What would Maggie have said?
High level talks
Click pictures to enlarge
I’m very grateful to former South Shields councillor George Wilkinson who unearthed these pictures from his family album showing George and a very younger yours truly in talks with the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The pictures were taken in March 1982 at the Five Bridges Hotel in Gateshead at a Conservative Party function, Maggie was fond of visiting the regions to find out first hand what the feelings of the party were, and always relished the opportunity to meet others too, as she kept herself well informed about the state of the nation. She visited the north-east many times whilst Leader of the Opposition and also as Prime Minister and this was one of a number of occasions that I was fortunate enough to bend her ear!
I wonder how she might have handled our recent woes? How would she have dealt with the Northern Rock collapse and the banking crisis of 2008? Would she have allowed the UK to participate in such a massive banking bail out, and would she have contributed so much to the IMF and the ECB to bail out other European nations who were unable to deal with their own deficits and debt mountains? Would she have allowed any Chancellor of hers to build up such massive debts as those accrued by Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling?
I was about 25 years old at the time of this meeting, having been a mostly green and wet behind the ears Progressive councillor for the Beacon and Bents ward, to be honest and truthful until George told me about these photographs I’d forgotten all about this visit, even now I haven’t got a clue about what we might have been discussing. I do recall a later meeting in Seaton Delaval Hall when she discussed the beauty of The Leas and the coastline in South Shields and how she hoped that they would always be there for the public to enjoy, that was long before they were entrusted the The National Trust for safekeeping, at a meeting at the late Lord Elliot’s home in Northumberland we discussed how the miner’s strike was affecting their families and the hardships they were enduring, I was a little surprised at her concern. However, this meeting has me beaten, perhaps George can help out.
So readers, what do you think Maggie was telling us? How do you think she would have dealt with the debt crisis?
(Note to George Elsom – we weren’t discussing future charity events such as Movo, or my film star looks!)