The Iron Lady’s Calling Card

Margaret Thatcher. A name that evokes anger and rage in the hearts of some, whilst with others, it brings back some fonder memories of a political era like no other.

Thatcher’s name has been uttered a handful of times in the past few weeks leading up to the Independence Referendum in Scotland. Whether this is due to her infamous attitude towards Scotland’s now defunct industries, and how she dealt with them, or if it’s just a generational hatred for her which has been passed down to this new electoral generation, we cannot know. Some have even cast blame for the referendum upon her. This however, is simply speculation. One thing we can be sure of, is that her harsh, well articulated voice shall echo around the hollow, ligneous halls of the commons for many years to come. But what legacy did dear old Maggie really leave?

When Thatcher first took office in 1979, the country was in a state of disrepair worse than it had been since before the days of war. The Unions had finished off James Callahan’s political career and the public wanted a change, and what a change they got. The winter of discontent had struck deep into the heart of Britain during the later months of 1978, causing icy tensions on the streets and in the lower house. Thatcher swept to victory with a steady majority of 44, and would assert her dominance over Britain for the next 11 years. It was a shock to the world that a woman was now leading one of the most influential countries on the planet. She did not allow her gender to be an obstruction to the way she was viewed by the media, the public, or her fellow MP’s. Thatcher cast her iron fist down upon many more men than could ever have been perceived by the world at the time.

Thatcher reformed the way that people thought about the free market, as she subconsciously developed Thatcherism, a political philosophy and economic ideal during her time in office. In its most basic form, Thatcherism represents the idea of having a free market by which businesses have free reign and the Governments job is to stay as far away from intervention as possible. Thatcher wanted to make Britain economically great once more, and (to the dispute of some) she did. Thatcher pulled Britain out of the sinking hole that the previous Labour governments had thrown her into, and increased the country’s GDP by 29.4%, which is impressive. Thatcher also created a net 1.6 million jobs during her time in office, which is also an accolade to bear.

Thatcher-growth

It would be rude to forget Thatcher’s war, one of the only 20th Century wars to be dubbed a “good war”. The Falklands War lasted only two months, and a it was a war which created a wave of patriotism across the UK for Thatcher’s Government. Even though the Royal Navy took some serious losses during the conflict, Thatcher was still seen by the public as the woman and the leader, who had saved the Falkland Islands and lives of the British people who lived there. This would definitely not be forgotten.

For sure we can see that Thatcher was one of the greatest peacetime leaders we have ever had, it would be absurd to deny this. She managed to define what it meant to be a true, hardworking Briton again. Through her dominance in the commons and her staunch attitude for reform, Thatcher created a conservative vision that David Cameron could only dream to implement today. We can all rest assured that Thatcher and her actions have been immortalised, and what she did for this country will always be part of the lives of the forthcoming generations. Her calling card will remain, whether they like it or not.

Daniel Sulsh – A2 Politics Student

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What makes Americans attracted to Presidents from Mars rather than Venus and what will it take for a woman to break through America’s most exclusive glass ceiling?

Every year in Luton Sixth Form College the Politics department holds the Politics Prize competition. Last year Adam Deacon won the prize with his article on North Korea. This year Sophy Lelliot won with her excellent piece on the glass women that American females face on the quest for political power which you can read below.

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ABOVE: Sophy Lelliot receiving her Politics Prize from the principal, Chris Nicholls.

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The People’s Politician? Gavin Shuker, Part Two.

A continuation of the last post on the blog, click here to read the first part!

Lisa: A lot of the students we asked today said they didn’t know your vote on gay marriage.
Ellie: Yes, they asked ‘ask him why he said yes’, ‘ask him why he said no’. How did you vote?
I felt I couldn’t support the legislation as it was for a very simple reason, which is we’re signatories to the European Court of Human Rights, and my read of the legislation says it would make it more likely for a successful challenge for religious institutions being forced to marry. Any individuals could go through. I went from the starting point of, why would you not want to extend rights to every group? And I come to the position that is; it would be ironic that you would abridge the rights of religious institutions and individuals to extend them in another group. That’s a very difficult thing to square off. So I took the view that to not vote for the legislation was the right way through. That’s a bit of a nightmare because obviously it frustrates everyone. The hundreds of people that got in touch with me and said I want you to vote against this legislation. The handful- honestly the handful- who got in touch with me and said I want to vote for it. And ultimately this is politics right? You don’t do what is always popular, you do what you think is right in that situation. I appreciate it isn’t the right situation and it looks like you’re sitting on the fence. But for me, the right decision I felt to make was to say I’ll start from the position that if I can vote for this I will and I feel like I can’t, so I’m abstaining on the legislation. It’ll go through with a massive majority, go through to the Lords and probably get picked apart but it will be passed into legislation.

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The People’s Politician? Gavin Shuker

Q:How did you become an MP after studying for your degree at Cambridge?
Oh my goodness, so let’s go back to when I was your age, so, grew up in Luton and went to school here – Icknield – and went to Sixth form, studied Politics and thought it was quite interesting and really enjoyed it at A-Level. I thought I’d go on to study it at degree, not because I wanted to become a politician actually, which I know sounds strange, but genuinely I really enjoyed it and through a weird twist of nature I managed to get a place in Cambridge. I think if I were to apply now I don’t think I would get in, it is so much harder for you guys.

Aysegul: Yeah, these two are Oxbridge rejects.
Oh wow, well if it’s any consolation, I wouldn’t now either. Do you know where you want to go?
Ellie: Well I’m planning to go to Kings in London.
Lisa: York.
Aysegul: Warwick.
I applied to Warwick as well – didn’t get in but yes, sorry I need to answer the questions don’t I? – I moved to Cambridge and worked for a local church for three years and then moved back here in 2006. When I moved back lots of my friends went off to be consultants and bankers and work in big business. That’s a great thing to do, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted to move back to Luton and I think one of the biggest problems we have is a lot of our talented people move away and we never seem them again and I would like to see more people come back here. I moved back here, I worked for a local church and joined the Labour party on the same day I moved back.

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The Wicked Witch of the Right.

Jubilation and euphoria were witnessed this week when the news of Thatcher’s death broke. Brixton, Bristol and Glasgow were all subject to hundreds of people turning out to rejoice in the death of the woman who had run this country for eleven years. Chants of “Margaret Thatcher, milk snatcher” were heard, along with “the bitch is dead”. Many have commented that the parties were distasteful and that the dead should never be spoken ill of, yet I find myself defending the parties and find the right-wing press and supporters hugely hypocritical.

Those like the Daily Mail and other right wing press calling the celebrations ‘barbarous’ were quick to forget their own celebrations when Hugo Chavez lost his battle with cancer.

Conservative News article on March 5th.

Conservative News article on March 5th.

Conservative News article on April 8th.

Conservative News article on April 8th.

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Txt ur vote, k?

I will keep this short as I understand there are other, more pressing issues in the world and I might just run out of things to say (don’t judge me).

Let me begin by enticing you with a rather revealing figure which has recently come to light thanks to the United Nations. Out of the world’s 7 billion people, 6 billion have mobile phones compared to only 4.5 billion who can boast having access to a working toilet. Nothing more even needs to be said on that, it is a startling fact.

While sobering, there is one great advantage to this. Now, if we look in the UK in particular, we know the younger generation are most likely to hold the highest number of mobile phone users. So, how do I relate this to politics, you ask? Well, Glasgow University have invented a new computer system which allows people to vote in elections via text message and believe it will lead to a higher voter turnout amongst young people.

It is hard to dispute their idea. Young people (not all, I won’t tarnish you all with same brush) use their phones to vote for contestants on reality shows like ‘I’m A Celebrity’… and other pointless TV shows, of which I have never got myself involved in… So why not use them for something that will allow you to express your democratic right, for FREE?

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A Budget That Wants to be Prosperous, Solvent, and Free.

 Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer (Minister of Finance) George Osborne poses with his red despatch box outside his official residence 11 Downing street in  London,  20 March 2013 prior to delivering his budget to the House of Commons, Westminster later in the day.  EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

It can be easy to lose track of what’s going on in UK politics this year seeing as my college studies American politics at A2. Before researching this year’s budget I could probably tell you more about the Fiscal Cliff than about how Britain’s economy was doing. Writing this was a nice way to get back into the swing of what’s going on in the UK, and so:

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