Tributes are flowing in Hong Kong, around the world and in (wealthy portions of) the UK… Here, Thatcher was known as the Prime Minister who negotiated the Handover and secured the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ deal with Beijing Premier Deng Xiaoping. Years later, she admitted how disappointed she was in failing to extend Britain’s lease of the territory.
At home, most working-class regular Brits are rightly in a mood for celebration this week. For many, she remains reviled as a war-monger who destroyed unions, sparked 3 decades of privatisation, left a disastrous long-term economic legacy that impoverished the poor and enriched the rich. Thatcher decimated working class communities more than any other figure in living British memory, de-industrialising the country only to invest in arms manufacturing and finance. She died without facing justice over 14 Irish activists she let die and 258 British soldiers sent to their death in the Falklands. Today, she leaves Britain with a housing shortage, corporate under-regulation, a decrepit railway system, extortionate energy costs and the inevitable financial crisis her policies spawned.
As Time Magazine puts it, she was also on the ‘wrong side of history’ regarding foreign policy. She opposed Nelson Mandela, supported the Cambodian genocide, befriended dictators Suharto and Pinochet and defended the Pakistani military regime.
There will be no tears on this blog for Thatcher, but – for the sake of history and interest – we present a few photos from the early 80s as she visited HK and China to discuss “The Great Chinese Takeaway“.