Somewhat after Nigel Jenkins (1949-2014) of George Thomas (1909-1997)
Lady Muck, Wales rejoice, is dead.
White man’s Brit
And arriviste snob not for turning,
Power-suited in royal blue,
May her handbag garrotte her.
O Death! You’ve made the world a better place
Now that we’re rid of this snooty daddy’s girl,
Duchess of Disgust,
The self-loathing mediocrity and penis worshipper
Whose fucked-up misogyny made her more male than the males.
The higher she climbed the posher the voice,
She shat on the people
And smashed their communities
And smirked as the song of the miners was drowned.
No, no, no, no, no,
Her shrill preening bulldog unintelligentsia
Made this Murdoch Hell.
There is an alternative –
Her head on a spear.
Alone and demented in a suite at the Ritz,
The strangled Lincolnshire peasant vowels returned
And her wish came true – no society.
For herself she had tears,
And she ruined my life.
Thanks, Dic. Very well put.
I’d love to see an article about the context under which Thatcher found herself coming out of the 70s, and what you’d have done differently if you found yourself in her shoes. For instance, do you think the Union’s were a problem, how Wales was affected, and perhaps whether you think there is anything she did right – for the purposes of ‘balance’.
Also why you think she was voted in democratically if her neo-liberal policies were so wrong.
I wonder if there is a British/English general belief that conservatives can be relied upon in difficult economic circumstances to do what is deemed ‘necessary’ for the future of the country. And therefore many people are swing voters based upon their perceived concerns and relevant solutions.
Anyway I’ll look forward to your response if it comes.
Now don’t hold back here Dic – let it all out.
Dic, I love your work. You ‘get’ it. Da iawn boyo.
Da iawn. Couldn’t have said it better.
“I’d love to see an article about the context under which Thatcher found herself coming out of the 70s, and what you’d have done differently if you found yourself in her shoes.”
Gradual social and economic reforms, consensual discussion with the unions about what they actually wanted (rather than declaring them ‘the enemy within’), democratisation of the nationalised industries (example of Tower Colliery could’ve been the norm, rather than a one off), immediate political rights for Irish republican prisoners (leading to the start of a peace process in the six counties), a more conciliatory stance to the eastern bloc, and the creation of a confederal UK with full self-government for Scotland and Wales. That would’ve been a good start. The idea that ‘there is no alternative’ was one of Thatcher’s biggest successes, and indeed biggest crimes.
I’m sure Dic could put a better response together but those are some early thoughts.
There has been quite a lot of criticism of Thatchers speed of economic reforms and how in the early 80’s her raising of interest rates resulted in an increase in unemployment to over 3 million from 1.5 million with the previous government. I think your assessment of this is reasonable. Also those are the official figures not necessarily the overall figures. But with inflation at over 10% and rising when Thatcher came into power something had to be done.
The unions are more complex. Having effectively broken two governments in the 70’s, and the cause of the ‘3 day working week’ in the said period. Thatcher came into this context, and she would have been witness to the decade long disruption to life for many, and the constant struggle for government to implement change and appease unions. The unions had also changed the goal posts, and had shifted their support from maintaining wages and incremental rises, to including protecting jobs. My understanding is that this had come as a result of the cuts of 50% employment in the Steel industry to compensate for the costs of modernising the industry, which subsequently became highly successful with about a 5% growth rate. I’m guessing Thatchers intension was to see this as a precedent for the Coal industry, she certainly wanted to modernise. With some coal mines becoming more burdens than productive and heavily subsidised, at a cost to the government budget elsewhere, there would be no doubt that something had to change.
From a Utilitarian ethical perspective, its a very simple calculation, the benefit of communities to the detriment of wider society. Some decisions are difficult and costly for a government and people, and personally I think it looks like more should have been done to help people find work, rather than seeing it as an opportunity to simply sweep it under the carpet and give them ‘benefits’. A free bus service to town centres for ex-miners and other workers to look for jobs would have been a good start.
However I think someone had to stand up to union power. Regardless of whether I think unions can be a force for good, every person and organisation has to choose their battles. If you fight too many, eventually you’re going to get under the skin of someone that isn’t going to back down, in this instance that force was Thatcher. The constant difficulties with the unions in the 70’s would no doubt have entrenched the views of a Barrister who believed in law, order and hegemony of government.
In regard to her other policies I haven’t had the opportunity to look closely, but I can see that she aligned herself with capitalist monetarists in opposition of Keynesian economic theory. Which explains her dislike of Allende, and support for Pinochet. I’m more inclined to communism than capitalism so I don’t agree with her, but I do think Allende had serious problems while in government, which probably polarised the right against him (in that sense he had a lot in common with Thatcher, perhaps ironically). As a British nationalist, Imperialist and it seems a colonialist, judging by her stance on the Falkland islands, she’d hardly surrender that idea to a confederacy.
In the end though I’m not going to mourn her, but I do respect any person who can rise amidst adversity. A grocers daughter, studied Chemistry at Oxford, studied the Barr, then went and became the first female Prime Minister, to me unless we are going to be misogynistic and sexist we should at least credit with her as a great female achiever, and regardless of whether we like her policies she had a remarkable, and shall we say colourful political career. I think she deserves respect for those qualities and achievements. In that respect she is someone for women to aspire to emulate in their work ethic and determination to achieve in a male orientated environment.
Historical narratives are largely a hegemonic process, but beyond the surface to any history of a prominent public person lies the rest of their life and their effort and perseverance. In that sense Thatcher was not the summation of her political career alone. But her career was largely a reflection of her capacity and personal philosophy and ethical values, as well as the context in which she found herself. Some of which we can reasonably question, but other aspects are of considerable virtue and note, and therefore deserving of recognition. Whether that warranted a state funeral I don’t know. Its a difficult call in my opinion. To question whether she deserves one is to me to question whether any person should have a state funeral.
This is also all coming from the mouth of someone who was mostly out of the country at the time of Thatchers government, and wasn’t particularly politically aware during that period as I was 11 or 12 by the time Thatcher left power. My information is therefore based upon readings in the last few days, and that perspective is clouded with a lack of knowledge of the day to day, and week to week dealings with Thatchers government and the previous governments through media avenues. I therefore have a limited understanding of the times.
Having said all that I forgot to mention your point about Tower Colliery. I’m in favour of any company being made into a co-operative, and I certainly think it would have been a better alternative for those that could make such a transition. Something I failed to make clear in the ridiculously long post above.
You are definitely right, there is always an alternative choice, my original point wasn’t really whether there was a choice, but what choices Dic might have suggested. Conservative leaders have a tendency to argue dogmatically that there is no alternative to their great plans.