Some concern is being registered among those out there on the right that the support out there on the streets for Margaret Thatcher’s funeral procession and around St Paul’s cathedral next Wednesday might be lacking. There may be opportunities for those rotten lefties to strike a dissenting note as their heroine makes her final journey.
Man with incorrectly attributed warm feeling
This has been most keenly felt by Dan, Dan The Oratory Man, who has summoned the memory of Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, in asserting that even those who disagreed with Mrs T should come to London and pay their respects. After all, he tells, around a million out of a total UK population of 27.5 million attended that event. He’s having a laugh.
The idea that more than two million folks are going to converge on central London – in addition to those who are going to be there as part of their work, as next Wednesday will be a normal working day – and that they will be able to get there and get in position on the funeral route by around 1030 hours is sheer fantasy. Such is the mindset of a regular on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse).
But then, Hannan has already regaled his readers with his idea that “Margaret Thatcher took a ruined, dishonoured and bankrupt Britain and left it prosperous, confident and free”. Yes Dan, I’m sure the extra two million plus unemployed felt really free, and everyone thought that blowing all that North Sea oil revenue keeping them on the dole was a brilliant idea.
That prosperity he talks about involved not reducing the tax burden, as is so often claimed for the Thatcher years, but increasing it – unless you were a top rate taxpayer in 1979. Share and council house sales helped rack up more debt. At one point in the early 80s, public spending was 48% of GDP – way more than at any time in the Blair or Brown years.
Economic growth on average was actually slightly less than in the Blair years. Public spending kept rising throughout her time at 10 Downing Street. So much for “rolling back the state”. Yet crime rose, despite her generous settlement with the Police – including all that overtime during the miners’ strike (rather a lot of officers later had conservatories and extensions nicknamed “Arthur” or “Margaret”).
There was, as I’ve noted previously, no miracle. And a generation has grown up since Mrs T left office, many of whom aren’t interested in who she was or what she represented. Hannan should remember the words of Lyndon Johnson (on the subject of economics): “Making a speech on economics is a lot like pissing down your leg. It seems hot to you, but it never does to anyone else”.
Daniel Hannan has just pissed down his leg, and drawn the wrong conclusion.