That Bloody Woman

I’ve heard and read lots of people over the last couple of days telling us what Margaret Thatcher did to harm them and make their lives more difficult.  Her sins are then recounted to make it clear how right  this person is that it was her fault.  But as that well-known “terrorist” Nelson Mandela said “Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping that it will kill your enemies.”

Nonetheless, I have a lot of sympathy with those who are picking away at their old wounds.  If you’d asked me in November  1990 (while I was honeymooning in Malta and desperately trying to find out what was really going on back in London)what reaction I’d have if she actually died, I’d have probably given you a list of reasons why I would enjoy dancing on her grave.

I joined the Labour Party at the age of 18, toward the end of 1983, partly in response to the horrendous election result in June of that year.  I think I was told at home to “stop moaning about it and go and do something about it”.

As a recent school-leaver without a job and as a member of the Labour Party Young Socialists, I was active throughout the following year in campaigns to support the printworkers in dispute with Eddie Shah and supporting miners on strike through 1984 and ’85.

So all through the eighties I was involved and awake to what was going on.  And all through that period, I hated Thatcher and the rest of the Government.  But I can’t do that any more, it stopped working for me.  This isn’t piety, it’s self-preservation.

Next Wednesday, while a coffin-bearing gun carriage trundles down Fleet Street to St Paul’s  I’d like to do something other than the obvious choices of cheering or jeering.

I think we need to focus rather on the release of resentment and ways to find reconciliation, preferably without talking about MHT or her colleagues at all.  So I’ll be holding Human Scale Conversations on those themes.  If you’re interested in doing something different on that day, come along.  I’ve not settled on a venue yet, but somewhere away from Whitehall and The City – maybe the weather will be kind and we can go somewhere in Hyde Park.  I’ve put up a #wewillgather event and see what happens.

BTW this explains Human Scale Conversations.

UPDATE/AFTERTHOUGHT I’m doing this in Central London, but if you’re not here on Wednesday, I’d strongly encourage you to organise you’re own event in a similar vein.

3 thoughts on “That Bloody Woman”

  1. That is a very good response. I have refrained from writing about Mararet Thatcher’s death, mostly because others have done so much more articulately than I could, also because I believe her death has nothing to do with it – the systems and structures she put in place (and from which I am sure I have profited!) which have done so much damage are still largely there.

    Though I am not sure how you’ll be able to do all that without mention Thatcher or her colleagues…!

    1. You probably can’t – but her death provides an important opportunity to examine what her political philosophy actually did to the country and what sort of society it created – not just in terms of the conflicts at the time, but the longer term ‘legacy’. That still has huge relevance today, when we have a government more determined than Thatcher ever was to surrender its responsibilities to society to the so-called free market.

      Lloyd is right – neither jeering or cheering are appropriate – we need to take the conflict out of the occasion and instead create some perspective not least because we still have not been able to create an idea that can stand as effective counter to Thatcherism and we thus allow today’s Thatcherites to persist in hawking the view that the only alternative is 1970s style state socialism.

      This was my bash at it –

      Also some while back

  2. Yes, it’s a complex, tricky and thorny subject. One person is many things to many people and I am always astonished that people refer to MT as the perpertrator of great evil when in effect it was not a party of one but of many elected representatives who should be credited for the changes that came about. As their leader MT may have been prepared to shoulder the burdens of their actions and equally any praise and been motivated in that leadership, rightly or wrongly by a deep conviction, but lack of concensus or not, our Government is still, was and has been for some time a democracy. MT was hardly the only ‘personality’ in charge at Westminster; votes were passed, debate was had. We all have a shared responsibility to take part in the debate and stand up for the good still to be found in our Country. Margaret Thatcher may be dead but there are still good things, good deeds and good people to be found on every street corner across the UK….

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