Courtesy of Piers Akerman/Daily Telegraph:
For more articles by Piers go to; http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/piersakerman/
by Piers Akerman From: The Daily Telegraph April 12, 2013 12:00AM
THE uncompromising Baroness Thatcher would find it amusing that even in death she presents a dilemma for those who disagree with her.
As the heads of major nations prepare to join Queen Elizabeth at St Paul’s Cathedral for the former British Prime Minister’s ceremonial funeral, Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s office is unsure whether she will attend.
The problems for Gillard are two-fold – first, she would look hypocritical in the extreme should she present herself as her own policies are the antithesis of Thatcher’s; second, she would by convention be obliged to invite Opposition Leader Tony Abbott to accompany her.
Yet the lure of appearing at such an international event (the BBC is planning three hours of live coverage) must surely be there as her popularity increases whenever she is out of Australia.
Yesterday her office would only say it was awaiting formal details before making a decision.
Unlike Gillard, despite her successful China mission this week, Thatcher had a deep interest in global affairs that, as early as 1949, included considerations of Australia. As British opposition leader and later prime minister, she visited and there was even a family link when her daughter Carol came and lived in Sydney and worked on the employment section of The Sydney Morning Herald.
Those who knew Carol in her Sydney days still delight in a particularly politically incorrect anecdote. If you’re a sensitive soul and likely to be offended do not read the next two paragraphs.
It was Thatcher’s habit to regularly call her daughter (then sharing a Paddington house with several men).
On one occasion Carol was stricken with flu and unable to answer. The chap who picked up Mrs Thatcher’s call explained to the British PM: “Carol can’t speak now, she’s in bed with a wog.” The Australian lingo was met with silence but when explained caused much amusement in Downing St.
Baroness Thatcher would not have been as amused by Australia lately. Where she was a role model for strong, independent women, Australian women are now fed the quota-queen model championed by Gillard and her mentors, the serial political disasters Joan Kirner, Carmen Lawrence and the other female politicians bankrolled by the left-wing Emily’s List.
Under the Rudd-Gillard governments we have the culture Thatcher warned us against. In 1976, in one of the first speeches she made in Australia, she told a Canberra audience the real difference between conservatives and their socialist political opponents is that conservatives believe that government should act to enlarge the freedom of the individual to live his own life whilst socialists believe the government should diminish it.
“Our way upholds the importance of the individual and makes provision for him to develop his own talent. To us, all individuals are equally important, but all different. It is this difference which gives richness and variety, and strength, to the life of the community,” she said.
She also touched on “social justice” – the term used by members of the Rudd-Gillard government to justify increasing intrusion into private lives.
“Common to all collectivist theories is the presumption that ‘social justice’ is more equitable than justice to the individual; that the ‘social wage’ is more desirable than the income a man or woman earns, and spends or saves; that ‘classes’ matter more than people; above all, that ‘collective rights’ are more important than the rights of the individual citizen,” she said.
Thatcher demolished the concept of “collective rights” and used as her example the Soviet Union, where, she said, more than anywhere else, the collectivist dogma had – in the name of the “people” – made the state the owner and manager of all the means of production, distribution and exchange. And the result?
“Far from abolishing poverty, socialism has kept the vast majority of the Soviet people miles behind the western world in standards of living and quality of life,” Thatcher said.
“Instead of ‘superior productivity’ based on workers’ control, its state-owned industries and collectivised farms are steadily falling further and further behind those of the west. Socialist ‘realism’ has meant neither artists nor writers have been free to express their own ideas. Anything that conflicts with the collectivist mystique is feared, and is condemned and banned.
“Note, too, this further perversity. The ‘condemning’, and the ‘banning’ are all done in the name of ‘the people’. Thus, the People’s Courts, the Public Prosecutors, the state-controlled industries are presented to us as organs of ‘collective’ democracy.”
Thatcher, US President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II saw the Soviet Union implode. But it only within the past month that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy abandoned his attempt to muzzle the Australian media after a relentless campaign by publishers and particularly The Daily Telegraph, with its humiliating portrayal of the censorious minister as a latter-day Stalin.
The current ALP leadership learnt nothing from Thatcher’s liberation of the UK, intent as it is on restoring stifling power to the trade union movement.
“Freedom,” said Thatcher, “is our most precious possession. To defend it and maintain it is no passive task, but requires continuous vigilance and resolve. Let it never be said the dedication of those who love freedom is less than the determination of those who would destroy it.”