I strongly objected to many of Margaret Thatcher’s decisions, her support of apartheid, Clause 28, the sinking of the Belgrano, the selling off of the things the people of Britain already owned, the list goes on, I didn’t like her style, her tone, I didn’t even like her voice, but I don’t demonize her.
Policies that were considered racist and homophobic are now long forgotten. In many respects she lost the culture wars, and her brand of social conservatism has faded away, whereas no subsequent government has seen fit to roll back any of her economic changes.
Would Britain have become more liberal sooner without Thatcher? Perhaps, but we’ll never know for sure.
Did the people of Britain agree with the economic changes? Well, neo-liberalism has been the political consensus ever since.
I distinctly remember a sense that hers was a government lacking in compassion. Their faith in free markets appeared to have little time for the weak, the slow, and the vulnerable. I found this baffling at the time. I couldn’t understand how people could look down with such distain upon frailty.
I’m reminded of this because I see that same distain now. That same lack of compassion.
There was a time to be angry at Thatcher. There was a time to stand up and push against the neo-liberal economic revolution. There was a time to reject the materialism, to forgo the benefits of deregulation, to fight for a sense of community against rampant individualism.
You missed that time, Britain. You chose not to take that opportunity.
Well, you made that decision all those years ago, you bought that Thatcherite dream, so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that many of you ejected any sense of compassion along the way. Being compassionate towards people you like is no compassion at all.
There’s nothing to rage against here, and nothing to celebrate.
An old woman died. My tribal allegiances died long ago.