LDV readers say: Margaret Thatcher was a Bad Thing for Britain

by Stephen Tall on July 29, 2008

That’s the overwhelming verdict of almost two-thirds of Lib Dem Voice readers, according to our recent poll asking, “do you think Margaret Thatcher was a good or a bad thing for Britain?”

Here are the results in full…

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

You said:
• Yes, Margaret Thatcher was a Good Thing on balance: 162 (37%)
• No, Margaret Thatcher was a Bad Thing on balance: 272 (63%)
Total Votes: 434. Poll ran: 19th-28th July 2008

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Can we have a similar poll for Anthony Lynton?

by Julian H on July 29, 2008 at 1:24 pm. Reply #

I should say the worst legacy of Thatcher’s was the bad reputation she gave to free market economics. The poorest people in the country now view the free market at something which profits big business in London while they are reduced to squalor, instead of something which – correctly monitored – can increase the standard of living of all.

by Duncan on July 29, 2008 at 1:37 pm. Reply #

Thank god for that!

by Dominic hannigan on July 29, 2008 at 2:44 pm. Reply #

All the sorrows of yesteryear are nothing compared to the grief that will befall Thatcher when she finds out about this 🙂

by asquith on July 29, 2008 at 5:12 pm. Reply #


That many people now see the free market as something which profits big business in London is because that’s how it’s been under the Tories (and Labour too come to that).

If liberals don’t have a clear and crisp message on these issues (as too often we haven’t) then by default the Tories have been able to get away with twisting the market to the sectional benefit of their friends and backers.

There is a danger for us here if we don’t distinguish our message, but equally and opportunity is we do.

by Gordon on July 29, 2008 at 5:56 pm. Reply #

Of course, Labour haven’t operated a free market, they’ve rigged it in favour of large corporations and prevented small enterprises from competing. As for Thatcher, the liberal things she did were almost by accident, and were designed to entrench her own power base. And then there’s her efforts on behalf of her friends such as Murdoch.

Genuine economic liberalism works. In fact the problem is that it works too well for the established elites. When Cobden and Bright thundered against protectionism and state support for the aristocracy, they were radicals fighting against privilige. That is what liberals have always been and still are.

by asquith on July 29, 2008 at 6:05 pm. Reply #

But the only vote that is going to count in the Lib Dems in Nick Clegg’s and he was in the Young Conservatives during those years. He cites some feeble misreading of Lady Thatcher’s speech about society as being what put him off.

The economic and wider reforms brought by Mrs Thatcher were liberal, preplanned and execute in the teeth of opposition from the Liberal and Labour parties.

Perhaps a better question to your readers is where you think Britain and the world would be without Mrs T when the NUM/TUC runs Britain through regular strikes and violent secondary picketing, the Soviet Union oppresses half of Europe and the Britain is broke still trying to run the basket case nationalised industries like British Steel, CEGB, British Leyland, the GPO according to rules the IMF has forced on a bankrupt UK government.

by Man in a Shed on July 29, 2008 at 7:55 pm. Reply #

This is a strawman.

The Liberal Party was more against the drab conformity of Butskellism than was the pre-Thatcher Conservative Party, as witness Jo Grimond’s many statements of the time.

Yes, much of the blame can be laid at the door of the 1945-79 governments for their mismanagements, but there are also serious criticisms of St Margaret of Thatcher which have to be aired.

She did some liberal things but was not an economic and certainly not a social liberal. And Duncan is correct, the usual cosseted elites talk about “free markets” when they mean something that spits in the face of Adam Smith’s ideals and is the opposite of liberalism.

Thatcher’s centralisation of power made the Blair project possible.

by asquith on July 29, 2008 at 8:20 pm. Reply #

You have also erected a strawman in your apparent belief that anyone critical of Thatcher wants to revert to the 1970s. There were other ways, liberal ways, of facing the problems which confronted us from 1973 onwards.

by asquith on July 29, 2008 at 8:21 pm. Reply #

…likewise anyone who offers the slightest criticism of Obama must be a fanboy/girl for McCain – pah!

by Oranjepan on July 29, 2008 at 8:30 pm. Reply #


You think the programme of privatisations was an accident? You’re serious?

by bishop Hill on July 30, 2008 at 7:40 am. Reply #

As usual with you, you have read what you wanted to read rather than what I actually wrote.

And then you wonder why no one in the real world is a right-wing “libertarian”.

by asquith on July 30, 2008 at 8:04 am. Reply #

You’ve lost me. You wrote “the liberal things she did were almost by accident”. Are you saying that you weren’t meaning privatisations (if so, what did you mean) or that “almost by accident” means something different to you to what it does to me?

by bishop Hill on July 30, 2008 at 12:25 pm. Reply #

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