself. Type in 1983 general election results as a starter, find the official government reference, then add Northern and dig deeper if you want to see individual constituencies..I didn’t mention two areas, I actually said Cheshire,Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cumbria, perhaps to assist you I should have said sums, not maths (or arithmetic)..

                • Jamie

                  You don’t have the stats to back up your claim that Thatcher had “massive support in many areas” in the North. You name other areas but give no figures. Sums = arithmetic. Maths was simply inaccurate – like your unsupported statement. I won’t bother replying again unless you produce actual evidence with a link. Which you won’t. Because what you said isn’t true.

              • Fergus Pickering

                What is the difference between arithmetic and maths, fellow? I spy intellectual snobbery. I can’t add, subtract, multiply or divide, but hey I understand MATHS.

                • Jamie

                  It is not Intellectual snobbery to differentiate between different things. It is accuracy.

            • Fat Bloke on Tour

              Russ

              Loving it.
              Just loving it.

              Shropshire, Staffordshire are in the North.
              Straight out of the Cental Casting for a London centric view.

              As for the numbers – that is just data – where is the context.
              Falklands factor, Media booster club, SDP splitters, stay at home vote.

              Consequently please continue to wallow in your Maggie love.
              The point you don’t get is when the end came, it came quickly and it was the Tory party that stabbed her in the front as she was a liability.

              Iron Lady – Pig Iron Lady – Very brittle.

              • Russell

                You really should go back on tour, preferably to North Korea or Cuba.

  • Maxi

    Stop the constant attacks on public services and workers. Just an idea.

    • Russell

      The British taxpayers cannot afford the public sector size or the salaries/pensions staff in the public sector who are their employees!
      The numbers must be cut to something affordable like 30% or less of the tax take and their salaries cannot be automatically rising year on year along with their generous pensions.
      They are not being attacked, they are being made affordable and fit for purpose (what we can afford). All the ‘Pilgrims’ have to go and if necessary be replaced with staff who carry out the job they are meant/employed to do (like teachers/police/nurses/civil servants etc.) not anti government trade Union lackeys.

      • JamesdelaMare

        Russell – Of course the British taxpayers can “afford” the public sector. There is a vast surplus of income that is frittered away on high living, over-consumption of food and all the rest of today’s luxury items. Other people, and our people in other times, live happily on far less materialism. It’s that they’re conditioned by business and some politicians to spend money on business and not on public services or assets. There’s no sensible policy to deflate the upper reaches of personal income. That’s nothing to do with socialism – it’s to do with making a happier and more efficient society.

        • terregles2

          We have billions to waste on Trident. The money is there it is just being badly spent.

        • Russell

          Cuba has a society similar to the one you are painting of social bliss, much as the USSR had. I suggest you move to one of these ‘socialist’ countries if you want the State to decide what your income is spent on.

          • David Lindsay

            You know that they have lost when…

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