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Memories of Maggie

7 Comments

Apparently I should not be disrespectful of Margaret Thatcher now that she has died, so I thought might instead share a few of my personal memories of her years in power and her immediate legacy:

  • the removal of the educational grants system and its replacement by student loans
  • three million unemployed, and the tories ever-changing definition of the word “unemployed”
  • the miners’ strike and communities split apart on NUM / UDM lines
  • the destruction of the British coal industry
  • the destruction of the British steel industry
  • the destruction of the British automotive industry
  • North Sea oil revenues squandered to prop up the balance of payments
  • Black Monday 1987
  • Poll Tax riots
  • my home town Mansfield becoming a ghost town after pit closures
  • Coventry becoming a ghost town after car factory closures
  • a Spitting Image sketch in which Thatcher berates Lawson, “I said phase out the Pound note, not the Pound Sterling!”
  • spending nine months on the dole after I graduated – they say 30% of graduates landed jobs within 6 months of graduation that year
  • living in a bedsit on £44.75 dole and £36 housing benefit a week, despite having just earned a BA (Hons)
  • having to leave the UK to get a job

Other people no doubt have other memories of her years in power. Mine are enough for me to see no good reason to respect her, alive or dead. I expect to be thoroughly sickened over the next few days by all the hagiographic crap that will be spouted via every media. Death does not make saints of sinners. When you see people praising Thatcher, take note of who they are – they’re the ones who benefited from her economic policies, and are still doing so. The rest of us, we just had to live with the damage she inflicted.

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7 thoughts on “Memories of Maggie

  1. You forgot the introduction of section 28. Her failure in Northern Ireland (and she still bitterly regretted signing the Anglo-Irish agreement). Dismissal of the race riots in Brixton. Privatisation of major utilities.

    She’s credited with being a major role model for women and yet did nothing very much to improve their lot. In many ways the Spitting Image puppet of her in a business suit peeing in the gents was apt.

    I could go on.

  2. Respect isn’t a right, it is something which is earned.

    Memories of Thatcher.

    Deliberately sinking the Belgrano when the ship was sailing out of the exclusion zone and posed no military threat, hence committing mass murder and starting a war to boost her own popularity. Before the Falkland’s War Thatcher was extremely unpopular and the Conservatives would probably have lost the next election. So, war criminal.

    Reintroducing homelessness into the UK. I studied in central London between 1980-83. During my first year I never saw a homeless person. By my final year I would pass 20 or more every time I walked along the Strand, or from Waterloo to King’s College.

    Using her influence to help Philip Morris sell more cancer sticks, opposing cigarette taxes and advertising restrictions in the EU and flogging fags in Asian countries.

    Helping her son Mark make millions selling weapons to Saudi Arabia.

    Respect. None due.

  3. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad yelling at her whenever she appeared on our TV. As a child in Glasgow in the 80s, I’m not sure I even realised she wasn’t a fictional character. There was something of the archetypal villain about her. At school, we imitated her ridiculous affected voice. We saw the marches and the factories shutting down and knew she was behind it all. It’s only now I realise that what I was picking up on was the sense of evaporating hope. Resistance is dead now. That’s her legacy. Successive governments have sought to be judged on their ability to “push changes through”, to shut down debate, *not* to listen. We’re all shouting at the TV now.

  4. I always liked seeing Mrs Thatcher on TV when I was growing up and she remains a fascinating figure because she was such a strong woman and a unique character. I don’t agree with everything she did and I’m certainly not a Conservative, but no politician since her has managed to make any impact on me whatsoever so I’ll always appreciate her for that reason.

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