Thatcher's Death Opens Old Wounds
4/17/2013, 9 p.m.
Franklyn Eaton, who lived in London for 19 years, remembers the strikes, power outages and oil shortages.
"Miners were flexing their muscles and a lot of people were discontented but they didn't really want her. People were actually really fed up with [the government]. When she came in, she quickly became one of the worst. I don't know that any leader could have dealt with the miners so ruthlessly."
Thatcher was intent on crushing trade unions and she allowed the miner's strike to drag on for more than one year. Afterward, unions never exhibited the same strength they did as before she became prime minister.
Eaton, 56, who has managed several hotels in the Caribbean, criticized Thatcher for supporting the white minority government. While much of the world fought for divestment and sanctions against apartheid, Thatcher refused, opting for "constructive engagement." She famously called Nelson Mandela a communist adding that the African National Congress would never rule South Africa.
"What she did in South Africa, she did because [her husband] made a lot of money there and she didn't want to enforce an embargo," said Eaton, who studied economics at Kingston uponThames University in Surrey.
Eaton spoke of Thatcher selling off British-owned gas, telecom and airlines to her friends and cronies and characterized her sale of council flats [apartments] to occupants as a "vote-buying exercise."
Thatcher, he said, operated on the principle people should take responsibility for their lives and that the state's role should be minimal. But that had disastrous consequences for ordinary people.
Buckley-Jones said people where she lives continue to resist attempts to honor Thatcher.
"People here refused to give her a moment of silence or fly the flag at half-mast," said the Jamaican native who emigrated to England when she was eight. "They tried it at work and I told them I'm not doing it. I'm not going to be a hypocrite. I'll be celebrating on Wednesday. I might even put bunting (decorations) in front of my house. I'm going to speak the truth until this becomes a police state and they throw me in jail."