Margaret Thatcher’s legacy is a spirit of freedom

Rory Broomfield, Deputy-Director of The Freedom Association, says that Margaret Thatcher’s legacy is more than many think.

Much has been written about Margaret Thatcher’s legacy but the one thing that she will be remembered for by many is that her ideas embodied a belief in freedom. This was inevitably seen through her battle against the Unions and the fight against socialism at home. However, this fight was not just domestic – but international.

From the Falkland Islands to Fontainebleau, she tried to make the UK free from tyranny and, in doing so, believed that willing cooperation between sovereign states was the practical route that would lead to success.

This is certainly seen over her approach to the European Community (as it was then) and then the European Union. With the belief in sovereign state cooperation she drove through the Single Market and enlargement whilst also ensuring a British rebate. However, what the Community has become now is something that she could never have asked for.

Margaret Thatcher wanted the UK to be part of the European Community and not a Union.  As outlined in her Bruges speech in 1988, she said that our [the UK’s] destiny is in Europe, as part of the Community.

In that speech Thatcher also warned that Europe must not be ossified by endless regulation. And yet, after 40 years of being in the “European Project”, the yoke of European regulation is the origin for the majority of laws in the UK.

This has left the UK un-free in a way that it was not under her Premiership. Indeed, according to figures produced by the British Chamber of Commerce, this EU-sourced legislation makes up nearly 70 per cent of all business cost through regulation in the UK.

In so doing, it means that while the world experiences economic growth, the UK is in an economic strait-jacket through regulation that it cannot amend or change while it remains a member.

This is not something that Thatcher helped to create and it is something that she defiantly stood up to when she uttered the words “No! No! No!” in the House of Commons.

It puts the words written by Giles Goodall, President of the European Movement, about Thatcher and her “European legacy” in context, especially as Margaret Thatcher was a global leader, not just a European one. She believed that since Magna Carta, the British have pioneered and developed representative institutions to stand as bastions of freedom and that it led from the front. This was certainly true in her work with Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev to undo the Soviet Empire

It is sad that the natural consequences of EU membership have led to the derogation of our relationship with the rest of the world. This bloc mentality has led to further restrictions on the movement of people to and from the UK from outside the European Union and has tied the UK to a sinking weight economically.

The conclusion we draw from this is, for the UK to rediscover freedom and growth it should break free of the shackles of Brussels and look onto the world.

Rory Broomfield is Deputy Director of The Freedom Association where he is Director of the Better Off Out campaign. He tweets @rorybroomfield



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