Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Wicked Witch Is Dead

You'll have to forgive me, but I live in the north of England, & here the celebrations are very much still continuing. Normal service will resume soon I promise, but for now it feels more pressing to pause & give an account of the people & the times in the face of the public hagiography in the mainstream media that we have already begun seeing & will no doubt continue for at least the next week or two. 

The fact is, Margaret Thatcher was perhaps the most reviled British Prime Minister of all time, certainly of the second half of the 20th Century, though you'd find it hard to arrive at that through the whitewash of history & especially the international media. But I was alive in the 1980s, & I can still vividly recall just how scary the Thatcher years were to live through. As one of the many protests song from the time once said:
"The hate that she inspired / had to be seen to be believed" 
And that's very true. I'm 41 years old now & I've still never met anyone who'll admit they voted for her. No-one I knew back then ever spoke highly or admiringly of her. They were ugly, fearful, genuinely fascist times, & we're still living in the broken, divided mess she helped create.

Under Thatcher, British industry was effectively ended, she closed down the mines & privatized everything that was not nailed down. Unemployment figures more than doubled during her term in office, & though the yuppies voted her party in throughout the 80s, she herself had consistently the lowest approval ratings of any Prime Minister on record. Margaret Thatcher destroyed whole communities for short term profit, she intentionally set out to break the trade unions & all the families that relied on them for a fair wage. She attacked the poor, the weak, the homeless, political prisoners, gypsies, homosexuals, & anyone to whom money mattered less than life. She was everything bad about Britain, the way Richard Nixon was everything bad about America - greedy, cold, heartless, petty & vindictive. And I wish we had someone like Hunter S Thompson still alive to write a fitting obituary, but he's gone too, so I guess we have to use the tools we have, ill-fitting & blunt though they be.

In another age, the people would have dug up her body & stuck her head on a spike at the gates of the city. Though I guess there's still time.

It's rare that I say this about another human being, but I'm ever so glad she's dead.

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