There is a generation or two who weren’t born whilst Margaret Thatcher was in Downing Street. Or, they were in nappies at the time.
This is the generation behind the Thatcher death parties, and the jubilations at the death of the frail old lady who was somebody’s grandmother, mother, and a human being. This is the generation that hyped the song ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’ into the charts, and thought an appropriate reaction to her death was to destroy property and loot in celebration.
The majority of the people doing all this death celebration never lived under Thatcher, and certainly never experienced the horrors of life before Thatcher.
Being a bit older, I was there and I suffered in those pre-Thatcher years.
Pre-Thatcher, we lived in constant fear that at any moment the USSR would be flying a missile our way in order to wipe us from the face of the earth. KGB money paid handsomely for the Trade Union movement to try to bring down our infrastructure from within, and they were being very successful.
We were a broken country. Only our heritage and original dominance as an Empire managed to keep our face. Behind the stiff upper lip we were nothing of substance.
For me there are the memories of rolling power black-outs. Lights going off without warning, through to lights going off for a scheduled 4 hour period every other day. The TV stations were forced to close down at 10:30 in the evening, and the stench and rats that came from the uncollected rubbish on the streets was disgusting. Loved ones were not being buried, and the climate of fear made everybody so miserable. Waking up in the morning, nobody knew if there would be buses or trains running or if the drivers were on strike.
On a personal level, I recall trying to get into work one day. The doorway was surrounded by loads of angry men from a trade union I was not a member of, who were out on strike. Their ‘picket line’ was there to not only intimidate their own membership not to go to work, but to stop anybody and everybody going in. I tried to explain I needed to go in to get to work and that I was nothing to do with them or their union, and in exchange I was punched and jostled, with lots of them screaming directly into my face, and one spitting directly onto my face. Physically hurt, I asked a policeman for help to get into work. He shook his head and mumbled ‘picket line, sorry son’.
I was the lucky one. People trying to get to work during the miners strike were killed by having concrete blocks dropped onto their cars as they drove down the motorway. Nobody seemed to think this was wrong. Killing and severely hurting people was what was done to those who wanted to work.
Before Thatcher, Britain had turned into a selfish take-take-take society. The trade unions controlled everything. Whatever they wanted they made sure they took. They controlled the Labour party, they controlled who could be employed and by whom. They operated a closed shop system only allowing the chosen socialist elite to be employed by the companies and organisations they had a stranglehold over. They ensured that all modernisation was blocked and industry was always overstaffed.
When Thatcher came to power nothing really changed overnight. It was a long a tedious battle. However, for me personally there came a time some years later when I was assisted to get in to work and the flying picket thugs were no longer able to punch and spit at me. In other words, I won the right to work under Thatcher.
By the end of the Thatcher era, the cold war was over, the USSR had fallen and the Berlin wall had been proudly reduced to rubble. The people of Eastern Europe were being liberated just as we in the UK were. The funding for agitation that the trade unionists had been receiving from the USSR dried up, as did their ability to have any large control over the destruction of our infrastructure.
Industry changed and there was a new prosperity for those who worked hard, plus the opportunity for ordinary people to buy their homes. Britain still had many problems, including a whole load of new ones, but so many less than it had in the decade before the Thatcher decade.
I was not unhappy under Thatcher, and I was actually there.
If anything was wrong by the end of her final term it was that the selfishness and greed that made life unbearable during the 1970s hadn’t really gone away. It had transferred from the trade unions and flipped over to the stock brokers, bankers, and speculators. But, it was still there.
Indeed, during the awful Tony Blair years this was still not addressed, and bitterness and selfishness was positively encouraged. This was the beginning of the era of the millionaire socialists.
So, nobody seems to have actually tackled that take-take-take attitude that was at its most offensive during the 1970s.
On the day of Margaret Thatcher’s death, the weekend that followed, and on the day of her funeral, whilst the overwhelming majority of people celebrated her life, there was a media frenzy to find the tiny minority that were celebrating her death.
In Liverpool people traditionally gather around St George’s Hall. A few noisy hundred did on the day of her funeral. Nearly all hadn’t been born when Thatcher had run the country. Yet, there they were drinking heavily and shouting, “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, dead, dead, dead!” as if some terrible despot from some dictatorial regime had just been deposed. It wasn’t as if somebody who had last been a democratically elected Prime Minister over 23 years ago had died. To them, copying the cheers of those liberated from actual tyranny in, say, Libya, seemed to make sense.
Ask for explanations and all they had to offer were soundbytes. Ask for explanations of their soundbytes and they got agitated and moved away.
The brainwashed anger on their faces was frightening. They had never experienced life under Thatcher. They had never experienced life before Thatcher. Yet, there it was, the hate they had been trained by their parents and grandparents to nurture and fester. Finally it was all spewing out.
None of them had a clue that, in keeping with all major religions, from birth they had been trained to hate.