Monday 8 April 2013

Thatcher may be dead, but 'Thatcherism' is sadly alive and well

I feel very little at the news of Margaret Thatcher's death. I feel for her family, and all close to her, death is a painful truth that none of us are spared from. But Thatcher herself passed away along time go in my own life, she became but a distant memory of a turbulent youth. One of the most powerful people of the 20th Century, her life proves that all personal influence eventually fades, even before one leaves this mortal coil.

Her policies however, live on. 'Thatcherism', the blatant capitalism of the 1980's, the 'Greed is Good' as self parody, this ideology still remains embedded in our culture. The ideology of 'Individualism' over 'co-operativism' is frighteningly prevalent. This will remain a stain on society for much, much longer, and will not die off as quickly as a mere figurehead.

Thatcher helped to make me the person I've become. My first political act was being forced to make union jacks for the school windows as the ships sailed South towards a once forgotten set of islands. It was over the following decade that her policies shaped me even more profoundly. First as a kid growing up on the council estates of the rich South, where 'the poor' were increasingly demonised, and the promises of a trickle down economy never materialised. Second, as a student, where I watched hard fought for rights being dismantled. Unions were battled and wrecked, benefits were slashed and a so-called 'underclass' was created by the long term unemployment that accompanied her rule.

Her friendship with murderers such as Pinochet, are an indication of the narrowness of her vision. She was prepared to support fascists along as they supported the policies of Freidman and Hayek. In this country, she championed the mantra of 'Private sector good, public sector bad' and paved the way for not just privatisations of public resources, but the wholesale dismantling of parts of the welfare state.

Thatcher has gone to meet her judge, that is enough for me. I believe in forgiveness of all, and believe that God is merciful. What concerns me more is not the fate of dead, but the fate of the living. Thatcherism lives on in the policies of most political parties in the UK and in most of the world's political systems.

The living legacy of Thatcherism must not be idolised, for it continues to cause the perpetual misery of billions of lives.

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