NEW POLL: do you think Margaret Thatcher was a good or bad thing for Britain?

by Stephen Tall on July 19, 2008

A story LDV didn’t get round to covering this week was the Mail on Sunday’s suggestion that Margaret Thatcher is to be honoured when she dies with a state funeral, the first British Prime Minister since Winston Churchill to be afforded such an honour. This prompted a flurry of commentary from friends and foes taking fairly predictable positions.

* “all that pomp and ceremony in her honour, plus a day off for school kids, will be very, very wrong.” (The Mirror)
* “Thatcher did succeed … like Churchill, the country owes her a 19-gun salute.” (Harry Phibbs in The Guardian)

A whole generation has been born post-Thatcher; no-one born after 1969 will even have had the opportunity to vote in an election at which Mrs Thatcher was the Tory leader; views of her now are more temperate than when she was in power.

To an extent she is now viewed as an historical inevitability, a necessary (if sometimes harsh) corrective to the bloated, pessimistic 70s’ corporatism under which the UK had laboured. Indeed, it was a view which was propounded as early as 1980 by former Liberal leader Joe Grimond, who argued in The Future of Liberalism: “Liberals must stress at all times the virtues of the market, not only for efficiency but to enable the widest possible choice…Much of what Mrs Thatcher and Sir Keith Joseph say and do is in the mainstream of liberal philosophy.”

All of which leads me to ask this question of LDV readers:

“On balance, do you believe Margaret Thatcher’s time as Prime Minister was a good or a bad thing for the UK?”

The two options, as the question suggests, are:

Yes, Margaret Thatcher was a Good Thing on balance
No, Margaret Thatcher was a Bad Thing on balance

(There’s no hand-wringing, wishy-washy, equivocating, some-things-were-good and some-were-bad option in this poll. Of course your views about Mrs Thatcher’s governments will be mixed; but grasp the nettle and come down on one side or t’other).

And, of course feel free to continue a more subtle debate in the comments thread below.