In 1979, when Margaret Thatcher came to power following The Winter of Discontent,Britainwas effectively ruled by, and in the grip of the Trades Unions; who were out of the control even of the Labour government to whom most were affiliated.
The country was in decline, over regulated and over taxed. Industry was inefficient, over manned, and uncompetitive, with large chunks nationalised, loss making and riddled with restrictive practices and a closed shop mentality.
Investment was low or non-existent, education and training was of a low standard and inflation was high:
Britainwere rightly epitomised as The Sick Man of Europe.
Against this background, Margaret Thatcher’s policies centred round the need to restore national pride by:
Neutralising the strength of the unions;
Reducing the size of government with its nanny-type status;
Privatising loss making nationalised industries – so they would end the drain on the public purse (slanted particularly to be attractive to ordinary people to encourage their acquisition of shares);
Reducing taxation (which under an earlier Labour government had peaked once with a marginal rate of 97.5%);
Reducing crime with tougher action;
Reducing inflation (which had peaked at 22%);
Ending the benefits culture (under which, taxes paid even by poorer working people were (and still are) used to allow the work shy to sit at home rather than attempt to seek gainful employment);
Empowering the the poorest in society who lived in social (council) housing) with the right to purchase their own rented homes (offering hefty discounts, minimal deposits and low interest rates to sitting tenants.) One benefit which accrued from this was the ability for some, otherwise trapped for life, to be able to sell, and move away, from the many crime-ridden, violent, ghetto housing estates.
She promoted the prospect of an asset owning, self-reliant, democratic nation.
Finally, making a substantial contribution to the downfall of communism inEastern Europeand the end of the cold war.
This philosophy clearly is one which indicates a compassionate and caring person. However the truth may not always match the perception; though it is always the truth that matters if a person is to be judged.
The method adopted to handle benefits during the large scale unemployment, caused partially as a result of the global recession in the 1980s (which the UK economy was particular ill-equipped to handle in view of the series of crises occurring during the 1970s), was the one most efficient to the tax payer: not to employ people in artificial jobs created by governments, (or allowing them to remain at work in loss making, public industries), but instead, to provide the basic unemployment benefit required for subsistence purposes, putting the onus on individuals to find their own jobs and entertainment.
Those made to become self-reliant, perhaps for the first time, might very well have thought the policy to be nasty!
I expectAmericawould act in a similar manner, employed to remove the invaders of the Falkland Islands, if, say, Hawaii was ever seized by a foreign power.