In case you haven’t already heard, former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died this morning at age 87 following a stroke.
Thatcher, a right-wing ideologue, is already receiving the Ronald Reagan treatment, where the painful real-life consequences of a leader’s policies are scrubbed away by their political progeny in an attempt to sanitize his or her legacy and elevate them to universally iconic status.
I’m sorry, but I can’t join in the gushing praise being heaped upon Margaret Thatcher today. While I feel sympathy for her grieving family and I don’t rejoice in anyone’s death, I’m rather sickened by all the revisionist history I’m seeing. Thatcher was an absolutely vile, union–busting prime minister who put millions out of work, palled around with dictators, touched off an era of cruel greed, and decimated large sections of the British manufacturing industry. She was also a disgusting homophobe, racist, and apartheid supporter. Thatcher even abolished free school milk for British children.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Margaret Thatcher profoundly shaped the UK and her historical importance cannot be denied, but please spare me the breathless, glowing, whitewashed tributes. They’re utterly dishonest, but more importantly, Thatcher doesn’t deserve them.
For my part, I bid her goodbye and good riddance.