I wasn’t going to write a post today: the sun is out and the air spring-soft, so I was devoting the time I normally spend typing to grasping a spade and a fork and turning my garden into something that looks less like Amazonia. But hey, I popped in for some tea, flipped on BBC News and watched as the newsreader, half-way into a piece about a poet murdered under the Pinochet regime, suddenly stuttered, lost his composure and listened wide-eyed to the message his producer was evidently barking in his ear.
Something’s up, I realised. Some big news is a bout to break. For a terrifying moment, I thought North Korean nukes might soon be arriving in Britain and I resurrected the survival plans I drew up in the Eighties ( painting myself white to deflect the blast, running up Bramcote woods where I’d buried loads of cans, reading the SAS Handbook cover to cover and purchase some firearms to fend off the inevitable mutants).
But no. Thatcher had died. It’s like losing your virginity. When younger, you assume it will happen one day, but as time ticks on you start to think, well, it just might not happen, somehow. And then it does, out of the blue, and you first tell all your mates and get pleasantly, jubilantly drunk.
Is it right to revel in another’s death? It’s not in the best taste, I vouch, but if one has no respect for the living, then one cannot expect respect in death.
Her legacy still haunts this country: the division between rich and poor and North and South still torn asunder. The monetarist policies she put down sold our utilities to plutocrats who now claim huge salaries and bonuses while profiteering off the back of huge bills , while inviting former Tory MPs to sit on their boards; disintegrated worker’s rights with union laws that would have made the prosecutors of the Tolpuddle Martyrs blush; triggered a pointless war which claimed the lives of my father’s friends- my dad being a former Royal Navy submariner who hit civvy street just months before his mates were sacrificed for a crap chunk of rock full of sheep-farmers in the South Atlantic.
Ah yeah, Matt, she was a great feminist icon. Are you sure? She refused to promote women in her cabinets, which had less female representation than any other dating back to Macmillan. She was female. She was no feminist. The same logic would have it that Gandhi was a great skinhead icon.
Ah yeah, Matt, but she gave the poor the right to buy their council houses. Yes, she did, yet the great majority of these are now in the hands of the private letting sector. This was not a policy to somehow empower the working class, this was a cynical way to lever social housing out of the hands of providers and into the market. The Bedroom Tax currently causing a stir is a continuation of this terrible policy.
Recently released Cabinet papers show that she would have gone a lot further if allowed: the complete dismantling of the NHS, the Welfare State reformed into dust and the Social Contract torn up by the Unseen Hand of Adam Smith. She may have died. These insidious ideas live on with our current regime. Divide the lower classes into blaming each other, keep the City happy, be as economical with the actualitie as you need to be to ensure that seat on the board is kept warm for when you tire of politics.
Thatcherism is far from dead, and it’s exponents are presently thriving. Kay Cutts, who works beneath a framed portrait of The Wicked Witch of Westminster, is it’s most obvious local face. Our own MP, possibly unconciously, moderated her own East Midlands accent since her telly days. It’s now deeper, slower, and more clipped. But was she a fan?
Her offical released statement skims over the usual cliches without adding a personal slant, but rather curiously, get’s the most basic bit of history wrong:
…her legacy leaving Britain far better off in 1997 than we had been when she was first elected in 1979.
Just the six years out, Anna. Mind you, back in the early nineties, Soubz had much more important things to dwell on, such as the complex plotlines of Australian soaps:
So it’s unclear if Soubz is/was a massive Thatcherite or not. But be vigilant. Maggie might have not actually died, merely moving into her next host body….