THATCHER’S FUNERAL ‘POLITICAL STUNT’ AIMED AT BOLSTERING TORY PARTY
Security has been on high alert in London on Wednesday where the funeral of Margaret Thatcher took place. Britain's first and only female Prime Minister died last week at the age of 87, following a stroke.
The national secretary of the UK’s Socialist Workers Party, Charlie Kimber, believes Thatcher doesn’t deserve such honors, with the grand ceremony reminding him of a feast in time of plague.
RT: With Margaret Thatcher put to rest, what can you say about the political legacy she left for Britain and the whole world?
Charlie Kimber: Well, I think we’re seeing a turbo-charged version of Thatcher’s policies at the moment. And, in fact, the present conservative government under David Cameron is going much further that even Thatcher dared.
But we should recognize that what Thatcher represented was a big step backwards in British society. It meant an assault upon the conditions that working people in Britain have won since World War II. It represented friendship towards dictatorship and oppression across the world. We remember that she called Nelson Mandela of the African National Congress, for example, a terrorist. She was great friend of Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean dictator. She was a good friend of Ronald Reagan, one of the most right-wing US leaders. And she represented a big step backwards, which we still haven’t recovered from.
Her foreign policies ramped up a vast increase in the nuclear arsenals of the West. They were prepared to use force together in the Falklands where a war was fought with over 900 deaths, both Argentinean and British. Not for any decent reason, but a war that was fought to save Thatcher’s face and to bolster British imperialism. And we should recognize that she was a warmonger, who found a blood brother in Ronald Reagan.
RT: Thatcher’s funeral cost around £10 million. Do you think such cost was warranted taking the difficult economic situation in the UK into account?
CK:I think it’s quite significant that in Britain itself and internationally there’s a growing sense that what this funeral was about was a political stunt. It wasn’t about a burial of an individual. It was a political stunt orchestrated in order to cover up the reality of what her policies meant and to canonize Thatcherism – the idea that working people must pay for the crisis that presently is engulfing the world. We remember her attack on the miners.
This is an orchestrated political event. £10 million spent on it at a time when the British people are being told that they must cut back on vital welfare services and must accept job losses; they must accept cuts. Disabled people are being told that they are no longer entitled to the benefits they formerly received. And instead money is lavished not on the funeral of an individual, but on a political event, which is designed to bolster the conservative party under David Cameron and that tradition, which, regrettably, Tony Blair and New Labor continued as well, of putting the market first in everything and peoples interests right at the back of the queue.
RT: All the comments you make about Thatcher are negative. Is there really nothing positive you can say about her reign?
CK:I’m afraid you won’t find me saying positive things about Margaret Thatcher. What I will remember, I suppose, is the comradeship and the fellowship of those, who resisted Margaret Thatcher from when she came into from 1979 to when she was driven out in 1990. And I remember very well the Poll Tax rebellion, which saw 14 million people refuse to pay the tax that Thatcher had introduced, the riots in central London. And this was what brought Thatcher down. And what I’ll remember is that those of us, who fought against her and ultimately defeated Thatcher, and I hope we’ll be able to do the same thing to the present crop of Tories and the policies they represent.