I am never going to like her. That much should be obvious. She had too much of a negative effect on my life,and the lives of people and places that I love for me to ever suddenly turn round and say “oh she wasn’t that bad”. She was. She was evil. She dismantled not only my life, my friends life and my home, but she then t0ok away the support services that could help us through the aftermath; her polices had mass unemployment written into them and then the unemployed were demonised and hounded; gay men and women were deemed to have no right to live and have no right to express their sexuality; “subsistence level” was continually redefined downwards – at one point I was doing a full time JTS which was basically a slave labour scheme to get the unemployment figures down. This meant I was earning “The minimum needed to survive” + a tenner. I was taking home 56 quid a week, substantially less than the part time workers I was supervising. In many ways, I didn’t actually mind as I loved the work.. Then six months into the contract “The minimum needed to survive” was redefined as being 23.05 meaning I’d effectively taken around a 30% pay cut simply because I was technically unemployed. Which was part of Thatchers plan anyway.
I saw a distressingly large number of people commit suicide as they could no longer cope with the poverty and hopelessness of the Thatcher era. I saw the life of of a once vibrant City sucked out of it and abandoned by government – we were too far north to bother with, you see. And when the government did notice us it was usually to change things for the worse – deregulating the buses for example. There used to be a scheme in Sheffield where the Council Tax was slightly higher but the buses were ridiculous cheap.. As an example, from where I loved in Pitsmoor, it was 4p to travel by bus unto town. Overnight, after deregulation, this rose to 65p. So the marginalised were further marginalised and a lot less mobile.
But this is by the by.
After the announcement of her death, I was fantastically happy and being a hippy at heart, this actually really troubled me. The euphoria I felt was…. odd. I’m not really happy she’s dead, per se, but I”m happy she’s gone. I know that’s a contradiction but bear with me.
The overwhelming feeling on news of her death was one of a massive weight lifting from my shoulders; of being able to breathe properly for the first time in years and since the announcement, bizarrely, I’ve had five straight nights sleep after nearly 30 years of insomnia.
Right. Now. I don’t like her. I never liked her. Her policies were the policies of evil. I’m glad the chapter has closed. But . . .
I’m finding all these protests a bit odd. Why are people who weren’t even alive at the time protesting against policies that no longer exist? Why is there rioting about something that is so far back in history? Okay, I’ve already said that the effect of her era have affected me right up until her death and I genuinely believe that England is a crueller and less tolerant place as a direct result of her policies, but isn’t this all a bit pointless?
I can see the point as something a bit silly like putting “Ding Dong the witch is dead” at number one, but time shifted rioting? Seems a bit unnecessary to me. I can see a point in protesting about spending public money on her funeral, but rioting? I cannot say I like the ideal of a permanent thatcher memorial, but it was inevitable and has been since the mid 80’s. HOWever much I don’t like it or want taxes to pay for it. I was always going to happen. All the ritoing in the world would not change that.
But, the one thing that puts this on a very weird keel and highlights a disparity between her public perspective and her effectiveness as a politician is that as Prime Minister, all but one of her major policies have been repealed. Often during her tenure as PM. How is that a positive legacy?
She was cruel and evil and ultimately useless, so why on earth has she built up this enormous legacy? Is it purely a “Cult of Personality” thing? Or a “she was a woman” thing? A combination of both perhaps?
Well, yeah, it was fantastic that a female got the premier position in government, it’s just unfortunate that she was more masculine than her cabinet. She wasn’t a Boudica figure, either. She was a power crazed bitch whose policies failed.
I don’t feel guilty about cheering on the announcement of her death. If anything, it was a cheer of catharsis. The demon has been vanquished. Now I just want to get on with my life. And for the first time since she came to power, it feels like I can.