Good lord it’s finally happened. The old hag has finally keeled over and bought the big one.
So, farewell Margaret Thatcher. Or good riddance and ye rot say I, for Margaret Thatcher was an appalling human being who blighted the country of my birth like a rancid cancer, which infects England to this day and may never be made benign.
Yes yes, dears, England was a long-sideburned mess when she took over. Callaghan was the spineless bore to end all bores, no-one collected the rubbish, but for all the bluster and pomp that made her a larger-than-life figure, Thatcher’s 11-year stench divided Britain, and helped launch a modern country in which the Daily Mail is our moral guardian, and the murderous corruption of BAE Systems has Prime Ministerial protection.
Where to start? Well, let’s pick the low-hanging fruit. Thatcher stood shoulder-to-shoulder throughout the reign and downfall of mass-murderer Augusto Pinochet of Chile. As his power rose and then crumbled, countless thousands of Chileans were tortured, murdered and ‘disappeared’, but even after his downfall and disgrace, Thatcher stood by her man, drenched in blood, welcomed him to Number 10 and praised him for ‘bringing democracy to Chile’. I think we’re all agreed these days that Nelson Mandela is a rather inspiring and jolly chap – not to Thatcher he wasn’t. Her long support for the vicious apartheid regime and the ANP led her to denounce Mandela as a ‘terrorist’, her support for Barclays and other British investments in a regime that had become an international pariah state shamed Britain.
Privatisation. Thatcher sold the trains, the electricity, the gas, the phone lines, the water. Even as an early teenager I remember wondering what was good about selling the water services, seeing as I could hardly use another tap to decide who to buy water from. Flogging a country’s assets to its middle class made an artificial boom so profound that Harry Enfield made a comedy character called ‘Loadsamoney’ that everyone recognised. But behind this ‘everything-must-go’ cash bonanza was a country selling its soul – under Thatcher’s stewardship manufacturing declined by a staggering 30% – if you think her influence is gone, take a look at Britain’s manufacturing sector right now – when a country’s currency devalues as much as sterling has since the GFC, at least manufacturing picks up due to its competitive advantage – but not in England, we’ve got no manufacturing sector to speak of these days, just a square mile still filled with cashed up chavs who act like Harry Enfield did, but it’s not funny anymore, it’s tragic. Two million manufacturing jobs were lost in three years after Thatcher took over. We’ve never recovered.
As the gap between rich and poor yawned, the services were slashed – public transport, health, education – all fell under the scythe of Thatcher’s pitiless government. We could expect nothing less from a woman who had cut milk from children’s mouths as Education Secretary. The North collapsed. Liverpool was abandoned entirely. Where once Britain had made things – ships, steel, mined coal – there stood only bankers in bright braces drinking chardonnay and laughing too loud.
Even the music got crap – Spandau Ballet were big under Thatcher. Need I say more?
Judge a rogue by their friends. Reagan, Murdoch, Botha, Pinochet. Thatcher made the rich richer, the poor poorer and supported many who tortured and murdered their own people. Real people, who screamed in pain and fear as men Thatcher supported, praised and armed destroyed lives by the thousand. Thatcher broke Britain’s backbone, and the country of my birth now shows no sign of recovery – how can it when Britain no longer makes anything – and that fills me with sorrow.
Margaret Thatcher was by some distance the worst Briton of the 20th century, may she rot and be forgotten.