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Lord FlightLord
Flight was Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 2001-2004 and led for
the Opposition on the FSMA.  He is now chairman of Flight & Partners
Recovery Fund.

I
agree with what I understand was Lady Thatcher’s preference for the
magnificent, traditional English Funeral Service, over the more recent Memorial
Service. Lady Thatcher’s funeral was very moving and majestic in its
simplicity. It was England at its best. I could not avoid shedding a tear
when her coffin left the Cathedral and her people, outside, clapped and cheered
to witness their support and affection for her. Bishop Chartres delivered
a brilliant sermon nailing the deliberate misinterpretation of Thatcher’s
famous remarks about society, where her meaning was that people have a
responsibility, first to help themselves and their families; and then, as far
as possible, to assist others. The very theme picked up by David Cameron’s Big
Society.

Thatcher’s
death has revived serious political debate in Britain. The telling
statistic is that a Guardian-commissioned poll found that if Margaret Thatcher
were still Tory Leader, the Tories would surge to 40% support, only just below
the share she achieved at her last General Election. This compares with 32% for
the Tories otherwise, on current voting intentions. The political message
is surely clear.


There
was a lot which Margaret Thatcher did not have the time or opportunity to
address – particularly health, welfare, public sector Trade Unions and family
policy. Also we have slipped back to public spending of 50% rather than 40% of
GDP – a proven drag on economic growth. Our tax system has become even
more impenetrably complex, with another Finance Bill of over 600 pages. It
is clear that the UK needs radical reform and a leader of Thatcher’s strength
of character to design and implement this.

On
perhaps the most important issue of our times, and having been misled as to EU
intentions, what Lady Thatcher had to say, back in 1988, is even truer today as
our main industry faces the threat of an ill-conceived transaction tax, with
collection requirements imposed on the UK even though we are not participating:

“We have not
successfully rolled back the frontiers of the State in Britain, only to see
them re-imposed at a European level with a European super-state exercising a
new dominance from Brussels.”

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