Simon ‘Fatty’ Heffer has just posted this piece at the Torygraph.
Very few Slog readers, I’d imagine, would understand why it made me so irate. It is a question of the fundamental nastiness, vulgarity and mean-minded chest-poking of most Thatcherites I’ve met over the years.
Anyway, this was my response to it in the Discus comment columns – which remain the most technologically illogical threads on the Web:
Considering Mr Heffer’s usually high standards, this is a tragically unthinking piece.
Harold Macmillan fought with exemplary bravery during the First World War, during which period he gained a respect for the working man with aspirations to do better. In the Second War, he helped Butler frame an Education Act that produced more social mobility for such ordinary folk (like me) in these islands than anything attempted in the previous 1000 years. The idea that he was a Socialist is laughable: he was the only true One Nation Tory PM we have ever had.
Socialists later betrayed the Butler Act with their forced-equality ideas on education, as a result of which we have the dumbed and conformist Thatcher’s children of 2010. Educationally, they are indeed Thatcher’s Stepford children, because MetalWoman did nothing to restore standards in our schools – indeed, she diluted them further by granting Uni status to the CATS.
Mrs Thatcher performed several great services for this country, but her crimes were threefold and empirically undeniable. (1) She did nothing to reduce the power and numbers of Sir Humphreys. (Too busy watching Yes Minister, perhaps). (2) She eroded the concept of community. (3) She handed the economy to bankers, and left her schorched-earth revenge on working people as a problem for future generations to handle.
To call Macmillan a charlatan suggests that Simon Heffer’s view of him is based largely on Private Eye. Most of us would give a limb to have the growth, infrastructural investment, safe society and stability over which he presided. Maybe he did preside over decline, but it was not of his making.
I met Mrs T recently, and she is – I am genuinely sad to say – not entirely of this planet. I met SuperMac when he was 85, and he remained a lucid, ironic and engaging man. ‘Sad’ he was not.
Margaret Thatcher isn’t even in his league: his legacy is infinitely more benign than hers.
Shame on you, Simon Heffer.