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Blog: On The Day That Thatcher's Dead

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I'll never forget where I was when I heard Thatcher had resigned as prime minister- in a very dull lecture about Politics at Leicester Polytechnic. Our lecturer (who was, for the time and place, EXTREMELY right wing i.e. A Little Bit) said "Margaret Thatcher, who may not be Prime Minister for very long..." and someone put their hand up and said "No! She resigned this morning!"

It seems WEIRD to even think of something happening that way now - I'd had breakfast, wandered through Vic Berry's scrap yard, and been sat in a lecture for HOURS without knowing the Big News Of The Day. TODAY, when the Big News was announced, i knew within SECONDS, being first alerted by a text from Mr W Pilkington, closely followed by a LOT of other texts, tweets, emails, and facebook. Thatcher, everyone was saying, is dead.

And blimey, it feels really WEIRD. It's like January 1st 2000 or something, a day looked forward to for DECADES which finally turns up and... is the same as any other, really. Living under the EVIL YOKE of Thatcherism back in the eighties, when the country was in recession and there was a threat of nuclear war (DISTANT DAYS, i know) we regularly fantastised about her being killed, and working out what you'd do on the day of her death was a regular topic of conversation. It's strange - I bet nobody ever did that about Harold Wilson or Ted Heath, and I'm sure nobody does it now about Cameron. As loads of people in the media are saying TACTFULLY today, she was "divisive". By which they mean "Everybody sensible HATED HER but my BOSS thought she was great so I have to be careful."

This is quite different to how I expected things to turn out today - when Ronald Reagan died the Public Agenda was set ENTIRELY by the press and TV media, so it was a load of old bollocks about how ace he was, what a great leader, and nothing about the rollicking ride towards nuclear oblivion that he led us on, or how he (and Thatcher) did everything they could to profit the rich and destroy the poor. It even drove me to write a song about it, predicting the same would happen with Thatcher.

But, actually, it hasn't yet. The MIGHT of social media means that NORMAL PEOPLE have a chance to speak their mind IMMEDIATELY and say what WE thought of her and her legacy. Now, obviously, feelings are very slightly muted by the fact that she ended her life as a poorly old lady with dementia, and, despite everything, it STILL isn't nice to take joy in someone's painful death. HOWEVER, that doesn't mean we need to instantly forget everything she stood for, nor should we fail to stand up for the view of history held by those who live through her reign, rather than that of those who profitted from it.

What I'm basically trying to say is that we should fight for history, on the day that Thatcher's dead.

posted 8/4/2013 by MJ Hibbett

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Spot-on Mark. Spot on. As many have commented today - what we have to combat now is her legacy and those that seek to further destroy those post-war consensus institutions.
posted 8/4/2013 by Grant Hobson

That makes you only the second person that I have ever met to have studied Politics at the same time as Maths! I look forward to seeing intelligent comment on Thatcher's legacy - hopefully the news media won't just count the quantity of comments on Twitter.
posted 8/4/2013 by Jon Pennycook

My first thought was of this song. No winners on a day like this, except possibly Meryl Streep's agent.
posted 8/4/2013 by Dave Gumble

When I was a lad I would have agreed with you, but ideology and real life turned out to be different things. I found the economist article interesting: Also interesting to note the views of Lech Walesa on the role of Mrs Thatcher in the fall of the iron curtain. (He was there too).
posted 8/4/2013 by Matt Parry

Very much my experience over the last 24 hours ... I kinda wanted to party, but knew I would probably lose all of my friends who saw her more as someone's senile old Nan and/or the saviour of the Falklands, and I'd rather not wreck decade-plus friendships over such a thing when she "resigned" (hmm) at a time when I was still in short trousers. Funnily I haven't seen much in the way of tribute from anyone who's both old enough to have been paying for their own crisps at the time AND who wasn't either an MP (and therefore well paid and insulated from the worst terrors of the age), profited from the 1980s conservative policies, or was otherwise lucky or well off enough to survive all that... The "younger" of us (late 20s into early 30s) can argue til we're blue in the face from one side of the fence or the other but we weren't actually there and are only getting secondhand opinions. What I've largely picked up on is that the majority seem to profess dire hatred of her and the decade being one more of run-down northern towns and coalsmoke than neon lights and nightclub afterparties ... yet somehow the tories kept getting voted in. Other than the odd standout exception (and a resigned shrug re: it wouldn't have been any better under Labour neither), I'm no fan of what she did or stood for, but I find myself having to back off the gas to avoid being left as johnny no mates and told I don't know what I'm on about. Maybe if we kick back for a week, let the inevitable funeral roll by, then we can get back to a more sensible debate without the emotional comeback of "but she managed to not die for a full 87 years, you just can't celebrate when someone stops breathing at that age, it's not cool whoever they were" (to be fair, anyone who I tried to google up as a comparison didn't make it later than their 75th year - Pol Pot, Stalin, etc), as well as the parties / grave dancing / memorial pissing itself spoiling any attempt at objective criticism. It wasn't such an issue a week ago if we happened to discuss it then... You can probably guess why I'm remaining anonymous.
posted 9/4/2013 by MrSomebody

gah, another comment thing that doesn't preserve newlines. do we have to put them in as html or what?
posted 9/4/2013 by MrSomebody

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