It was 30 years ago today…
Today, apparently, it is 30 years since Margaret Thatcher got into power.
Then that makes it 30 years since the train was set in motion that led me to emigrate.
I hated Thatcher. I mean LOATHED her. I hated everything she stood for, and everything she did. She destroyed my community, my family, everything that I was proud of. She made me ashamed to be British, and it was a deep-seated conviction that the country would never truly recover from her blight that led me, in 1999, to emigrate to France.
Political commentators talk about Thatcher as ‘polarising’ even today. I’ll say she was polarising. My working-class parents voted for her because they wanted to buy their council house. Until then, and afterwards, they were life-long Labour voters and believers in the trades union movement, but they betrayed their ideals for a carrot, like so many others.
My father was a miner and Thatcher came to power at a time when the trades unions were, as the Tories put it, ‘holding Britain to ransom’. In truth, it was the Labour party they were holding to ransom under a weak leader who lacked the character to deal with the ultra-left wing members sufficiently harshly. After Labour lost power, it would take over a decade to purge the traditional party of the nutter-bastards that had taken it over in places such as Liverpool.
The trades unions needed curbing, but Thatcher and her evil crew went all out to destroy them entirely, leaving working people with no protection and no ability to bargain collectively for rights that had been so sorely won throughout the industrialisation of Britain. They have still never won those rights back. She even cooked up a false war to take people’s eye off what she was really up to, as if anyone in Britain really cared about a bunch of penguin-infested hllocks in the South Atlantic.
The Tory party that had once prided itself on ‘compassionate Conservatism’ merrily sold entire classes and areas of Britons down the drain throughout nearly two decades. ‘Society’ did not exist, we were told, and Britain was turned into a business – still called by New Labour without a trace of irony ‘UK PLC’. Simon Jenkins – hardly a left-winger himself – wrote in The Times that Thatcher would never know how deeply, horribly tacky she was for selling off ad space on the Speaking Clock. The whole of the nation’s family silver was up for grabs – usually to the Americans under the equally nauseating Reagan.
Well, a country is not a business, and it should not be run like a business. It does not benefit a nation to turn an entire generation into consumers with rights, but workers who have none. It does not benefit society to have the greatest disparity between rich and poor since the Victorian era.
Victorian Values my arse. Ding-dong, I’m glad she’s gone – I only wish there was some way of undoing the damage.