Tuesday, 9 April 2013

exit thatcher

how can I not write something about thatcher? even as I tried to avoid the blanket news today I caught a snippet from one of the 'demonstrations', filled it would seem by people who most likely weren't even born when the thatch was in power. but one of them got her time in front of the camera declaring 'that woman made my life a misery'. and in that was all that needed to be said.

a long time ago now but a time when it seemed to be about 'them' and 'us' as opposed to 'me'. I never, other than one brief paranoid moment, when it appeared the special branch were upon us, thought that thatcher had it in for me personally. that came later, a noxious by product of thatcherism, the all consuming individualism. there is, she declared, no such thing as society. and then set about making sure it was true. and, much like orwell's big brother, far from having it imposed upon us, the country lapped it up and demanded more.

I remember when word cam that she had finally left downing st. I was working in the states at the time and my flatmate phoned me. have you heard, he said, thatcher's resigned. I put down the phone. I had, it must be said, expected to be euphoric, as it was I was stunned. I need a moment I said to one of the others on shift. I went away and sat down for half an hour. thatcher was gone. it seemed like the end of an era. except really it wasn't, only the start of the process that would lead to thatcher's unofficially anointed successor, tony blair.

how do I feel about it now. strangely, with much on common with russell brand of all people. love her or loathe her there, surely, can be little debate that thatcher's domain changed the face of the country. and try as I might I can't quite unremember those days of strikes, blackouts, rubbish in the streets and general hopelessness that preceded her even as I want to remember something else, something that was about community. as the man in the article says - this demonstrates, I suppose, that if you opposed Thatcher's ideas it was likely because of their lack of compassion, which is really just a word for love. If love is something you cherish, it is hard to glean much joy from death, even in one's enemies.

she was such a dire person what with the support of the regimes, the total lack of support for other women, the cronyism and everything that went with it but I couldn't help but feel sorry for the wreck of a woman in her later years. I've seen way too much in the way of Alzheimer's, vascular dementia and the like to take any pleasure in seeing someone with it. poor thatch, escorted by the police to water flowers, banged up in the ritz with no-one to visit her. be careful what you wish for, sometimes you get it. unfortunately, with people like thatcher, so does everyone else.


Rachel Fox said...

To me she died years ago... as soon as she wasn't in charge any more I think. And I don't even mean 'died' in bad way really... just that she was nothing to me. There are so many bad influences in the world... and she was just one of them.

The 'witch is dead' business riles me a little. Calling women witches is such a cliche and I don't think we should stoop to anyone else's cliches. There was nothing fantastical about Mrs T.

swiss said...

i agree - she went from being 'the leader' to just another face in the crowd. and also the witch thing. there's an unhealthy dose of sexism going on in some of these statements for sure

Rachel Fox said...

I'm not sure I'd quite call it sexism... but it is one of those times when people get a bit carried away with hatred and venom and do and say things that they might otherwise not. And I'm not saying people aren't entitled to hatred and venom (I marched... I shouted 'out, out, out') it's just that I feel 'we' have to stay different to 'them' for 'our' values to keep their meaning (and for me calling women witches is a 'them' thing and I'd prefer it to stay that way).

Partly I find the whole celebration atmosphere strange... like there aren't plenty of other people around (male and female) continuing her work. She was just more in-your-face than some about it.

I do however support the 'let private money pay for the funeral' campaign. Spending a lot on this is an insult to many (then and now).

Marion McCready said...

I find the highly personalized rhetoric all quite odd. at the end of the day she wasn't a tyrannical dictator, she was voted in. she wouldn't have been able to do any of the things she did if it wasn't for the fact that the majority of people voted her back in consecutively three times. I was as anti-Thatcher as the best of them but the mob seem to be intent on outdoing each other (esp on facebook) in terms of demonizing the woman. She wasn't evil, she had a political philosophy that many of us disagreed with but as you mention, there are plenty of others out there that still hold to those ideas.

swiss said...

maybe it's me but i'm of the opinion that if you're using a gendered term as a form of approbation it's a good indicator of the mind set behind it.

in between all the vituperation I caught a wee bit of tome devine on the tv the other day where he wqas putting for the the view that without thatcher then the devolution project may not have taken place. controversial but, as he reports it, a view shared by Donald dewar!

Marion McCready said...

completely agree, in fact I think the strongest argument for independence is that we would never live under a tory government again

swiss said...

assuming that the scots are not innately conservative? i'm not going into that prickly place!