I’ve been driven back to my Blog after a long absence by my growing astonishment, disbelief and sheer incredulity at the seeming shock in the media and amongst the political and chattering classes at the levels of hate expressed towards our ‘dear departed leader’ Margaret Thatcher.
I confess myself stunned at this apparent lack of knowledge of the feelings of a large swathe of the population – in the North of England, Scotland and Wales, feelings have always run very high concerning Thatcher.
Perhaps ensconsed in their cosy little metropolitan existence, the real, raw, heartfelt feelings of the populous don’t touch these exalted and overly-privileged types. They professed shock at the plain truth of MP Glenda Jackson’s tribute to Thatcher in the House yesterday – which were amongst the only true words spoken about the reality of Thatcher’s legacy.
Do these people genuinely not know how Thatcher affected ordinary people’s lives, as opposed to yuppies and fat cats and barrow boys in the City?
They seem to feel they have the right to CRITICISE normal, ordinary, decent folk in the North and elsewhere for daring to express real emotion. Perhaps ‘hatred’ is a bad word to these liberal types – but HATRED is the only word that can be used to describe the emotions of many decent people towards the woman who did her level best while she was PM to destroy their lives, their livelihoods, their communities, their children’s future.
While she enjoyed friendships with the likes of Jimmy Savile and General Pinochet…..
If you didn’t live under Thatcher’s deprivations, didn’t have to deal with the suffering she inflicted on whole communities, especially in mining areas, then you have no right to criticise those who did, and who are choosing now, after 30 years, to seek to vent those feelings.
Personally, I am shocked at the restraint most people are showing towards Thatcher. Some of the things I have heard said about her over the years would likely turn a delicate liberal commentator’s hair white. Absolutely decent, normal people declared their intention to dance on her grave. These are honest people, who I am certain would never say such a thing about anyone else. They are good people and KNOW it is a terrible thing to say really – but such is the enduring hatred that awful woman engendered. People need to vent their spleen.
The reality of Thatcher was to destroy the social fabric of the UK, to tear down the post-war Social Contract that had worked so well to improve the quality of most people’s lives. She legitimised and made socially acceptable the bad side of human nature – extolling greed and selfishness at the expense of caring and sharing. She turned moral values upside down in this country – as someone said yesterday on Twitter, what had always traditionally been vices now became virtues. It became a dog-eat-dog world, survival and thriving of the most amoral, an “I’m All Right Jack, sod you” mentality. The poor and the old and the sick went straight to the wall, as Neil Kinnock said they would in his famous speech.
Worst of all, she did her best to kill hope for the future in so many devastated communities, to poison the future of their young people. Totally unforgiveable.
Thatcher was a divisive figure in British politics, perhaps like no other before her. You loved her or you loathed her. She was a typical lower-middle-class woman, who carried all of the snobbery, malice and small-mindedness of her class with her. With an extra dollop of cruelty all her own.
It wasn’t even so much what Thatcher did that have made people hate her viscerally for 30 years– it was the joy, the delight, the sheer revelling in causing damage and hurt and pain to people that we cannot – and will not forgive. We simply wouldn’t be human if we didn’t hate Thatcher as we do.
The reaction to Thatcher’s death on Monday by so many in the North and elsewhere was genuine and it was heartfelt. Many truly did feel that ‘Ding Dong, the witch is dead’ was very apt. Thatcher was an evil, hateful woman who gave no quarter and asked for no quarter. In the end, she reaped what she sowed.