You really had to be there…in full adulthood …to really know what it was like to live under Margaret Thatcher….whether in Norn Iron or in “the United Kingdom”.
Certainly in 1974, she seemed destined to be remembered as Thatcher Milk Snatcher, the Education Minister and token woman in Ted Heaths Government. She memorably took free milk out of schools.
Yet within a couple of years she became….and everyone thought she was a joke candidate …Leader of the Conservative Opposition and Prime Minister of Britain….the first woman in 1979. And,helped by a Labour Opposition which was frankly unelectable in the1980s, she was a “conviction politician” (if we are being ice to her) or “divisive”. (If we are not being nice).
Do any course on Gender Politics…and I have…and her name comes up. Usually in the context of does a woman have to become”male” to succeed in politics. Must she be heartless, a gun toting frontiers woman like Sarah Palin?
She was memorably the Iron Lady and no doubt we will see that footage of Thatcher in the tank. We will hear her say that the Ladys Not For Turning. We might hear reference to Attila the Hen and see her Spitting Image chomping on her cigar. We will hear references to the Belgrano. and hopefully see footage of her being tackled on a TV phone in by a lady (Diana Gould???) over that war crime….and watch Thatchers discomfort as she is tackled by a WOMAN.
There are two Thatcher legacies. She said that there is no such thing as Society…a view probably shared by Mick Philpott. And she privatised the banks, building societies, electricity, water and railways. That all ended well didn’t it?
If we are paying a price for the greed….there is also the sheer nastiness…friend to apartheid Seth Effrikka and the entourage she had around her …Tebbitt, Baker, St John Stevas, Alan Clark, Gummer and the rest….and the “wets” who were not strong enough.
The woman who went into Downing Street quoting St Francis of Assisi. The woman who left Downing Street in tears. The woman who announced risibly “we are a grandmother”.
And of course the Hunger Strikes. And Brighton.
But her legacy is not just a Think Tank. Or even David Cameron and George Osborne. Her legacy is ….Tony B Liar. Without Thatcher, there would have been no Blair.
Of course we will have several days of faux mourning for a woman now universally reviled, except by the most die-hard right wing types. But we will also have a “vilest man in Britain” headline n The Sun…for the backbench Labour MP who dares to say he/she will not mourn the passing of one of the nastiest pieces of work that British politics ever encountered. We might even have some arrests over offensive tweets on Twitter. How many will actually post a Facebook status that says “Maggie Maggie Maggie…Dead Dead Dead”.
Faux Mourning. I am not near a TV. Are BBC presenters wearing black ties? Doesn’t she want a State Funeral? And yet I can put up with several days of eulogising, safe in the knowledge that Thatchersdeath and mixed reaction has come too soon to influence the result of a General Election.
See what I hate most about Thatcher is that I actually hate her. She taught me how to hate….more than any other individual…and I can’t forgive that.
So she is dead. American networks…not just Fux…will praise her and probably not understand the mixed reaction in Britain.
So I wonder what Have I Got News For You will make of it. Or Frankie Boyle.
Her grave as a Memorial Dance Floor. Or Memorial Urinal. Dancing in the streets in Buenos Aires, Falls Road…and the Vatican. Hell is now officially full. In some form or other, these things will be said.
And maybe that’s Thatchers legacy. She spoke Hatred.