Division skills of a grocer’s daughter

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I have witnessed some outstanding performances by Glenda Jackson, an actor with considerable talent. However, I was not impressed with her performance in the House of Commons during the debate in appreciation of Margaret Thatcher. The lady described by Glenda Jackson was not one I recognised.

Perhaps if Glenda Jackson had lived in Poland since 1979 she might have a better appreciation of Lady Thatcher’s achievements.

She, along with Pope John Paul II and president Reagan, engineered the breakthrough that ended the Cold War. Furthermore, I do not recognise the land of milk and honey that apparently existed in 1979 with loss-making industries propped up by the taxpayer.

Can Margaret Thatcher’s critics seriously believe that the welfare state we have today could have been afforded without the changes achieved by the government she led?

Yes, they made mistakes, the poll tax in particular. However, we should not forget the swingeing increases in the rates that preceded its introduction. The early introduction of the Community Charge in Scotland was in response to the absurd local tax increases imposed by Labour councils in Scotland.

John Kelly

High Street

Dalkeith

Nick Dekker (Letters, 11 April) has hit the nail on the head with his observation that North Sea oil, not Margaret Thatcher, was the saving of Britain

Andrew Marr, in one of his documentaries about Britain, said that Margaret Thatcher in her early days as prime minister was extremely unpopular and that the two things that saved her were the Falklands War and North Sea oil. She was a lucky prime minister. The Falklands campaign could easily have been a disaster and Scotland’s North Sea oil was there for the taking.

James Morison

Ferguston Road

Glasgow

Margaret Thatcher was a divisive figure, which received wisdom tells us is a “bad thing” and yet her death at least allows us to see the people who share our views.

On one side: HM the Queen, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk, Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, Trevor McDonald, David Frost and Jeremy Clarkson.

On the other: Polly Toynbee, George Galloway, Ken Livingstone, Gerry Adams, Arthur Scargill, Russell Brand, Glenda Jackson and Cristina Kirchner.

The Bible warns us of false prophets saying: “by their fruits shall, ye know them” but we often translate that as “by their friends shall ye know them”.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews

ANOTHER saving for an independent Scotland would have been the cost of the elaborate funeral ceremony for Baroness Thatcher.

Typical of her Tory legatees is the total discounting of any possible contrary opinion as to the public paying for such an occasion.

A party and a former leader of it who opposed the public services in favour of privatisation, and who is it who finances the funeral? The public, of course.

Any idea that private interests that have supported Tory policies against the public sector should be obliged to pay for such a costly occasion doesn’t get house room.

The riding roughshod over contrary opinion that was a hallmark of Margaret Thatcher’s time in office has been a main legacy of her successors. The current war against the welfare state is one clear example of this.

No, I don’t much approve of partying when people die but there are those who approve of a party that shows little concern for the poor lives of others. Is there much to separate such parties when it comes down to it?

Ian Johnstone

Forman Drive

Peterhead

Terry Murden suggests that, by encouraging people “to chase their dreams and ambitions”, Margaret Thatcher spawned the ill effects leading to the banking shambles (Business Comment, 10 April).

But her prime intent was always that we must all take responsibility for our own actions. So although she unwisely allowed Nigel Lawson’s inflationary boom in the late 1980s, it is inconceivable that she would not have stopped the rot well before the moral hazard of banks offloading their responsibilities to the taxpayer by becoming “too big to fail”.

That was corporatism, not the free-enterprise capitalism she espoused.

More culpable surely were Jimmy Carter, who actively encouraged sub-prime lending in the 1970s; Bill Clinton, who greatly increased it and repealed the Glass-Steagall “firewall” act in the 1990s; Gordon Brown and Ed Balls for their tripartite regulatory confusion in 1997; the incompetence and venality of top banking executives and directors; the non-use of their existing powers by regulators in the United States, UK, Netherlands and elsewhere; inadequate auditors in (I regret to say) my own accountancy profession; and almost all politicians in the early 2000s who were incapable of judging consequences and delighted with the billions of tax revenues generated from apparently real profits.

Incredibly, Gordon Brown also appointed James Crosby as a non-executive director and deputy chairman of the Financial Services Authority (HBOS’s “regulator”) in 2004 while allowing Crosby to remain chief executive of HBOS for more than two years thereafter.

Not just poacher turned gamekeeper but an amalgamation of the two, in a grotesque example of the last words of Animal Farm, for which Brown has escaped public censure.

John Birkett

Horseleys Park

St Andrews

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