Saturday, 4 January 2014

Vindicated by 1984 papers.

My first reaction on hearing about the government papers released under the thirty year rule was a surprising regret that Thatcher hadn't managed to live another year.

Since 1984, the ideas that there was a political master plan to destroy the mining industry regardless of the economic viability of individual pits; that the police were being politically directed;  or that there were plans to use emergency powers to bring in the army, have all been depicted as the product of left wing conspiro-loons. In fact the papers reveal that these things were all true. Scargill and the NUM were right - and Thatcher and the Tories lied.

And then only a few weeks ago we saw some of Thatcher's surviving colleagues jumping on the Mandela bandwagon and claiming that she had tried to use her influence to secure his release. But we now know the minutes of her meeting at Chequers with PW Botha reveal that no such conversations ever took place.

Of course none of these revelations will make any impression on the unreconstructed Thatcherites. But it is all too easy for those of us who lived and campaigned through the years to underestimate the paradigm shift that has shaped a generation of Thatcher's children. 

We saw a taste of this last year with her (almost) state funeral and her elevation 'above politics' into an iconic statesman-like  figure. Let's hope now that  just a few of those Thatcher's children have their eyes opened by these revelations and see her, and the next generation who defend her, for what they are - vicious class warriors without scruples.

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