I was just saying the other day – before THAT story gripped the nation – how apathetic people had become. Gone were the days of public protest, demonstration, standing toe to toe on picket lines, nailing political colours to the mast – it seems that we’ve cosied down with our Sky packages and tablets (of both kinds). What do we have to be angry about? Then, suddenly we were all transported back to the eighties.
It’s strange because when I first heard the news and friends around me were whooping and breaking open the Barolo I felt quite detached from it all. After all it was the demise of an elderly woman who cut a rather pathetic figure towards the end. It wasn’t until all the retrospectives it all started coming back to me and I realised I had been living in denial. It was a bit like those people who are abused in childhood and then bury the experience deep within their psyche and it’s only later when encouraged to regress that they realise the full and lasting effect it has had on their lives. So – for me – this is how it goes: Thatcher was the wicked stepmother or governess who indelibly marked my upbringing but it was such a long time ago and other monsters in evangelist’s clothing have come and gone. Ah, yes – I mean you: Tony Blair. Surely he is a worse monster than Thatcher? He’s certainly responsible for more deaths. But then again, Thatcher beget Blair… (Keeping up the analogy – Blair is like the down-with-the-kids vicar who starts off with a bit of abuse and then goes on to napalm the whole village)
So, at the end of the day, with the countless words that have been – and will continue to be – offered up about the woman’s legacy, does it all matter? Of course! She transformed the UK but that’s not to say that it wouldn’t have changed without her. A lot has been made about the way she kicked the shambling old duffers of the old boy network up the arse but to replace them with (new) money obsessed barrow boys made good – was that really progress? And besides, what do we have today? Privileged rich boys masquerading as the barrow boys they desperately want to woo. Another ‘positive’ trundled out by her fans is that she paved the way for women in politics when in actual fact she has probably made it impossible for any woman to hold the office of British PM ever again, such is the – if not out and out hatred – deep rooted distrust. But then, she was a woman who didn’t seem to like other women – and didn’t seem to like great swathes of the population either… her legacy is all about ‘her’ and not about people ‘like her’.
So – as a working-class woman, a Scot, a European, citizen of the world, an environmentalist, an artist, someone with a conscience – can I think of anything positive to say about the whole Thatcher legacy thing? (I refrain from making comment about ‘Thatcher the woman’ or ‘Thatcher the person’ as I have no experience in that field, plus I find the ‘heart-warming’ tales of her personal kindness on a par with hearing Hitler was kind to his pet dogs). Yes! I think I have finally found something – the way that she has brought together sectors of the country to protest and proclaim – ‘Yes! There is such a thing as society and we haven’t forgotten. And you noncey boys who are no better than Thatcher in a suit – you can shut up your hypocritical traps too!’
There, that does feel a lot better! So however you feel about the whole thing – take something positive from it all – raise a glass, shout and scream – but don’t let it drag you down, don’t let it make you less of a person. We’ve had enough of that already.