Seen elsewhere
The calendar

Click to buy!

Support

 

Twitter
Buy

Click images for more details

Recent comments
Recent posts
Links

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Walport on climate change | Main | Science advice and democracy »
Thursday
Apr182013

Booker on Thatcher on climate change

Christopher Booker's guest post at EU Referendum is well worth a read. He discusses Margaret Thatcher's personal climate change journey from fearmonger to sceptic and the attempts by establishment figures such as William Waldegrave to draw a veil over her awakening.

I don't know whether Lord Waldegrave ever read the nine pages of her book, headed "Hot air and global warming", and I very much doubt whether he has ever read anything written by Prof. Lindzen - let alone much else written in recent years by those scores of other eminent scientists and other experts who have questioned every one of the a priori assumptions used to promote the belief in CO2-induced global warming.

Much easier, in deference to the fashionable orthodoxy, just to imply that Lady Thatcher's later views were no more than the senile ravings of an old woman in her retirement, and to place against them the ex cathedra pronouncements of his fellow-pillars of the establishment such as Lord May and Lord Rees, each carrying with him all the unimpeachable authority which goes with being a President of the Royal Society.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (69)

To read a bit of the relevant chapter, log in to Amazon, go to http://www.amazon.co.uk/Statecraft-Margaret-Thatcher/dp/0007107528#reader_0007107528 and search on "hot air global warming". The chapter starts:

The doomsters' favourite subject today is climate change. This has a number of attractions for them. First, the science is extremely obscure so they cannot easily be proved wrong. Second, we all have ideas about the weather: traditionally, the English on first acquaintance talk about little else. Third, since no plan to alter climate could be considered on anything but a global scale, it provides a marvellous excuse for worldwide, supra-national socialism.

Apr 18, 2013 at 11:08 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

In the EU Referendum piece Booker quotes from Margaret Thatcher: On two of the great issues, the lady was indeed for turning, his larger article in the Sunday Telegraph, but without providing a link. They're both extremely worthwhile reads.

Apr 18, 2013 at 11:10 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

The cost to "scientists" of making "science" a laughing-stock, as it may in due course become, will be rather heavy. Serves 'em.

Apr 18, 2013 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered Commenterdearieme

As someone who was never more comfortable than when challenging the establishment view, it is not a surprise to find that Lady Thatcher became a climate dissident when, in retirement, she had time to focus her formidable mind on the subject. Certainly she had her own reasons for doubting the judgement of Nigel Lawson, but I do not see her succumbing to the consensus view simply because Presidents of the Royal Society attach their own authority to it.

Apr 18, 2013 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

She was doing was exactly the same thing as the green movement are doing now - using the "science" to push a pre-conceived political agenda. It was in her interests, in the battle with the coal miners and the NUM, to make coal fired power stations obsolete. She latched onto the Global Warming meme as another weapon to use in this battle.

Was she a saint or a sinner? You pays yer money and you takes yer choice. On that egregious piece of legislation that was the inevitable consequence of the creation of the Hadley Centre, the Climate Change Act, she can only be seen as a sinner in my view, no matter how people wish to re-write history.

Apr 18, 2013 at 11:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterBuck

She accepted early the hypothesis of AGW, then she changed her mind. Which part is re-writing history?

Apr 18, 2013 at 12:04 PM | Registered CommenterHector Pascal

Hector, there has been so much rewriting history over the last week, it is difficult to tell ;-)

Apr 18, 2013 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Referring to Lords May and Rees and to Sir Paul Nurse, Booker says:

... these men have shown themselves to be no more than uncomprehending propagandists for the orthodoxy. When they venture outside their own specialism, they are capable of uttering the most amazingly unscientific tosh ...

This letter in the FT in 2010 - penned jointly by Martin Rees and Ralph Cicerone, President of the US National Academy of Sciences - is a good example. Professor Lindzen referred to it in his talk at Westminster last year. One of his comments was about the last sentence of the second paragraph of the FT letter:
Uncertainties in the future rate of this rise, stemming largely from the “feedback” effects on water vapour and clouds, are topics of current research.

Lindzen's observation:
Who would guess from this throw away comment, that feedbacks are a crucial issue? Without strong positive feedbacks there would be no cause for alarm, and no need for action. What Rees and Cicerone are actually saying is that we don’t know if there is a problem.

Apr 18, 2013 at 12:46 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

When Chernobyl blew up in 1988. She needed to create a greater panic to get the public to accept Nuclear Power and Abandon British Coal.

When the Berlin Wall collapsed and Communism was defeated the Radical Left were left out in the cold. So they jumped on the Green Eco Bandwagon.

The Left now use AGW to dominate the post Cold War political agenda.

Promote Anti Consumerism Indidualism and enforced Collectivism.

Proved that Maggie saw the errror of her ways and accidently let the Left in by the back door.

Thats the Conspiracy Theory narratve anyway.

Apr 18, 2013 at 1:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Re: Hector Pascal

> She accepted early the hypothesis of AGW, then she changed her mind. Which part is re-writing history?

Neither. Had somebody claimed she never accepted the hypothesis of CAGW then they would have been rewriting history. As it is, when she had more information she changed her mind. If you are unable to change your mind as new information becomes available it would indicate that your beliefs are faith based rather than evidence based.

Apr 18, 2013 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Buck,

I am sure that the idea of Global Warming was convenient to Margaret Thatcher as you say. But as a scientifically trained politician (the exception that proves the Oxymoron) I think she was genuinely interested in the topic.

My, sometimes faulty, memory tells me that the NUM was well beaten long before AGW became prominent in the late 80's - the Hadley Centre didn't open until 1990. So I reckon it is one of the Thatcher urban myths of which there were many.

She was certainly instrumental in the establishment of the Hadley Centre, but I don't think she realised that the Director General of the Met Office at the time was a "religious" believer (in all senses) in the AGW theory - she wanted it scientifically explored not modelled to a pre-conceived agenda.

I have just read the comment above by TerryS and completely agree - I think that if she had been in office still during the 1992 -1997 period, the Hadley Centre would never had such a free ride from the political angle.

Apr 18, 2013 at 1:16 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

I'll reproduce if I may a comment I posted back in Dec 2011 on just this subject -

********************************************************************************************************

Dec 9, 2011 at 1:10 PM | Marion

Re: Dec 8, 2011 at 11:12 PM | John Shade

"The primary players in the alarm game, and their apologists and publicists like Ward, are so unimpressive that I feel I am missing something important given that they have had such a huge impact in the political world (in which I now include the governing councils of such as the Royal Society and the American Geophysical Union). How did they do it? It is not the science, which we know is flaky beyond measure. It is not their charm, which we know is just missing. So what is it? What am I missing?"

Margaret Thatcher has the answer in her book "Statecraft" published in 2002. Although it was she who had been persuaded by the UN ambassador Crispin Tickell to help found the IPCC she came later to bitterly regret the direction in which the 'science' was being pushed -

"since clearly no plan to alter climate could be considered on anything but a global scale, it provides a marvellous excuse for worldwide, supra-national socialism". (Something that EU president Herman van Rompuy touched on in his inauguration speech).

In a section of "Hot Air and Global Warming" she goes on to give an excellent summary of the main points ie (as well as her own sceptic viewpoints too long to reproduce here)

First, is the climate actually warming?...Second, is carbon dioxide responsible for whatever global warming has occurred?...Third, is human activity, especially human economic activity, responsible for the production of the carbon dioxide which has contributed to any global warming?.. Fourth, is global warming anyway quite the menace suggested... The answers to each of the above four questions will be directly relevant to the fifthe and final one:can global warming be stopped or checked at an acceptable price"

She goes on

"The lessons drawn from past predicitons of global disaster should be learned when it comes to considering the issue of climate change

1.We should be suspicious of plans for global regulation that all too clearly fit in with other preconceived agendas.

2.We should demand of politicians that they apply the same criteria of commonsense and a sense of proportion to their pronouncements on the environment as to anything else.

3.We must never forget that although prosperity brings problems it also permits solutions - and less prosperity, fewer solutions.

4. All decisions must be made on the basis of the best science whose conclusions have been properly evaluated."

I think the massive EU funding of only the pro-AGW science, and also the massive EU funding of so-called NGOs that then go on to lobby for EU preferred policies amply demonstrates just how political intervention has skewed the 'science' so that it is politics leading the science rather than the other way round.

******************************************************************************************************

Impressive when you realise that "Statecraft" was written back in 2002.

Apr 18, 2013 at 1:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Sorry, forgot link

http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/12/8/booker-bashes-bob.html#comment16141841

Apr 18, 2013 at 1:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

Marion - Thank you for posting that, I have never read the book. I agree with your last sentence - how many politicians have that sensible grasp even today?

Apr 18, 2013 at 1:25 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

On the most fundamental of levels, the hypothesis that an inert, trace gas in the atmosphere has such a massive influence on global temperature, just makes no sense at all..

Let's not forget how ignorant politicians can be. Until the mid-19th century, Parliament thought that the regular outbreaks of typhoid in London were due to 'miasma' - bad air. It wasn't until - I forget the gentleman's name - noted that around a clean source of drinking water in Highgate there was no typhoid. The actual reason was of course contaminated drinking water.
A lot of similarities with: 'The science is settled...'

Apr 18, 2013 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

On a similar theme I urge all to read Cripsin Tickell's book "Climatic Change and World Affairs" first published 1977. It reads almost like a blueprint for our current global warming scare, although interesting to note that he acknowledges that the MWP was warmer than current temps - I suppose it was before Michael Mann and his team decided they needed to 'get rid of the MWP'!!!

http://www.crispintickell.com/key14.html

The theme is very much one of needing global governance to solve the 'Climate change problem'

indeed the solution that the Met Office have recently been clamouring for

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/mar/31/earth-cooling-schemes-global-signoff

Apr 18, 2013 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

So, let me get this straight. Both Alarmists and Deniers have reasons to hate Thatcher. Could this be the common ground we've been looking for?

Apr 18, 2013 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterHeide de Klein

retireddave

As you say the NUM were well beaten by the late 80's, but pits were still operated and being closed (as we converted to more gas) on an almost continuous basis until the industry was privatised by John Major as late as 1994. It suited the politicians to support the emerging warming meme, because it supported their plans of rolling pit closures throughout the period. Whatever the whys and the wherefores, when she held the reins of power she put us onto this ruinous path that would lead to the Climate Change Act.

Wasn't it predictable that once the Hadley Centre was opened it would almost inevitably find out that it was "worse than we thought"? As I said, you pays yer money...

Marion

Thanks for posting that. Just paraphrasing the final paragraph -

"I think the massive EU funding of only the pro-AGW science...amply demonstrates just how political intervention has skewed the 'science' so that it is politics leading the science rather than the other way round."

Surely she started this process with the Hadley Centre? As a scientist and a sharp political operator she knew what she was doing, surely?

Apr 18, 2013 at 1:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBuck

European Union and Global Warming: monumental errors of a great leader. A credit to this establishment figure for pointing them out.

Napoleon, Churchill, Thatcher: great leaders make great mistakes. Not only with Thatcher, but also with Churchill and Napoleon, behind the post-facto cheer-leading you might find some ordinary folk directly impacted by their greatness (especially soldiers, their mothers etc) with a hankering for a quieter life lead by boring ordinary folk, 'pigmies'...boring bureaucrats like Beveridge who tried to ensure that the poor had food on the table every night and a doctor when sick.

As for our continuing controversy, the best sceptics are the ordinary ones like McIntyre and Lindzen. Enthusiastic sceptics are as scary as the enthusiastic greens, unionists, conservatives etc. Sure, we need a shake up from time to time, but I do wonder sometimes that what made Britain truly great was the export of violent and confrontational enthusiasm to the New World so as to leave behind Anglican sobriety. If I'm gonna cheer-lead on anything in this controversy it is not great leaders, but old fashioned sober Science -- passions humbled by the evidence -- something that was once very British.

Apr 18, 2013 at 2:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterBernieL

Sherlock1 – you selected that name specifically to go with that post, didn’t you?

Hands up, everyone whose first thought was the same as mine! Damned good example of "the consensus", though.

To return to the subject, the lady was for turning, but not if she is being bullied into it; she required sufficient evidence to convince her to do so, and she was never afraid to listen for new information.

Apr 18, 2013 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

So, let me get this straight. Both Alarmists and Deniers have reasons to hate Thatcher. Could this be the common ground we've been looking for?
Apr 18, 2013 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterHeide de Klein

No, you have this wrong. Thatcher brought a gun to a knife fight. At the time I was a Labour voter, and opposed to her policies, but she was right and I was wrong. Facing down the unions, and closing the mines was the right decision. Sending men to die in tunnels deep underground is inexcusable when coal can be mined more cheaply and more safely with a bucket wheel excavator.

Apr 18, 2013 at 2:15 PM | Registered CommenterHector Pascal

Radical Rodent

Thanks - you've just clarified my thinking.

She required sufficient evidence to convince her change her mind, but hardly any evidence at all to make her mind up in the first place, especially if it was politically expedient? ;-)

Apr 18, 2013 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterBuck

Hector

I agree with you, but it was the way she did it that was the problem for me. She effectively declared war on whole communities (that didn't support her politically) instead of instigating a managed programme of change.

Apr 18, 2013 at 2:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterBuck

Re: Apr 18, 2013 at 1:48 PM | Buck

"Surely she started this process with the Hadley Centre? As a scientist and a sharp political operator she knew what she was doing, surely?"

The 'process' was started long before the inception of the Hadley Centre - read Crispin Tickell's 'Climatic Change and World Affairs' first published 1977

http://www.crispintickell.com/key14.html

There has been much international manipulation to try and persuade the masses that CO2 is the culprit for 'dangerous climate change', nothing else would suit their purposes so well.

http://blogs.edf.org/climate411/2007/11/01/ipcc_beginnings/

and interesting as to how the IPCC was focussed on 'human-induced climate change' - in this way they could make sure that the funding was pushed where they required it.

As to Margaret Thatcher she fought for what she believed to be right and had the courage to change her views as new information was received.

Apr 18, 2013 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

@Hector Pascal

Please don't misunderstand me. I hate filthy industry and the working class too. I think it serves them right that they can't get jobs in call centres or stacking shelves with their grubby fingernails! I wholeheartedly agree that destroying our industrial sector and moving to a service economy has done wonders for Britain, particularly young people. We are definitely better off without engineering in general.

I'm all for baton charging miners and smashing their heads in, however Maggie (peace be upon her) went too far when she invented global warming.

Apr 18, 2013 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterHeide de Klein

Jiminy:

Hector, there has been so much rewriting history over the last week, it is difficult to tell ;-)

Indeed, and it's set to continue, not least because so many of those that actually knew the damned woman (as she was known for years in some manly Tory circles) don't think that the truth about her has ever been adequately expressed. Not that any two of them agree on everything, needless to say. Add in the vast numbers that wish to say things of great certainty, whatever the depth of their ignorance, and one certainly has a recipe for cacophony. So I tend to turn to those, good and bad, who speak from first hand experience, good and bad.

Here's a striking example of something said to the prime minister in her last hours in 1990 that seemed to a close colleague last week to have stood the test of time.

The other thing I remember is the noble Lord, Lord Butler, himself saying in his speech to her, "Prime Minister, when we are old and retired the only really interesting thing about us will be that we worked for you". That was a lovely compliment and today we are all proving that compliment to be right. I certainly feel hugely privileged for having worked for her. Those are three years that I would not have missed for all the world.

That was cross-bencher Lord Wilson of Dinton near the end of the House of Lords tributes. Like many things that have come out in the last ten days it was new to me. If civil servants close to the woman in government felt like that I think it's right we should hear it, however inconvenient it is to certain myth-makers.

Also well worth noting is the veteran Labour peer Lord Gilbert on how lucky Thatcher was. Those of us who were praying for her from the mid 70s are bound to take note. Right on all counts from the normal biased perspective in these parts.

William Waldegrave himself spoke earlier in the same session. He may be wrong in what he's written in The Times on Mrs T and AGW (I've temporarily lost my key to the paywall) but what he says in the open on Hansard will I think repay careful study. Not least because, unlike Malcolm Rifkind, who gives credit to Foreign Office officials for first spotting the potential of Gorbachev in or before 1984, Waldegrave names a quite different name: Oleg Gordievsky. I'd like to know more. But I'd prefer we didn't demonise Waldegrave, not least because of his excellent Advice to a science minister.

Apr 18, 2013 at 2:36 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Buck:

Politically expedient it may have been; however, I was suckered into the whole alarmist thing after seeing Al Gore’s infamous film. Presented with the alarming – nay, terrifying! – information, I accepted it, and set out to find what I could do to help ameliorate the oncoming disaster. As I chased the data, the more obvious it became that there were flaws in the argument. If this can happen to me, surely one greater than myself can do the same, especially if she was one who felt it incumbent upon herself to work for what she perceived to be the benefit of the country, and was in a position to actually do something positive about it – hence her being instrumental in setting up the IPCC, in her desire to collect and collate the information.

Also, as retireddave has already pointed out, the events that you are trying to link are separated by quite a few years, so may not actually be related.

Apr 18, 2013 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

retireddave wrote: "how many politicians have that sensible grasp even today?"

If you read Luboš Motl, you'll know that former Czech Republic President Václav Klaus is one. Out of office now, though.

Apr 18, 2013 at 2:41 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

With regard to CAGW and the wonderous EU, how many of us can say we were not initially 'on side' but became sceptical as more facts emerged? At least the lady was right about the EU, from the start.

Apr 18, 2013 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

Here's Václav Klaus reflections on Margaret Thatcher on BBC last week

https://soundcloud.com/#bbc-world-service/bbc-newshour-vaclav-klaus

Apr 18, 2013 at 3:06 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Heidi de Klein

I think you seriously misunderstand what this blog is all about. That's what happens when you charge in armed only with preconceptions.

P.S I too was no great Thatcher fan.

Apr 18, 2013 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

@ sherlock1

JohnSnow, Broad Street Pump, The disease was cholera.

See link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1854_Broad_Street_cholera_outbreak

Apr 18, 2013 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered Commentermunroad

HaroldW -

Yes the fact that you can only think of one makes the point well. Thank you.


A lot of people making their opinions of Margaret Thatcher known this week as we know. Thatcher did this - Thatcher did that. One guy I heard on the radio news yesterday morning waiting for the funeral procession put it correctly, I thought. He simply said "Thatcher didn't beat the miners and the unions, the voters of this country did that". (in the interests of full disclosure - I was a member of my union for 40 years)

Politics is always about the heart for most of us and only a few people will swap sides no matter what the evidence - it is a bit like Green thinking, and Climate Change. No matter how much environmental destruction, and deaths in the third world the policies of the doomsters cause, they still keep on against the evidence.

A few things worth underlining (I deal in empirical evidence remember) -

Margaret Thatcher polled more votes in her election victories than Tony Blair did in any of his.

Harold Wilson closed more coal mines than Margaret Thatcher.

More jobs in manufacturing were lost after 2000 than during 1979 - 1997, due to the false high value of the pound. Tony Blair told us we were a post industrial country and mocked the Germans for "making" things.

There were some hefty peaks and troughs in the Tory years and they made loads of mistakes, but now there are only troughs (there is no sign saying "break glass for manufacturer").

PS - Just finished Matt Ridley's "The Rational Optimist". If you have not read yet, you should. Thoroughly recommended.

Apr 18, 2013 at 3:37 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Heide de Klein

Don't project your class warfare on to me. I grew up in the Midlands. My brother was a factory worker (machine tool fitter), and by the time Thatcher came to power I had graduated from farm labourer to HGV driver then HGV mechanic. Don't lecture me about "dirt under the fingernails". I left school at 16 and spent 13 years shovelling at the shitworks before the University of Easy Access accepted me (with 3 O levels) and I went on to find a career in science.

Apr 18, 2013 at 3:49 PM | Registered CommenterHector Pascal

Hector:

It seems to be a common trait of “intellectuals” (or, perhaps more accurately, “pseudointellectuals”) that they know more about, and more than, the “working class” than the “working class” do about and of themselves. And should one of that class show an inkling of thought, then they are not of that class, but should be separated and pilloried.

As I do not believe in the “class” system, I am not sure where that puts me (other than in a class of my own).

Apr 18, 2013 at 4:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Re Apr 18, 2013 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterHeide de Klein

At the risk of feeding the troll: You can always tell which commenters have personal and political views that are so extreme they can't discuss them publicly. Their posts are most often characterized by cynical hyperbole and vicious sarcasm. It's apparently too laborious for them to make thoughtful persuasive arguments that defend or promote their beliefs.

The impression given is that If they didn't have their resentments, they wouldn't have any life at all.

Apr 18, 2013 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered Commentertheduke

Yep, one can usually sniff out the Alarmists including their spoofs on what they believe sceptics should be!!!

Apr 18, 2013 at 4:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

@Hector Pascal

I'm so glad you were able to drag yourself out of the gutter and get an "ology". I presume Thatcher bought your vote with a council house?

Apr 18, 2013 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterHeide de Klein

As an American, I experienced Thatcherism in a rather unique way. In 1970 I spent six weeks in Ireland, Scotland and England as part of a visiting, traveling group of English literature students. We spent much of that time in London. I was struck by the generally lower standard of living of the people which manifested itself in the difference in physical stature and overall health. (I also recall a couple of students among us requiring health care and getting it for free, which surprised all of us.) It wasn't a large difference, but it was obvious. I remember freezing for most of the night in an apartment at Oxford (I had a fraternity brother who had won a Rhodes scholarship and this was the apartment of a friend of his) in early February which required you to put coins in the space heater to get a few minutes of heat. No central heat. I didn't have the money and it was cold. I also remember the food being rather unappetizing. The hotel in London on Gower St. near the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art was adequate, however, except for the food, of course.

In 1996, I went back with my wife who was on business, and the difference was striking. The general level of prosperity had increased markedly. It was May and the weather was lovely. There were international restaurants with very good food all over the city. An associate of my wife took us to eat at a Mexican restaurant. It was clear that an enormous amount of wealth had been created in the span of 26 years. It seemed to me, a Reaganite who had followed Thatcher's career in the US, that she had played a major role in creating this new found abundance.

Apr 18, 2013 at 5:14 PM | Unregistered Commentertheduke

Apr 18, 2013 at 2:31 PM | Buck
/////////////////////////////////

Mine closures were not a new phenomenen. Apparently, more mines were closed in Harold Wilson's two terms in office, than in Thatcher's three terms. This is conveniently overlooked when people debate Thatcher's legacy..

Whilst no one knows the truth, I suspect that Thatcher was always sceptical of AGW, but latched onto it since it assisted her short term political actions. The later 'conversion' was probably nothing more than being able to tell it as it is, once relived of political burden.

What is clear is that in the early days AGW/green movement carried little economic consequence. It is only in the past 15 or so years that AGW has incurred immense economic consequence and caused huge economic harm. One can bet one's bottom dollar that as soon as 'being green' carried significant adverse economic consequence, Thatcher would have scrutinised it in detail. I don't see her allowing UK industry to become needlessly uncompetitive due to unnecessarily high energy costs. I am fairly certain that she would have seen the obvious short comings of wind and would not have wished to go down that route. And in that regard, Thatcher would not have shyed away from taking on the EU. If the EU had mad green energy policies, she would have pushed for a UK opt out of such policy relaising that by so doing UK industry would be stealing a march on those in Germany (and other EU countries).

But all of this is irrelevant since Thatcher was not in power in the mid to late 1990s. It is the politicians who were in power at that time and thereafter that must carry the blame for the entirely inappropriate policy response to what appears never to have been a problem.

Apr 18, 2013 at 5:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

Richard, to the winner the spoils of controlling the message.

Having lived abroad for much of my adult life, but never been too far away not to receive Sky News (God forbid) and the latest paper, you do see the mother country in a different light. And perhaps understand why it is what it is.

You realise that culturally Britain is unique. So many countries have a strong VISUAL cultural identify, often based on a peasants/gentry life cycle. Ruling classes come and go, so do wars, but their folk culture remains strong and unifying.

Why do Brits have a ridiculous breakfast? Why do they send their children to school at 4. Or even worse send them away at 7. Why does their personal hygiene cycles seem strange and not particularly healthy? Why do they kick their kids out of the nest as soon as they can? Why are their university courses intensive and "applied", rather than long and "pure"

Britain became the first industrialised nation. It lost its connection to the land.

It built an industrialised culture spanning centuries. It is unique.

Thatchers children stand now and comment on the trivia of how able her grandchildren are, how Sam Cam's blouse was a "nice gesture". Her cultural validity (vacuity) has triumphed. How many more TV programs do you need on antiques, house renovations, gardens pets?

She achieved her goal.

This country had an equal cultural validity. Something she ripped out leaving a vacuum that has not been filled. A miner's town, or dockers's city, or mill town, or steel town, or even a country town before the London high rolling set installed themselves as pseudo-gentry. These were the strong cultural foundations of this country since looms and plough were abandoned.

They were equally as valid. It is easy to paint a union member or a miner or docker as an enemy of society. Country gentry as quaint artefacts of history. There were society. They were not cosmopolitans, London intellectual elite. They were the cultural heart of this country.

Why the heart?

Well these so called enemies had been fine to feed the war machine. These same communal spirits had been useful when they lifted up their rifles and marched off to wars, wars resulting from the ruling classes inability to check their incompetence or ambition. Often sent by the people of the same background as Thatcher herself. Saviour one day, enemy the next.

Thatcher had a pre-war grammar school grasp for the cultural identity of this country. She had no imagination. She had not feel for what Britain was REALLY culturally about. She had the cartoon "Rule Britannia, Union Jack, the Britain ruling classes are great and we have tried to make that the valid aspiration" viewpoint.

And she managed to make her view the valid one. Her "children" have spent the last week enforcing that in the media. History rewritten. The victor always does.

My views do not come like some 3rd generation Irish American supporting the IRA. My Grandfather on my mum's side was a docker. But my mum won a pre-war scholarship to a grammar school. She travelled the world, was happy to visit Liverpool, but never wanted to go back to such an insular place.

I have little identity with the place, but I understand it still had a cultural validity.

Maggie created a vacuum that has yet to be filled.

Apr 18, 2013 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

No Duke, you were not feeding the troll, simply commenting on trollish behaviour and psychology and in doing so countering the poison.
This one seems particularly vindictive and stupid; enough's enough and I hope his Grace will speedily consign her to the same dustbin as Zed.

Apr 18, 2013 at 5:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

Jiminy, you will have to challenge these assertions by 'retireddave' (3:37PM) before your perspective on Mrs T can begin to be a credible one:


Margaret Thatcher polled more votes in her election victories than Tony Blair did in any of his.

Harold Wilson closed more coal mines than Margaret Thatcher.

More jobs in manufacturing were lost after 2000 than during 1979 - 1997, due to the false high value of the pound. Tony Blair told us we were a post industrial country and mocked the Germans for "making" things.

Re the mining communities in particular, I would have thought the vain-glorious but duff leadership of Arthur Scargill caused the miners the main harm. As ever, he did alright out of things though. I think he retired to a mansion in Barnsley on a £60k pension, and to a luxury flat in London paid for by his miners' union:
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ousting-of-arthur-scargill-from-national-union-243835
http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/366511/Arthur-Scargill-faces-being-evicted-by-union

Re the main post. Well done Christopher Booker for helping make Mrs T's change of heart and mind on the climate fiasco perfectly clear!

Apr 18, 2013 at 5:37 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

Margaret Thatcher had no opinions. he was a politician and a front for the American oil industry. She did what she was told.

Apr 18, 2013 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

John, I have no need to... I was talking about cultural validity, not political experience. Society changes, always has done, Thatcher chose one way. You have the same viewpoint as Thatcher and many others on the cultural validity on large parts of this country. Forgive me if I do not start waving the the Union jack and spout "Britain is Great".

Many of the people who had a voice have passed away, and those that remain have no cultural validity any more. I shall switch on "Flog It!" and be quiet.

She won. Not just politically but culturally.

Apr 18, 2013 at 5:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

"that she had played a major role in creating this new found abundance."
Apr 18, 2013 at 5:14 PM | theduke

Surely the North Sea oil and gas boom of the eighties and nineties must have generated a significant amount of wealth in the UK, on top of the government selling everything that didn't move.. Before that, we were the 'sick man of Europe' in the seventies.

Apr 18, 2013 at 5:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

retireddave:-
'Harold Wilson closed more coal mines than Margaret Thatcher.' As has been pointed out many times, the mines closed under Labour were old exhausted mines that had reached the end of their lives. Even Scargill agreed. The mines closed by Thatcher were productive mines that the country needed. The demolition of the coal industry was a major strategic blunder, on a par with the Beeching railway cuts under Wilson (so you can see I am not defending him).

theduke:-
'It was clear that an enormous amount of wealth had been created in the span of 26 years.' Not created - borrowed. And they have been at it ever since.

Apr 18, 2013 at 8:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Peacock

Not created - borrowed. And they have been at it ever since.
Apr 18, 2013 at 8:00 PM Arthur Peacock

Absolutely.

The USA is on the same road to ruin.

Living on your credit card with no prospect of ever paying it off but feeling you are rich because it has not yet maxed out.

Apr 18, 2013 at 8:15 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Apr 18, 2013 at 5:46 PM | Unregistered CommentereSmiff

That's the funniest comment of the day. Thanks for the laugh. Does BP know?

Apr 18, 2013 at 8:25 PM | Unregistered Commentertheduke

@ eSmiff "Margaret Thatcher had no opinions. he was a politician and a front for the American oil industry. She did what she was told."

I think you're Owen Jones bunking off school, again, and I claim my £5...

Apr 18, 2013 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJabba the Cat

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>