It goes without saying that I detested Margaret Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister. Not merely because of her general anti-Irishness and her behavior during the 1981 Hunger Strikes…although History will show that her actions did not have the long term effect that she wished.
I detest her because she was a divisive figure who shamefully went into Downing Street quoting St Francis of Assisi. British Politics after World War II was actually a competition between the Conservative Party and the Labour Party…..For over three decades , the Conservatives were often trusted with the “mixed” economy which Labour had created. Manifestos were created around the Conservatives management skills……to build more hospitals for Britains National Health Service, or “state” schools, to build more council houses and to manage “nationalised” industries such as the British Rail, British Coal, British Steel.
In 1979 and until her resignation…betrayed by her own colleagues……Thatcher ruthlessly waged class war on the British working class, privatising the rail industry, crushing trade unions, facilitating the conversion of friendly society building societies into privatised banks, selling off council houses etc.
As her defenders say she rolled back the socialism…….and the power of the state. But she did so at the expense of decency…..memorably claiming that “there is no such thing as Society”. She remains a poster girl for Conservatism…..and while most people will claim that she went too far politically……..most of the current generation of thirty something politicians in the modern Tory Party are enthusiastic supporters. Even when it is not the right climate politically to claim to be her heir, David Cameron was heavily influenced by her.
She changed Britain……for the worse. Creating a country based on greed and self……and as there is so much decency in the British character………she demeaned the nation she appeared to love. Created a nastier, more powerful country.
She is a totally revolting person. She left Downing Street tearfully in 1990. And she is now 86 years old……frail and making few public appearances, she is known to suffer Dementia. Not a fate that I would wish on my worst enemy. And Thatcher IS my worst enemy.
On reflection, it is not the Hunger Strikes of 1981 or the War over the Malvinas (Falklands) , or even the war waged on coal miners and others that makes me hate Margaret Thatcher. I hate her because she is really the only person in the world, who I actually hate. And that is a betrayal of the values taught to me at home, in church, at school. In teaching me to HATE (her), Margaret Thatcher demeaned……….ME. And I cant forgive her for that.
The balance of probability is that Thatcher will die over the next few years. With Politics …it is all about Timing!. Winston Churchill (1965……I remember his funeral on TV) was the last British Prime Minister to be given a State Funeral…….with the full pageantry and pomp of the British State……and it is known that this honour will be given to Thatcher. And that will be a timely boost for David Cameron, if it takes place in the run up to an election.
I suspect many people will think Thatcher deserves a State Funeral……many people will resent it. But that is Thatcher…….divisive in death as she is in life.
But by proxy, she is in the News tonight. A new movie opened in London tonight…………”The Iron Lady”………..Meryl Streep plays Margaret Thatcher. Seemingly the movie is shown in flashback sequences with Thatcher shown as she is now………physically and mentally frail….and there is some discomfort that this is intrusive and exploitative.
I really am not sure. The woman was evil. We dont worry about dramatic portrayals of Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Pol Pot. Of course the difference is that these people are already dead. And yes………I am not entirely happy that the frailty and vulnerability of a demented old lady is shown on screen….for entertainment.
But thats the difference between Margaret Thatcher and me. I am capable of the higher emotions, including ………sympathy. Margaret Thatcher had no redeeming features.