Margaret Thatcher

I was never a fan of Margaret Thatcher. I actively opposed various policies in Scotland in the 1980s, including the de-industrialisation of our country, the selling off of council houses and the imposition of the iniquitous Poll Tax. The legacy of some of these policies lives with us to this day.

Nevertheless, she unquestionably made a positive impact elsewhere. In the 1970s, various Trades Union barons were making a mockery of democracy. Legislation was required, and Mrs Thatcher passed laws that no Government since has repealed.

Abroad, she was right to take on the Argentinian military dictators and expel them from the Falkland Islands, which they invaded in 1982. And she played a role in ending the Cold War and bringing down the Berlin Wall in 1989 by recognising a chance for change when President Gorbachev became Soviet leader. We should never forget that prior to 1990 the Red Army was based in East Germany, poised to move west with nuclear-armed missiles directed on the UK.

I was therefore disgusted when certain people, many not even alive when she was in power, saw her death as a cause for jovial celebration. Frankly, it was contemptible to hold parties on the day of her funeral. The high funeral price tag was utterly wrong but so was the sight of a number of politicians opening bottles of prize whisky and champagne to gleefully mark her passing.

I made a point of being absent from the Parliamentary Chamber when a Green MSP led a condemnation of all she stood for. Regardless of political difference, that was behaviour beyond contempt.

The above was originally written for Bill’s Dunfermline Press column. This version may vary slightly.

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