Thatcher’s rotten government was only interested in discord and division

by Kevin Meagher

It’s not just the low-fi racism of Oliver Letwin’s 1985 memo to Margaret Thatcher that appalls. His dismissal of the “bad moral attitudes” of young Black men following the Broadwater Farm riots also reflects ministerial contempt towards so many other groups throughout that dismal decade.

Conservative politics in the mid-1980s was about as far from the ‘One Nation’ variant as it was possible to be. This was a government at war with large parts of the country it ran. Truly, an elective dictatorship, openly contemptuous of those that did not yield to its will.

So the “pampered Scots” were to be pitched against the “envious” north of England when it came to funding allocations. Black people were only interested in the “disco and drug trade”. Northern Ireland’s border towns should be bombed to stop republican suspects escaping to Southern Ireland.

As we well know, the miners were regarded as “the enemy within”. The entire city of Liverpool was to be subject to “managed decline” following the Toxteth riots, while the local football club’s fans were smeared in a vile cover-up over the deaths of 96 of their number at Hillsborough.

As the hapless Lewtin, possessor of an eager mind but dull wits, currently resides in political no-man’s land, waiting to see if his perfunctory apology is enough to sate the reaction against his comments, Tory strategists should perhaps ponder what other toxic memo-bombs he penned during his time running Thatcher’s policy unit. After all, this was the mid-80s, when she was at her wildest and the New Right policy wonks that fuelled her insurgency were unencumbered.

But aside from the trickle of released government papers of that time, we now also have Lowell Goddard’s wide-ranging inquiry into historic child abuse allegations. Just what will she unearth in the next few years about what ministers did or did not know in relation to the slew of allegations about that period?

What we do know is that all the invective and moral outrage directed towards Margaret Thatcher and her ministers during the 1980s was not wasted. We thought the Tories were a heartless, sneering bunch at the time.

Yesterday’s revelations now make that an evidence-based assessment.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Labour Uncut

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5 Responses to “Thatcher’s rotten government was only interested in discord and division”

  1. paul barker says:

    I can see your reasoning here, you think that if you are only nasty enough about The Tories/Libdems then The Labour Left will leave you alone. They wont.
    The soft left will just get more angry with you because they think you are Tories too. The Trots will just laugh at you & get on with remaking Labour in their image.

  2. John Reid says:

    The press coverage to shift th blame from the lack of police ability to control thcrowds at hilsborough was one thing,but that had nothing to do with the Tories,other than one back Bach Tory amP who was an advisor to he police federation met with the tabloid press,be helped smear the fans
    As for Oliver letwin,well his trot priced him right, from abroad water farm Yourh club Organiser Dolly Kirin being found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice over her destroying the records of the money that the council gave her for the youth club,so she could take the money to buy a home in Barbados,and after her guilty plea,the CPS deciding it wasn’t in the public interest to charge her with fraud too, A decade later millions Ken livungatine gave to Lee Jasper for anti racism on the GLAwent missing
    If people suffered poverty in the broadwater farm and the millions the Tories spent in it in the early 90’s knocking down the gantries,it showed that, the money to stop the criminals in the state got their crime down,in the first place, and the vile attitude of the lsbour party and Bernie grant taking the murderers side in the estate,helped the Tories win the 1987 election,and carry on their policies,maybe we should criticize ourselves first for giving the Tories ammunition to win the 1987 election with the anti white racist views of Bernie grant

  3. Henrik says:

    …and STILL people voted for them. Damn electorate, you can’t trust ’em, can you?

  4. Tafia says:

    Thatchers government isn’t relevant anymore – she resigned 25 years ago, and half of the time since then we had a Labour government who undid her evils.

    Oh, hang on. No they didn’t.

    Who is the more evil. The evil doer or those who then subsequently have the ability to rectify those evils and do nothing and worse, bask in the approval of the evil do-er.

  5. John P Reid says:

    Tafia, evil doing?, Thatcher cleared up the damage that the 74-79 labour government did to the country,and to imply to the electorate they voted for evil doing,4 times and that labour could only win,by accepting her policies were needed, of course labour may have win in -997 standing in the 1987 manifesto to reverse all her policies I doubt it,if we couldn’t win in 1992 (all be it by a lot smaller majority) when we’d accepted her policies in privatization and Unions, maybe the question is,if Thatcherism was so evil, then how bad did the public perceive the Labour Party of old have to be ,to prefer them to us

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