The funeral of former British prime minister Margret Thatcher took place in the UK today, one day after the Boston Marathon tragedy.. We talked to long time activist Lee Jasper former senior advisor to the mayor of London and co-chair of BARAC & National Black Members Officer for the Respect Political Party in UK about her legacy..
Lee noted that there’s been an all out attempt to lionize Thatcher and remake her similar to the way Ronald Reagan was remade and sanitized. They gave her full military honors which caused quite a bit of controversy.. They also expected to have the streets lined with millions. Thatcher’s funeral drew less than 100 thousand people. More folks came out in the streets of London for the funeral of former IRA (Irish Republican Army) leader and hunger striker Bobby Sands then they did Thatcher..
During our conversation Jasper broke down the alliance Thatcher forged with brutal Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and later Ronald Reagan to enact neo-Liberal policies that continue to this day…. He talked about how Thatcher made it a priority to try and break the unions and severely economically cripple working class people. He also spoke about her outright hostility toward Black people..
Jasper talked about the policing policies Thatcher oversaw including one called SUS (Stop and Search) where thousands of Black people were jailed simply on police suspecting they did a crime..They now have in place a policy that was the prototype for Stop and Frisk.. Lee explained Thatcher’s brutal policies along with her refusal to have investigated a racially motivated fire started by a white supremacist where 13 Black teens were killed led to a major riot in 1981 in the Brixton section of London. Police enhanced the SUS laws and more than a 1000 people were detained and hemmed up by police.
We also talked at length about Thatcher’s foreign policies and her support for white supremacist leader Ian Smith who presided over Rhodesia before it became Zimbabwe.. She talked about her seeing Nelson Mandela and the ANC in South Africa as terrorists. The woman was grand hater of Black liberation.
It’s with that in mind that Jasper expressed disappointment in the praise that President Obama showered on Thatcher considering the intense dislike many had for her and how divisive she was.. . Of course we should not be surprised considering that strong ties Thatcher had with Reagan and Obama’s repeated praise for the man we once called ‘The Gipper’.
Also during our interview we talked about the tragedy in Boston and how Londoners had to deal with constant bombings during the hey day of the IRA, … Lee expressed condolences to the folks in Boston and then talked about how it led to widespread fears resulting in intrusive and harsh laws..One of the laws that emerged was the precursor to what we now know as one that allows for indefinite detainment of what we call enemy combatants. He talked about the type of stigma and brutality heaped upon the Irish by police during that time and how many were deemed to be that..
Check out the Hard Knock Radio interview by clicking the link below..