Monday 23 November 2020
Thirty Years On
Barely remarked upon, perhaps because she did have to remain in office until her successor had been chosen, yesterday was the thirtieth anniversary of the nominal resignation of Margaret Thatcher.
Many others tried, but the only organisation that ever succeeded in getting rid of her was the Conservative Party. If it loved her in life as much as it loves in her death, then it had a very, very, very strange way of showing it.
In her memoirs, the extremely bitter chapter on the Poll Tax makes it clear that she was under no delusion that she had been removed because of "Europe". That was the cover story, but "Europe" had not been the reason why scores of Conservative MPs had been on course to lose their seats.
The content, rather than the tone, of that policy did not change under her successor. By contrast, the Poll Tax was abolished completely, with a reversion to the previous system of domestic rates in all but name. The Conservatives then unexpectedly won the General Election of 1992, at which Thatcher retired from the House of Commons.
She made absolutely no bones about the fact that the campaign against the Poll Tax had been organised by the Militant Tendency, and that is perfectly true. When she said that her defenestration and the Poll Tax's consequent abolition had been a capitulation to Militant, then she was wholly correct.
The question is what level of cooperation there was, entirely bypassing the Labour front bench and the Opposition Whips' Office, between Militant on one side and Conservative MPs on the other. Dave Nellist was always hugely popular across the House. Think on.