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Reconstructing The Spanner Operation 1983 to 1990
No Perfect Families: Margaret Thatcher’s family contradicts her morals and family values
“Broken families, they’re called. Like they’re somehow deficient – a shattered part of a socially-approved whole. Single mums, because we think women shouldn’t have the right to have families without a man. It wasn’t too long ago that unmarried mother was in vogue and in America unwed teenage mother is still an acceptable term. We don’t use words like partnered mums or married fathers.
In the Nineties the Tories were all for slut shaming single mothers (especially unmarried mothers) until a couple of top Conservative politicians were found to have created single parent families and one of them had been a single mother while she was a teenage student. Single mothers and their families were a social threat. Michael Howard suggested unmarried (but not married) mothers should have their children adopted. The Back to Basics campaign might have flopped, but the media (fuelled by the Institute of Economic Affair’s series of biased publications) had picked up the scent of easy meat. They stuck their teeth in and they haven’t let go since. This attitude survives today with an emphasis on teen mothers.
The scandal of Tories themselves being single parents or having children with single parents caused a stir at the time but really it was inevitable because breakups and divorce are common. But what’s really interesting is the fate that awaited the family of Margaret Thatcher, who advocated returning to Victorian values. At this time she’d recently been ousted. Her son Mark gave her her favourite granddaughter, Amanda Thatcher, around this time. Margaret Thatcher must have looked on with approval at the Major Government’s continuation of her agenda.
But fast forward to 17th April 2013 and her daughter Carol Thatcher turns up to her funeral – on national television – with a partner. She’s in a relationship with a man she isn’t married to. Yes, so are the rest of us, but it’s an interesting twist in the story of the Conservative Party’s idol. Margaret Thatcher and the Major government had stigmatised lone mothers and “illegitimate” children, yet here was her own daughter flaunting her unmarried status on the BBC. If Carol Thatcher gets pregnant, she’ll be an unmarried mother.
Margaret Thatcher’s grandkids Michael and Amanda Thatcher were (according to news reports) brought up in America after their mother emigrated following the breakup of her marriage to Mark Thatcher. So Margaret Thatcher’s grandchildren were raised by a single mother who was also an immigrant, while their father was far away in another country and would have had minimal contact with his children (especially considering that Facebook, Skype and MSN were not around when the kids were growing up).
Margaret Thatcher’s story doesn’t just prove that people who use “family values” to stigmatise or even eradicate family forms they don’t like (instead of valuing all families) are hypocrites – we knew that. It proves that discriminating others just hurts ourselves in the end. You never know if the groups you hate will be the groups that your children or grandchildren fall into. The Thatcher family story could also be a lesson for those who are against equal marriage and are sure their descendants won’t be gay.
It speaks to the way injustice and prejudice work that Margaret Thatcher’s family isn’t considered broken, dysfunctional or a social threat. Amanda and Michael aren’t considered to be the “underclass” (see Murray 1989; 1993) and Carol isn’t seen as promiscuous or irresponsible.
It’s a good thing- if perhaps slightly ironic- that the Thatcher funeral brought all this into the public eye for the first time. It forces right-wingers to come to terms with the reality that there are no perfect families and single parents exist in all families. Nobody’s immune, not even the Iron Lady and not even the most respectable or most bigoted. The sight of Amanda Thatcher, child of an immigrant single mum, making that speech about Margaret is a beautiful image. Even if it might be a troubling image for some. And Carol Thatcher flaunting her partner in front of the world’s cameras – would she have been able to do that in the early Nineties? To do it without shame. Without inviting comments from the media.
Maybe, despite Thatcher’s best efforts, we have progressed after all – and her family has benefited from that progression. As they paid their respects to her, their lifestyles silently mock the sexual morality and family values of a leader who was Conservative in more ways than one.”
Margaret Thatcher interview (excerpt) from Weekend World, January 16th 1983: (prior to the 1983 election)
All right Prime Minister let me swing away from the economy now, to ask you something rather more general but I think very important. Politics isn’t all about promises and pledges and rates of inflation and percentages. A great deal of it is about vision. People have to get a feel of what they’re being offered and why they’re being offered it. Now, in your case, I happen to personally believe that this is rather more important both for good and for ill—as far as the Conservative Party is concerned—than it has been with most Prime Ministers for a long time, so can I ask you—What sort of Britain do you eventually want? And give you some benchmarks to go at. Am I wrong when I say that what you seem to be looking for is a more self-reliant Britain, a thriftier Britain, a Britain where people are freer to act, where they get less assistance from the State, where they’re less burdened by the State, is that the sort of Britain that you want to bring about at the end of your Premiership?
Yes, very much so. And where people are more independent of the State. I think we went through a period when too many people began to expect their standard of living to be guaranteed by the State, and so great protest movements came that you could, by having sufficient protests, sufficient demonstrations against Government, get somehow a larger share for yourself, and they looked to the protest and the demonstrations and the strikes to get a bigger share for them, but it always had to come from the people who really strived to do more and to do better.
All right, now you know, when you say you agree with those values, those values don’t so much have a future resonance, there’s nothing terribly new about them. They have a resonance of our past. Now obviously Britain is a very different country from the one it was in Victorian times when there was great poverty, great wealth, etc., but you’ve really outlined an approval of what I would call Victorian values. The sort of values, if you like, that helped to build the country throughout the 19th Century. Now is that right?
Oh exactly. Very much so. Those were the values when our country became great, but not only did our country become great internationally, also so much advance was made in this country. Colossal advance, as people prospered themselves so they gave great voluntary things to the State. So many of the schools we replace now were voluntary schools, so many of the hospitals we replace were hospitals given by this great benefaction feeling that we have in Britain, even some of the prisons, the Town Halls. As our people prospered, so they used their independence and initiative to prosper others, not compulsion by the State. Yes, I want to see one nation, as you go back to Victorian times, but I want everyone to have their own personal property stake. Property, every single one in this country, that’s why we go so hard for owner-occupation, this is where we’re going to get one nation. I want them to have their own savings which retain their value, so they can pass things onto their children, so you get again a people, everyone strong and independent of Government, as well as a fundamental safety net below which no-one can fall. [Churchill] Winston put it best. You want a ladder, upwards, anyone, no matter what their background, can climb, but a fundamental safety net below which no-one can fall. That’s the British character.
Shall I put to you the argument that I think is most likely to be put against that, and by the way I’m bound to say an extremely frank and revealing statement of your basic attitudes. But a lot of people will say, ‘Well, it’s all very well Mrs Thatcher talking about Victorian values and citing self-reliance and all these excellent things, but that isn’t going to give us equality. If we’re going to have those sorts of values we’re going to have a more unequal, or at least an equally unequal society than the one we’ve got at the moment. Thatcher will never give you equality’. Now what do you say to that?
That nations that have gone for equality, like Communism, have neither freedom nor justice nor equality, they’ve the greatest inequalities of all, the privileges of the politicians are far greater compared with the ordinary folk than in any other country. The nations that have gone for freedom, justice and independence of people have still freedom and justice, and they have far more equality between their people, far more respect for each individual than the other nations. Go my way. You will get freedom and justice and much less difference between people than you do in the Soviet Union.
All right, then that’s your view on equality. What would you say to those people who are not necessarily equalitarians, but say, ‘The trouble is, Mrs Thatcher, we don’t find your vision compassionate enough. You’re not—you’re too concerned with various economic regenerations and all the rest of it. You don’t appear to have sufficient compassion, either in your character or in your Government.’ Now what would you say to that?
Compassion isn’t determined by how much you get together demonstrations in the street to protest to government that government, which is other tax-payers, must do more. It’s determined by how much you are prepared to do yourself. Of course we have basic social services, we will continue to have those, but equally compassion depends upon what you and I, as an individual, are prepared to do. I remember my Alfred Roberts father telling me that at a very early age. Compassion doesn’t depend upon whether you get up and make a speech in the market-place about what governments should do. It depends upon how you’re prepared to conduct your own life, and how much you’re prepared to give of what you have to others. [end p30]
All right, now I think we’ve learnt from you this morning in very clear terms what the resolute approach means. It means that your options on the general election are open from June onwards, you haven’t pre-empted them. It means that you feel that the pound may well rally and you don’t think it’s going to have a great impact on inflation. We’ve learnt that you’re still very, very firm on nuclear weapons and that you feel that it’s the Russians that must make the concessions. We’ve learnt on the economy that you more or less intend to adhere to what you’ve been following through. Can I ask you a very last question, for unfortunately a very brief answer. What do you say to those people, and there are some you know, who say, ‘The ends are all splendid, it’s the means, does she have to be so bossy, does she have to be so strident, couldn’t it all be done much more emolliently and consensually?’ What would you say to them?
Consensually, anyone who’s had any convictions has always put those convictions. There would have been no great prophets, no great philosophers in life, no great things to follow, if those who propounded the views had gone out and said ‘Brothers, follow me, I believe in consensus.’ No Brian, no.
So it’s going … it’s the tough approach, verbally as in every other way?
No, it’s the sincere approach.
All right …
VICTORIAN’ was still being used as a routine term of opprobrium when, in the run-up to the 1983 election, Mrs. Thatcher annexed ‘Victorian values’ to her Party’s platform and turned them into a talisman for lost stabilities. It is still commonly used today as a byword for the repressive just as (a strange neologism of the 1940s) ‘Dickensian’ is used as a short-hand expression to describe conditions of squalor and want. In Mrs. Thatcher’s lexicon, ‘Victorian’ seems to have been an interchangeable term for the traditional and the old-fashioned, though when the occasion demanded she was not averse to using it in a perjorative sense. Marxism, she liked to say, was a Victorian, (or mid-Victorian) ideology; and she criticised nineteenth-century paternalism as propounded by Disraeli as anachronistic.
(1 of 21pdf)
‘Victorian Britain was a place where a few got rich and most got hell’, Mr. Kinnock, then shadow minister of education, told the Labour Club at Workington. ‘The “Victorian Values” that ruled were cruelty, misery, drudgery, squalor and ignorance’.
(5 of 21pdf)
(Page 5 appears in print as page 13)
“The past is a foreign country,” it has been said. But it is not an unfamiliar country. One does not need a Victorian grandmother, like Margaret Thatcher’s, to be reminded of “Victorian values.” One does not even have to be English; “Victorian America,” as it has been called, was not all that different, at least in terms of “values,” from Victorian England. And vestiges of those values remain, in memory if not reality.
When Mrs. Thatcher, during her election campaign in 1983, first raised the issue of “Victorian values,” she said that she was grateful to have been brought up by a Victorian grandmother who taught her those values: hard work, self-reliance, self-respect, cleanliness, neighborliness, pride in country. “All of these things,” she said, “are Victorian values. They
are also perennial values.”
Well, not quite. Lady Thatcher’s grandmother would not have spoken of them as “values”; she would have spoken of them as “virtues.” Moreover they were not, as it happened, “perennial” virtues. Certainly they were not the virtues of the classical philosophers. The cardinal virtues celebrated by Aristotle–wisdom, justice, temperance, courage–do not appear in the litany of Lady Thatcher’s grandmother. Nor were her virtues Aristotle’s (although some of them might be subsumed under his categories). “Family values” (an expression Margaret Thatcher also used) do not figure among the classical virtues. Plato, of course, would have utterly rejected them, as he rejected the very idea of the family. And even Aristotle, who gave the family the distinction of being “the first community,” did not go so far as to elevate what we would regard as family values to the rank of virtues (except, perhaps, household management, which was largely a matter of finances and property).
This is not to say that the Victorians would have spurned any of the classical virtues. On the contrary, they would have approved of them. If they did not assign to some of them (courage, perhaps, or such lesser virtues as munificence or magnanimity) a high priority, it was because they would not have thought them the most essential virtues for most people in their own times. They may even have thought them more appropriate to a heroic, aristocratic age than to a bourgeois, democratic one.
Nor were the Victorian virtues the Christian ones–faith, hope, and charity (the latter in its original meaning of the love of God)–although, again, the Victorians would not have belittled these virtues. The Victorian virtues were more domesticated than the classical ones and more secular than the Christian ones. (Not entirely secular, however, as witness the familiar terms used to describe them: the “Puritan” or “Judaic-Christian” ethic.) But whatever their lineage, those virtues were deemed essential, not only for the good life of individuals but for the well-being of society.
And they were “virtues,” not “values” that the Victorians cherished. It was not until the present century that morality became so thoroughly relativized and subjectified that virtues ceased to be “virtues” and became “values.”
This transmutation is the great philosophical revolution of our time, comparable to the late-seventeenth century revolt of the “Moderns” against the “Ancients”–modern science and learning against classical philosophy. Yet unlike the earlier rebels, who were fully conscious of the import of their rebellion, the later ones (with the notable exception of Nietzsche) seemed almost unaware of what they were doing. There was no “Battle of the Books” to sound the alarm and rally the troops. Even the new vocabulary–“values” in place of “virtues”–which was so radical a departure from the old, and which in itself constituted a revolution in thought, passed without notice.
This is all the more curious because the inspirer of the revolution and the creator of the new language was acutely aware of the significance of it all. It was in the 1880s that Nietzsche began to speak of “values” in its present sense, connoting the moral beliefs and attitudes of a society. He used that word consciously and repeatedly, to signify what he took to be the most momentous fact in human history. His “transvaluation of values” was to be the final, ultimate revolution, a revolution against both the classical virtues and the Judaic-Christian ones–indeed, against the very idea of virtue, of a transcendent morality.
When early in the twentieth century, shortly after Nietzsche’s death, the sociologist Max Weber borrowed the word “values,” he had no such nihilistic intentions, which is perhaps
why he did not comment on the novelty of the term, still less attribute it to Nietzsche (although we know that he read Nietzsche and was much influenced by him). Instead he used the word matter-of-factly, as if it were part of the accepted vocabulary and of no great moment. Perhaps for that reason, because it seemed so familiar and unthreatening, it was all the more effective, for it was absorbed, gradually and unconsciously, into the ethos of modern society, as it was absorbed into the vocabulary.
“Values” brings with it the assumptions that all moral ideas are subjective and relative, that they are mere customs and conventions, that they have a purely instrumental, utilitarian purpose, and that they adhere to particular peoples–or, as we now say, they are race-, class-, and gender-specific. So long as morality was couched in the language of “virtue,” it had a firm, resolute character. Philosophers might argue about the source of virtues, their relative importance, or the relation between moral and intellectual virtues, between classical and religious ones, or between private and public ones. They might even, like Montesquieu, “historicize” virtues by attributing different virtues to different peoples and polities. But for a particular people at a particular time, the word “virtue” carried with it a sense of gravity and authority, as “values” does not.
Values, as we now understand that word, do not have to be virtues; they can be beliefs, opinions, attitudes, feelings, habits, preferences–whatever any individual, group, or society happens to value, at any time, for any reason. One cannot say of virtues, as one can of values, that anyone’s virtues are as good as anyone else’s, or that everyone has a right to his own virtues. Only values can lay that claim to moral equality and neutrality. This impartial, “non-judgmental” as we now say, sense of values–values as “value-free”–is now so firmly entrenched in our vocabulary and sensibility that one can hardly imagine a time without it.
To speak of Victorian values (as I sometimes do, out of deference to common usage) is not merely a semantical anachronism; it is a distortion of the Victorian ethos. For the Victorians understood them as “virtues,” not “values.” Most Victorians even believed them to be, as Margaret Thatcher once said, “perennial virtues”–or if not perennial, then, for their own time and place at least, sufficiently fixed and certain to have the practical status of “perennial.”
For the Victorians, these virtues were fixed and certain, not in the sense of governing the actual behavior of all people all the time (or even, it may be, of most people most of the time). Plato and Aristotle did not assume that of their virtues; nor did Augustine and Aquinas of theirs. But all of them did believe that they were the standards against which behavior could and should be judged. The standards were firm even if the behavior of individuals did not always measure up to them. And when conduct fell short of those standards, it was deemed to be immoral–bad, wrong, evil–not, as is more often the case today, as misguided, undesirable, or (the most recent corruption of our moral vocabulary) “inappropriate.”
The shift from “virtue” to “values” has had other unfortunate consequences. Having displaced virtue from the central position it once occupied, as the defining attribute of the good life and the good society, we have relegated it to the bedroom and boudoir. When we now speak of virtue, we no longer think of the classical virtues of wisdom, justice, temperance, and courage, or the Christian ones of faith, hope, and charity, or even such Victorian ones as work, thrift, cleanliness, and self-reliance. Instead virtue is now understood in its sexual connotation, as chastity and marital fidelity. Leo Strauss once remarked that one of the great mysteries of Western thought is “how a word which used to mean the manliness of man has come to mean the chastity of women.”
This mutation in the word “virtue” has the effect first of narrowing the meaning of the word, reducing it to a matter of sexuality alone; and then of belittling and disparaging the sexual virtues themselves. These virtues, chastity and fidelity, have been further trivialized by the popular conception of Victorians as pathologically inhibited and repressed. Thus “Victorian values” have been associated with piano legs modestly sheathed in pantaloons, human as well as table legs referred to as “limbs,” and books by men and women authors dwelling chastely on separate shelves in country-house libraries.
In fact, these were not the normal (or even abnormal) practices of real Victorians. They were often the inventions of contemporary satirists (writers in Punch, for example), which have been perpetuated by gullible historians. “The woman who draped the legs of her piano,” one historian solemnly informs us, “so far from concealing her conscious and unconscious exhibitionism, ended by sexualising the piano; no mean feat.” In fact, it is this historian who has sexualized the piano and has imposed his own sexual fantasies upon the Victorians.
Mrs. Thatcher seems to have stumbled on the phrase ‘Victorian Values’ as a rallying cry, by accident, conjuring the phrase out of nowhere, and launching it on its public career in the course of an interview with ‘Weekend World’ (January 16,1983).11 Only those who are privy to the secrets of the television studio will know whether it was an inspiration of the moment, or a premeditated plant. However that may be, it was a rhetorical trope which seemed both to thematise her causes and to give them a retrospective dignity. In the following weeks she elaborated it, invoking on the one hand ‘the Puritan work ethic’ on the other a leitmotif of the election campaign – ‘family values’. Her followers added inflections of their own. Thus Mrs. Winterton, the candidate for Congleton, who ‘agreed wholeheartedly’ with Mrs. Thatcher’s Victorian Values, interpreted them benignly as ‘thrift, kindness and family values’. On the other hand, Dr. Rhodes Boyson, Minister of Statefor Education, and himself an ex-headmaster (and an ex-historian), argued that they meant a return to strictness.
He said parents did not want their children to be taught ‘deviant practices by proselytising homosexuals’. What parents want is for their children to learn discipline, self discipline, respect, order, punctuality and precision . . . Parents expect their children to be punished when they step out of line . . . No discipline, no learning. Good old-fashioned order, even Victorian order, is far superior to illiterate disorder and innumerate chaos in the classroom.
(Page 12 – 13 )
Thus, it would seem – at face value at least – that the state, the church and the police regarded private and law-abiding homosexual practices as “stepping out of line”.
However, state interventions and malevolent intrusions into those lifestyles – incorporating various inflicted punishments together with heavily publicised and intentional media misrepresentations thereof, is quite another matter altogether.
Quote: The false declarations by the police (during the Spanner raids) that they were investigating a murder is a common ploy used against gay men in order to obtain signed statements on information concerning activities, contacts and evidence that would not normally be freely and indiscreetly volunteered. In Operation Spanner, these statements were used to convict the men.
Had this been the modus operandi throughout the Operation right from the very start, up until the Spannermen raids in 1987?
Should that have been the case, for what purpose had (seemingly unused and perhaps occasionally self-incriminating) statements been taken prior to the Spannermen raids?
Had Mrs.Thatcher started to implement her “Christian Family Values” campaign against gay men with (what later became) Operation Spanner commencing by the start of her second premiership in 1983?
And should that have been so, what else does this also tell us?
Intelligence insider Andrea Davison, the BBC, VIP Paedophiles,whistle-blowers and more
“The realisation of just how corrupt everything is comes slowly and slowly and slowly, and even with all my experience I hadn’t actually expected to be set-up in the way that I was.”(at 41.30)
““These people in top positions of authority are psychopaths with no empathy, (and who are responsible for the rape, murder and torture of children) are amoral and clinically insane and as a world population we have to address the issue of eradicating these psychopaths from top public offices, because every single bird, every single plant, every animal,and every single child, every man, every woman is at risk whilst these people are in power. We need to bring back compassion”
(at 11.50 into the video)
“The child trafficking after Waterhouse continued unabated” (at 29.00 into the video + treatment of whistleblowers)
Also (at 56.30) (Talking about the BBC) “The icing on the cake (for the security services and the BBC) is that they make the public pay for this diatribe of goverment propaganda!”
Andrea also discusses Operation Gladio/Tavistock Institute/connections to Nazis in WW2/practices of sacrifice of babies by decapitation and drinking of their blood/
and- (with strong similarities to the Spanner case) the set-up that was used against her in her absence to convict her of a victimless crime that never actually occurred, simply through the covert alteration of a photocopied document by a third party. ( from 36.00 on).
Interestingly the judge used in her case was previously – whilst a lawyer – used against her during the Waterhouse Inquiry.
He also recently presided over Operation Pallial “not guilty” verdicts, and additionally is a presenter for the BBC.
So what was the deal with the Manchester Police monitored “Gay Galaxy” contact magazine?
So who was this kind Chief of Police who wanted gay men to be able to contact each other with neither inhibition nor prohibition?
Why, none other than God’s personal morality spokesman himself, James Anderton who apparently had often received personal messages from his maker; and, lo and behold, as with Margaret Thatcher and Michael Hames (who shall both be discussed later), was also a Christian extremist, homophobe, and of a puritanical mindset.
“James Anderton was appointed Chief Constable of Greater Manchester in 1975 and remained there until 1991, despite his ongoing campaign against LGBT people.Like many homophobes, Anderton claimed to be a God-fearing Christian. Indeed, he came to be nicknamed ‘God’s Copper’ – not so much because he had been a Methodist lay preacher but because he had claimed in a radio interview that, “I have to accept that I may well be used by God in this way.” Doing God’s work included resurrecting an old Victorian law in order to charge gay men in one Manchester venue with ‘licentious dancing’. In this case, licentious dancing simply meant two men dancing together. He also devoted large amounts of police resources to the surveillance of gay men. Journalist Beatrix Campbell claimed that: “Anderton…encouraged his officers to stalk [Manchester’s] dank alleys and expose anyone caught in a clinch, while police motorboats with spotlights cruised for gay men around the canal’s locks and bridges.” In 2011, Manchester historian Jeff Evans told the Manchester Evening News: “I’ve interviewed retired officers who took part in police surveillance of public toilets, lying in the roof space watching men urinate for hours on end.” Unsurprisingly then, the advent of AIDS afforded Anderton the opportunity to step up his bigotry even further. Speaking at a national seminar on how police should interact with people with AIDS, Anderton said: “Everywhere I go I see evidence of people swirling around in the cesspool of their own making. Why do homosexuals freely engage in sodomy and other obnoxious sexual practices knowing the dangers involved?” Whilst the comments brought understandable outrage and condemnation from most people, the Murdoch tabloid ‘The Sun’ applauded Anderton; “Their defiling act of love is not only unnatural, in today’s world it is lethal…What Britain needs is more men like Anderton – and fewer gay terrorists holding the decent members of society to ransom.” As calls for Anderton’s sacking grew, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also threw her weight behind Anderton and blocked calls for a public enquiry.”