Thatcher Betrayal Myths
I understand if you’ve had enough Thatcher, but the same thing applies to people who think recalling Parliament is excessive or the tribute session too long. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it; and if you don’t want to read any more, go and read something else (but not before you have posted a comment below saying that you thought this post was a complete waste of time or, if you really want to demean yourself, that it is the spending of public money on MPs’ expenses or the funeral to which you object).
But two myths are worth debunking. One is the idea that she was not responsible for the Single European Act, the single greatest act of the UK’s integration in the European Community since we joined it. Gerald Howarth, the Conservative MP for Aldershot, in his speech in the Commons just now, said that she told him that she intended it to apply only to the single market in jobs and services, and not to subjects such as working hours, and said: “I was betrayed.”
Actually, that myth isn’t really worth debunking because I don’t think anyone, not even the sectarians of the cult of the Blessed Eurosceptic, believes it.
The Myth of Cabinet Treachery, on the other hand, is widely believed, and Gary Gibbon resuscitated it yesterday. She herself believed that she had been undone by disloyal Cabinet colleagues, who failed to rally wholeheartedly to her support when she consulted them after she fell short of the required majority in the first ballot of Tory MPs in November 1990.
The idea that, if they had urged her to fight on, rather than saying they would support her but didn’t think she would win, she would have stayed on, is bunk.
She had lost the confidence of the wider parliamentary Conservative party. They knew that, if she refused to abandon the poll tax, they would lose the next election. She refused to abandon the poll tax; therefore they had resolved to push her out.
There was nothing the Cabinet could have done about it. Just as with the Single European Act, she made her decision and she is now accountable to history for it.Tagged in: margaret thatcher, myths
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