I’m having one
of my ‘Howard Beale from Network’ style rants again …
Thatcher’s funeral was on April 17, 2013, but people I know are continuing to discuss
it, and discuss it in depth. Not just the funeral – but her entire term in
office, it’s ramifications for the population of the day, and the miserable
legacy left behind. This subject always evokes a walk down a particularly
unhappy avenue in memory lane.
Now ‘they’ are
telling us that we should show respect. The simple answer to that is: to get
respect, you first have to respect others.
say that we should just not talk about the bad things that happened during the
1980s. I disagree. The past is prologue that should be studied. To ignore it,
to have a selective memory, is to risk the bad things happening again. And,
correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that a little like ‘censorship’? We live in
a democracy, yes? Freedom of speech, and all that?
sing MT’s praises are those who did well because of her administration, but
what about everyone else? She divided the nation. Some prospered, but the
majority suffered. My sympathies are with those who lost their businesses, jobs
and futures. The generations whose future and hopes of opportunity were
written-off as a poverty-trap system was imposed on them.
have been criticized as being ‘bitter’, but considering what happened and the
communities that were shut down, left in poverty and still have not recovered
to this day – don’t they have every right to feel bitter, cheated and angry? Is
it no wonder that the banners were raised and the song: ‘Ding Dong The Witch Is
Dead!’ became an anthem for a disenchanted and ignored generation?
Here’s what I
·MT stopped the supply of
free school milk. For many young children, it was the only source of milk they
had, which earned MT the title of ‘Margaret Thatcher The Milk Snatcher’. Thanks,
MT! School menus continued to decline in quality. I remember processed junk
food being the only option at my school!
·Millions became unemployed.
·YOP [Youth Opportunity
Programme], later renamed YTS [Youth Training Scheme] – because it sounded
nicer, even though it fooled no one! What it amounted to was 16-year-old
school-leavers, green as grass, being forced onto a ‘scheme’ for £25.00 a week, while they did the same work as the other
employees. I did a year on one of these ‘schemes’. My bosses at the company
were sneering tyrants and the ‘scheme’ was thinly-veiled slave labor.
·The 1984-85 Coal Miners’
Strike. I am a conservationist so I understand that part of the reason coal
mines were closed was because of the negative impact on the environment, but my
retort is that no other form of industry was brought in to replace coal mining,
thus those mining towns were left without an alternative form of employment,
and the people were left redundant and poor.
·Public service cuts.
·Poverty trap – the rich got
richer and the poor got poorer.
·Rising homelessness – for all
·The Poll Tax.
·The North-South divide.
·So-called ‘Care in the
·Riots and civil unrest.
·Rising crime rates that go
hand-in-hand with poverty.
And this is
just scratching the surface.
get the chilling feeling that history is repeating itself, that old policies
have just been rejigged, polished up, renamed, and put back into operation?
deliberately divisive, MT divided the nation … so it stands to reason that
opinion on her has stayed divisive.
15-years-old in 1983, less than a year from leaving school. I sat in a
classroom listening to a careers lecture from a disillusioned, despondent and
demoralized teacher. The lecture was meant to inform us of our options; it
turned into a doom-and-gloom rant about how we’d had our future written-off, the
system was screwed and most of us would struggle through our working life.
MT was known
as a ‘strong woman’, a fighter. However, is being haughty, pompous and
uncompromising something to be applauded? And who was she really fighting? To
many of us living and suffering under her policies, her enemy was the
The English electoral
system... is an all-but open fraud. In a dozen obvious ways it is gerrymandered
in the interest of the moneyed class.
The following three passages are from Nineteen Eighty-Four, written by George Orwell, originally published in 1949,
adapted into the movie of the same title, starring John Hurt, Richard Burton, Suzanna Hamilton and Cyril Cusack.
Orwell’s writing has never been more prophetic and apt for both
the year 1984 and the present day situation:
Freedom is the freedom to say two plus two equals
four. If that is granted all else follows.
April the 4th, 1984 … I think. To the past, or to
the future. To an age when thought is free. From the Age of Big Brother, from
the Age of the Thought Police, from a dead man … greetings.
In the long
run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a basis of poverty and
The war is
waged by each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war
is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of
MT saw out the twilight of her life living in the
Ritz hotel. How many of us could even afford a night in the Ritz – let alone
move in and live there?
Thatcherites now’, declared Mr C, at the funeral.
I’ll end by letting
the people speak and these pictures speak for themselves and remembering MT,
her administration, its consequences and legacy, I’ll quote Winston Smith again,
from George Orwell’s Nineteen
If you're going to try, go all
the way. Otherwise don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives,
relatives, jobs. And maybe your mind. It could mean not eating for three or
four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could
mean derision. It could mean mockery, isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the
others are a test of your endurance. Of how much you really want to do it. And
you'll do it, despite rejection in the worst odds. And it will be better than
anything else you can imagine. If you're going to try, go all the way. There is
no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods. And the nights
will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the
only good fight there is.
– Matt Dillon, as Henry Chinaski, in Factotum (2005),
Monday, April 15, 2013, should have been a joyful day of friendly competitiveness and
sportsmanship at the Boston Marathon. But the day turned into horror and
tragedy when two bombs exploded in Boylston Street, leading up to the finishing
report I saw stated that 3 died and there are over 140 injured. One of the dead
was a boy of just 8-years-old.
This latest vicious
and senseless atrocity is yet-another reminder that terrorism is a global
problem. When it strikes, innocent people die and others are maimed. The trauma
lasts a lifetime. We all live in fear of it, because extremists strike
anywhere, at any time, with no regard for loss of life.
As of this
writing, the identities of the terrorists responsible and the reasons for this
attack is a mystery. I hope the perpetrators are caught quickly and justice is
prayers are with all the victims, their families and friends.