Baroness Thatcher dead

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Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby yurell » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:05 pm UTC

Ex-Prime Minister of the UK, Baroness Thatcher, has died following a stroke.

I made this a separate thread because I know there are a lot of opinions on her, and she was despised as much as she was loved (by different people, obviously).
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby sigsfried » Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:08 pm UTC

Sad day for the Conservative Party. It is easy to forget that she is the only female Prime Minister we have had and while she was reviled by some I do hope we can have a little break from the insults.

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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby Ormurinn » Mon Apr 08, 2013 5:32 pm UTC

Incredibly strong woman who made a lot of difficult decisions.

Set the country back on track economically, defended British people at home and overseas against both domestic terrorists and foreign dictators.

Did so at the cost of communities like the one I grew up in. Started off loved by the working class, ended up despised by some of it. Stood up for individualism against collectivism.

Supported a ton of awful legislation too, homophobic in particular.

Controversial lady. Braver by far than any of the buffoons in power today
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby sigsfried » Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:33 pm UTC

I suppose you could describe the Poll Tax as brave but it isn't a bravery I want in politicians.

I really don't think she should be getting a ceremonial funeral. Is she really in the same class as the Duke of Wellington, Churchill or William Gladstone (I have a feeling I have missed someone out there but not more than one or two names). To claim her as a great beloved by the people in the mold of Churchill. Well I suppose that party in Brixton is all about people commerating her memory then.

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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby CorruptUser » Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:45 pm UTC

Churchill wasn't exactly beloved in his time...

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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby sigsfried » Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:55 pm UTC

Despite being very definetly a man of the elite when the precession went past London dockers bowed their cranes as a mark of respect, can you imagine them doing it for Thatcher?
Thatcher has died and the response is not universally one of respect but one of parties in numerous cities celebrating her death, now of course she deserves dignity but she is arguably the most divisive British politician since the war, probably further back than that.

Plus of course how is it going to look for Britain when the inevitable protests mean police are required to use force to dispel protestors. While I am sure there are some that think such an image would suit Thatcher there is no doubt it will be profoundly damaging.

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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby Ormurinn » Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:56 pm UTC

sigsfried wrote:I suppose you could describe the Poll Tax as brave but it isn't a bravery I want in politicians.

I really don't think she should be getting a ceremonial funeral. Is she really in the same class as the Duke of Wellington, Churchill or William Gladstone (I have a feeling I have missed someone out there but not more than one or two names). To claim her as a great beloved by the people in the mold of Churchill. Well I suppose that party in Brixton is all about people commerating her memory then.


The poll tax was unfair and idiotic. The Falklands was brave, as was facing down the Unions.

I feel revoking her right to a state funeral would smack of historiography.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby sigsfried » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:52 pm UTC

What right?

Thatcher was an acceptable leader in some ways, but I don't see how she did something so unique that you could say she had a right to a state funeral.

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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby Garm » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:59 pm UTC

I think this is a pretty good article on the current situation:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/08/margaret-thatcher-death-etiquette
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby bigglesworth » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:04 pm UTC

She's not getting one, anyway. She will be receiving military honours - the carriage will be pulled by horses, not Royal Marines and there isn't an Act of Parliament associated with it.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby sigsfried » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:16 pm UTC

True it is technically one step down from a state funeral, but it is well beyond that normally given to PMs. I just don't see how she deserves it but say Clement Attlee (Creation of the NHS and independence for India) or one can even make a case for Blair getting one if Thatcher does, and I doubt you would find many people supporting that idea unless we just start giving this level of status to all PMs (hardly ideal).

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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby eSOANEM » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:35 am UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Supported a ton of awful legislation too, homophobic in particular.


It is true that she did support section 28, but she was also one of the few Conservative MPs who spoke in support of the repeal of the Buggery Act (decriminalising homosexuality). It seems to be one of the few issues where she either didn't have strong convictions or didn't stand up for them but it is still unfair to highlight section 28 without mentioning the Buggery Act.

Ormurinn wrote:I feel revoking her right to a state funeral would smack of historiography.


As has been said, there is no right to a state funeral. No PM has had one since Churchill's and even before then they weren't common.

Furthermore, she had made statements before about not wanting a state funeral which is what I find particularly baffling about this ceremonial funeral, not only will it end up being a horrible disrespectful event as the funeral route is lined with protesters, but, chances are she wouldn't have wanted it anyway.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby HungryHobo » Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:59 am UTC

on the one hand: she did feed on the blood of virgins and sleep hanging from rafters but a post over on reddit from someone trying to show the positive sides makes some good points. personally I didn't know how screwed the UK was when she came to power.

It was like greece is now in a lot of ways.

During the 70's the UK was in the process of imploding. Some of the highlights of this included;

The UK had a 3 day work week for most of 1974 as the miners union was striking so electricity was only available for transport and businesses 3 days a week.

The top rate of tax reached 98%. There was nearly no investment activity in the UK as a result and so no growth.

Inflation was out of control. The highest yearly average was 24.2% (in British history it has only been higher once) but in July 1978 it hit 38% (the highest monthly average in British history). As a result no one was saving, pay was having to be raised weekly and prices in stores would change daily. At gas stations people were paid to stand outside with big chalk boards and a radio so the price could be updated hourly.

By 1979 a very large percentage of the country was on strike. Half of the hospitals were closed to non-emergencies, trash was piling up around the country as service was reduced to monthly and most of the public transport system was operating with a 10% schedule.
While unemployment was very low there was massive job duplication in the public sector, in some cases there was 5 people filling what would have been a full time role for one person.

There was huge resistance against economic modernization, when you left school the opportunities to go in to a skilled field were extremely limited as a result.
As an example of this by 1979 the UK was consuming or exporting only about half of the coal that it mined but as a result of the political power the miners union wielded it was impossible to close down mines and the labor force used in mining was actually increasing despite improved equipment.

These hideous blocks of identical housing which were rife with crime. During the 60's and 70's government housing policy was attempting to push as many people in to these blocks as possible on the premise that if people were all forced to live in the same kind of housing then society would become more equal.
The end of the Breton Woods system meant the GBP was massively overvalued. The loss in value collapsed the import market, it was to expensive to import new technologies from the US so the UK behind to bag behind in technology development hugely.
By 1976 the UK was months away from bankruptcy. An IMF bailout was secured which would have kept the country running until 1981 but that would be the only credit available, no one was buying British bonds because the continued fall in GBP value, Europe had already turned down the UK for a loan and the IMF had stated they would be unwilling to extend further credit.

if the government had continued operating in the same manner then when 1981 rolled around and the government ran out of money to operate there would have been the largest economic depression in British history which would have eviscerated about 55% of output (the US great depression peaked at a 38% drop for comparison) followed by a recovery to a much lower average industrial output.

Edit:
If someone likes her or loves her is going to come down to politics but those suggesting she "destroyed" the country are ignoring her policies from 1979 to 1984 are the only reason they have the opportunities they do today.
The policies which usually are controversial are;

She put a cap on education related spending and created a funding agency for schools which had the power to shut down or cut funding for poorly performing schools.

She cut social services and social housing. The speech see gave which is often quoted ("There is no society") was in relation to this, the policy set was designed to give people tools to help themselves rather then have them rely on government services.

Her most unpopular policy was reforming the property tax to a resident tax (AKA the Poll Tax). Instead of your local services (Trash pickup etc) being funded based on the value of your property it was based on how many adults lived in a household. This caused rioting all over the country. The current council tax system is a fusion of this and the previous system, the amount of council tax you pay is based on the value of your home and the number of people who live in it.
She crushed the unions. There were very few restrictions on industrial action until her premiership so unions could call action without even a ballot of their members, the political effects of this over the previous few decades had been devastating with the large unions able to bring down governments at any time they chose. The head of one of the miners union (NUM) called a strike in 1984 without calling a ballot (as he had been unsuccessful three times in the past). The strike was declared illegal, broken up by the police and she ended up closing down 150 mines to break the back of the NUM.

Adopted a policy allowing individuals to buy their state housing with government backed mortgages.

About 60% of what had been public sector jobs in 1978 became private sector jobs by 1990. Gas, Electricity, Water, Steel, Airlines, Telecoms and anything else that didn't seem appropriate for public ownership as spun in to a GSE and then either sold or floated.

Draconian security restrictions while dealing with the IRA, if you had an Irish accent in London during the 80's it wasn't unusual to be detained by the police for hours. The IRA tried to assassinate her twice despite the fact she was pro-unionization, the population of Northern Ireland did (and still do) poll more unfavorably to unification then Britons as a whole so this was never really pursued.

Lots of military spending, too much for a relatively small country. The Falklands dispute could have been resolved with the threat of nuclear action against Argentina but she wanted to build British morale by kicking the crap out of a third world dictatorship.

She supported South Africa, Khmer Rouge and a number of other very questionable regimes around the world.

My personal view on her is somewhat mixed. I, and indeed most other economists, would agree with most of her economic policy (but perhaps not the sequence or the timetable for it) but her social & foreign policy was extremely "old fashioned" and really out of place. I hugely respect her fortitude and political avoidance though even when I disagree with the policies she was supporting, the quality to stand up for what you believe in even against your own party is a quality that's sadly lacking in most politicians around the world (famously when her approval rating dropped to 23% and the conservatives were pleading with her to pull back on some of her policies she stated "To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning!")

Edit 2:
A couple of positive aspects of her premiership;
She was a huge advocate of evidence based policy and was renowned for her hatred of those attempting to use morality to justify a political position. Drug policy was removed from political control and placed it with the hands of Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs which instituted the worlds first general needle exchange program to control HIV spread and moved from enforcement to treatment. If subsequent administrations had maintained this policy of a hands-off evidence based approach to drug policy then the only drugs that would still be illegal in the UK today would be Heroin, Meth, Crack and Coke as these are the only drugs the council continues to recommend prohibition for.

Prior to her premiership the conservatives were hostile to both abortion and homosexuality. She had voted against her party to decriminalize both going back to the 50's and she provided the momentum for the cultural change which transformed them in to a party that supports both today.

Her distrust of the EU and the joint currency is primarily what kept the UK out of the Euro thus avoiding the current Euro crisis. One of the reasons she was removed from power by her party was her opposition to the ERM (predecessor to the Euro), the UK joining the ERM caused Black Wednesday which brought on a recession (as well as earning George Sorros ~$2b) and led to the political infighting which caused the conservative loss in '97.

She was one of the first world leaders to seek an end to the cold war when the Gorbachev reforms started. She considered the cold war over in 1986. Both Reagan and Gorbachev credit thatcher with laying down the foundations that led to the eventual summit and official end of the cold war.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby Ormurinn » Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:40 am UTC

HungryHobo wrote:on the one hand: she did feed on the blood of virgins and sleep hanging from rafters but a post over on reddit from someone trying to show the positive sides makes some good points. personally I didn't know how screwed the UK was when she came to power.


Exactly. Thanks for that, was informative.

WRT a state funeral - I assume some process was undergone in order to ascertain her suitability for one. I personally disagree with her getting one, but if theres a process that was enacted then denying it for her is historiographic.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby eSOANEM » Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:58 pm UTC

State funerals require an act of parliament. This, not being (in name and a few minor details) a state funeral, did not. As far as I can tell, all this required was the government to say "seems like a good idea", the Queen's assent (as with so many things) and her family to accept it.

Furthermore, even starting to go through that process for her would be unusual. There have been a mere 12 non-royal state funerals in almost 500 years and those have gone to people like Newton, Nelson, Wellington and Churchill. Thatcher's name does not sit well with those names. She did not revolutionise physics, neither did she defend the realm from invasion (by the realm I am referring to Great Britain and Northern Ireland but, even if one does include the Falklands, their loss would not have been anywhere near so significant as the failure of Nelson, Wellington or Churchill).

Lastly, on the wikipedia page for UK state funerals it says this of entitlement:

The honour of a state funeral is usually reserved for the sovereign as head of state. Spouses and widows of monarchs usually receive a ceremonial funeral, which differs only in the fact that the gun carriage bearing the coffin is drawn by horses, as opposed to sailors, as well as an action of Parliament not being required. However, a few historical civilians of profound achievement, exceptional military leaders, and notable politicians have also been honoured with a full state funeral, including, for example, Sir Isaac Newton, Lord Nelson, and Sir Winston Churchill.


So, whilst she certainly was a notable Politician and so it is clearly possible to give her a state funeral (or indeed, the ceremonial funeral she is getting), she does not have an entitlement to it and there should be absolutely no presumption of it.

Particularly in light of the fact that she didn't want a state funeral (which, as the quote mentions, is almost indistinguishable from the ceremonial funeral she is getting) and the fact that, as such a divisive figure (last night, whilst her family were morning, other people were throwing parties, spraying champagne in the street and clashing against the police) her funeral will doubtless be the target of many protests; it seems a ridiculous idea to give her one.

Whatever funeral she gets will have protesters, sadly they couldn't stop that even if they did the funeral in a tiny church in a small village in the home counties but with the procession through central London, and the gun carriage, and military honours, they make it absurdly easy for those people who for some ridiculous reason still hate her personally to make a mockery of the whole thing.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby Zamfir » Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:25 pm UTC

on the one hand: she did feed on the blood of virgins and sleep hanging from rafters but a post over on reddit from someone trying to show the positive sides makes some good points. personally I didn't know how screwed the UK was when she came to power.

It was like greece is now in a lot of ways.

That sounds rather overblown. Economic growth in Britain in the 1970s was lower than in the 1960s or 1980s, though still higher than in the 2000s. That's not just a British phenomenon, it followed basically the trend of all their trading partners. Inflation alone was especially high in Britain. As the article notes, Britain was catching up on decades of pent-up currency depreciation at a time that the whole world was already struggling with inflation. It's unclear whether any policy could have dealt with that smoothly.

The article relies heavily in the choice of counterfactual. It claims that without Tatcher's policies, Britain would have faced a drop of '55% in output' in 1981. It seems to me that another counterfactual makes just as much sense: with different policies, Britain's economy would have improved just as well after 1985.

Mitterand in France tackled the same economic crisis with nationalisations, a welfare state expansion and a harder franc, when Thatcher was privatising, cutting and devaluing. The French economy improved on a nearly identical schedule as the British. The western world is full f of leaders who came to power around 1980 and then rescued the economy through their brave decisions.

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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby MarkSmash » Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:10 pm UTC

[quote="Zamfir]Mitterand in France tackled the same economic crisis with nationalisations, a welfare state expansion and a harder franc, when Thatcher was privatising, cutting and devaluing. The French economy improved on a nearly identical schedule as the British. The western world is full f of leaders who came to power around 1980 and then rescued the economy through their brave decisions.[/quote]

That's a really good point, Zam. Take a country that is both geographically and temporally similar and do your comparisons there. I hear some peeps are comparing Thatcher's United Kingdom with present day Greece. That smacks of a major spin and just a hair's breadth away from being ridiculous.

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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby Zamfir » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:39 am UTC

I wouldn't advice to take one country, that's asking for cherry picking. But it's a wider trend than France, I just picked Mitterand as contrast, to show that the general uptick was not due to foreigners following the good example of Reagan and Thatcher.

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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby jules.LT » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:09 am UTC

[quotations needed]
More generally, this reddit post stinks.
Starting with this "3 day week", which probably only happened a few times and in select areas like just London, otherwise the country wouldn't have survived.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby Xenomortis » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:35 am UTC

(This was nearly two decades before I was born).

The 3-day-week was the restriction that commercial users of electricity would be allowed to consume for three consecutive days per week. Unusually long hours were not permitted during those days.
Essential services were exempt.
It lasted a little over two months. Not the "most of the year" that the reddit post asserts. There were still heavy restrictions on electricity and that may have had an effect on the de facto working week that I am not aware of.
A view is that Heath's Conservative government (the government of the time) was broken by this; they lost the election in February and Labour formed a minority government. Labour facilitated negotiations between the National Coal Board and the NUM.

A view I've heard was that the NUM essentially held the country to ransom*. Certainly many agree that they were responsible for the demise of Heath's government.
They tried it again 10 years later, but they lost to a much better prepared government.

*Those I know who lived at the time are, I would say, conservative leaning.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby jules.LT » Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:50 am UTC

Got it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-Day_Week
The coal miners worked to rule rather than going on an actual strike.
The cause of this was that as a drastic measure against rampant inflation a cap had been put on salary increases. That is to say that consumer prices kept increasing but salaries didn't.
The "3-day week" measure was also a way to cut all wages further (by 2/5th...) to fight inflation further.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby Ormurinn » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:04 pm UTC

Xenomortis wrote:(This was nearly two decades before I was born).

The 3-day-week was the restriction that commercial users of electricity would be allowed to consume for three consecutive days per week. Unusually long hours were not permitted during those days.
Essential services were exempt.
It lasted a little over two months. Not the "most of the year" that the reddit post asserts. There were still heavy restrictions on electricity and that may have had an effect on the de facto working week that I am not aware of.
A view is that Heath's Conservative government (the government of the time) was broken by this; they lost the election in February and Labour formed a minority government. Labour facilitated negotiations between the National Coal Board and the NUM.

A view I've heard was that the NUM essentially held the country to ransom*. Certainly many agree that they were responsible for the demise of Heath's government.
They tried it again 10 years later, but they lost to a much better prepared government.

*Those I know who lived at the time are, I would say, conservative leaning.


I've heard the same thing about the miners from left leaning people from my family. A popular saying is;

"Arthur Scargill started out with a small house and a big union. He ended up with a big house, and a small union"

Trust in the unions has never really recovered after the shit they pulled - just look at unionisation levels today. It's only teaching unions who still have fairly high membership, and that's because it's compulsory. Surprise surprise, they're still using the tactics of the bad old days, and consequently the rest of the country hates them.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby Paul in Saudi » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:07 pm UTC

She believed in evolution. She was not a church-goer. She thought taking steps to reduce carbon emissions were critical. She thought everyone should be allowed to vote in elections. She was in favor of gun control. She did not believe in arresting homosexuals.

All in all, she would not be described as a Conservative in America today.

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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby curtis95112 » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:11 pm UTC

Paul in Saudi wrote:She believed in evolution. She was not a church-goer. She thought taking steps to reduce carbon emissions were critical. She thought everyone should be allowed to vote in elections. She was in favor of gun control. She did not believe in arresting homosexuals.


Apart from gun control (and just maybe the voting?), the rest are merely a result of not being batshit insane. Hardly a compliment.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby charliepanayi » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:19 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:
Xenomortis wrote:(This was nearly two decades before I was born).

The 3-day-week was the restriction that commercial users of electricity would be allowed to consume for three consecutive days per week. Unusually long hours were not permitted during those days.
Essential services were exempt.
It lasted a little over two months. Not the "most of the year" that the reddit post asserts. There were still heavy restrictions on electricity and that may have had an effect on the de facto working week that I am not aware of.
A view is that Heath's Conservative government (the government of the time) was broken by this; they lost the election in February and Labour formed a minority government. Labour facilitated negotiations between the National Coal Board and the NUM.

A view I've heard was that the NUM essentially held the country to ransom*. Certainly many agree that they were responsible for the demise of Heath's government.
They tried it again 10 years later, but they lost to a much better prepared government.

*Those I know who lived at the time are, I would say, conservative leaning.


I've heard the same thing about the miners from left leaning people from my family. A popular saying is;

"Arthur Scargill started out with a small house and a big union. He ended up with a big house, and a small union"

Trust in the unions has never really recovered after the shit they pulled - just look at unionisation levels today. It's only teaching unions who still have fairly high membership, and that's because it's compulsory. Surprise surprise, they're still using the tactics of the bad old days, and consequently the rest of the country hates them.


Yeah, everyone hates teachers :roll:
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby Kethryes » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:40 pm UTC

curtis95112 wrote:
Paul in Saudi wrote:She believed in evolution. She was not a church-goer. She thought taking steps to reduce carbon emissions were critical. She thought everyone should be allowed to vote in elections. She was in favor of gun control. She did not believe in arresting homosexuals.


Apart from gun control (and just maybe the voting?), the rest are merely a result of not being batshit insane. Hardly a compliment.


That's insulting for all the batshit insane people out there :mrgreen:
Although you could have added church-goer in your exclusion list. Sure some are probably batshit insane but it's not really a good criteria I think...
(Edit: and I would have removed the rest, but I'm biased (and not American) :mrgreen: )
Last edited by Kethryes on Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:49 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby eSOANEM » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:48 pm UTC

I know there's another thread for this, but some would argue that gun control also falls under the not being batshit insane category.

Ormurinn wrote:Trust in the unions has never really recovered after the shit they pulled - just look at unionisation levels today. It's only teaching unions who still have fairly high membership, and that's because it's compulsory. Surprise surprise, they're still using the tactics of the bad old days, and consequently the rest of the country hates them.


The tube drivers seem to be reasonably unionised. Or, at least, they're unionised enough to bring the tube to its knees for a few days if they want. Of course, everyone hates them for it too. :roll:
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby jules.LT » Wed Apr 10, 2013 1:51 pm UTC

{ Gun control ⊂ Sanity }

And she was pro-choice too! She DID have redeeming non-batshit-insane features!
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby Xenomortis » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:13 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:It's only teaching unions who still have fairly high membership, and that's because it's compulsory. Surprise surprise, they're still using the tactics of the bad old days, and consequently the rest of the country hates them.


Are you sure on that?
As far as I know, the law dictates that employers cannot discriminate based on union membership. I cannot find anything exempting teachers, or anything in the public sector, from that.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby jules.LT » Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:42 pm UTC

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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby eSOANEM » Wed Apr 10, 2013 4:08 pm UTC

Xenomortis wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:It's only teaching unions who still have fairly high membership, and that's because it's compulsory. Surprise surprise, they're still using the tactics of the bad old days, and consequently the rest of the country hates them.


Are you sure on that?
As far as I know, the law dictates that employers cannot discriminate based on union membership. I cannot find anything exempting teachers, or anything in the public sector, from that.


IIRC it's not technically compulsory but in practice it is.

The reason for this is that teachers are required (I'm not sure if this is legally or just pragmatically) to have various insurance-y type things to cover them in case something goes wrong in their class or to help them in disciplinary hearings (both of which can be pretty serious for teachers because of child protection). I think they can pay for it themselves in theory, but it's hella expensive so they go to the unions which provide it for all of their members.

Also, the "they're still using the tactics of the bad old days" only really applies to the NUT, the other unions don't tend to strike very often at all and only over real issues (unlike the NUT who striked because they got a pay freeze when the rest of the country was getting pay cuts or laid off).

There are similar requirements in other jobs too, as a sailing instructor, I'm required to have some ungodly amount of public liability insurance (far more expensive than I could afford as a student) but the RYA (which is kind-of-union-y in one of its many branches) provide that for me.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby Lucrece » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:35 pm UTC

Paul in Saudi wrote:She believed in evolution. She was not a church-goer. She thought taking steps to reduce carbon emissions were critical. She thought everyone should be allowed to vote in elections. She was in favor of gun control. She did not believe in arresting homosexuals.

All in all, she would not be described as a Conservative in America today.


"Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay. And children who need encouragement—and children do so much need encouragement—so many children—they are being taught that our society offers them no future. All of those children are being cheated of a sound start in life—yes cheated. Of course—in the country as a whole—there are plenty of excellent teachers and successful schools. And in every good school, and every good teacher, is a reminder of what too many young people are denied. I believe that government must take the primary responsibility for setting standards for the education of our children." - Margaret Thatcher, speaking at the Conservative Party Conference on October 9th, 1987. Section 28 was approved as part of the Local Government Act on December 8th, 1987 and went into effect on May 24th, 1988. It was repealed in Scotland on June 21st, 2000 and by the House Of Commons on November 18th, 2003.


I love when the standard for conservatives on basic decency is so low that not arresting homosexuals is seen as progressive -- they can carry on marginalizing homosexuals via governmental measures into heightened suicide rates, creating a culture hostile to said people and silencing any programs that empower them. As long as they don't arrest them! Let the dirty work be done by the common people who are emboldened by governmentally endorsed bias when they feel encouraged to beat the random faggot on the streets.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby eSOANEM » Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:49 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:I love when the standard for conservatives on basic decency is so low that not arresting homosexuals is seen as progressive -- they can carry on marginalizing homosexuals into heightened suicide rates, creating a culture hostile to said people and silencing any programs that empower them. As long as they don't arrest them! Let the dirty work be done by the common people who are emboldened by governmentally endorsed bias when they feel encouraged to beat the random faggot on the streets.


When she helped push decriminalisation through, it was very progressive indeed. Section 28 on the other hand was not, but neither was it particularly conservative at the time. Those last three words are important, as tempting as it may be to judge people by our standards today, people are a product of their time and it is unfair to do so. Margaret Thatcher was not the saviour of lgbt+ people everywhere, but neither was she some terrible person who wanted to kill all the gays.

Furthermore, back then people's attitude towards suicide and depression generally was far less sympathetic than it was today so, that the government didn't consider the harm section 28 would have is not surprising and, again, to condemn them for it is unfair.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby Lucrece » Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:07 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:
Lucrece wrote:I love when the standard for conservatives on basic decency is so low that not arresting homosexuals is seen as progressive -- they can carry on marginalizing homosexuals into heightened suicide rates, creating a culture hostile to said people and silencing any programs that empower them. As long as they don't arrest them! Let the dirty work be done by the common people who are emboldened by governmentally endorsed bias when they feel encouraged to beat the random faggot on the streets.


When she helped push decriminalisation through, it was very progressive indeed. Section 28 on the other hand was not, but neither was it particularly conservative at the time. Those last three words are important, as tempting as it may be to judge people by our standards today, people are a product of their time and it is unfair to do so. Margaret Thatcher was not the saviour of lgbt+ people everywhere, but neither was she some terrible person who wanted to kill all the gays.

Furthermore, back then people's attitude towards suicide and depression generally was far less sympathetic than it was today so, that the government didn't consider the harm section 28 would have is not surprising and, again, to condemn them for it is unfair.



But there were people that objected. People who felt and realized in their very bones the damage they were causing. I don't care the pressures she felt to be popular and pander to her base -- she was not brave when it came to gay people. That back in time you didn't lose any sense of empathy or placing yourself into a situation where you would grasp what this meant for someone.

Even earlier it was common to rape and kill slaves, because they were cattle, objects. Just because a callous attitude is popular at the time doesn't mean people didn't grasp said attitude's effects. When slaves were being beaten, they screamed, and their owners saw the pain. When women were rape bounties in earlier conquests, men were still capable of seeing terror and pain and despondency, and some took pity. Previous times didn't have people devoid of conscience or empathy.

So, I do feel justified in calling people evil/callously indifferent when they did what they did, even if it was popular and they felt pressure to conform. You always have a choice.

I'm sure she may have done other admirable things, and that's why I focus on behavior rather than what she is. She could have been good to many people, a wonderful friend and neighbor, but that doesn't erase or excuse the fact that she was a crappy human being to gay people, particularly kids.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby eSOANEM » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:03 pm UTC

There were people who objected, true. They were few though, but yes, Thatcher was not one of them.

In almost every matter of policy, it is hard to argue that she ever changed her policies to do what was popular rather than what she believed was right. Because of that, I find it hard to imagine that she was instrumental in both pieces of legislation purely as a matter of populism.

Rather, I suspect that, she saw homosexuality as wrong and as being "encouraged" by its open discussion but she did not believe it something which should be criminalised (given her other policies, it wouldn't surprise me if she was in favour of decriminalisation on the grounds of cost rather than ethics).

She was brave when it came to gay people. She was brave to vote for decriminalisation and so I find it hard to believe she voted for Section 28 because she "wasn't brave".

Saying she was crappy to gay people is overly simplistic. She did crappy things for gay people. Very crappy things indeed. On the other hand, she helped the biggest single improvement in gay rights (at the time, and arguably still today) in the UK come about. I will not say she was good to gay people, but neither will I say she was bad to them. Before the repeal of the buggery act, people were imprisoned or chemically castrated if they were openly gay.

The situation after Thatcher left office was still not good, but had improved enormously. It was no longer illegal to be openly gay, only for local government to "promote homosexuality". This is a vast improvement.

The point I am trying to make when saying she is a product of her time is not that we should not judge her for ignoring her sympathetic misgivings but rather that she may well not have had them. Once an attitude gets ingrained within society, and generations of children grow up thinking X is/isn't ok. If you grew up being told that slavery was ok and with slaves working in your house, it would be easy for you to accept that and, chances are that you would not see anything wrong with it.

We still see this today with rape culture; many people think that the rapists in Steubenville did nothing wrong. So it was with slavery and war rapes and, in reverse, so it was with homosexuality. These people do not have the misgivings you seem to assume, they are not simply making such terrible statements and doing terrible things in spite of themselves because everyone else is, if that were the case, you'd have severe boot-strapping issues.

No, society's prejudices evolve gradually and people tend to fall within quite a small distance of their society's norms and, because these things are normal to them, they do not even realise they have these prejudices. I am certain that within 100 years time, there will be things I believe or do that people find abhorent but I have no idea what those are (perhaps it will be driving a car, or eating meat, or dairy products, or that I do not support public nudity, or decriminalisation of weed, or that I did support the smoking ban or something completely different) and so cannot do anything to prevent myself doing things which someone may in the future will judge as evil.

So it was with Thatcher. I suspect that she would not have been able to predict, growing up, how far gay rights would have progressed by 2013 or how abhorent homophobia would seem to us.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby Ormurinn » Wed Apr 10, 2013 7:43 pm UTC

charliepanayi wrote:
Ormurinn wrote:
Xenomortis wrote:(This was nearly two decades before I was born).

The 3-day-week was the restriction that commercial users of electricity would be allowed to consume for three consecutive days per week. Unusually long hours were not permitted during those days.
Essential services were exempt.
It lasted a little over two months. Not the "most of the year" that the reddit post asserts. There were still heavy restrictions on electricity and that may have had an effect on the de facto working week that I am not aware of.
A view is that Heath's Conservative government (the government of the time) was broken by this; they lost the election in February and Labour formed a minority government. Labour facilitated negotiations between the National Coal Board and the NUM.

A view I've heard was that the NUM essentially held the country to ransom*. Certainly many agree that they were responsible for the demise of Heath's government.
They tried it again 10 years later, but they lost to a much better prepared government.

*Those I know who lived at the time are, I would say, conservative leaning.


I've heard the same thing about the miners from left leaning people from my family. A popular saying is;

"Arthur Scargill started out with a small house and a big union. He ended up with a big house, and a small union"

Trust in the unions has never really recovered after the shit they pulled - just look at unionisation levels today. It's only teaching unions who still have fairly high membership, and that's because it's compulsory. Surprise surprise, they're still using the tactics of the bad old days, and consequently the rest of the country hates them.


Yeah, everyone hates teachers :roll:


Unions =! Teachers.
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby HungryHobo » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:09 am UTC

Lucrece wrote:Even earlier it was common to rape and kill slaves, because they were cattle, objects. Just because a callous attitude is popular at the time doesn't mean people didn't grasp said attitude's effects. When slaves were being beaten, they screamed, and their owners saw the pain. When women were rape bounties in earlier conquests, men were still capable of seeing terror and pain and despondency, and some took pity. Previous times didn't have people devoid of conscience or empathy.



This reminded me of a quote from hpmor:

I think it was definitely still around in the seventeenth century - it was a popular village entertainment to take a wicker basket, or a bundle, with a dozen live cats in it, and roast it over a bonfire. Just a regular celebration. Good clean fun. And I'll give them this, it was cleaner fun than burning women they thought were witches.


the way people are built to feel inside is that they hurt when they see their friends hurting. Someone inside their circle of concern, a member of their own tribe. That feeling has an off-switch, an off-switch labeled 'enemy' or 'foreigner' or sometimes just 'stranger'.


You grew up in a post-World-War-Two society where 'I vas only followink orders' is something everyone knows the bad guys said. In the fifteenth century they would've called it honorable fealty.


Do you think you're, you're just genetically better than everyone who lived back then? Like if you'd been transported back to fifteenth-century London as a baby, you'd realize all on your own that burning cats was wrong, witch-burning was wrong, slavery was wrong, that every sentient being ought to be in your circle of concern?


lots of people see the videos of how a lot of animals are treated and still go on eating meat.I'm one of them. I'd bet that's a likely contender for things they'll think we're monsters for in 50 to 100 years. People know about how multinationals act, torturing and killing people abroad yet do nothing or very little about it. etc etc
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby leady » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:40 am UTC

I suspect that section 28 was as much a failed attempt to curtail the horredous left wing bias of the british state school system. Also it had widespread cross spectrum public support at the time, yes 30 years ago people were far less tolerant in the UK across all social issues

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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby jules.LT » Thu Apr 11, 2013 1:54 pm UTC

I really like this text, HungryHobo. But I'm really put off by the source... Harry Potter fan-fiction?? :?
Even if it's "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality" and contains stuff like this (thanks for removing the surrounding Harry/Hermione discussion, btw), I'm really torn as to whether I can even give it a try...
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Re: Baroness Thatcher dead

Postby HungryHobo » Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:03 pm UTC

jules.LT wrote:I really like this text, HungryHobo. But I'm really put off by the source... Harry Potter fan-fiction?? :?


I'm sure there's some entry on lesswrong which says the same thing but I think the hpmor stuff is easier to read.

give it to chapter 5. if you've not laughed much by then don't bother.
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