Among the many valuable lessons that history has bequeathed is the undeniable truth that it is written by the victors. Or perhaps rewritten would be nearer the mark. Now that Margaret Hilda Thatcher is dead we’ll need to brace ourselves against a veritable tidal wave of mawkish revisionism and rewritten history.
With at least the possibility of a state funeral for the former Prime Minister, opinions, as one might expect, have polarised sharply. They shouldn’t have, though, because one’s political affiliations aside, it’s simply not on. Despite the rank, power, influence and wealth that comes with the office of PM, in the final analysis, the role is simply that of a public sector worker. If we think giving state-funded funerals for prime ministers is acceptable, why not for doctors? Firemen? Nurses? Teachers? Cleaners? Or indeed all public sector workers? Besides which, giving Thatcher such a send-off, paid for by tax-payers, raises the entirely reasonable question of why her but not, say, Tony Blair? Gordon Brown or any other politico?
The fact is, though, that Thatcher is a powerful symbolic totem for the champions of capital and her unassailable credentials as the consummate class warrior of the late 20th century provide invaluable propaganda for her epigones at a time when all she constructed is rapidly going down the toilet.
Her demise will allow the reconstruction of the myth that she saved Britain, that she was a great and fearless warrior, a visionary and a giant among world leaders. The inevitable link between her economic philosophy and the austerity measures currently being foisted onto the heads of the poorest and most defenceless will be made. The message will be clear: this is what she would have done. This is what she would have wanted and as she was so omniscient and all-powerful, a kind of credibility by association will be invoked to provide yet further justification for the coalition’s reverse Robin Hoodery.
Against the oncoming flood of propaganda, lies, distortions and Orwellian changing of the past, the space for the truth will be remarkably small. But there will still be a space. So let’s start filling it now and remind ourselves of the true legacy of the most pitiless, inhumane, greedy, venal and megalomaniacal creature ever to cross the threshold of 10 Downing Street:
The institutionalised corruption of privatising the nation’s utilities so her mates in the City could get ever richer.
The complete dismantling of entire industries and the communities that relied on them.
Engineering the biggest transfer of wealth from the poorest to the richest ever seen in the UK up to that point.
The cynical and immoral war-mongering in the Falklands for the sole purpose of conning a politically backward electorate in securing for her a further term in office.
The Poll Tax, riots, poverty, record unemployment, the most draconian and repressive employment legislation anywhere in the developed world, more small businesses going to the wall than at any period prior to her rule, her defence of and friendship with Chilean mass-murdering dictator General Pinochet and the ruination of the NHS to name but a few of her achievements.
You can, I’m sure, add many more to this partial and by no means exhaustive list. We are, today, as she made us. A paranoid, divided, mean-spirited nation, full of resentment, envy, greed and distrust. Racist, selfish, inhumane and tragically too stupid to see we are now nothing but turkeys lining up to continually vote for Christmas.
Were there a shred of doubt about any of this, just step back a few weeks to the 30th of November and recall the petty, resentful and envious bitching of private sector workers without the balls to defend their pensions, whinging and whining about how good the undeserving public sector workers have it.
Take a look at the lying, racist, foaming bigotry and xenophobia dripping from our two biggest-selling daily newspapers and then listen to the idiots in your workplace unthinkingly lapping it up as gospel and then regurgitating it for the benefit of the next clueless and brainwashed fuckwit.
Listen to the vitriol and condemnation heaped upon the head of some track-suited sink-estate youth for cleaning a few windows on the side while claiming benefit and then contrast that with the deafening silence as the banks and the City continue to loot and pillage their way through the nation’s economy.
This is her legacy.
In conclusion, then, the best way I think we can mark her passing with dignity and without conceding the moral high ground to the enemy by gloating and cheering, comes from a friend of mine; we should line the streets along which her funeral cortege passes and simply turn our backs in silence as it trundles by.
One by one, each of us, in silence, as she passes turn our backs and say that on this, the hour of her death, now is the time to start living again. To rebuild the shattered, violent land she has left by placing people before profit. By tossing into the dustbin of history all her hate-filled bile. The best way to deal with Thatcher’s legacy is to destroy it.
The lady might not have been for turning but when that solemn procession passes you by, turn your back. Turn your back and, instead, remember the countless millions she gloatingly destroyed in pursuit of yet more wealth for her pals. Turn your back and think of ‘care in the community’; the elderly, the sick, the mentally ill and the infirm treated with all the compassion shown by a fox in a henhouse. Turn your back and remember her victims.
Turn your back…