Lest we forget: Margaret Thatcher friend of the murderous Chilean dictator Augustus Pinochet and enemy of Nelson Mandela, a man she called 'a terrorist'. We honour this abomination of femininity.
In 1979, I was 17, but I was starting to feel the disasters of the then incumbent Labour party - mass union power, power cuts, the country on the brink of disaster - Labour made a cock up of the entire situation and they needed reforming. A one legged homophobic donkey could have become Tory PM in 1979; the country was fed up with Labour and guess what - they were perfectly entitled to be, Labour wasn't working and was being torn apart by the battle between moderates (who became the SDP) and the left who eventually offered so little opposition to Thatcher in subsequent years that she could have been a one-legged etc etc and still won a general election.
Except it wasn't quite like that and all the eulogies for her seem to forget that in 1981, she was the most unpopular PM this country had ever had. If the unions had pissed off Middle England, Maggie managed to piss off everyone that wasn't True Blue. Her approval rating 6 months before the Falklands was so low, political commentators believed Labour would get back into power on a reverse landslide of the one they lost in 1979. In 1980, there was a belief that Thatcher could destroy the Conservative party so much they would end up being two opposing political parties.
I remember arguing through the night with a friend of mine (who for a while was more of a socialist than me) about how the Falklands 'War' was a political puppet to ensure that Thatcher stayed in power and General Galtieri could save his bankrupt country and how we sank the Belgrano, killing hundreds, when we didn't have to. I remember arguing that the belief in the press had been that this was a minor problem that could have been solved diplomatically, but Thatcher, like so many after her, seemed to like the idea of a war and with the backing of Murdock and Beaverbrook, the press supported her actions. My friend, who is now a Tory, defended Maggie then and is probably mourning her death now.
Britain became the jingoism capital of the world and she swept back into power with another landslide and all because she started a war. Amazing how times can change; Tony Blair just supported a war and yet you'd think despite what he actually did for the country, that he was far worse than she could ever be. Take a fucking reality check people - this is why History is taught in schools, so we don't allow our memories of the past to be clouded by rose-tinted re-imagining.
Anyhow; why do/did I hate this woman so much and so passionately? Well, how about the wasted 1980s. The years of trying to get a job, having my dignity destroyed and trying to make ends meet while the rich got richer and, if you've forgotten, used to rub the poor's nose in it. Have you forgotten that Loadsamoney - Harry Enfield's obnoxious rich wide boy - was created because of Thatcher and her party's 'reward our friends and piss on the rest' policies?
She was NOT a person of the people like history seems to be rewriting; she hated people who weren't as good as her, therefore she hated most of the people. She did nothing to help the poor - nothing at all, in fact she took away from them because being poor was your fault. Oh and these are the poor, not the people on benefits, because Thatcher's policies ensured that working a 40 hour week didn't preclude you from having nothing. It was under Thatcher that sociologists started forecasting that future generations would not be as well off as the ones that lived before she came into power.
Her Tory party was the first to sneer; the first to use cameras in parliament to belittle the opposition, to laugh at the adversity of others, to ignore the message being offered so they could just gloat about being in power and having the mandate of the people. And they did and for nearly 10 years people thought she was the next best thing to God and then with interests rates at 16% and unemployment at 3.6 million and no one but the bankers making any money, people started to realise that all Thatcher offered was a short fix and we'd have nothing left at the end of it. Why else did the Tory's dump her so callously in 1990? because she had become this monstrous poisoned chalice. Remember she might be the only woman PM so far, but that might be for a reason. She changed politics, but she changed it so much it stopped being a relevance to most people - everything started to be compared to her and how she would have destroyed it. Regardless of what you might think, she set feminism back years because no self-respecting feminist would want to be compared to her in the same breath.
Ask yourself this. Both Ted Heath and James Callaghan died in 2005, there was absolutely no backlash; no gloating that they had died; no people dancing in the streets of Glasgow, Liverpool, Bristol and Brixton to celebrate the death of the most hated person this country has ever born. Why do you think this happened when Maggie died? Yes, you can be horrified that people are celebrating the death of a demented 87 year old woman, but what a woman. Such an effect was had that 23 years after she left power behind, there are as many people today that hate her as there was in the 1980s. That's the other legacy she's left.
Margaret Hilda Thatcher (1925 - 2013) - may she rot in hell and be aware of every eternal millisecond of it.