The Demise of Thatcher

The Demise of Thatcher


Britain –and in particular Scotland- seemed to have a new national anthem yesterday as ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’ rang out loud and clear across social media, in the pubs and even on the streets. It is not customary in our nation of reserve and etiquette to celebrate the death-as opposed to the life- of an individual but the passing of Baroness Thatcher- in the exclusive enclaves of the Ritz Hotel-affected many in the country, especially those who grew up in her consumerist greed infested nineteen eighties, in the same way her policies touched them during her reign as Prime Minister.

Actually, perhaps not exactly the same way! The feeling I encountered yesterday seemed to be one of positivism as opposed to the feeling of dread the mention of her name engendered whenever it was mentioned. Having grown up in the eighties I felt the wrath of Thatcherism- politics so strident and defining they acquired their own branding- as many young people who did not embrace the ethos of greed and stamping over others to get what they want also did. She was a major force in the breakdown of our society and divisiveness which is as apparent-if not more so- today resulting in the selfish and greedy nature of subsequent generations who were born into a culture where such things were encouraged.

What then does her legacy consist of?

Many front pages today seem to be focussing on what they term the benefits of her time though that is as much a matter of opinion as it ever was. The Daily Hell has a headline proclaiming her as the woman who saved Britain and is happy to emblazon this across its front pages without a hint of irony. I understand that certain sections and a very certain type of person could flourish under Thatcherism but I am glad to say that I know very few of them personally so this headline is way beyond my comprehension and I consider her the more readily as the woman who broke Britain.

If you were anything other than from the white, aspirational middle class heterosexual family orientated side of life then Thatcher simply was not interested. If you were working class and involved in industry then you were expected to tow the line and do what you were told.

None of the airbrushed news items I saw yesterday even mentioned the horrors of Clause 28, supporting of Apartheid or friendships with dubious dictators although her brushes with the Miners and the Poll Tax were touched upon. More was made of her endeavours to privatise everything in sight including the NHS and social housing. The former is still in a mess almost to the point of collapse following her intervention and its future is forever uncertain. The latter seemed like a good idea to many at the time but with no new housing being built to replace those sold off to tenants its long term effects have seen homelessness increase and rents in the private housing market soar making it even more difficult for those on the lower end of the spectrum to crawl onto the housing ladder.

On and on the legacy of Thatcher continues and I could go on forever about the negative impact of her eleven and a half years as Prime Minister. The media seem to be rewriting an era I grew up in and this is the part which is most shocking to me. The flag at Holyrood Palace –in full view of the Scottish Parliament her tenure necessitated- flying at half mast seemed only to inflame feeling concerning her death and seemed insensitive in a country where few tears were shed over her death. In fact hatred of Thatcher is probably at its strongest among Scots who stood up to her when she introduced the Poll Tax –the instrument of her eventual downfall- here in 1989 a year ahead of the rest of the UK in 1990. The refusal to pay and subsequent riots when attempts to impose this unfair and ridiculous tax made even her own party realise they were dealing with a megalomaniac mad woman and subsequently set out to depose her.

How times (don’t) change though and a week before her death some of the most draconian measures introduced into our benefits system were introduced. It is almost as if she was hanging on to make sure they actually went through before she could rest in peace.

So for everyone who greeted her death as a cause for celebration it might be wise to not take your eyes off the big picture. Last week saw the introduction of the so called Bedroom Tax which is every bit as crippling as the Poll Tax and there was nary a whimper on the street. Her legacy seems to include having taken away the fighting spirit which used to have those with a conscience making themselves seen and heard whereas nowadays the only sound to be heard is the clicking of keys on a keyboard as everyone shares their opinions on a social network without having to leave the comfort of their couch. Complacency and acceptance have set in and however much vitriol people feel it barely makes it past the next status update.

For all the news items devouring her passing last night possibly the best example I came across of Thatcher’s legacy could be witnessed in E4’S timely return of ‘Made in Chelsea’. This bunch of over privileged, self obsessed, whinging expensively educated idiots are a perfect example of where it all went wrong. They and their ilk may have spent generations sneering down at us condescendingly and thanks to the auspices of Thatcher, who made sure they were protected under her policies, they still do. Thatcher may be dead but unfortunately Thatcherism is still very much alive and kicking.

  1. Interesting that you point out the introduction of Clause 28 – when I have just read that Thatcher spent 11 consecutive Christmas’s with Jimmy Saville… and as you say the sadest legacy that Thatcher has left behind is the reluctance of many people in this country to get angry and fight for rights being erroded…. that is the real legacy of her rule, that of Tony Blair and New Labour (which she indeed herself quote as her greatest legacy), and the latest Coalition… Ed Milliband.. where it his teeth – he couldnt bite his way through a soggy digestive.
    I certainly wont be watching her funeral… but am going to write to the Barclay Brothers and ask since her room at the Ritz is lying empty if I could stay there for free when down at London at the end of the month…

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