In the past week we’ve been witness to the most maudlin’ crap about the former UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, and how we shouldn’t speak ill of the dead.
Oh, bollocks to that. Thatcher got the opprobrium she deserved.
Those who tried to stifle the truth of the people’s voices are the right-wing press and leading big business lights who are happy to spruik a whole lot of ill about leaders who die that they don’t like, or post photos of Saddam Hussein with a noose around his head, or Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi in his last moments, or gloat over Osama bin Laden being ditched at sea. But it’s different when it’s one of theirs.
Well, no, it isn’t.
Leaders can raise a nation up or drag a nation down. And Thatcher dragged the UK down into the gutters. She offered the lure of greed, selfishness, individualism, cut-throat society, the survival of the fittest, and the me-me-me culture. Quite a few flocked to the Fool’s Gold of this offer although, bless their little cotton socks, many turned up their noses at this rotten offering. And for those who were excluded, however, Thatcher imposed unemployment, the smashing of community, a police society, poverty, impoverishment and the failure of hope.
Down the track, the UK is wallowing in recession after recession and Thatcher acolytes are blaming everyone but this cold-hearted supporter of the vicious dictator, Pinochet; a cynical wager of war in the Falklands to boost her poll numbers and the heartlessness to order the sinking of the Belgrano, even though it was steaming away from the UK-imposed exclusion area and causing the deaths of hundreds of young recruits; a supporter of apartheid in South Africa who refused to back the sports sanctions which helped end apartheid and who described Nelson Mandela as a terrorist.
Many years later, who’s the colossus who stands astride the world as a revered leader who showed true forgiveness and tolerance, whose death will be greeted with worldwide mourning, and who’s the person who is a pygmy by comparison?
Let’s not forget that there have been three major economic crises since Thatcher was booted unceremoniously out of office because there’s no loyalty in politics, no matter how well you’ve bowed and scraped to the head honchos of the banking, armaments and big business top dogs.And it all comes down to the blind belief of those darlings of the right-wing, Thatcher and her idiot-in-arms, US President Reagan, that when restrictions were lifted on the banking/financial sectors in the US, Britain and Europe, those head honchos were going to behave like good little boys and girls and be utterly responsible in their dealings.
Whoops! Just seen a pink pig flying past and lots more flying along too, pumped up with hot air from insider dealing, rogue trading and grotesque super-profits by super-wealthy corporations and individuals coupled with ever-growing poverty for the great majority.
As I live in Cyprus, I have been particularly interested in the plight of this island since it has suddenly emerged from being a sleepy, money-laundering backwater in the eastern Mediterranean to occupying leading headlines as the latest Eurozone casualty rapidly going down the economic gurgler. It’s become a testing ground where the banksters and gangsters of the EU and the International Monetary Union have staged a snatch-and-grab raid on people’s savings, the first time people’s money has been seized directly (the wealthy and various parliamentary leading lights were warned in advance, by the way, and got billions out of the banks before they collapsed).
In the various crises which have erupted through the Eurozone, so far the snatch-and-grab has been in the form of indirect tax grabs, or wage cuts, or other measures to screw the people through so-called austerity measures. But get away with the highway robbery in Cyprus, and you can betcha further down the line other ordinary folk in other countries will be mugged in the same way.
Cyprus, by the way, isn’t one island. Two-thirds comprise the Republic of Cyprus, the Greek-Cypriot part which has been mugged like no other country in the Eurozone, and the Turkish Republic of North Cyprus which is where I live. Turkish-Cyprus is under the aegis of Turkey where the economy is going gangbusters and has not been affected by the economic thuggery in the south. Luckily for us in the north, the EU raiders haven’t been able to get their greedy mitts on this part of the island.
Back to Thatcher, however. In her time, the people really affected by her savage attacks on community – the miners, the poor, the unemployed, those in the north, in the shipbuilding and other industries – didn’t have much of a voice. The media at the time was in the hands of moguls who stood rock-solid behind Thatcher and her police repression. But since then the internet has grown and expanded massively. Social media has erupted and the people’s voice can no longer be stifled. The contempt and hatred that people have bottled up about this mis-leader have finally boiled over at her death. Social media has allowed people to voice their truth, the people’s truth, about Thatcher’s actions and damned good luck to them.
To earn respect in death from ordinary folk, you need to have exhibited leadership which raises people up, which shows compassion and a love for the great majority. Thatcher did neither. Which is why so many people celebrated when she died. When Thatcher was busy killing off communities, reducing so many to poverty, driving many to quiet suicide, cutting off free milk for the nation’s children over seven years of age, she might have spared a thought for that very appropriate saying: “Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee”. And in the past few days the tolling has been the celebration of so many people that they have survived to witness Thatcher’s demise and toast her departure from this mortal coil. And who can blame them?