I have never been a Daily Mirror reader online or otherwise its a red banner trashy British newspaper with a distinct socialist bent. Today I decided to visit its online site to see how this paper is handling Margaret Thatcher’s passing. They absolutely hated her, so I was pleasantly surprised that they have handled it with compassion and respect. Enough has been said about Margaret Thatcher’s legacy, none of you are probably very interested anyway. But she was a big part of my life as an adolescent and as a young man, until I left the UK for good in 1985. The following was an article in the Mirror, I have not linked it I have copied and pasted it. This will be my only posting on the passing of my favorite politician whom I liked and respected.
RIP Iron Lady 1925 – 2013
By Carole Malone
Margaret Thatcher dead: The vile outpouring of hate shows there is no respect any more.
I didn’t much like my country last week because I saw a side to it that was ugly and coarse and cruel.
Maggie Thatcher wasn’t even cold before the tsunami of hatred crashed through the plaudits like a poison riptide. “The Witch is dead”, “Rot in Hell”, “Rejoice, Thatcher is dead” said the vile banners, even though many of those brandishing them weren’t even alive when Thatcher was in power.
And how ironic that the people screaming she’d wrecked the country and wrecked their lives still had enough money to buy champagne to drink to her death, to shout that they hoped it was a painful and degrading one.
Still, they followed the mob, sheep-like, shouting that someone had told them she was a bitch… and so they were glad she was dead.
I never voted for Thatcher and there’s nothing wrong with detesting her policies (some people have every right to) but don’t dance on her face, don’t drink to her death. It’s puerile and stupid and says more about the people doing it than the woman they’re vilifying.
What kind of country are we when people rejoice that an old lady had a stroke and died?
Unlike a lot of those baby-faced protesters – and the professional rabble-rousers egging them on – I was born into one of the mining communities that Thatcher’s policies decimated. I lived among the men whose livelihoods she stole and worked in communities that had the lifeblood sucked out of them when the pits and the shipyards shut.
And while for many of those men unemployment was a lifelong shame that ate away at their souls, I never heard any of them talk about Maggie Thatcher the way some of those louts did last week. Yes, some of them hated her policies, but they never allowed her to rob them of their dignity, their inherent decency. A lot of those men belonged to the old school who “didn’t speak ill of the dead”. And had they been alive today they’d have been appalled at the vitriol heaped on a frail old woman who hasn’t been politically active for two decades and who lost her mind years ago.
Thatcher’s biggest crime back then wasn’t shutting down dying industries (and the mines WERE dying). It was not thinking through what the people she threw out of work would do afterwards and then doing nothing to help them rebuild their lives. That WAS a crime.
As for those pits people talk of so romantically, show me one mother who’d want her son to work a mile underground in that dankness, one wife who’d want her husband bent double for eight hours at a stretch in 3ft coal seams while his lungs were eaten by coal dust.
Have those people screaming about pit closures ever watched a man die of black lung (pneumoconiosis)? Because I have and it isn’t pretty. Don’t they know Scargill is every bit as responsible for the death of the pits as Thatcher because of the strikes he called without balloting his men… men who hated him a damn sight more than they hated Thatcher.
My family lived through those strikes where you never knew from one day to the next whether you’d have light or heating or coal. My dad, a lifelong Labour voter, even voted for Thatcher in 1979 because as he said: “She’s a bloody leader, Carole, and we need a leader to get us out of this mess.”
And the men who swept her into power in ’79 WERE the workers – with an unprecedented swing of 11 per cent of skilled workers and a nine per cent swing of unskilled… the same kind of ordinary northern working people 55 per cent of whom were STILL saying last week Maggie was our best-ever PM. So not every working-class person hated Thatcher. The facts say otherwise. But this isn’t about what she did. It’s about what WE’RE doing to her memory.
Yes, free speech is our right, but does it have to involve calls to “p*** on her grave” because that shames us all in the eyes of a world Thatcher taught to respect us? And it’s not just the cruelty that’s been shocking – it’s the unbridled sexism. Never have I seen a male politician vilified or called the foul names she has been.
Yes, there were things all of us disliked about Thatcher, but it’s foolish to deny she was a political colossus with bigger balls than all of our politicians today put together.
And how sad that her memory – any old lady’s memory – is being rubbished by armies of two-bob anarchists who’d sell their granny for a bit of media attention. These people haven’t just trashed Thatcher. They’ve trashed one of our last taboos – that you don’t speak ill of the dead. Now, there is no respect for the dead. And soon there’ll be no respect for anything.