The Iron Lady cast a steely shadow over the village of Westminster this week.
Memories of Margaret (now Baroness) Thatcher’s reign of heavy metallic terror still strikes fear in those who inhabited the place in the days when she would mercilessly handbag anyone who crossed her path.
This week her major Hollywood biopic was released. Fearing unfavourable comparisons the PM has gone into manic overdrive; launching an overlapping series of popular sound and eye-catching initiatives.
Having spotted that City fat cats are still awarding themselves performance-related perks which bear no relation to their performance the PM has become quite cross. Even threatening to give them a stern talking to; perhaps at one of those white tie only Lord Mayor’s Banquets, or something like that…
Then he’s been turning up the heat on the nurses who don’t seem to be able to do Hattie Jacques impressions like they used to. Blaming cases of poor standards on nurses; rather than on not having enough of them on our hospital wards, which is what the main problem is. So he’s been setting them another raft of micro-managed targets rather than given them the support of enough nurses and the chance to use their professional skills and initiative.
And then he’s been trying to scotch the plans of some in Scotland to get away scot free (apologies for that!). Personally, I agree that any attempt at completely severing a relationship is best achieved through mutual consent. Although I strongly support giving places like Scotland (or Cornwall) their right to decide more matters for themselves if they want to, there’s more (in my view) that brings the United Kingdom together than drives us apart.
I respect Scotland and its distinctiveness, just as I would hope more of those outside Cornwall would respect us too.
But perhaps all these initiatives are not produced to drown out the media’s temptation to reflect on the reign of Margaret Thatcher but really to divert attention away from the core of Government policy.
Those who oppose the welfare state never waste a good economic crisis, but I think they’d prefer to divert attention elsewhere as they do it!
10th January 2012
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