The endorsement of Lady Thatcher, even in death (probably more so) is being claimed without always giving due regard to what the great lady actually believed. Perhaps the most glaring example I've noted so far have been claims in Parliament last Thurs. that Lady Thatcher would have been fully signed up to DECC's climate change policies. I'd thought she had reassessed her early opinions on this issue. It seems I was not the only only one taken aback by what seemed to be a misrepresentation of her views. Christopher Booker in today's Telegraph, has referred to Thurs's debate in Westminster Hall. He must have been listening in. Let me run through what happened - at least from my perspective.
Because of my opposition to the Mid Wales Connection Project (500-600 turbines, 100 mls of new power lines, 20 acre sub-station, several years of traffic constipation, etc.), I take an interest in climate change politics. So on Thursday afternoon I trundled along to Westminster Hall to listen the three hours of debate on future climate change policy, particularly in relation to how we can influence the politics of China. It was not wholly what I expected. Peter Lillie, MP really livened things up by rubbishing the whole thrust of DECC policy. Startling stuff. Peter is a 'forensic' and fearless speaker. Anyway, I had just gone along to listen. But Energy Minister, Greg Barker must have said something that grated a bit and I intervened to ask him (quite innocently) about the importance of taking account of the voice of the people. Must admit to be totally taken aback by his response.
Firstly it was all about leadership and not being concerned about being popular - in the way that Lady Thatcher would have acted. As if she saw and the Minister sees virtue in promoting unpopular policies. And this was the day after her funeral. In any case, my memory of Lady Thatcher was that she did listen to the people, and would have been more than happy to ignore the 'metroploliton elites' which care nothing and understand less about landscape and rural life. But he went on (and on) reciting what Lady Thatcher had said in the 1980's about climate change. Now I would have been saying much the same thing in the 1980s - but time does create opportunity for scales to fall from the eyes. Now Greg Barker must have known that Lady Thatcher had changed her views, and publicly recanted on what she thought in the 1980s. Its just not feasible that I knew, but that the Energy Minister didn't. But I thought it better to simmer quietly to myself rather than extend embarrassingly inappropriate debate. The comments are made all the worse by being used by several other like-minded politicians over recent days - suggesting the use of Lady Thatcher's name to 'legitimise' DECC's policy stances is a deliberate calculated ploy. Its probably best if I don't write down what I think of this behaviour. Anyway, I do hope that colleagues read Christopher Booker's piece today, and read the Hansard report of proceedings, before judging for themselves.