Hmmmm. The more and more I think about it - I am having such mixed feelings about the death of Thatcher. I *hated* her politics. I hate the legacy she has left us with - I hate the way she tore up the country and privatized so many things; the way she killed the north and tried to get rid of working people's right to organize in the workplace for fair pay and conditions (no I'm not being melodramatic).
As Alexei Sayle said today, to make a conscious decision to get rid of manufacturing except for arms, and to rely on financial services as the main money bringer for a whole economy - how can it not corrupt a country? A leader with that idea, that was put into action?
I hate the selfish society she left behind. I read in a friend's status today about how she had read in an obit that Thatcher said the problem with socialism is how you 'soon run out of other people's money'. What a rank misunderstanding of socialism, or of any kind of compassionate society. The idea of taking care of us all, of providing a safety net for when we fall is *not* a misuse of 'other people's' - read OUR money. All of our money - we all pay in. Except ultra rich people with tax dodging accountants, and corporations with the same. I have never regretted paying for the NHS or Social Security. Its like insurance we all pay in case. I hate being taxed like we all do; but I accept most of what it goes to. Its fair.
I could list many more things I hated about what she has left us with, the tone her policies set that are still with us and growing, and getting worse. (And by the way, I don't think Arthur Scargill or Tony Blair were good guys either - no, I'm not blindly Lefty. I judge people on their acts.)
People have said to me that I am being disrespectful of her - that she was an old lady, a dying old lady. Yes. Old people are cute and innocent looking. But they were once young. And capable of doing very bad things. And should be held to account.
People deserve respect for what they did or didn't do. What good things they achieved. Or not. Not for being old, or dying. Its perfectly well to 'speak ill of the dead', and its not vilifying her to say I hated her politics when she was alive, and PM. I hated them after, when I watched their repercussions. And I am relieved she is dead and can no longer be dragged out as a figurehead. I think she did a hell of a lot of harm. I have no respect for her actions and their results. So I will say so. Free country.
Yet I am disappointed in myself for wanting to drink champagne at her going; wanting to dance on her grave. I don't *actually* want to spit on her coffin or such. I just want us all to care about one another more, to realize that 'there by the grace of god' (don't get hung up on the word god there) go all of us...its why its a society we live in, and not simply a collection of individuals. Making us, so many of us, feel that the ills of society are the fault of the falling, or the weakened, instead of the strong and those taking advantage of the rest of us through abuse of power and money...that's her legacy and I hate it.
I hate how angry I feel about what I feel she set in motion. I hate how ugly that anger makes me feel. I hate being able to connect the dots so that I can see the active results of policies she laid in place, so that people I know are in poverty today, out of work, losing their homes, unable to get social housing. I hate knowing a similar government rules the land today and that so many people seem to feel all our problems are the result of 'benefit scroungers' instead of corrupt banks that ran our economy into the ground and are not prosecuted for it. Not one of them. And huge corporations that refuse to pay their fair share of taxes - and if they did, that alone would take us right OUT OF DEFICIT. I hate the 'Greed Is Good' she left us with. It was fun to hate Michael Douglas in Wall Street as that marvellous character; its chilling to watch real people like him dismantle your society slowly, and have so many of us agreeing with it...How they must be laughing at us.
I still want to drink a toast to her going. Old lady or not. Dead or not. I have no respect for her actions and their results.
But I'm not going to. Cos a tiny weeny part of me is nicer than that.
But its only a sliver.
A friend of mine, a much calmer soul than me, read this post and liked it. I think his comments are much more articulate than my preceding rant, and so I give them here to you, for they are highly relevant:
articulated. We are going to overwhelmed by a wave of hagiographical
commentary over the coming weeks - some of it from people who should
know better - in a show of 'respect'. Whilst comments about dancing on
graves just comes across as a bit childish and are probably counter
productive, keeping quiet is also not an option, and non-violent acts of
mass disrespect (like trying to get 'Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead' to
number one) are entirely appropriate ways to try to hijack the narrative
coming out of this for which you should feel no shame whatsoever.
Those saying we should be quietly respectful whilst the great and the
good pour on the disingenuous eulogies are being massively disrespectful
to all those who saw (and continue to see) their lives and their
communities crushed under her hateful and destructive ideology.
~ Mark Slater