The re-evaluation of the Iron Lady has taken yet another unexpected twist this time in the form of the Scottish First Minister. According to Alex Salmond Scotland didn’t mind Margaret Thatchers economics but drew the line at her social policy. He explained: “The SNP has a strong social conscience, which is very Scottish in itself. One of the reasons Scotland didn’t take to Lady Thatcher was because of that. We didn’t mind the economic side so much. But we didn’t like the social side at all.”
I am a bit confused by Salmonds statement. I fail to see how Scotland can be supportive of her economic policy but criticise her social policy because as far as I am concerned the two were inseperably intertwined. People are all too quick to forget that Margaret Thatcher inherited horrendous economic conditions which were the cancer plaguing society. Her economic policies breathed life in to a broken system and have given us unprecedented prosperity.
She herself acknowleged that ‘when you change from one set of policies which people have got used to to another the transition is very difficult. I knew that all the difficulties would arise first but we would never the less have to stick to our guns because the benefits would come in the longer run.’ Her economic policy was her social policy. She wanted to reverse Britains decline and revamp her structures so that they could withstand the changing climate of world politics and economics. The difficulties that arised and the social unrest that was experienced was the result of her economic ‘revolution’ and naturally no revolution is without its casualties.
However were it not for those policies society would not have experienced the stability, growth and prosperity that it has done over the last 20 years, and the short term social tensions that arose under Thatcher would have seemed like a walk in the park when compared to what would have happened had she not stuck to her guns and revoluutionised Britains economy. So sorry Mr Salmond but you are wrong.