This makes her less of The Iron Lady and more like The Ironic Lady.
Ex-PM John Howard was heard to say on radio today that Margaret Thatcher was the greatest Brit PM since Winston Churchill due to the scale and scope of the changes she made. But size isn’t everything and back then it wasn’t enough either. If achievements are recognized, lauded and applauded on size alone, then Pol Pot might be able to muscle in on the same kind of recognition.
For all the new middle class that got rich during the privatization that went on in the UK during the late 70s and into the 80s, another class of people had their lifestyles decimated.
Not all change is progress. Not all progress is positive and has the interests of [all] the people at heart.
Certainly any stranglehold over a nation’s ability to run smoothly has to be addressed – and unions had a lot of power in the 70s to call the shots and even bring a nation to its knees. It’s tough to live in a place where some basic services we take for granted suddenly stop such as daily rubbish removal. It only takes days for the resulting pile up to stink up a whole suburb.
But Thatcher’s politics, legislation and iron-fisted changes made her appear to be the separated-at-birth twin sister of Ronald Reagan. The foundations of Friedkin economics were being laid. And the irony of the term ‘free market’ became clear.
I was starting to be old enough to see spin doctoring in the media. News headlines said ‘More Bad News – Miners Still On Strike’ and I knew the headline was manipulating me to believe the strike was bad. But that kind of reportage wasn’t and still isn’t fair and objective.
During this time as a very young rebel, I was addicted to watching The Young Ones every week – and their comedic take on ‘Thatcher’s Britain’ from a student point of view really appealed to me:
And it was no surprise that Punk music rose up to not only express a form of aggressive art – but also reflect how strongly some people wanted to fight against the restrictions presented by the so-called ‘free market’. I still remember Crass belting out ‘How Does It Feel To Be The Mother Of A Thousand Dead’ – a little ode to Marg as her post-Cold War imperialism kicked into gear and she got her United Kingdom into the Falklands War. It starts 54 seconds into this with stills of the troops heading off to soldier on:
I like the message ‘fight war – not wars’.
My idealism rages on.