Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Iron lady and the Iron Lung mannie

In 1949 Margaret Robert's first true love was Dr Robert Henderson, son of a village blacksmith from Clatt  (meaning ‘hidden’ in Gaelic) in Aberdeenshire. She two-timed businessman Denis Thatcher (whom she married in 1951), snatching 'naughty weekends' with Robert, who was twice her age at the time.

Robert Henderson began working life as an apprentice motor mechanic, then studied medicine. In 1933 he pioneered the UK's first iron lung. Interested in intensive care after a demo of the Drinker Respirator, he built a contraption assembled with parts from ships’ chandlers, helped by an engineer at Aberdeen's City Hospital. Four weeks after its construction, the respirator saved the life of a polio-afflicted boy from New Deer. Despite this success, Henderson was reprimanded for bad publicity and unauthorized use of hospital facilities to build the lung.

In the 1980s, the Iron Lady led a Government that cut Scotland’s funding. She waged war on Argentina, and attacked the trade unions. She introduced the hated Poll Tax to Scotland on April Fools Day 1989, a year earlier than for the rest of the UK. She plundered North Sea oil revenue to fund policies driven by rampant privatization, pursuing a form of laissez-faire capitalism that decimated our industries, unleashing rapacious deprivation in communities throughout the country. If she'd married Robert, would it have been any different?

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