You might have noticed that Dame Margaret Thatcher died a couple of weeks ago.
Since then those of us who swim in the waters of social media, read newspapers or converse with human beings might well have been subjected to a variety of opinions about the old girl and whether or not she was a ‘saint’ or a ‘cunt’. Well, dear reader of ITIABTWC, I don’t want you to feel left out.
Let’s talk Maggie.
For me, her legacy (by the way, I loathe people discussing how something might affect their legacy. YOU’LL BE DEAD, YOU DAFT TWAT! ‘Oooooh! How will people think about me after I’m gone? I’d better alter what I was going to do for that reason alone. Never mind being kind to people or making the world a friendlier place, I want people to remember me as a strong and decisive leader WHEN I’M BEING EATEN BY FUCKING WORMS.’) was shaped by a single fact: she did barely anything at all that appeared to be driven by love or compassion. That’s not to say she was good or bad, right or wrong (regular readers of this blog might recall that I don’t believe in such things); it just means that people tend not to think that she was motivated by kindness.
But that fact has set off many opinions that then masquerade as fact: She smashed the unions out of some iron-booted need to show them who was boss, or some desire to drag the economy out of the doldrums, or she wanted to establish her authority as a female PM. She closed the mines because she prized economic viability over the lives of the people who lived in the mining communities, or she believed in a small government that should not prop up failing businesses for the sake of it, or she was an evil bitch. She invaded the Falklands to win the 1983 general election, or she was a massive patriot who would not stand by and see part of the British Isles invaded, or she was a barmy, war-mongering psycho who needed to fire missiles on retreating ships.
Any or all of the above might or might not be true, but all have been presented as the truth in the last week. I wouldn’t pretend to know what was going on in her head, but I do know why she divided the country, and that was because of the lack of compassion suggested by her actions. On Thursday I was sent an infographic that showed how Atlee brought in many pieces of legislation that improved the health and education of British people. It then compared that to Thatcher whose only original piece of legislation was the right to buy your council house (but good luck paying your mortgage when you do it). So if we’re going to talk legacy, Thatcher’s is that of someone who seemed unfeeling, uncaring and inclined to prize money and efficiency above the happiness and wellbeing of people. That pisses off people who think they care about people, but it impresses those who see that a degree of pain is/was necessary for the country to function and compete.
As I said, there’s no right or wrong to either side, just what you think is better or worse. But Maggie appeared to many people to be mean and uncaring and that is why she was hated by millions.