Gosh I’m such a rebel aren’t I?
I downloaded ‘Ding Dong the Witch has Gone’ in the anarchistic manner of a teenager, my older self-wondering if it was distasteful and churlish or about as imaginative as being a sociopathic twitter user.
But you know it’s good.
Imagine if there was not a campaign to get this song to the top of the UK charts in time for her funeral, and all history had to remember her by were the simpering superlatives left just after her death – would it be right that the amount of disharmony she is responsible for should be fuzzed over with day upon day of wistful, twee rhetoric in the blanket coverage and systematic news orgy that has followed, where even supposedly charming anecdotes about this old battle axe seemed laced with a disturbing undercurrent of the Machiavellian.
Here is one such story that a gay Conservative told of the time he sought an audience with her which I think we are supposed to find charming yet…well, you tell me.
He was hoping to talk with her in regards the number of gay Conservatives in the cabinet and that there were a large proportion of Conservative voters who felt the party stance on homosexuality was un-clear – or more to the point seemed quite homophobic.
When she finally turned up to this appointment she dominated the conversation with other political business and it seemed there was little opportunity for this very nervous MP to get a word in.
Eventually as the time was running down she realised that her twitchy guest had not yet spoken of what was on his mind and the purpose of the meeting.
‘Oh my goodness, listen to me’ she said ‘Here I am wittering on all this time and I’m none the wiser as to why you brought me here…please do speak.’
At this point, our story teller realised the enormity of what he had to say to this formidable woman, and became aware of the implications of his subject matter and how un-predictable her reaction might be.
So he began (paraphrased) ‘Prime Minister – I am a homosexual man and it is my feeling and the feeling of others in the party that we should be seen to be more tolerant of the gay community; there are many Conservative voters who may be put off by the present image presented to those who have alternative lifestyles.’
A silence falls.
Eventually she got up and leaned over to him – laid a gloved hand on his and looking him straight in the eye said quietly ‘That must have been very difficult for you to say.’
And then she left.
This generally seems to be the level of warmth in all the anecdotes I have recently had to endure listening to. Not exactly re-affirming her cuddliness, nor amusing.
Personally I found this story chilling – as if with a subsequent covert nod to one of her henchmen the guy would be invited for a ride in the Prime Ministers special armour plated, bomb proof (scream proof), limousine round the back streets of parliament; where he would be engaged in cheerful banter with his two escorts, before the un-familiar sensation of a cold screwdriver violently entered the back of his neck.
Margaret Thatcher was extraordinarily cold – you could argue that it is this coldness that was required to remove power from the Trade Unions, to sink the General Belgrano or to cull the non-viable jobs and services that the British tax payer was over paying for.
You could argue that she was wonderfully stoic and old school, that her actions made Britain great once again and that under any other leader (a human being with blood rather than acid in their veins for example), we would be burying our own dead and eating our children, where life would be as lethargic and as grim as if we had crawled into the Sky box and were forced to spend eternity, physically expressing the creative content of the Gold channel.
We are told that without her brute forcefulness we might have actually devolved to the economic gloom of Britain as it was just after the second world war; with it’s never ending austerity, poverty, minimal social mobility and a prolonged recession; that sounds horrible doesn’t it?
I found another anecdote recounting her charm from Margaret’s long term loyal and trusted driver, a man she probably shared the most of her intimate moments with while driving from appointment to appointment.
For one we learned that she never listened to music and asked if he had ever attempted to share a joke with her, he promptly replied that he had but that he had found her to be completely humourless.
I think it’s always good advice to be wary of people who do not take pleasure in music or humour, since these are two things that help us to connect and understand each other.
Without the capacity to enjoy either you wonder where a person can learn empathy or find an outlet for difficult to conceptualise inner tensions.
It’s possible this driver liked pop acts such as Rick Astley or was a rotten comedian but I choose to believe that Margaret Thatcher was in fact; a psychopath, one who had failed to assimilate appreciation of emotive rhythm or the benefit of laughing at oneself into her human façade.
Just as in retrospect Jimmy Savile couldn’t appear more like a sex offender than if he had wandered around with a trio of gagged, prepubescent teenagers attached to him by a leather studded chain, Margaret Thatcher will one day similarly be acknowledged for being a violent psychotic acting out her psychosis on miners, trade unionists and Argentinians.
Suddenly all those inhuman decisions that cost millions of people their jobs, their families and in some cases their lives will clearly have been the act of a person who in any other walk of life would have the bones of her victims hidden under her patio – actually, that’s an interesting idea I think we should explore.
Margaret Thatcher is often regarded as an extraordinary woman who single handedly, rescued this country from ruin, when actually all she did was create a vast amount of quick money by selling everything off to a few people who were in the right place at the right time to exploit it.
That’s not particularly astute thinking, since I could tomorrow ebay the entire contents of my home and live like a North Korean dictator for perhaps 3 months, yet once the money was gone I would have to hang myself or starve. Did she never read Aesops Fables? I appreciate that our Goose at the time was not so much laying golden eggs as tin, but it was the only goose we had and Maggie slaughtered it with a spectacular relish and dis-regard for the future implications.
The 1980’s was gravy for those who could afford to buy shares in British Gas, British Rail and anything else she chose to sell off, but once that was done, if you were not holding shares you were destined to be enslaved and powerless to protest about astronomical train fare rises, or unsustainable heating bills.
Margaret Thatcher’s legacy has been to create an illusion of prosperity while beneath the surface create great division; the division of those who are in a position to capitalise and those who have lost any real power to protest. It was her that brought about the Fat Cat CEO’s; those people who game-changed salaries from very well paid to that in line with wages awarded to movie stars or premier division footballers, she freed up the banking sector so that it could trade aggressively and without as much accountability, leading to the gambling with pension funds and a bloated unchecked arrogance we are paying for today.
We have her to thank for the destruction of communities and the natural goodwill we once had for our neighbours –her actions and the climate she massaged into position created the era of self-protectionism, the zealous, paranoid opportunists that we are today.
In short if we are at all wealthier for it -which is clearly debateable – trust and goodwill has been the cost.
Therefore, what Margaret Thatcher might be able to stake a claim on accomplishment wise, was to perhaps… make London appear very rich for a very short-time.
The country as a whole has not benefited so much, unless you count those that did well out of Londoners entering peaceful hamlets and buying up all those affordable homes that subsequently shot up in value and drove out the young families, simultaneously destroying the support networks and lifeblood of communities; replacing traditional forms of childcare and help for the aged with amoral, margin conscious corporations. Meanwhile the independent, community dependent high streets falter, clearing the way for chain stores and franchises to then go on to employ these lost, poorly educated, un-represented, modern day wandering gypsies for minimum wage.
Ding Dong - Rejoice, for another dictator is dead.