No, I don't care how old she was. Unlike so many of those who rued the day she was born, she lived entirely too many bloody years.
Some of her words ...
"... the British character has done so much for democracy, for law and done so much throughout the world that if there is any fear that it might be swamped people are going to react and be rather hostile to those coming in." ["Mrs Thatcher fears people might become hostile if immigrant flow is not cut". The Times. 31 January 1978.]
"... in many ways [minorities] add to the richness and variety of this country. The moment the minority threatens to become a big one, people get frightened." ["Britain: Facing a Multiracial Future". Time. 27 August 1979. Retrieved 20 January 2011.]
She objected to immigration, which back then meant Vietnamese boat people. But that was not the limit of people to whom she objected, and worked against.
Economically, she presided over a recession in the early 1980s, and her policies saw three million people made unemployed, rising to 3.3 million in 1984. Her response: to shut down and privatise Britain's state-run industries: railways, coal, oil, gas, water, buses and public transport. They all went to private hands, without deregulation - and immediately they were seized by asset strippers, who turned them into the rapacious, marauding private companies which are ruining the economy today, overcharging for basic services such as water, gas and electricity, bringing whole high streets to their knees and turning them into shuttertowns and ghost towns because no small firm can afford to run their premises with the rates they are being charged as businesses.
Her regime committed a number of atrocities, and was mired in scandal.
She curbed the power of the unions, using the press to demonise the left and turn it against itself. Frankly, at that time that did not require much effort. When the miners began to strike across the country in protest at Thatcher's plans to shut down Britain's coal mining industry, she turned the police into virtually a private army against them, beating down the miners and breaking the NUM, the National Union of Miners. She then went ahead and privatised the coalmining industry, leading to the destruction of a way of life which had been the backbone of Britain's economy for centuries. Miners' Strike 1984-'85 on Wikipedia, Battle of Orgreave (Yorkshire) - a battle in which the police only prevailed through infiltration of the protesters by MI5 officers as agents provocateurs.
Under her regime, another crucial element of Britain's economy also fell foul of her butcher's axe - the kissing cousin of the coal mining industry, the steel industry. British Steel
A close friend of Dame Shirley Porter, under her regime the "Building Stable Communities" regime was, basically, massive gerrymandering - forcing poor and unemployed people out of their communities so that, under the guise of "gentrification," affluent tory-voting middle class dupes could be put in their place again, shifting Labour constituencies towards the tories.Dame Shirley still has not been stripped of her title, despite efforts to do so since 2003.
The Westland Helicopter Crisis, also known as The Westland Affair, was an early political scandal which could have brought her regime down as early as 1982. Some political experts maintain that it was her efforts to distract the country from the corruption exposed by Dame Porter and Westland that the Falklands War of 1982 was started, possibly by the deliberate sinking of the Argentinian Navy vessel the General Belgrano. Falklands War, General Belgrano
Then there were the little matters of state censorship during the Troubles, where the voices of Irish people were censored, requiring that news reporters employ actors' voices to speak for Irish politicians; Clause 28, later passed as Section 28 of the Local Government Act (1988), which stated that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship" and led to a shameful demonisation of LGBT groups across the country; coverups of places such as Bryn Estyn as part of a massive national organised child abuse scandal; and last, but by no means least, the famous Community Charge or Poll Tax, which prompted the Poll Tax Riots and, ultimately, brought about the end of Thatcher's political career.
In March 1988, three Irish Republican Army (IRA) members - Danny McCann, Sean Savage and Mairéad Farrell - were shot dead in Gibraltar. A Thames TV show of the investigative journalism show This Week, titled Death On The Rock, examined the shootings and asked why there was no attempt by the Special Air Service (SAS) to arrest the IRA members. People could only conclude that the SAS had been operating as a death squad, carrying out state murders along the lines of the squads being used by the Argentinian military junta at the time.
At midnight on December 31, 1992, Thames TV permanently ceased broadcasting - some say, silenced as a reprisal by the government for Death On The Rock.
Oh, and let us not forget, the year before she was booted out of office, the government's divisive, derogatory, egregious response - in collusion with the News Of The World newspaper, editor Kelvin McKenzie and Sir Norman Bettison - to the Hillsborough Stadium tragedy of 1989. (Personal note: This was the last football match I ever watched on TV. I'd only watched three in my life - they were Bradford when the stadium caught fire, Heysel Stadium during its disaster, and lastly Hillsborough. Every time I watched a live match on TV it seemed disaster followed - so nowadays I avoid the TV altogether when the footie is on).
Margaret Thatcher's regime, known as Thatcherism, was a vast, ugly train wreck. Everything she touched brought evil and despair to whole communities, and like any schoolyard bully the government of its day - the same tories shamefully carving up this county today - insisted on gloating at the poor and disenfranchised, telling the people of this country that their pain and suffering were all their fault.
It wasn't the kids' fault when Margaret Thatcher cynically killed off the program of giving free milk to school kids - a policy instituted in a previous regime to ensure that kids would have protein and calcium to promote their general health. She did this to save money. She will always be known across the land as "Maggie Thatcher, Milk Snatcher" to this day, and forevermore, long after today.
On another, closing, personal note: As someone who lived through that time of darkness, when it seemed that nothing could stop the tories raping the country, I remember the things that people did while living in Margaret Thatcher's regime. I also remember saying "Never again," when they were swept out of power in 1997.
So when people accuse me of bad taste for celebrating Margaret Thatcher's death today, I can only point them to the links above, and probably to other sources of independent accounts of life during her brutal, brutish regime, and laugh.
Today, a tyrant is dead. And other tyrants currently in power must know that their time will come when they, too, will be ushered out of office and into taxis, departing to obscurity amid jeers.
This is how I want to remember her:
despairing, as she had caused so many others to despair.
Crossposted from this post here.