Debating the Thatcher legacy – continued

The debate goes on…

Emilio Valli •In her last official speech on Climate Change in 1990, Thatcher stated:

“Our immediate task is to carry as many countries as possible with us so that we can negotiate a successful framework convention on climate change in 1992….To accomplish these tasks, we must not waste time and energy disputing the IPPC’s report or debating the right machinery for making progress.”

That international convention on Climate Change took place in 1992, known as the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, when Thatcher was no longer Prime Minister. The UN FCCC set the stage for a series of annual global meetings on climate change that unfortunately 21 years later have yet to produce a meaningful accord limiting emissions. Not because of Thatcher’s followers, but because of the understandable, though not justified, opposition of emerging economies like China and India.

The Falklands War. As a non-British European leaning towards the political left at the time, to me the Falklands War was reminiscent of a colonial war. But later I fully came to understand that Mrs Thatcher and the great majority of the British citizens were genuinely outraged that anyone could seize British territory. All political parties voted for the war, including Old Labour (led by Michael Foot) and the Liberal Democrats.

Mrs Thatcher had U.N. authority for her position. U.N Resolution 502 not only called for Argentine withdrawal and guaranteed the right for self-determination, but Article 51 of the U.N. Charter asserted the right of self-defense against aggression. So long as she showed a willingness to compromise on hypothetical details the Charter endorsed her essential demands.

Keith Melton •I will certainly grant you the quote – but I return to the point about rhetoric versus practice and although China and India clearly deserve a slap on the wrist for their intransigence I must still insist that the Bush years and the stance of the USA in particular, in denying Climate change as a reality, must carry more of the burden of guilt for the lack of progress over those years.

If only the USA had budged from their position, China and India may have been persuaded to change too. Freedom at any cost is what Thatcher’s governance practiced, despite a sympathetic rhetoric you quote. And that, I fear, is the Thatcher legacy as interpreted by Bush junior.


Keith Melton

Keith Melton •As for the Falklands war, of course the British public were outraged, because the media made it a telling issue of outrage but I would ask you to consider two other points.

Firstly it seems highly likely that the key strategic position of the Falkland Islands vis a vis the Antarctic and possible future access to oil and other mineral resources there was a much stronger driver than any media-manufactured “outrage” in the decision-making of both Argentinian and British Governments.

Secondly, where was the “outrage” when a similar number of Chagos islanders were disposessed by British Government action/inaction by both Labour and Conservative governments (see recent HEG discussion and John Pilger’s report –

I am not particularly laying this at Thatcher’s door but during 13 years in Government one would guess there would have been a point at which the process was challenged but dismissed…perhaps we could be enlightened by someone in the know?


About Keith Melton - Green Lib Dem

Retired English liberal environmentalist living in Nottinghamshire; spent six years in Brazil. Author of Historical Novel - Captain Cobbler: the Lincolnshire Uprising 1536. Active member of the Green Liberal Democrats - (pressure group in Liberal Democrats) - was Founding Chair of GLD in 1988
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