Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Black Britons have mixed feelings about Margaret Thatcher legacy



Thegrio.com reports--The former British prime minister  Margaret Thatcher has died at the age of 87. After battling more than decade of poor health, the ex-Conservative leader passed away on Monday from a stroke.

Baroness Thatcher had been staying at the five-star Ritz Hotel in Central London for several months. It is understood she died in one of the hotel’s suites in the morning.
The grocer’s daughter, who became the longest serving British prime minister of the 20th century, is the U.K.’s first, and so far only, female prime minister.
Known as the “Iron Lady” for her unshakable political and personal strength, “Maggie” was a formidable figure.
On the world stage she was viewed as tough and determined politician. Thatcher led her country to victory in the Falklands war and her strong alliance with President Ronald Reagan battled against communism and saw the Berlin Wall torn down in 1989.
Either loathed or loved
Still, in Britain, Thatcher was a divisive force, whom you either loved or loathed.
Critics say she widened the gap between the rich and the poor. Between 1979 and 1990, her governments privatized state-owned industries and utilities, crushed the unions and her controversial poll tax policies sparked a wave of riots.
To her admirers, though, she was a national icon, a decisive leader, who transformed the British economy from a nation in long term industrial decline to a free market economy.
Thatcher not beloved by black Britons
However, among black Britons, for the most part, Thatcher was less revered.
“There is no doubt that Margaret Thatcher was a formidable politician: She smashed the Unions, she defeated the Argentinian military junta, she even scared the Conservative elite who had run the country for centuries,” said Simon Woolley, director of U.K. lobby group Operation Black Vote.

“The reality is, however, her time in power coincided with one some of the darkest episodes of race relations in recent British history,” adds Woolley.
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