Condolences where they’re due but let’s celebrate the death of Thatcherism when it comes

We’ll celebrate no-one’s death. Margaret Thatcher was a mother and grand-mother and we offer condolences to her family. But we’ll not suffer the hagiographies in silence, and the final end of Thatcherism, when it eventually comes, will indeed be a cause for celebration. For now, however, Thatcherism lives on still, under various names –  the latest, sado-monetarism, coined only today by Paul Krugman.

It was responsible for the destruction of much of British industry, for the Big Bang that laid the foundations of our recent financial crisis, for the emasculation of the trade unions that had improved working people’s living standards, and for the undermining of the solidarity and community that were the foundations of the society whose existence she denied. There was nothing remotely “patriotic” about doing those things.

In treading the difficult path between social acceptablility and political realism in remembering someone who had such a big impact but was so widely despised, Ed Miliband has struck a reasonable balance:

She will be remembered as a unique figure. She reshaped the politics of a whole generation. She was Britain’s first woman Prime Minister. She moved the centre ground of British politics and was a huge figure on the world stage.

The Labour Party disagreed with much of what she did and she will always remain a controversial figure. But we can disagree and also greatly respect her political achievements and her personal strength.”

It is important to remember that she “moved the centre ground of British politics” because what has been done can be done again. Stewart Wood, one of Miliband’s closest confidante and advisers, tweeted along similar lines:

RIP Margaret Thatcher. She showed us that real change inspired by values was possible, & whatever our values, we should always remember that

Labour must work to shift the political centre ground well to the left in just the way Thatcher moved it to the right, as New Labour not only conspiculously failed to do, but, being similarly “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich”, failed even to attempt. Blairism was of course the child of Thatcherism, Blair has talked this afternoon about building on what Thatcher did rather than reversing it, and we will not be able to celebrate the death of Thatcherism without seeing the death of Blairism.

But tonight, in the quiet of my home, I shall be listening to Elvis Costello Tramp(ing) the Dirt Down over dinner before re-watching my DVD of the Boys from the Blackstuff. And it will feel like a wake not a celebration.

  1. Death of a Tyrant..

    Margaret Thatcher, the most hated British Prime Minister died shortly after 11 am on Monday, 8th April, 2013, in the opulent setting of the Ritz Hotel, London. Even with the semi-sympathetic, Oscar-nominated portrayal of Britain’s first female Prime Minister in the Hollywood movie ‘The Iron Lady’ with Meryl Streep in the leading role, there will be few tears shed in Ireland on the death of Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher is still a hate-figure in Ireland, even in death, primarily due to her callous treatment of the H-Block Hunger Strikers of 1981 and her ill-concealed glee at the deaths of those ten political prisoners. Thatcher’s crimes against the Irish working class have never been forgotten or forgiven. The English, Scottish and Welsh working-class will also remain dry eyed, most notably due to her despicable treatment of the mine workers and her brutal suppression of the N.U.M.

    Internationally, Thatcher was roundly condemned for her leading role in the cold blooded mass murder of hundreds of Argentinian sailors, aboard the General Belgrano in 1982. The General Belgrano was an undefended troop ship, that she personally gave the order to sink during the Falklands War, while it was well clear of any combat zone. Her hyper-cynical and calculating pursuit of war in the Falklands in 1982, unleashed a predicted blast of blind Jingoism that improved her Personal Approval Rating from only 30% pre-Falklands War, to 59% shortly afterwards, according to Mori polls.

    In life Thatcher was a close ally and confidante of General Pinochet, the genocidal Fascist dictator of Chile and it looks like she has now joined him (if religion is at all accurate) in the Hell that all Fascists eventually spend eternity..

    As Britain’s first female Prime Minister, she earned the nick name the ‘Iron Lady’ for her obstinacy in government, dictatorial politics and near Presidential-type Prime Ministerial style, while in office. (However in reality, the ‘Iron Lady’ nickname was allegedly given to her by the USSR due to her perceived frigidity!)

    Born Margaret Hilda Roberts, on October 13th, 1925, the old Fascist had a very good innings, dying at the age of 87. Her first degree was in Chemistry, but her husband, Dennis Thatcher and his wealth, enabled Margaret Thatcher, to fast-track herself into legal training and eventually qualifying as a Barrister.

    She made her political bones within Toryism as a Right-wing, rabid anti-Socialist, trade union-buster who worshipped at the alter of Milton Friedman, Monetarism and Laisez-faire Free Market Capitalism. One of her most despicable acts was as Secretary of State for Education, in the Heath Tory government, when she abolished the provision of a third of a pint of milk for primary school children aged 7-11. For this despicable act, she earned herself the accurate moniker of ‘Thatcher the Milk Snatcher!’

    During the height of her dictatorial, imperious reign, she infamously sent the SAS to rescue her playboy and of late, African coup-sponsoring son, Mark Thatcher, when he went missing in North Africa in 1982. Renowned upper-class twit and all-round chinless wonder, Mark Thatcher, due to a renowned lack of commonsense and unburdened by even basic driving skills, combined with an inability to read a map or compass, had managed to get himself lost during the well organised Paris-to-Dakkar rally. Ironically, Thatcher spent hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers money and wasted her government’s resources into rescuing her feckless, disorientated son, less than a year after she had used similar resources to callously ensure the deaths of ten Irish Republican mothers’ sons in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh concentration camp in Ireland!

    The Poll Tax Tyrant..

    Her introduction of the controversial Poll Tax, proved one of her most unpopular political measures and the images of the Trafalgar Square Riots were shown all over the world when Socialists, Anarchists and non-aligned, ordinary working class people, took on the armoured goons of the Metropolitan police in the heart of London. The Thatcher government piloted the Poll Tax in Scotland first, with the unintended consequence that it eventually wiped out any real Conservative party representation North of Hadrian’s wall! “Cant pay, wont pay” was the slogan adopted by the many anti-Poll tax demonstrations and in Britain the courts gaoled scores of old aged pensioners, principled objectors and the poor, for their inability to pay the hated Poll Tax. Thatcher and her draconian policies made her, without doubt, the most unpopular British politician in modern times.

    Thatcher – Hate figure number one..

    The IRA’s bombing of the Grand Hotel in Brighton on the 12th of October, 1984, came tantalisingly close to wiping Thatcher, the entire Tory cabinet and much of the Conservative party off the face of the map. Ironically, the attack happened within a few hours of her birthday (and what a birthday surprise that would have been!) There were 5 fatalities and countless injuries, included in the casualty list was her chief-henchman, the ultra-Right-wing, Norman Tebbit, MP. The next day Thatcher appeared before the hastily assembled party faithful and the world’s media, defiantly declaring that they were ‘unafraid’ of the IRA! However, it was wryly noted by many, that while she uttered these bellicose words of defiance, she was safely surrounded by literally legions of armed police, the British army, including the SAS and she even had a Royal Navy frigate anchored offshore.

    Thatcher’s reign was aptly described as a ‘Festival of Reaction’,’ unemployment soared to 3.5 million+; the rich got richer and the poor got a lot, lot poorer! The UK became an even more enthusiastic ‘client state’ of the USA and Thatcher allowed the US air-force to bomb Libya, from airbases in England, in April 1986. Thatcher even managed to infuriate her once most ardent admirers within that bastion of reaction, Ulster Unionism, by signing the Anglo-Irish Agreement, of 1986, with Irish Taoiseach, Garret Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald was a fellow Bilderberg group member and given Thatcher’s closeness to other Fascist brethren, all over the world, including Chile’s Pinochet, she certainly had no difficulty finding common ground with Fitzgerald, as leader of a party that had direct links to Irelands only Fascist movement, the infamous Blueshirts..

    Thatcher’s Fall from Power..

    Eventually even her most loyal party colleagues were forced to turn on her and effectively oust her in a ‘palace coup’ during the second round of a Tory leadership battle in 1990. This hastily penned Imperious communique from the Thatcher press office, announced the end of the reign of Britain’s most despised Prime Minister:

    “The Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Margaret Thatcher, F.R.S., has informed the Queen that she does not intend to contest the second ballot of the election for leadership of the Conservative Party and intends to resign as Prime Minister as soon as a new leader of the Conservative Party has been elected…Having consulted widely among my colleagues, I have concluded that the unity of the Party and the prospects of victory in a General Election would be better served if I stood down to enable Cabinet colleagues to enter the ballot for the leadership. I should like to thank all those in Cabinet and outside who have given me such dedicated support.”

    Working class people in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England and globally made a much shorter response to the news, in pubs, workplaces and in the media, which could be summarised in two short words, “Good Riddance!”

    Thatcher: The post-Downing Street Years..

    In recent years, Thatcher suffered several strokes and had reportedly been suffering from dementia. A friend of Thatcher’s daughter Carol, has admitted that her friend’s mother’s short term memory had completely gone,

    The Anarchist group, Class War have arranged a mass party and celebration in London’s Trafalgar Square, for the Saturday evening following Thatcher death. No doubt, it will be one of the largest open air anti-establishment parties to be seen within the city of Westminster for many years. In Ireland, in working class Republican areas, there are many flags flying at full mast and impromptu parties are occurring daily following the news of Margaret Thatcher’s death. The current British government announced that Thatcher will receive a £10,000,000 ‘ceremonial funeral’ but no doubt many English taxpayers will be very much against throwing away their hard earned money commemorating the death of the old tyrant.

    It would be debatable due to her deteriorating mental health, whether Thatcher remembered her numerous crimes against working class people, for instance, her role in the deaths of the ten Long Kesh Hunger Strikers. One can only speculate, if she can even recall her vicious repression of the Miners Strike? It is very much doubtful if the untold misery she caused to working class people, in her own country and abroad ever troubled Thatcher’s impervious conscience, when she was compus mentus, so it unlikely that it ever troubled her befuddled mind in her latter years.

    As the British Prime Minister, who famously stated that there was “no such thing as society”, her death has caused unprecedented rejoicing among ordinary English working-class people, not seen since the end of World War Two. In Ireland, Scotland and Wales, many people will make a holiday in their hearts after hearing the news of the death of the cruelest of Imperialist foes in living memory. Even Hollywood treatment and Meryl Streep’s undoubted superb acting could rescue Margaret Thatcher from the metaphorical funeral pyres many working-class people have already built for the Iron Lady.

    Those who condemn the undisclosed glee at the death of the Tyrant Thatcher as ghoulish, should recall her own public statement, re-inforced by her then press secretary Bernard Ingham, that people should ‘celebrate’ the deaths of hundreds of young Argentinian conscripts aboard the Belgrano. Thatcher’s undisclosed pleasure at the deaths of the Irish Hunger Strikers, the destruction of the coal industry in England, Scotland and Wales and her vicious offensive against the poor, is ample reason to celebrate the death of a tyrant. Unfortunately, her political legacy of blatantly attacking the most vulnerable sections of society is still continued by her latter-day neo-liberal acolytes in Westminster.
    Irish socialist revolutionary, James Connolly’s prophetic words from the last century will be reinforced when Thatcher’s opulent state funeral is televised next week:

    “..governments in capitalist society are but committees of the rich to manage the affairs of the capitalist class.”

    Alex McG,
    Belfast.