This is an excellent synopsis on Thatcher and her times written by one of the more perspicacious political essayists, well worth the time. It’s the best thing I’ve read on the topic.
Regular visitors to this blog will recognize just how much I enjoy Campbell’s musings, that having been said, there are a couple of oddities in this piece. Campbell says that patriarchy gets established as a result of the Enlightenment. Certainly mainstream (if you will) anti-sexists date its origin much, much earlier than that. So do I. I’m not sure what he means.
And like many other black historians, Campbell gives prominence to trans-Atlantic slave trade in the accumulation of capital for the people at the top of the British empire. While this leg of the triangular trade was an important part of the whole, the primitive accumulation which occurred in England proper as a result of the privatization of land (Enclosures), the exploitation of natural resources (mainly coal), and the series of technological developments (flying shuttle, spinning Jenny etc) in the textile industry play at least as large a role. Campbell doesn’t explicitly deny this, but one might infer by its omission from his survey that he attributes to it a subordinate status, which if true is not only inaccurate but unconscionable as well. The horrible suffering of the British peasantry-cum-working class should not be neglected in any summary, no matter how brief, of the rise of capitalism.
With those caveats out of the way, this is an excellent essay, particularly for those young enough to have missed the Maggie and Ronny era (you lucky dogs).