When you look at the smug, self-congratulatory faces of people like Toby Young (still firmly entrenched in the unrequited love of Julie Burchill) and Louise Mensch (a failure as both a politician and social network figurehead, business partner with a pervert, and mediocre fashion blogger) as they have the sheer audacity to equate the jubilation at the long awaited demise of Margaret Thatcher with a proposed lack of dignity, one can’t help but be reminded of the dignity of the people of South Africa when Thatcher dragged her feet at a trade embargo which might have ended apartheid sooner. One is also reminded of the dignity of the families tortured by Pinochet, Thatcher’s close personal friend and advocate. At the same time we are reminded of the dignity of:
Nelson Mandela; described by Thatcher as a terrorist.
Hundreds of thousands of Irish families who during her reign suffered as a consequence of inadequate and barbaric policy; from Bobby Sands and the Hunger Strikers, to those wrongfully imprisoned for acts of terror such as The Guildford Four, not to mention the millions of families on both sides who suffered as a consequence of an inhumane reluctance to face the responsibility of fair negotiation.
The families of those engaged in Trade Union activity during the miner’s strikes of the mid 80’s; when thousands of the very poorest communities stood by one another, united in political opposition to the decimation of their livelihoods, living without a wage in order to try (but ultimately painfully fail) in retaining the working traditions of a great many towns and villages.
The people of Argentina who suffered as a consequence of a relatively unpopular politician instigating a war, purely to win it and curry favour for an election win.
The many millions of people rendered unemployed during her reign.
The families of those who went to prison for non-payment of the Poll Tax – which ultimately led to Thatcher’s political demise.
The families of those killed at Hillsborough who fought for over 23 years to receive justice for being characterized as responsible for the deaths of 96 of their own, vilified in the press and effectively ignored and penalized by Thatcher’s government.
The truth is, if I were to sit here listing those people who have remained dignified during Thatcher’s reign of terror, I could be here for a great number of days.
Throughout my life I have had sanctions placed on my life as a consequence of Margaret Thatcher.
I knew a woman who died after being beaten to death by her husband, despite trying to seek refuge for which there was no facility available during Thatcher’s reign. I know people who went to prison for non-payment of Poll Tax. I know a Miner’s wife who asked my mum for tea bags, because she’d run out and she was bawling in front of me (I was five) because she didn’t know how she was going to survive. We were robbed so often in one week when I lived in a flat in Manchester as a baby, that the final burglary resulted in them taking the old carpets. We were homeless twice and I had to sleep in one double bed with my mum for six months before we were rehoused.
This isn’t gross sentimentality, or bandwagon jumping, or trend-led loony leftism: this is my truth. I don’t know anyone Bin Laden, Saddam, or Hitler killed. But the 1980’s were a climate of destruction that I lived in.
I hold Thatcher responsible.
Not because I want to gift her with the inaccurate and frankly insulting characteristics being afforded by the media. The truth is she didn’t hold on to her principles, she regularly back peddled. She didn’t stay true to herself, she spent years receiving elocution lessons. She wasn’t autonomous; she had teams of Machiavellian, barbaric, chinless advisors. She was an out and out failure as a parent, raising a vile criminal and celebrity kangaroo cock eater. She wasn’t anything approaching a feminist, as a transparent manpleaser (like all Tory women, engaged in a branch of politics that actively serve to undermine them, just like Dorries, Mensch etc) the purpose of her life was to please and accommodate men, she was regularly described as a flirt and she surrounded herself with male advisors, only acknowledging her own gender when it was personally rewarding.
Thatcher must be held responsible not because of anything she was as a person. She was insubstantial, pathetic and fundamentally deeply self loathing – how else does one distance themselves from their working class roots and subjugated gender, than by surrounding themselves by rich men and establishing laws that only serve to protect only them?
Thatcher is just a token; she is just a figurehead for evilness. But she is a figurehead nonetheless.
And to those who say speaking ill of the dead is undignified, we have to look at the dignity of a woman who died in much the same way as she lived, having spent the last four months in a luxury hotel: lavishly, obscenely and offensively out of touch with the rest of the UK.
As for the pomposity of her funeral, let’s take comfort in the fact that the grander the occasion, the bigger the party. Fuck dignity.
We should not be silenced at her death, in the way we were silenced throughout her life. We don’t just have a right to celebrate, we have a duty.