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Monday, 8 April 2013

Maggie Maggie Maggie

Thatcher in the 1980s
I am moved to write about the death of Thatcher. Why? I consider her to be one of the most seminal leaders Britain and the United Kingdom has ever had. She ushered in a new age, coloured British politics in a way that has defied any attempts to remove that colour and completely changed British society.

Her death is sad. For her family she leaves behind and her friends who have seen a frail old lady slowly succumb to dementia and then to die. It is a horrible thing, I suppose, but thankfully her husband was spared the horrid nature of that descent. And she was a driven person who genuinely believed in what she was doing in way that, now, with the internet and the almost eternal cynicism of politics is, well, almost refreshing.

But, being born as she took office and living my childhood through her premiership I must say that I do not agree with what she did. One of the words that is often banded about when discussing her time in office is 'divisive'. She was that. She famously declared that there was no society and yet expected people to respond with 'common decency' borne of that self-same society she decried. And that is what I want to focus on, I suppose, the contradictions of the lady Prime Minister:

1. A Woman Prime Minister but an Ant-Feminist

She ought to have been a feminist icon, a cultural giant and a great campaigner for women's rights. And yet... and yet, she actively tried to destroy the notion that women were equal in aggregate to men. She would accept that she was better than many men but would not accept that any given woman was the equal of any given man, on any level, making references to a great many things in a calculated way to undermine gender equality. In that regard, she went even further with the denigration, and deliberate government policy against, gender equality, homosexuality and trans-gender ideas. Such things left her morally outraged.

2. Quoted St Francis of Assisi but prolonged hard-line approaches to terrorism

She was ahead of her time. The War on Terror, in many ways, is a global rehash of what she did in Northern Ireland. It did not work in Ireland, it could not work in Ireland, and she never seemed to see that. In opening the channels that eventually led to the peace process of the 1990s she set the wheels in motion for a general end to that conflict but she also ignored those channels during her time in office and, if anything, amde things worse and less safe for the people she claimed to represent.

3. A Patriot and a privateer

She was keen to sell-off State owned industry and the idea that a State could do anything well. She was very keen to label unionism as being 'socialism' in much the same way as I hear being used in the USA and, apparently, is current in the USA. She created a situation where people felt disenfranchised and where the spirit of community and self-sufficiency was taken apart and shat upon. The army were called in, the police used in a way that now strikes me as being brutal and underhanded. Her opponents did not realise what was being done and they played right into her hands. The way in which ordinary people can be driven and beaten and ignored was begun and run by her government. Basically, in creating a modern myth of UK power and tearing up any notion of interdependency she destroyed the fabric of the UK and ripped apart any idea of shared responsibility.
Thatcher in the 2010s

In short: she created the modern financial crisis, the resort to austerity and the bashing of the poor in the UK. Well, okay, re-created it and made it acceptable again.

She stood for a world treaty to limit climate change because she was a scientist, read the scientific studies and understood them and wanted to take action. She was an ardent right-wing fantasist who saw Marxist conspiracy and revolution in trade union disputes over living wages. She was a leader who saw the plight of millions and brought it to world attention, by shaming those that lived on welfare and fuelling the Daily Mail style hatred of those different to ourselves.

She was an old woman with dementia. She died today.

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