Though most of the controversial Margaret Thatcher’s strongest critics have opted for respect in light of news of her death, MSNBC’s Martin Bashir has doubled down on his criticism of the polarizing British politician.
Thatcher was one of those folks people either loved hated. Reception of her political career was pretty firmly drawn along party lines, but most left-leaning publications and commentators have respectfully focused on her accomplishments, only noting that she was often a divisive figure for integrity’s sake.
MSNBC’s Chuck Todd spoke glowingly of Thatcher during a Monday morning discussion about her death while sitting with British Martin Bashir and the BBC’s Katty Kay.
“It was Thatcher’s tough, uncompromising style that endeared the British public to her, even years after she’d left office,” Todd said. But Bashir wasn’t having it.
Though Bashir admitted that Thatcher was successful internationally, he called her “incredibly divisive” domestically, and said that she had caused “incredibly violent domestic strife and protest” with her anti-union policies. Her economic policies, meanwhile, inspired a “flagrant, excessive and ostentatious pursuit of cash.”
“She unleashed some of the worst race riots because of the excessively over-heavy policing that she encouraged in urban communities, one of which I grew up in,” he said.
During a separate report with MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall, Bashir continued his critique.
“She regarded Nelson Mandela as a terrorist,” Bashir said. “She was at ease with the notion of apartheid, which — many of us growing up in England as students during her period as prime minister — we were campaigning for the release of Mandela.”
He also continued his racial critique of Thatcher:
“In terms of policing,” he argued, “if you were a non-white member of the minority, you felt the aggressive hand of the police – led by Margaret Thatcher – which resulted in some of the worst race riots that the country had ever seen in the 1980s.”
Perhaps expecting further criticism, Bashir noted that Thatcher’s passing is indeed sad. “It is an immensely sad day,” he added. “We obviously don’t want to speak ill of the recently deceased.”
“But the facts of the historical record do need to be placed center stage,” Bashir said. “She was a divisive figure. There’s no doubt about it.”
What do you think? Should pundits like Martin Bashir be focusing on the controversial aspects of Thatcher’s political career the day of her death? Sound off below the videos:
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