Byline: Interviews by GEORGE WOODFIELD
WHEN Margaret Thatcher's death was announced I was bombarded with media requests to pay tribute to her. I refused. Honour Thatcher? No, no, no.
"Tribute" would be the last word that could be used to describe what I wanted to say. So I decided to wait six days to share my thoughts with you.
I despised everything she stood for. She may have been a woman, but in her policies she showed no compassion to the sick, needy and the desperate.
She won the election off the back of her famous Saatchi and Saatchi adverts... "Labour isn't working." She was the biggest spin-merchant going.
Remember when she stood on the doorstep of No 10 in 1979 and quoted St Francis of Assisi? This was meant to be her personal manifesto.
So let's judge her record in a cold and dispassionate way. It's what she would have wanted.
"Where there is discord, may we bring harmony."
Thanks to her failed economic policies, Britain went through two recessions and unemployment was deliberately allowed to skyrocket above three million. Under her, crime went up 79 per cent. Her reign started with riots in Brixton and Toxteth and ended with civil disobedience and more riots against the Poll Tax, a regressive taxation that hit the poor the hardest.
"Where there is error, may we bring truth."
Tell that to the families of the 96 football fans who died at Hillsborough. Her Government and South Yorkshire Police conspired with Murdoch's Sun to smear the victims as drunks and louts, then covered up the truth for years.
"Where there is doubt, may we bring faith."
Thatcher never had faith in society. She claimed it didn't exist. Her belief in the individual led to selling off council homes and refusing to build new ones, leading to record waiting lists for social housing and homelessness.
She also showed no faith to Nelson Mandela, whom she branded a terrorist, but called Chilean fascist dictator General Pinochet a "staunch true friend".
"Where there is despair, may we bring hope."
She destroyed mining communities, setting family against family and short-sightedly closed pits that were still economically viable. As many as 200,000 miners lost their jobs just to show she could prove who was boss. Since then, the price of coal rose from $30 a ton in 1987 to $130 in 2008. Forty per cent of our electricity is powered by coal, and we import the vast majority!
It made no economic sense. It was a coldhearted political decision.
Under Thatcher, inequality increased and the number of people in poverty rose by nearly five million to 12.2million... nearly a quarter of the UK population.
CRADLE TO GRAVE
When she was elected, one in seven children lived in poverty. By the time she was sacked, by her own Cabinet, it was one in three.
Manufacturing collapsed under her strategy of deindustrialisation and we became beholden to the bankers, the very people who caused the greatest economic crisis since the 1930s depression.
Remember "Tell Sid"? Well Sid might have bought shares in British Gas but today he has to make the choice between heating or eating now that the average dual-fuel bill is more than PS1,400.
Thatcher's "shareholder democracy" vision didn't stop the privatised British Gas in 2012 making PS606million profits and its five bosses sharing PS16.4million in pay and bonuses. She left this country in a terrible state... bitter, selfish and divided. Her legacy is the out-of-touch Tory ministers hell-bent on replicating her nasty and twisted politics today.
The antithesis of Thatcher was a prime minister who helped lead this country, with Churchill, against the scourge of fascism and then rebuilt this country.
Clement Attlee, who served as Churchill's deputy prime minister in the wartime cabinet, led Labour to …