Story Details

Miners, others who suffered Thatcher's wrath can't forgive

forgiveness on Politics - EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND – Bob Young’s strongest memory of Margaret Thatcher’s time in power is the brown envelope he received in March 1985 two days before he was due back at work after the yearlong miners’ strike.

The letter, handed to the Scot’s then-12-year-old daughter, contained his P45, the form a worker gets in Britain when leaving a job or being fired. Young had been chairman of the National Union of Mineworkers at the Comrie colliery in Fife, eastern Scotland, and helped organize the walkout.

“I despised her during the strike and I’ll never forgive her for what she’s done,” said Young, 69, now a local councilor for the Labour Party, the main opposition force in the U.K. Parliament. “I’m not glad someone has died, but she was on one side of the fence and I was on the other.”

As the death of the former prime minister known as the “Iron Lady” sinks in across Britain, there’s still little love lost in the parts of the country at the sharp end of her postindustrial free-market economics. The sale of state assets, closure of mines and factories and a new local tax that triggered street protests cemented the north-south divide.

In Scotland, Thatcher’s Conservative Party, now led by Prime Minister David Cameron, won 22 U.K. parliamentary seats when she came to power in 1979. By the time her party was ousted by Labour in 1997, it had lost all of them. Cameron has one lawmaker representing Scotland in the House of Commons.

“Thatcher was a truly formidable prime minister whose policies defined a political generation,” Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, who leads the semiautonomous government in Edinburgh, said in a statement. “No doubt there will now be a renewed debate about the impact of that legacy.”

Attached file(s)

Submit a Comment

Log in to comment or register here