Where there is error, may we bring truth
Last night there were certain parts of the UK out in force celebrating the death of Margaret Thatcher. In some ways I don’t blame them. Her policies destroyed whole communities, destroyed lives. But ultimately celebrating her death feels pointless. I get queasy at the thought of celebrating anyone’s death, anyway. But celebrating her death when her legacy lives on across the UK feels like a pretty futile and unproductive exercise.
She still lives on. She lives on through the ongoing destruction of the welfare state, the deregulation of the markets, the privatisation of essential services and more. The political, financial and social situation we live in now can be directly traced back to Thatcher, her cult of personality and her dedication to dismantling the post-war consensus.
She also lives on through the selfishness that pervades throughout much of the UK. She preached that there was no such thing as society. She promoted the role of the individual. She encouraged people to only look out for themselves.
If you feel like people just don’t care about each other anymore, or think that society is falling apart, then Thatcher is where you should start laying the blame.
If you are against apartheid or the support of dictatorships, you should take a long, hard look at Thatcher’s foreign policy.
It is quite hard to pin down a genuinely coherent political philosophy under the term “Thatcherism”. But you can certainly pin down a broader philosophy – “Look after number one”.
Rather than taking to the streets, or the internet, to celebrate an old woman’s death, we should be rebuilding our societies, looking out for each other more. We should reject her political legacy, breaking down the practical and moral faults of her policies and voting against those who perpetuate them. We should fight for our welfare state, and fight against the power that high finance holds over government and this country. We should fight against those who attack the weak and protect the strong. Perhaps we should just think and care a little bit more.
All of the above would be the best revenge, not making bad jokes or dancing on the streets.