It's looking quite possible that "Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead" will be the most downloaded track of the week by the time Thatcher's funeral takes place next Tuesday. Meanwhile, street parties have been taking place, along with chants of "Maggie Maggie Maggie: Dead Dead Dead!"
It's impossible to underestimate just how hated Thatcher had become in this country by the time her Conservative colleagues got together and kicked her out of her Prime Ministership, on the grounds that she'd become an electoral liability and was quite possibly losing the plot completely, along with most of her marbles.
Today the House of Commons was recalled so that the Conservative party could come back together to tell one another what a brilliant leader she had been. There were 8 hours or so of speeches, which is in quite a big contrast to the 3 speeches that were made in Parliament to mark the death of Winston Churchill those many years ago.
Jon Snow @jonsnowC4
How come MPs/Lords recalled at our expense for Mrs T when they could hve returned 4 free next Monday, before funeral, a week after she died?
Tom Delargy @derekrootboy
Labour MPs will feel ashamed of themselves for not having guts to stand up and be counted. Only Glenda Jackson did it. Well done. #Thatcher
Seumas Milne @SeumasMilne
#Thatcherism wreaked 'most heinous social, economic & spiritual damage' on Britain: @GlendaJacksonMP spells it out http://bit.ly/153YKA9
Owen Jones @OwenJones84
Good on Glenda Jackson for smashing the Thatcherism love fest, and telling the truth about the social devastation unleashed in the 1980s
Owen Jones wrote this superb article for The Independent:
Thatcherism was a national catastrophe that still poisons us
We are in the midst of the third great economic collapse since the Second World War: all three have taken place since Thatcherism launched its great crusade
This current crisis has roots in the Thatcherite free market experiment, which wiped out much of the country’s industrial base in favour of a deregulated financial sector.
Champions of Thatcherism hail the crippling of the trade unions, which were battered by anti-union laws, mass unemployment, and crushing defeats of strikes, not least after the rout of the iconic miners. This has not only left workers at the mercy of their bosses, but has made them poorer, too.
We could go on. Britain was one of the most equal Western European countries before the Thatcherite project began, and is now one of the most unequal. Thatcherism is not just alive and well: it courses through the veins of British political life. The current government goes where Thatcherism did not dare in its privatisation of the NHS and sledgehammering of the welfare state.
The challenge ahead is the same as it was yesterday: to tear down the whole edifice of Thatcherism, heal Britain of the damage done, and build a country run in the interests of working people. It’s a fight we must all fight. The champagne is on ice until we win it.
Russell Brand wrote an equally impressive piece for the Guardian:
She became leader of the Conservatives the year I was born and prime minister when I was four. She remained in power till I was 15. I am, it's safe to say, one of Thatcher's children. How then do I feel on the day of this matriarchal mourning?
I see her in her hairy helmet, condescending on Nationwide, eviscerating eunuch MPs and baffled BBC fuddy duddies with her General Zodd stare and coldly condemning the IRA. And the miners. And the single mums. The dockers. The poll-tax rioters. The Brixton rioters, the Argentinians, teachers; everyone actually.
Thinking about it now, when I was a child she was just a strict woman telling everyone off and selling everything off. I didn't know what to think of this fearsome woman.
Perhaps my early apathy and indifference are a result of what Thatcher deliberately engendered, the idea that "there is no such thing as society", that we are alone on our journey through life, solitary atoms of consciousness.
Perhaps, though, Thatcher "the monster" didn't die yesterday from a stroke, perhaps that Thatcher died as she sobbed self-pitying tears as she was driven, defeated, from Downing Street, ousted by her own party.
I hope I'm not being reductive but it seems Thatcher's time in power was solely spent diminishing the resources of those who had least for the advancement of those who had most. I know from my own indulgence in selfish behaviour that it's much easier to get what you want if you remove from consideration the effect your actions will have on others.
Is that what made her so formidable, her ability to ignore the suffering of others?
If you behave like there's no such thing as society, in the end there isn't. Her death must be sad for the handful of people she was nice to and the rich people who got richer under her stewardship. It isn't sad for anyone else.
All of us that grew up under Thatcher were taught that it is good to be selfish, that other people's pain is not your problem, that pain is in fact a weakness and suffering is deserved and shameful. Perhaps there is resentment because the clemency and respect that are being mawkishly displayed now by some and haughtily demanded of the rest of us at the impending, solemn ceremonial funeral, are values that her government and policies sought to annihilate.
I can't articulate with the skill of either of "the Marks" – Steel or Thomas – why Thatcher and Thatcherism were so bad for Britain but I do recall that even to a child her demeanour and every discernible action seemed to be to the detriment of our national spirit and identity. Her refusal to stand against apartheid, her civil war against the unions, her aggression towards our neighbours in Ireland and a taxation system that was devised in the dark ages, the bombing of a retreating ship – it's just not British.
Alex Nunns @alexnunns
Under Thatcher, crime rose by 79%. http://www.redpepper.org.uk/dispelling-the-thatcher-myths/ …
Dispelling the Thatcher myths
Alex Nunns offers an antidote to the media fawning over Thatcher – and argues her biggest victory was getting her opponents to buy into her mythology
When a political leader dies it becomes compulsory to lie about their record. While much of Britain openly rejoiced at the death of Margaret Thatcher, the media snapped into reverential mode, giving over hours of airtime and several thousand miles of column inches to representatives of the ruling class to solemnly recite myths about her achievements.
This wouldn’t matter so much if, like Thatcher, these myths were dead, and weren’t still shaping our politics. But they are. So here are some of them, debunked.
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown did more to institutionalise Thatcherism than the woman herself. Before New Labour, in the early 1990s, in the midst of a recession, it was a truism that Thatcherism had been an economic failure. The fact that many of the myths discussed here have been revived is in large part due to New Labour. When even Thatcher’s opponents accept Thatcherism’s success, why should the media challenge the record?
Blair responded to her death by admitting (although understating) what everyone already knew, that ‘some of the changes she made in Britain were, in certain respects at least, retained by the 1997 Labour government’. It is often said that Blair’s only legacy will be Iraq, but he will also feature in the epilogue of every biography of Margaret Thatcher.
Thatcher tore at the social fabric of Britain, destroyed swathes of its economy and inflicted vindictive harm on large sections of its population. But she built nothing. Her main success was in the minds of her opponents.