There’s a conversation to be had – what’s so disdainful about having it?

Posted: April 12, 2013 in dissent, national days, Politics, protest
The Iron Lady, Baroness Thatcher.

The Iron Lady, Baroness Thatcher.

A frail old woman has died. I just want, for a moment to put that very human face on the situation. It just so happens that this particular woman was Margaret Thatcher, ‘Scourge of Socialists’, ‘The Iron Lady’, ‘Envy of the Left’, and ‘Righteous of the Right’.

Yes, it’s true that an old lady has died, but let us not forget the power that this old lady (or rather, Baroness) held in life. She wasn’t just the Prime Minister… she was the Prime Minister that initiated the Neo-Liberal paradigm in the UK, and had one hell of hand in getting it going in the US too, via President Reagan. She presided over the destruction of Industry, as well as the destruction of Unions. She was a creator of poverty, as well as a creator of wealth.

To hear the pundits and political chattering classes crow, you’d swear that she was white than white – that she single handedly put the ‘Great’ back into ‘Great Britain’, and set us on the economic road to… erm, success!? Yes, success. Quite!

Even to accept these dubious ‘facts’, she was also a close friend of dictators, campaigned to see that General Pinochet never saw the face of justice, tore up the British concept of community (Broken Britain, anybody?), created one of the biggest and most memorable riots in modern UK history through the Poll Tax, sunk a battleship sailing away and out of the engagement zone, called Nelson Mandela a terrorist, created moral panic (and Section 28) over LGB relationships, left millions in destitution, along with vast swathes of anything that wasn’t the South East, and undemocratically attempted to operate a serving Prime Minister as some kind of puppet after she was deposed – by her own Conservative Party, no less!

This was a woman, with a family. She was also one of the most important public figures in modern (and indeed, living) history – and even her most robust supporters would have to clearly admit that she was one of the most divisive. Why then, is she being hailed as the whiter than white saint that her supporters claim her to be in her death? Why do they cry “You shouldn’t speak ill of the dead!” as the public make their feelings known? Why, in concern for her family at this difficult time, do they not moderate their lauding of her greatness in the knowledge of the reaction it would inevitably provoke?

Quite besides the praise and platitudes, there is another side to her death… it is the side that belongs to those that suffered under Thatcher, and for that matter, under the continuing legacy of Thatcher too. It is not a normal consequence of the death of a public figure to see celebration in the streets, but this was no ordinary public figure. The existence of this occurrence is in itself a proof positive of the fact that she was not a truly ‘great’ leader in quite the way that her supporters would wish to see her painted. It is a clear and obvious fact.

This fact is seen even more clearly in the UK charts, where ‘Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead’ from the ‘Wizard of Oz’ (1939), according to the UK charts company, has sold 20,000 copies as of 10th April 2013, placing it 4th in the charts … with other versions of the song charting separately too.

Some are not happy about this protest, however. A variety of public figures have referred to this fact as disdainful and distasteful. The BBC is no exception, having made the moral judgement that this 51 second jingle should not be played on Radio 1 as a part of the chart program, with a shortened clip of the track played in it’s place, as part of an unprecedented explanatory news item – it would seem that Aunty Beeb, under pressure from those in power, has decided for the nation, once again, what’s morally sound, and what’s not.

So what exactly is disdainful about this whole situation? … I find it disdainful that it’s apparently OK to tell millions of people that, while the media and the Thatcherite zombie hordes attempt to whitewash her legacy and canonise her as a saint, that they, her victims, are not allowed to register how they feel about it all, and to make a public mark of their experiences.

I suspect that the ‘outrage’ and public comments of ‘distastefulness’ as reported in the UK media are less to to with the event itself, and a hell of a lot more to do with the fact that any significant display of dissent and dissatisfaction threatens the whitewashed narrative they want to build… a narrative that, as it just so happens, would add legitimacy to the thatcherism-on-steroids policies of the current administration.

No mistake – this whole affair, including the planned tax-payer funded public spectacle of a not-quite-a-State funeral is a cynical political attempt at manipulation to shore up the Government and score political points. Meanwhile, real world victims are basically being told to shut up, with an attempt to close down every avenue for possible dissent. That, in my mind, is more disgusting than any possible song for #1 in the charts, which sadly, seems to be the only valid way to register a protest these days without threat of violence and arrest.

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