H is for….


…which is how I consider most people’s reactions to Margaret Thatcher’s death to be. Now I am not talking about the fact of her actual death, as death in any way is not, in my opinion, a thing to be celebrated.

A lot of people celebrating her death are acting as though she were still in power while it happened and thank goodness her reign of terror has ended. I mean, whether she is dead or not, she no longer had an active influence over the way the country is being run so her death or life, is of little relevance to the country at large.

The lady on this morning’s news was talking about how the very fact of her becoming Prime Minister was a good thing for women everywhere. When confronted with the numbers of women in the Conservative Party now (lower than in Thatcher’s time) and whether Thatcher’s legacy of empowering women really exists, this lady, who probably wasn’t alive when Thatcher was in power, said – and I quote – “She wouldn’t want that to be a measurement of her legacy. Yes, there are less women in the Tory party now but she wouldn’t want that to be the focus.”

Ok, there are numerous things wrong with this statement. Firstly, one’s legacy is now of their choosing, is it? Had Hitler said, before he killed himself, “By the way everyone, I’d like my legacy to be one of abiding love and acceptance of all fellow men and more hugging, please,” would we say, “You know what? Hitler didn’t want the numbers of the dead to be a measurement of his legacy. He wanted hugging. So let’s write the history books how he wanted them.” No, unfortunately we do not do this. So, Lady On The News, you are sadly mistaken when you say that we should not measure Thatcher’s legacy by the number of women in politics because she ‘would not have wanted it.’ The legacy you leave is little to do with your opinion of what it should be.

Secondly, o Lady On The News, you of great and infinite wisdom, you must be Margaret Thatcher’s daughter or friend or colleague because you are obviously her greatest confidante. Because you tell me, with such authority, that “she would not have wanted her legacy measured that way.” Wait a minute, you look about twenty. So you were probably born in the early 90s, when she was already a grown woman, had done her thing and was no longer in power. So I’m tempted to think you’ve never even met her and HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT.

I’m not saying she did or didn’t want her legacy to be a certain thing or not. What I am certain of, though, is that you are making a random guess. How can you, o Lady On The News, woman of great opinions, know what someone you have never met, ‘wanted’?

Please, spare me this madness.

And then I logged onto Facebook. I should have known better. The madness continues there.

Now I am operating under two principles in relation to the whole thing. The first is that I didn’t live under her government so it would be wrong of me to weigh into such an emotive discussion to offer my opinions on something I never experienced, especially if the conversation contains lots of people who do have experience of her.

My knowledge is second hand or textbook-based and leads me to think negatively of her. In which case, my second principle comes into play, that if you don’t have something nice to say about someone, you shouldn’t say it at all, especially not if it goes so far as to rejoice in their death, never a good thing.

If she were still in power, that’s different. Then it is important to voice opinions and be dissatisfied and seek better ways of doing things. That’s called progress. It’s what makes us constantly strive for better things for ourselves as a country. But she is not in power any more. She was an old lady who was no longer running the country who had a stroke. Nothing is gained by saying I disliked her policies.

And so, back to Facebook, where the majority of my Facebook friends are my age. For this, read: too young to remember when she was in power.

“Ding dong, the witch is dead,” was a real favourite, as though the fact of her continued life was causing us all such problems.

“Doing more good than bad but still being criticized? The British citizens of this country will never be satisfied.” This from someone who can’t be much over twenty. I was puzzled about this until her father later posted a photo of Thatcher looking all patriotic next to a British flag. Ah, now I understand. I’m glad that it was distinguished that we were talking about the British citizens of this country. As I’ve heard the ones in Spain are constantly satisfied.

It’s just all a bit mad, really. It feels like people are ready to go outside and have a fight, should a differing opinion appear in their news feed. One person said she was having a Facebook cull of everyone who’d said anything positive about Thatcher. Woah there. We weren’t discussing her on Facebook before her death. Why are we now making or breaking friendships based on our feelings about her?

Hating or loving the things she did while in power won’t change them. The best thing is to try and make sure the things that are important to you are heard by the people who are in power now. Surely?

11 responses to this post.

  1. I agree with the comment about the young newsreaders but possibly their script was written by older ones. Also about those who seemed to take pleasure that she was now gone almost as if they’d got one over on her. To them all I would say is that “your time will come” and “how many will do the same to you as you have done to her?” I listened to the radio last night whilst out driving and there were a number of interviews with people who had actually been ministers in her Cabinet. Their views (good and not so good) I took seriously as they were from those with real life experiences of her.


    • True. And the young person on the news was unfortunately one of the people they have in to make comments on the newspapers of the day. She was a guest offering an opinion! It scares me that people will watch that and think, “O yeh, good point,” and form their own opinions on it without stopping to think whether this woman actually knows what she is talking about.


  2. Posted by Alex Jones on April 9, 2013 at 10:23

    Ignorance is bliss I guess. Margaret Thatcher lived in my town of Colchester, her politics began in Colchester. She was a product of her times, she of the swinging handbag in a male dominated world. Her iron will was required to survive and face down some of the darkest horrors of the age, including the Cold War.

    The Iron Lady is an example of what a woman can do, and she expresses the sort of strong leadership that is lacking amongst the weak individuals calling themselves leaders today.


  3. Posted by Alex Jones on April 9, 2013 at 10:25

    The “ignorance” comment was not aimed at you Laura.


  4. Awesome post. I can see how Britain has its knickers in a twist over Mrs. T’s death. She was such a polarizing figure. I moved to England during her “reign”, at the time when the economy was actually on the rebound – I was young, and mostly concerned about me me me but, on hindsight, the economic boom was the result of policies for which many people paid a very steep price. What amuses me is that, judging from the coverage over here, many of your politicians are still blaming the policies of Mrs. T for Britain’s ills of today. They had about 25 years to straighten it out – did everyone sit on their asses?


    • Yeh, apparently some of the things she did were irreversible, like closing down the mines and, effectively, leaving entire communities with nothing, no work etc. While I understand that it would be hard to just start opening up the mines again, I do agree that the way forward us not to sit around and bemoan what happened then, it is to ensure the present doesn’t repeat that. She also took away a lot of the strict regulations in the banks, which led to the situation which caused the recession. But are we helpless to put the regulations back in place? Should we sit and whinge but not try to improve the situation?


  5. I think I will leave it at most people are ridiculous!


  6. I will also say this: opinions are like a**hol*s; everyone has one.


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