Weep not for Thatcher – but for Lost Society

Most people leave the world having made a difference to it, and its people, but the world can witness very few to have damaged it as much as Margaret Thatcher has done. This is not a time for blindness and false sentiment, and the wise would do well to dwell on what we have lost, to understand how it happened, and to avert further destruction. For we have lost the very best of our society, hope, justice  and the prospects of equal opportunities for all.

Our tragedy is not only  the eighteen years of Tory rule, but that so much damage was inflicted,  so demoralised and fearful was the opposition, that the Labour movement which had achieved so much, was weakened and divided. As a consequence, “New Labour” squandered its power in her wake.

How tragic it was for the advancement of women that it had to be she, Margaret Thatcher who was destined to become Britain’s first woman prime minister.  She may not have been the woman for turning, yet held back women’s rights, by decades … by a century even .. and still women and children suffer more than any other group.

Clever, yet immoral, she abused her power. Cynically she divided working people. While she denied the existence of society, she ensured its demise.

And how? She did so by dividing workers against workers… she cultured greed by enticing and bribing the working class so that they believed they could escape from a mundane existence, to have some of the wealth they saw the rich enjoy.

We should consider how Osborne’s recent rhetoric about the welfare state coldly echoes her methods.

After the war people said, “Never Again” and stood shoulder-to-shoulder in rebuilding society for everyone to benefit.  Thatcher’s neoliberalism ensured that it would be dismantled, and all that was good would be taken and given to the rich financiers. Her direct attack on trade unionism led to rising unemployment levels and  workers’ rights were eroded.

While men and women were without work, manufacturing industries everywhere closed down, as cheap labour elsewhere was abused… Thatcher’s Britain ignored the obvious fact that growth is possible because of people, their labour, their knowledge, their skills and their initiative. We were importing products, and food which could have been produced at home. But Thatcher’s Britain was all about finance, bankers, insurance and financial profit. For a few.

Tony Benn talks about Thatcherism and the rotten philosophies of the Tory government in the 1980s.

We should contemplate today how the Coalition government is eroding human rights, attacking the ill, the disabled….and wonder where compassion went.

She discouraged compassion. Her premiership began by savage cuts to public services on her election, which angered many and deprived a generation of any prospects. It should have been one term only, but for an engineered war with Argentina over the Falklands. Likewise, it is no certainty that this current government will govern for one term only, and the left must be united in opposition.

And so she began to privatize our basic needs, the banks holding the people to ransom – selling off our water, energy, and transport – by offering shares to ordinary people. And so cleverly did she dupe Britain’s working people into buying into the utilities they already owned.  People, who bought those shares, now can’t afford the gas bills!

Thatcherism is very much still alive. Now the Coalition government  has set about to privatise our most precious National Health Service,  and set about breaking up state education ready for profiteers, and we can look towards private prisons…, police, and army. Thatcher made council houses available for tenants to buy, yet did not replace them, leading directly to the housing crisis today. Thatcherite policies are directly responsible for the loss of our society, and of our democratic control over factors which affect every aspect of our lives – as power has been handed over to the rich and powerful, effectively it has led to neofeudalism.

The gap between rich and poor is greater than ever. Thatcher may have been clever in how she manipulated people to exhibit their worst characteristics – their greed and selfishness. But the truth is she was wrong, and not just morally wrong. Neoliberalism is fundamentally flawed, and  unsustainable. Wealth, development  and growth comes not from banks and bonds but from the labour of men and women, their education, skills, knowledge and from the earth’s resources and money has no real worth.  People must work together.

I hope that Ed Miliband’s One Nation will unite ordinary people to a common aim, and bring back compassion, co-operation and an acceptance of mutual responsibility. We are a community, not a collection of individuals. We are interdependent and cannot live as islands.  It’s time to put Thatcherism and neoliberalism to an end, then we can all rest, in peace.

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21 thoughts on “Weep not for Thatcher – but for Lost Society

  1. We really have to agree that this was the most evil of all politicians in the UK. SHE DESTROYED SO MANY LIVES AND SET THE COUNTRY BACK TO VICTORIAN TIMES.

    There must be no glorification of this evil old woman’s philosophy which I fear will now be re-ignited following her long awaited death.


  2. Margaret Thatcher thought that the finances of state were run the same as a household and that a large/corporation was run just like a small business – and all the stupid men around her allowed her to perpetuate these myths, among others. It’s quite incredible that so small a woman with such a parochial outlook should have been allowed to rip asunder the precious social fabric of our society and then deny its very existence.
    And now, experiencing this present-day batch of Tories, the mal-formed foundations laid by Thatcher would appear to have been a mere dress rehearsal.


  3. Our history is being rewritten today in the media and the airbrush is being applied extensively. Those too young to have been around in the early 80’s have only this revisionist view and that is deeply worrying.


  4. Pingback: Do not stand at my grave and weep…. | Think Left

  5. I said recently somewhere else that banks and bankers don’t create wealth, they just create debt and misery. Real wealth is created by people like miners.


    • David… absolutely, without the toil of workers and their skills to work earths’s resources, there is nothing. Thatcher knew she had to destroy the miners, and trade unions… but her alternative is doomed without workers.


  6. Isn’t it funny that all the media have completely closed public comments about thatcher – the same media that for years has been abusing disabled people, the poor and the unemployed?

    As a measure of what this country has become:

    1. they have spent nearly 3 and 1/2 years and OUR money on planning Thatcher’s funeral
    2. the police have licence to monitor and check all social media for signs of ‘trouble’
    3. people are already being arrested by the police in pre-emptive drives on grounds of ‘disruption’
    4. the media is united and totally banning any public correspondence on their websites.
    5. the labout party is condemning all those who ‘celebrate’ thatchers death.
    6. the tory party is busy politicising anything they can dream of to bolster Thatcher’s image and legacy
    7. various people (right wing) are promoting statues , renaming Port Stanley and other memorobilia of the great one
    8. we are paying for her funeral whilst the family are making an unspecified donation.

    I know what this sounds and feels like – we are truly now living in a tory dictatorship with no scope for any kind of debate/ dissention.

    Meanwhile the labour party is nowhere to be seen, bereft of ideas with no voice and absolutely no respect from anyone but themselves – miliband is having a laugh on the population too



  8. Excellent piece Pam. You have summarised all that was wrong with the dreadful Thatcher regime and sucessive governments (Labour to their eternal shame). I have this week found myself becoming increasingly exasperated at the behaviour of the media, particularly the B.B.C. Dissention from the general sycophantic Maggie praising and re-writing of history, frequently by odious young tories who weren’t even born during her era in power, appears to be being suppressed or given short shrift. I have literally felt nauseated by some of the tripe we have been subjected to. Your post has been like a breath of fresh air.


    • …or that it was Enoch Powell who started West Indian immigration in the 50s? Or that it was this generation in office now who printed and wore the ‘Hang Nelson Mandela’ t-shirts at the party conference.


  9. Pingback: | It’s time to bury not just Thatcher – but Thatcherism! | | truthaholics

  10. Pingback: Milk Snatching, Free School Meals and an Artful Dodger. | Think Left

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