Monday, April 8, 2013

RIP Margaret Thatcher

She was Ronald Reagan's sidekick wasn't she? I'm just trolling you. The Iron Lady struck me as being one of the good 'uns among the political class. There's always room for "could have, should have" when looking over someone's career, but she got it right more often than she got it wrong. Peter Hitchens knows the score:

Mr Healey, who even now still preserves a Yorkshire accent, and was in those days one of the politicians whose speeches would fill the chamber, and who rather prided himself on his ability to cope with the rough stuff, got the shock of his life ( and so did everyone else) when the supposed Finchley housewife suddenly shook off nearly 50 years of delicacy, pearls and elocution lessons, and spoke in the language of the Lincolnshire back streets:

‘ The right hon. Gentleman is afraid of an election, is he? Afraid? Frightened? Frit? Could not take it? Cannot stand it? If I were going to cut and run, I should have gone after the Falklands. Frightened! Right now inflation is lower than it has been for 13 years—a record which the right hon. Gentleman could not begin to touch.’

‘Frit!’. We had never heard it before,  especially not from her, but you knew what it meant as soon as it struck the eardrum. It was much more damaging than ‘afraid’ or ‘frightened’ because it came from somewhere much deeper.   It was the sharp, unanswerable Saxon jibe and challenge, pronounced with a sneer, that you couldn’t answer and which everyone listening would know had struck home. It was completely British,  and it was not from the neat world of suburban lawns and afternoon tea, but from the other less gentle world of cracked pavements and grimy brick walls where the only thing to do when in trouble was to stand and fight. And so she did.

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