Monthly Archives: April 2013

Thatcher: Legacy and Legend; divisive in life and death.

First, allow me to assert that I make no intention on “bashing” the death of Thatcher. I merely wish to analyse, from my personal opinion, her role as a minister and a formidable leader. 

Indeed, she was a formidable leader. She redefined the political spectrum, and consequently the United Kingdom. She transformed us from an industrial power to a financial power house. Dubbed as a modernisation, the rate at which she transformed Britain was such that it aggravated a winter of discontent and the epoch of misery for many working class families and communities. Her role within the Conservative party was seen as an attack on the livelihood of a huge number of individuals across the north of England. She attacked the little that remained for the working classes and whoever makes an attempt on a man’s life, on a man’s liberty, on a man’s honour, inspires in us a feeling of horror analogous in every way to that which the believer experiences when his idol is profaned. 

I would argue that Thatcher’s legacy denounced Unionism and Communitarianism, forcing Britain into crass commercialisation which reduced society to nothing more than a vast apparatus of “purchase” and “exchange” on credit and debt, disguised as liberty and individualism. She made it exceedingly clear that within her society communal life is, in fact, impossible without the role and existence of interests superior to those of the individual. 

Commendations can be made upon her determination, conviction, and the role and importance for women who felt disillusioned or disenfranchised in 1980’s Britain, but as it has been made clear by Glenda Jackson this view may be somewhat distorted by an increasingly flattering press. Yes, she was a formidable leader due to the vast array of changes she made and the sheer extent of them; an excellent orator who is undoubtedly skilled in public addresses, but nonetheless an individual whose policies destroyed communities. 

However, in regards to those who have celebrated her death without the knowledge of her true impact and rather relies on hearsay may be wildly misinformed. The controversies of yesterday only give superficial expression to a more profound disagreement, and an opinion which is far more divided over a question of principle rather than a question of fact. One must hear the arguments which have been exchanged on both sides in order to reach a justified and well-judged evaluation. 

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George Osborne: Disabled Parking

I rarely show support for the Tory party as I am a Labour supporter (not New Labour. Labour.) However, I find the recent “scandal” of Osborne parking in a disabled bay somewhat pedantic, tedious, and puerile. Indeed, it comes at a dreadful time after he has just made substantial cuts to the welfare system – and has gone on to criticise it more after the Phillpotts incident – but it detracts away from any real issues at hand. It’s a mistake and one we have probably all made. Rather than criticising the fact he’s parked in a disabled bay, let’s criticise his ineffective policies; let’s criticise Iain Duncan Smith for being … well. 

You only have to take a look at the papers which are reporting the incident, and the level of “journalism” which follows it to see that this isn’t a scandal at all, and that there are much bigger things to be concerned about. It’s a cheap assault and one which lacks any substance or dignity. 

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North Korea: Nuclear War

Kim Jong-un, the egocentric megalomaniac, has recently declared nuclear war against South Korea and, consequently, America and all those who wish to support America. The nation then went one step further in restarting recent nuclear power facilities which could be running within a year, thus leading to a major international crisis as the North Korea threat now moves from idle to substantial. 

One of the primary concerns with North Korea was whether the bellicose rhetoric would be followed by action, and it certainly has done. Recently releasing the statement on the state controlled news network, Rodong Sinmun, a spokesperson said: 

The on-going do-or-die battle is a just and patriotic war to settle accounts with the U.S. and the south Korean puppet forces with arms of Songun, not with words.

 

Which is obviously a huge cause for concern. North Korea have argued that this aggression has been born out of a response to the increasing military presence of the American’s in the South. Indeed, America have been running drills, but with the recent activity from the North it is somewhat justified. It seems, therefore, that much of this military aggression does, in fact, derive from Kim Jong-Un’s desire to prove himself to a cabinet. A new leader with a huge – albeit propagated – legacy to fulfil, he has to in some way prove himself. Certainly, his recent actions will have amounted to much commendation from his cabinet, and with the yearly “financial figures” being released, it seems that Kim is doing pretty well in the role. 

America’s response is commendable, however. Yes, a military presence has increased and they have released a statement formerly stating that they would defend the South as much as possible; but one should not neglect the truly diplomatic response they have taken to the issue. For instance, in Libya, Syria, Egypt, and Israel, throwing money and weaponry appeared to be the logical foreign policy; yet, in circumstances such as these, it appears they are taking a much more tentative approach – much unlike, for instance, the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

North Korea went on to offer the promise that: 

Whether it is the five islands of the West Sea, the areas along the Military Demarcation Line or other regions where the U.S. imperialists and the south Korean warmongers make a military provocation, that will develop into an all-out war and a nuclear war, not just confined to a local war. There is no doubt about it.

 

It appears that the threat is extremely serious and imminent. Unlike other shallow and idle threats, it appears that this one holds much weight and the presumed nature of Kim Jong-Un’s personality has only lived up to expectations. 

It seems rather illogical for North Korea to attack South Korea, however, considering  that a reported 38% of its exports is to the southern peninsula. A state of M.A.D seems to have been engaged and, as Ban Ki-Moon rightly asserts, the threat has “gone too far.” 

I fear how far such rhetoric could go; not only the action side of things, but the implications on other nations. With Chinese officials condemning the actions anonymously, and Russia siding with America, it appears that support seems relatively strong. However, the recent military aid to Israel could cause hostility from Iran meaning they could, in theory, support North Korea. On the contrary, this is all outrageous speculation and relies on a number of outlandish factors. 

The possibility of the weapons being utilised is obvious unpredictable but also unlikely. I think it’s just ongoing shadow boxing and will be suppressed in coming months by both condemnation of the international community and, perhaps, insurgency. 

 

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