Instead of celebrating when Thatcher dies, the left should reflect on missed chance

James Bloodworth

5308930 300x274 Instead of celebrating when Thatcher dies, the left should reflect on missed chanceEver since Margaret Thatcher stopped appearing in public due to poor health, the fit and proper reaction to her eventual exit from the earthly realm has been discussed with increasing regularity by the political left.

That rolling news will gloss over her legacy with the empty platitudes of the obsequious is entirely predictable. Nor will it surprise many to see the leading lights of the Labour Party queuing up to shower the former Prime Minister with praise.

There are, however, plenty of us who haven’t forgotten the lives she destroyed, the dictators she championed or the unmitigated social disaster set in motion by her particular brand of finance capitalism. We do not feel the need to do what many formerly of the left now do, and parrot the dictum that we are ‘all Thatcherites now’ (just a hint, but when a person says neo-liberal capitalism is ‘inevitable’ what they really mean is that it is desirable). Many of us are not, and never will be Thatcherites, and we will continue to feel no shame in believing that there is more to life than the winner-takes-all capitalism she so unapologetically championed during her lifetime.

There are of course also those, on the other side of the fence, who view Thatcher’s eventual demise as an opportunity to get one over on her family, her friends, and her supporters in a way that was not possible in an era when her ideas triumphed so emphatically. In this regard, Margaret Thatcher’s death is not only to be greeted with sullen contempt, but is to be actively celebrated.

The idea of getting back at this almost mythical figure for the numerous defeats she inflicted on the left is strong motivation for those planning to crack open the Champers on learning of her passing. Considering that during her reign she trounced us at every opportunity, revelled in her victories, and then did it again, the desire to see the back of the woman is perhaps understandable, even if the outright celebration of her passing is, to my mind at least, taking things a bit far.

What we on the left would do well to remember, however, is that the ideas embodied by Mrs Thatcher are not going to be dented, let alone killed-off by the departure of their most famous living embodiment. ‘All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come,’ Victor Hugo once said, and if the left is to recover from the tremendous setbacks it has suffered during the past 30 years, it is the ideas embodied by Mrs Thatcher that must be replaced, not the worn-out figure of an elderly lady.

Rather than celebrating the death of a human being, even a not particularly endearing one, the left should instead examine with clear-sightedness where it has gone wrong, how it has behaved and how it can do better – and boy, can it do better. Considering the complete failure to make any political inroads since the 2008 banking crash, this should be clearer today than ever.

Time and energy spent celebrating the deaths of those who popularise ideas we dislike is time that would be better spent popularising our own ideas. With this in mind, morbid celebrations are better left to the psychologically unhinged. The media already does an effective job in portraying us as morally detached from the values of the average person; they certainly don’t need us serving up ammunition on a plate for them.

Picture:Getty Images

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  • porkfright

    And what, pray, is the point of this sermon on the Mount of Bolly?

  • enrico_sinise

    I know this is going to sound as far off topic as Kansas is from Oz but the fact that the typical eleven year old is incapable of differentiating a function or finding the area under a curve is probably one good reason that these extreme and untempered ideologies are capable of taking root and flourishing as they do in an environment hardly geared towards allowing for constructive and pertinent debate, which is funny because I doubt you’d hear any complaints coming from those usual suspects adding their voices from the other side of the fence if we moved to address the situation. It’s probably a lot easier than teaching the little munchkins Chinese as well.

  • Eddie May

    There should be no state funeral for Thatcher – if people want to give her a send off it should be funded by private subscription only..

  • James Bloodworth

    I agree, Eddie.

  • Kevin Donnellon

    come again??

  • Bunkers_Hill

    That is a very fine article. I have just one problem, and that is, where to begin? Business as usual is out of the question. We need a practical vision for our country in 2020, 2030, 2040 and even beyond; it needs to embrace all our people, and it needs to reflect the changing world with peak oil, excessive population and environmental problems, and not least, living sustainably within our means. It needs to have quality of life at its core, and that is not synonymous with materialism.

    Answers on a postcard please to ….

  • James Wellings

    Mrs Thatcher gave my parents, who had lived in the same council house for over thirty years, to buy their place towards the end of their lives, and have a happy and comfortable retirement. That’s what mattered about her, she really cared — unlike this writer and his left wing do nothing ilk. Thanks Mrs T, for liberating us from the dead hand of Liebour!

  • hamish maccoll

    I don’t see a great deal of difference between Mrs T’s extreme capitalism and the “head in the sand” socialism that it replaced. Both refused to see the other point of view and both severely damaged the unity of the country. We don’t need a political government – yes I mean that. What we need is a government that passes laws that ensure a balance between the corporations and the workforce, a balance between large and small businesses and aids research and development of new ideas. The capitalism that Mrs T brought us back to was the capitalism of the 1900’s. It was the reaction to that capitalism that created the power of the unions. The “socialism at all costs” periods of the 50’s and 60’s paved the way for another giant swing – well it’s not just ridiculous, it’s moronic and we’re still at it.

  • Patrick Raeburn

    My parents came to this country worked hard and bought their own home with no state assistance.They were not rich but determined to have a better  life. Your parents state funded home has now been lost to those that need it and responsible for the housing shortage we face today and the profits probably making you comfortable, that is not caring it is selfish greed.

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