An open letter to Margaret Thatcher

 

Dear Thatcher era,

 

Of course it’s sad that someone has died.

 

I was sad when my Grandmother died but I didn’t expect the rest of the country to burst into tears.

 

We are not here to celebrate anyone’s death. Even when we disagree with most things they did.

If only we could celebrate the death of the ‘ideals’ instead but they are very much alive in the current government with the likes of Ian Duncan Smith making the ‘iron lady’ seem rather cuddly in comparison.

 

 

The death of the former Prime Minister has split the country into two- in one half there are tears in the other there are cheers- but no-one is cheering the death of a person but they are hoping upon hope the death of those ideas- ideas that made some people very rich and lots of other people very poor,  ideas that put the blame on the people that couldn’t fight back.

In pop culture terms you split the music world as much as the country, your favourite song was Telstar, an oddly great moment of taste until we are reminded that the other favourite song was ‘How much Was That Doggie in The Window’, that must be an urban myth, surely.

It’s hard to think of the eighties pop culture without thinking of Margaret Thatcher. She was the annual effigy on the local bonfire, the bogie woman of British politics who tore communities apart, the lady was not for turning who got credit for her single mindedness like a Kim Yon Chi, Adolf Hitler or ironically the ‘communist’ dictators.

The TV has gone a bit mad now with all manners of credit being given to the ‘iron lady’- with world peace and all manner of things been credited to you and lots of stuff about ‘strength of personality’ and ‘no turning back’.

The TV has been a freak show today with all manner of strange people dragging through studios with very enthusiastic tributes to her- with friends like Kelvin Mackenzie and Anne Widdecombe and their ilk and, I’m sure if Jimmy Savile was still alive he would be on there as well.

All I can remember from the eighties is a time when everyone got meaner and more selfish and we got set on a road when the world seemed to get greedier and worse- is that a good thing? I’m not so sure. We have ended up with billionaire bankers fiddling whilst Rome burns and greed is good is the mantra. Some legacy.

When you lived through those times, the times of the English civil war, she seemed rather strange, rather remote- she was the ice queen, the person who defined popular culture with Stock Aitkin And Waterman on one side and the punk rock underground on the other.

Iron lady, you once said there is no such thing as society and sadly that seems to be your lasting legacy and the true epitaph of your decade.

 

 

25 thoughts on “An open letter to Margaret Thatcher

  1. Damian Baughan

    Brilliantly put….the devastation she visited on the working class in the 80′s was breathtaking…but the one of the values most on the left hold dear is compassion….are we not as bad as her if we don’t treat her death with the same compassion?

  2. Mitzi Gaunt

    I celebrate the death of Margret Thacher.I cannot find compassion for a woman who had none.Communities were pulled apart,our unions destroyed to the point that even today working famillies have to claim benefits in order to exist.The expression a fair days work for a fair days pay disapeared along with the childrens milk

  3. Martina Twain

    John, I’m not particularly political but even I can see that this summary is puerile and devoid of any insight into the subject at hand. You can’t even spell Aitken correctly. This reads like a student union speech delivered to an empty hall. You plainly have no understanding of politics or society. As for the chump who reckons it “was brilliantly put” – in the name of Christ!

  4. lorien

    Peurile,no,a bit strange, yes.

  5. Michael

    Why is it that we can cheer the deaths of Bin Laden, Hussein etc but not Thatcher? Thatcher and her policies caused much more death and damage than the other two tyrants. As Blair, Bush and Obama like to tell us, the world is a better and safer place without tyrant x, y, z in it. Using that logic, surely the world is a better and safer place without Thatcher in it?

    • RALPH

      WELL SAID SHE PUT THIS COUNTRY TO ITS KNEES. WILL WE EVER GET UP ?

  6. JaRyder

    You’re not sure? well you should be.
    She destroyed lives she destroyed communities she was an enemy of culture.
    Anyone celebrating today is remembering just how bad it was and is recognizing just what she started. No-one has the right to deny them that. Liberal bleating about honoring the dead is bullshit. She deserves all the vilification she’s going to get. It’ll have to fight hard to get through the tribute trumpeting we’ll have to put up with for the next couple of weeks. Disappointing mate, wishy washy stuff…

  7. Matty Doherty

    Having left school in ’79 I danced straight into Maggies 1st term of office….. Oh how we laughed as 3 million and me stood in line for our dole…… There was great music about though, and things sort of mattered………. In fact things meant so much more back then……. I’m now nearly in my 50th year on this chunk of rock and I never thought that I’d see Thatcher dead…. My lifestyle dictates that I shouldn’t have lasted this long, but I’ve made it…………. She made me one happy man today…. Good riddance to bad rubbish, may she rot in whatever place she slides off to….. La la laaar……

  8. Dum Dums

    “Her policies caused more death and damage” than Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden…. Total bollocks…
    “She destroyed communities” probably, but these were communities that the rest of the UK was funding because they couldn’t stand on their own two feet. There was plenty of time post Thatcher to start coal mining again, or making piss poor Austin Metro’s, but the socialists didn’t even attempt to do this in their 13 years in power ????

    • Monty

      The socialists were not in power for 13 years; the Blair government were barely social democrats. Its leaders were educated in the theories of the so-called Chicago School’ of neo-liberal economics which saw unregulated markers (especially in finance) as the route to future prosperity. Unlike true neo-liberals they did attempt a modest redistribution of wealth and increased public expenditure on social capital such as health and education, much to the anger of the committed Tory neo-libs. But that’s where the differences ended. Whilst they were not so happy to tolerate the North sea oil funded unemployment of Thatcher, New Labour were just as happy to inflate the property bubble created by Thatcher, speed up the financial deregulation started by Thatcher and boost the consumer bubble that also began under Thatcher. Just saying, like.

      • Monty

        Should say ‘markets’ not ‘markers’. Silly me!

  9. JaRyder

    ^ Fuck off you Tory bellend

  10. JaRyder

    What I meant to say was “I am a total cock and cant take fair criticism when someone points out what a total and utter load of bollocks I am talking”

  11. JaRyder

    Comment aimed at Dum Dums. An apposite name. If that’s you pinching my name to be a funny little Tory bellend then you can fuck off and piss up a rope you slimy little wankstain.

  12. Andy Tillison

    The phrase “In The Lap Of Luxury” is well known as an expression in our language. It could be argued that if “The Lap Of Luxury” had a solid form, a GPS location and an address, that address would be The Ritz Hotel in London. This is where this woman died as residential guest of a millionaire. She died, far from the coalfields and steelworks of Yorkshire where the call centres and outlet nodes now replace the proud industries of our past. She died in a place where 99 percent of the populace she was supposed to serve cannot afford to buy a coffee. She died in an enclave of wealth and privilege among the small number of people who benefitted from her unfair and uncaring government of the country I still wish to be able to love.

  13. Robin Brunskill

    Ah.. don’t phrases like “fuck off you Tory Bellend” warm the cockles of your heart? Bless. Makes you think that somewhere in this world, some sweet darling still see things as “left wing” versus” right wing”…. when actually, Blair was 100% Thatcher’s boy. Once that realization is cooled, we get the charming dollop of “lets portray this hatred as part of the war against women….and by the way… we’re not backing those with tits..” Its not left wing versus right wing. Its corrupt versus not corrupt. Was Mrs Thatcher corrupt? Probably. But her evil didn’t encompass the buying and selling of children for sex, her evil didn’t take her into occult groups like the Freemasons or the Monday club, (the latter wouldn’t have her because she wasn’t right wing enough), and when it came to the “United States of Europe” .. she did her best to put the breaks on that impending disaster, by taking British cash out. To say that her leadership made society meaner, has a ring of truth. I will never forget living in Deptford, when the people who’d previously been housed and fed in the mental institutions, were in “care of the community”…. which meant that many of them died a slow and sometimes terrifying death on the streets, because they had no idea who they were or where they were. Local gangs would set fire to these people and their screams didnt reach up the Old Kent Road. Callous in the extreme… but was it any worse than how the football fans of Yorkshire reacted to the murders of the Yorkshire Ripper a few years earlier? We lived in a society back then where it was deemed acceptable to put the “scores” of the Yorkshire Ripper up on the football scoreboard, so that the men could cheer that so far 8 women had died… according to sociologist and lawyer Sue Lees. We lived in a society whereby when a female in the House of Commons got up to speak, the men would snigger and do “jiggle melons” gestures at her, ignorning her words, with a clear intent of ridicule. Thatcher intimidated these men, and defended ALL women in the House of Commons, by her support of Women to Win. Did the war against women stop under Mrs Thatcher? No. On this very site, people use the word “cunt” to describe something horrific. But was Thatcher aware of the war against women? Yes. For that I salute her, and to those choose to express their hatred of her, with particular venom because she was a woman… I’ve got a question. There’s a war against women. Which side are you on? Hate her for her corruption, and for her mistakes which led to terrible damage, but take on board that for a working class woman to get anywhere in politics, is incredible. The story is not so clear cut as it seems to those who screech “Tory Bellend”.

  14. Robin Brunskill

    Also, John, your grandmother and Mrs Thatcher…. its not a fair comparison is it?
    The real legacy of this hatred of women, with Mrs Thatcher as focal point, is those hippies who bleated about anti-censorship, and who cut their hair, and bought the magazine LOADED… making it “cool” to be on the wrong side in the war against women.

    So now, we’ve got 80% of girls at state schools, forced by boys, (by threats of violence) into doing sex acts, whereupon theiy are filmed and the film goes on the internet…. What to do about this? Firstly, let the girls take Martial Arts courses so they can kick the shit out of the boys… its better than carrying knives and scissors and pepper spray around. Secondly adopt the German system of paying for porn in advance… you have to turn up, give proof of age, id, before you can access internet porn. WOULD MRS THATCHER HAVE BEEN BEHIND THIS ATTEMPT TO STOP THE WAR ON WOMEN? I don’t know, but I hope that she would. Because more Women’s Aid shelters, more Rape Crisis centres, more legal and practical help was around during her time in office… it was the LATE 90′s that saw the closure of these places, en masse, so that now, two women/children a day are turned away from seeking refuge from violent male partners, because there just aren’t enough Women’s Refuge Centres to go around. People say Mrs Thatcher did nothing for women, and its true that she claimed to not really understand feminism… but she was a good deal better than those idiots who bought LOADED magazine, and set the wheels in motion for what girls at school have to put up with right now. An epidemic of abuse, ignored by men in governemnt, who grew up with John Peel’s “sexy schoolgirls”… who bleat about “censorship being wrong”… and who need to be kicked in the teeth by every single one of those girls who have have nervous breakdowns, due to the culture of porn bullies, that thrives as result of their “LOADED MAGAZINE CULTURE” attitude.
    Lets hope the girls are filming it too.

    • Krissi Rosa

      Robin,

      You sound like a bloke who should be reading the Daily Mail website but landed on this one by mistake.

      Your missives here seem to be full so full of holes that I have let myself down and replied.

      It’s all pretty garbled so i will answer in a list…

      1. You start dribbling about left wing and right wing and bring up Tony Blair as an example of left wing- are you sure? do you think you have made some brilliant new observation about Blair here?

      2. Aaaah I see you have fallen for the anyone who hates Thatcher hates women line- you really are a silly boy.

      3. Interestingly she may never have ‘bought children for sex’ but her best friend was Jimmy Savile and she had some very unsavoury friends.

      4. Oh dear- mad ranting about the occult! Thatcher was one of those faux Christians who liked to pay lip service to the church whilst acting in a very ungodly manner. Why is it that Christians always seem to be the meanest spirited people so full of hatred for others!

      5. United States Of Europe? she was a big supporter of Europe.

      6. Which football ground put the Yorkshire Ripper ‘scores’ up? er, where did you get this from?

      7. Thatcher was not a feminist- she made sure no women got any support in Parliament and kept women way away from power. So no support of ‘women to win’

      8. Is saying ‘cunt’ as bad as you saying ‘bellend’

      9. thatcher was not working class- another Daily Mail myth- she had a well off father who was mayor of grantham and an Oxbridge education.

      10. There’s a really non sensical but about hippies cutting their hair and reading Loaded and something about hatred of women- i think you are getting very mixed up here. Not sure how hating Thatcher has suddenly got expanded into hating all women and not sure where hippies and Loaded came from.

      11. ‘So now, we’ve got 80% of girls at state schools, forced by boys, (by threats of violence) into doing sex acts, whereupon theiy are filmed and the film goes on the internet’ is this because of Thatcher? seem to be going off on a tangent with made up ‘facts’.

      12. Oh dear, loads more stuff about Loaded magazine and a paragraph that doesn’t make any sense and more about Thatcher being good for women when everyone knows she was the opposite- she had little interest in the rest of the human race let alone for women.

  15. Jan

    I never ever agreed with any of Thatcher’s policies… Leaving school in 81 my prospects were nil!
    Thatcher broadcast here policies so we could come out against them unlike the so called leaders of today, who create policy by stealth… All those pontificating about past policy know Richard Branson is taking over the NHS? Now do what we did in the eighties… Take to the streets and protect what is good rather than celebrating the death of a woman who gave millions the opportunity to buy a degree!!!!!

  16. Joe Whyte

    Well said, Krissi.
    ’80% of school girls…’etc. Where the fuck did that come from? Robin, you’ve clearly some other agenda here.

  17. Robin Brunskill

    Hi Krissi,
    Right, lets get this sorted.. by the way, “dribbling.. ” and “silly little boy”… Did make me laugh, so thanks for that.
    Taking all your points as a list.
    1) The “left wing versus right wing” debate has no relevance when you see that all the poltical parties seem to be implementing the same policy. More coal mines were shut down before Thatcher came to power. Blair’s policies were right wing. If Old Labour existed, people would probably vote for it. But it doesn’t.
    2)According to MP Shirley Williams, Thatcher did support all women, but she didn’t describe herself as a feminist. Which is a pity, because much cash is needed for the Rape Crisis Centres, Women’s Aid centres. etc..after Blair’s government stopped the funding. Most of the money for Thatcher’s funeral could re-open some of these much needed centres.

    3)”Best Friend was Jimmy Savile?” Oh dear. Well, I’m not going to into the Freemasonry issues, because I don’t think you’d understand, but in brief, Thatcher was surrounded by Freemasons and had no choice but to be polite to them. If you think that is the same as some playground “best friend” idea, then I can only think that you’re not very savvy about out the Establishment works.

    4)Thatcher was not a Christian. She used quotes from St Francis of Assisi, written for her by Bernard Ingham and her PR team,, as a way of giving the impression that she had Christian values, which may have been a vote winner. Can you see the difference between real faith, and using Biblical quotes as a PR exercise? Its not difficult to see beyond the hype, surely. Taking things at face value is not wise.
    5)The United States of Europe is a fore-runner of the One World government, which is predicted in the Bible. This will be a place with one leader, one religion, (occult) and one government with one currency. The occultist Hitler was trying to put this idea in place, and as Thatcher was a child of the Second World War, she would have been well aware that Hitler’s ideas had not gone away. When you say “She was a supporter of Europe”… you need to take this into account. She saved the country from giving billions away to the United States of Europe idea, and she fought against the loss of our laws being taken over by Europe. By making this stand, it was inevitable that she would be defeated by the “One World” pagan idealists, who are in both the Labour and Tory party. The United States of Europe followed by the One world government, is inevitable, and the media attack on ALL religions, apart from the Occult, is a foundation to prepare people to accept it. Your remarks about Christians, show that you’ve fallen for the media message, as you are meant to do. You have fallen into line. In reality, all religions have both good and bad people within them
    6)The book by Sue Lees, was borrowed by a friend, otherwise I’d be able to give you the ISBN number and page/quote The point I make is that this was the type of society that existed in 1980/81.

    7)The organisation entitled “Women to Win” exists in the Houses of Parliament to support Women MP’s. Louise Mensch was a member. Thatcher supported this in her retirement, and I’m sure if you googled it, you’ll see that it does exist.

    8) The use of the word “bellend” was in a quote.. as in “Fuck off you Tory Bellend” which was a deep and meaningful contribution on this thread. The use of the word “cunt” is just part of the Loaded generation’s attempt to be cool,.. to use a part of a woman as in insult.
    9)Thatcher was working class,, as was her father. People from the working class do become Mayors and do get into Oxford.
    Thatcher taught herself Latin to get into Oxford. She arrived just after a time when male students gave regular demonstrations against ANY female students being given an Oxford education. For a working class female to gain a place at Oxford, was very unusual.. I had friends who went to Oxford in the 80′s and the hatred of women students was part of the culture from the lecturers and scouts even then, so what it must have been like in Thatcher’s day? No, I don’t agree with her policies, but I have to give her credit for being a pioneer for female working class who wanted an Oxford Education, despite the odds.

    10)The hatred towards Mrs Thatcher as a woman, is disturbing. The fact that there are songs, going up the charts, at her death, depicting her as a sexual object that nobody wants, is horrific. How low, how lacking in integrity and intelligence, does a man have to be, to find that funny? The Loaded Magazine generation of men, are blind to social justice, due to the depiction of women as sexual objects to be accepted or rejected… so I’ll spell it out.
    If a gay man faced homophobia and became Prime Minister.. we’d all say good.
    If a black man faced racism and became Prime Minister.. we’d all applaud.
    If a women faced the hatred of women and became Prime Minsiter… we’d support songs depicting her as a rejected sex object.

    Do you see how the progression of social justice breaks down? We’re fine about being against racism and homophobia, but hating women? That’s ok, apparently. If the objection to her was about her policies, then that would be fine. But the outpouring of hatred for her as a women, is very creepy. .

    11)Which leads me onto the more general problem of girls being intimidated by boys into being filmed. Recently a girl of 13 committed suicide in Battersea. BBC Radio Four did a feature on this, but teachers have been aware of this for many years. Its part of the hatred of females in general, that is allowed to continue in our culture and that was part of the hatred of Mrs Thatcher.. Can you see the link between a female MP in the 80′s who had to make speeches with MP’s of both Labour and Tory parties, making sexual gestures at her to put her off.. anda female teen trying to get an education, but facing sexual intimidation?

    12) Thanks for reading this Krissa… oh.. and the comments about the Daily Mail. Any paper that you read, has an agenda. If you are “subject” to that agenda, then you are not really analysing what you read. You are just taking it in, without a filter. If you are in the habit of believing what you read, and taking it all at face value, then yes, you better stay away from certain newspapers… but.. that’s ALL of them really isn’t it? Its better to read everything and anything, but be aware of the agenda.

    . .

  18. Robin Brunskill

    One more thing to thank you for Krissa.
    You made a point that this wasn’t the right site for me to be reading, (something along those lines, I think?)
    You are correct.
    If Louder than war REALLY WAS “louder than war”.. then it would be louder than the war against women…
    But.
    It doesn’t seem to understand the stance that it has taken…
    Object to Thatcher’s policies? Thats fine.
    But attacking her as a woman, via various songs?
    Thats not Louder than War is it?
    Thats cowering in the corner and falling into line and generally making it acceptable to insult a person based on their gender.
    So.. Krisssa.. LouderthanWar.. isn’t really doing what it say on the tin, is it? Thanks for your input.. it gave me some clarity.

  19. robin brunskill

    Global
    Obituaries

    Sue Lees

    Feminist who changed the rules for rape victims in court
    Share0

    Krissi, if you are interested in Sue Lees, and her books, I include the Guardian Obituary. She really WAS Louder than War. Both Sue Lees and Mrs Thatcher had different ideas about social policy but they had to courage to face the hatred of women in society, and to do what they wanted to do, despite that. I don’t agree with Thatcher’s politics, but I feel that anyone who sings songs to attack her because of her gender, is on the same level as those who sing anti-black songs or anti-gay songs. LouderthanWar’s support of the Not Sensibles, gives me the impression that its really shallow and fake and lacking in intelligence.

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    Melissa Benn

    The Guardian, Tuesday 24 September 2002 01.47 BST

    Professor Sue Lees, who has died aged 61 of ovarian cancer, was that rare creature, a rigorous academic and a passionate feminist whose work, particularly on the injustices of the legal system towards rape victims, profoundly influenced attitudes and, latterly, public policy.
    Through her writing and broadcasting, Sue, almost singlehandedly it seemed at times, persuaded members of the judiciary, the police, and several members of the 1997 Labour government, that the treatment of rape victims in the British courts was nothing short of a scandal.

    With her work on rape and sexual violence, she found the subject that most fully engaged her heart and intellect. She became, perhaps, the leading expert on the conduct of rape trials in this country. Much of her work concerned the frequently unjustified introduction of a complainant’s sexual history during a rape trial. As a direct result of her arguments in Carnal Knowledge (1996), the government moved to restrict evidence concerning a woman’s sexual history, and to curb the discretion of judges on this area.

    Two years ago, however, Sue’s further investigations on the still astoundingly low conviction rate of rapists found that sexual history was still being routinely introduced in trials, and that serial rapists were, in effect, being protected by the law. Among other recommendations she made was the suggestion that there should be special prosecutors for rape trials.

    Sue’s knowledge of her subject, and her air of calm authority, made her an effective and much sought-after writer and broadcaster; she also acted as a consultant on a number of influential films on rape for the Channel 4 programme, Dispatches. But the zenith of her television career was her appearance on the 11 0′Clock Show with Ali G in 1999. She retained her sang-froid as a relentless tide of surreal questions about feminism rolled towards her, and much to her amusement, the progamme brought her a new, younger audience.

    Nothing in Sue’s early years apparently prepared her for this life of polemic engagement. The youngest daughter of a Shell Oil executive, she was born in India, but was sent back to boarding school in England, at the age of six in 1947, to avoid the assumed chaos of Indian independence and partition.

    With the family reunited, to her great happiness in her late teens, she attended Queen’s College for girls in Harley Street, before taking a social policy diploma at Edinburgh University, and further degrees in psychology and social studies at the London School of Economics and Birkbeck College. While in Edinburgh, she won the prestigious Radzinowicz prize in criminology.

    Before turning to academia in her late 20s, she worked as a probation officer and a child care officer. She then lectured on social work at Middlesex Polytechnic and York University, and, in 1976, joined the Polytechnic (now University) of North London, where she co-founded the country’s first BA in women’s studies. From 1993 to 1997, she was director of its centre for research in ethnicity and gender.

    Like so many of her generation, Sue was hugely influenced by the early women’s movement. She was, for four years, a co-opted member of the women’s committee on Islington council, and a contributor to the equally infamous Islington Gutter Press.

    Her modesty concealed a rare fortitude and determination. After her separation in the mid-1970s, she was, in effect, a single parent for many years. In the early 1980s, she made a total, and somewhat miraculous, recovery from the rare Guillain-Barré neurological disease, which had left her paralysed from the neck down for several months.

    Her feminism was always rooted in common sense. She would frequently express fury at the behaviour of this defence lawyer, or that judge, but she was never stuffy or pious with it; there was often an undercurrent of laughing disbelief to her anger. Her early books, Losing Out (1986), on women and education, and Sugar And Spice, Sexuality And Adolescent Girls (1993), were important contributions to feminist research, showing the many subtle ways in which young women were mistreated by their peers and the powers that be. She was proposing further reforms in law and practice up to her death.

    An intensely proud mother to her son Dan and daughter Josie, she was a loving, and much loved, wife to the criminologist John Lea, her partner of nearly 20 years, whom she married in 2001. All of them survive her.

    Jan Rocha writes: I first saw Sue Lees in a Edinburgh University lecture room in the early 1960s, when we were fellow social work students. She had blonde hair and laughing eyes, she was friendly and at ease, she enjoyed parties. She was already an iconoclast, with little time for stuffier tutors or students. She was also very bright, precise and determined.

    She was angry at the humiliation and injustice inflicted on so many women, in addition to their physical ordeal, by a legal system that seemed to blame the victim for the crime. She was particularly incensed by the statements of some elderly male judges. “They’re outrageous,” she would say.

    I last saw her a few weeks ago, sitting on the sofa at her home in Highbury, north London, being looked after by her devoted husband John. She was very weak, but still smiling, courageous until the end.

    · Sue Lees, academic and campaigner, born June 16 1941; died September 17 2002

    • Krissi Rosa

      Robin, For a man you try too hard to convince about being a feminist. There is no way Thatcher was a feminist- typical Daily Mail myth. She actively stopped women rising in politics and personally made sure many could not. She is quoted as hating feminism. Your arguments are facile and childish- cobbling together half truths to make an argument. I looked up Louder Than War’s stance on the Not Sensibles and they are neither pro or anti, did you just make that up as well? they pointed out the song was a sarcastic song and not the pro Tory song that the Tories, laughably, think it is. Amusing for a song that was recorded more than 30 years ago.

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