Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The Obligatory "Thatcher's Death Brings Out The Worst In People" Post

It's been a while since I've posted anything so if this is what it takes to spur the horse than so be it. Social media has been awash with vile, self-congratulatory, shallow and occasionally funny but mostly sexist things in response the death of Mrs. T - from both sides of the political spectrum. Out of the bat I'll say I'm far from a fan of hers - not just because of the impact her government's policies had on my own family, but because I deeply disagree with her politics generally. I personally wouldn't go so far as to call her "Evil" (though some she championed certainly were) but selfish, greed obsessed, narrow sighted and superior? Yeah, I can go with that for a start.

But does that make me glad she died? No. I am remarkably ambivalent about her being dead. Dancing in the streets or feeling jubilant over the death of an old, senile woman who once held great power seems like a total waste of energy to me, not to mention crass. We also shouldn't feel "happy" about her death because her spirit, her attitudes and her politics are still here, and still causing misery. Every time you see a headline about "Scrounger" families living off the state, but nothing about the estimated £5 billion in tax avoidance from businesses and individuals, you have to accept that she won. She got her way, and worst of all we all fell in line.

There's a brilliant bit in the Guardian today about George "Gideon" Osbourne's own constituency, and I highly recommend you read it. In essence it shows how one area can be a microcosm of the whole country and, worse still, that no one is all that upset about how unfair it all is. They want their kids to have the best chance in life, so stay in an area they struggle to afford to send them to the best schools. And there's nothing wrong with that per se; except the chances any of their kids will get to the top is nearly nil. Oh, they may get up the ladder a bit, but all the way to fortune and glory? No way, no how, and no matter how smart or dedicated they may be.

Maybe I'm just a cynic; you may think that there is social mobility in British society. I just can't see it when I look at who runs the country, or even the people who run the biggest businesses in Britain, whether they're home-grown or foreign companies. And maybe that's been the biggest success of Thatcher and every Prime Minister since who have gleefully followed in her wake; the cynicism in the system that surrounds us and our willingness to accept it as the price for "prosperity".

So RIP Maggie - your legacy will live on, for better or worse, for many, many years to come.


  1. I'm not particularly happy that she's dead, but let's say, I'm probably less upset about it than about any other death.

    There's a whole raft of measures that she initiated that I could point at to indicate how awful her policies were (selling off all national industries - British Gas, Steel, Coal, Telecomms, Railways, ... to introduce 'more choice and competition' - ho-ho; halving higher-rate tax almost immediately; driving communities apart; reducing land rates for the wealthy; stopping support for housing plans; ...) but what annoys me the most, was her decision to discard an entire generation to reach her goals. People being used as a means to her political goals.

    Too many eulogising over her have forgotten (or never knew) much. And those her merely cite her sex as a reason to applaud her have blinkered vision.

    The classic result of Thatcherism can be found in the vox pox responses given - listen to those who praise her use the words 'I' or 'me' so much, as those who condemn her refer to 'us', 'our', and 'community'. "Get out of life whatever you can, and trample over anyone too weak to keep up with you" - that's what she embodied; that's her legacy.

    1. I couldn't agree more. I've personally been finding the holding her up as some example of "feminist victory" bitterly hilarious - Thatcher was so outspokenly against feminism it's astounding anyone could be making that claim, especially her supporters. She'd be disgusted with that kind of talk and they of all people should now that.

      She's been dead for all of three days - and the historical revisionism is already in full swing.