Look away now if political comment is not your thing and move on to something else. The life of Von was very affected by living through the Thatcher years and I was actively involved in the world of work, the world of politics and activism of various sorts during Thatcher’s ‘reign’. This post is not about adoption although the Thatcher years saw a serious change in how adoption was viewed, how it was carried out and the results are now very obvious in today’s Britain in the area of fostering and adoption policy.
I seem to smell the stench of appeasement in the air.
Poor Cher must have been surprised when things got out of hand the other day and her fans began to mourn her passing. The spacing makes all the difference, something she would be well aware of in her work, where phrasing is all important, or was in her heyday. So to it was for Maggie Thatcher, in her political life; timing was everything. Those of us who endured the Thatcher Years in Britain and saw her rise from an inexperienced politican with a busy life as a hands-on wife and mother who cooked dinner, to a well-honed political machine with steely resolve, unmoved by the plight of those she saw as being in opposition to her decisions, goals and ambitions will never forget.
Together with right-wing US Ronald Reagan, she sowed the seeds of today’s global capitalist crisis, and lit the torch of obscene profiteering and greed which was later eagerly taken up by Tony Blair and new Labor.<Thatcher, The Milk Snatcher Passes Away.
The price the working-class paid for Thatcherism was far higher than any level of subsidy. The true cost of destroying British industry – sickness, premature deaths, prison sentences in desolate industrial landscapes – is paid by successive generations.
We know she is well loved in some quarters of America, regarded fondly by those who never lived under her regime or experienced the full impact of her policies or saw the results of her degradation of industry, state ownership and the lives of those who lost their jobs, the only work they knew, destroyed their villages and towns and created unemployment and social destruction from which Britain has never recovered. A statement from the White House said that “the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend.” We might ask ‘freedom and liberty’ for whom? America did indeed lose a ‘true friend’. No doubt her popularity and influence contributed in some way to the place Americans find themselves in right now. A place where banks and bankers can commit substantial crimes against the working people and get away with it, where poverty is such that many have lost their homes, their livelihood and their self-respect and where the future is uncertain and the privileged can buy and sell anything, including human lives.
Baroness Thatcher despised feminists, did nothing for women or children and lived in a man’s world. She played men at their own game and did it by being a combination of nanny and flirt, hard-nosed tactician and tough compassionless classist. She was not working class, she was the daughter of successful business people, grocers who owned two shops, who no doubt sold to their working class neighbours. You’d have to wonder if they permitted their customers to buy ‘on tick’ during the Great Depression, or whether they had a strict policy of no cash, no goods. Somewhere, somehow, Maggie learned to be tough on the working people and she sold them down the river because they opposed her, did not believe their viable industry should be closed down. It was punitive, destructive and Britain has never recovered from the loss of jobs, the loss of productive industry, privatisation or the shock of such brutal treatment.
While I’m not in favour of celebrating the death of anyone, I can certainly understand why those Britains affected by her into the next generations are doing so now with fervour and great enthusiasm. It is cathartic, it may not change anything and it certainly won’t restore Britain to health, but it is a time of completion of a sort. The Thatcher Years will not be forgotten quickly, her legacy is ever present in the dole office, the closed factories and pits, the ghost towns and the despair of the unemployed and the unemployable. She helped to create the 1%, some would say she was it’s mother. That is her real legacy to the world.