Wednesday, 17 April 2013

It's the end of the world as we know it… and I feel fine

So, the Thatcher funeral. A 7 hour tribute in the Commons compared with the 45 minutes afforded Winston Churchill. A David Cameron interview this morning which claimed that 'We are all Thatcherites now', and that a funeral indistinguishable from a State one is necessary because 'foreigners' would think it odd if we didn't. £10 million for a funeral for a woman who made sure that striking miners' families were refused funeral grants for their men's families. Peter Mandelson telling us this morning that she told him 'The Irish are liars. Liars. You cannot forget that'. The desolation of Northern Ireland, the dead hunger strikers, the SAS murder squads. The crumbling schools and fragmented HE system in which education is considered a private good rather than a public benefit – and the same goes for the NHS. The friendships with the most gruesome, grotesque characters on earth: Saudi dictators. Saddam Hussein. Pinochet. Kissinger. Murdoch. Archer. Aitken. Savile. Apartheid South Africa. Saying nothing when the US invaded a Commonwealth country (Grenada) for electing a socialist government. A host of industrialists who made their fortunes from making the poor fat and sick, cramming them into rabbit hutch houses and low-paid work if any. TV and radio cheapened and weakened. A supine media which hacks its way across the land in search of stories about footballers' sex lives. National xenophobia and hostility towards the poor, the black and now the disabled. A North laid waste, a South in thrall to debt and house prices beyond the reach of all but the richest. Former national utilities channelling billions to shareholders while the infrastructure decays. A country bankrupted by her City friends while industry is a fading ghost at the feast. Tax evasion as a legitimate profit centre (don't forget: Thatcher was a tax lawyer). Open contempt for the poor and for any notion of public service. Claims that the working classes are 'the enemy within'. The naked, bigoted hatred for homosexuals made concrete in Section 28, which forbade any teachers from mentioning homosexuality. Race riots. The cult of the motor car and the aeroplane. Privatised hospitals, social services and even prisons.

In fact, there's a piece of poetry which sums up how I feel about this seedy, polluted, socially-divided, vicious Thatcherite country. It's Hell, as seen by Satan in Paradise Lost, having been thrown out of Heaven:

The dismal Situation waste and wilde, [ 60 ]
A Dungeon horrible, on all sides round
As one great Furnace flam'd, yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible
Serv'd onely to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace [ 65 ]
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all; but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery Deluge, fed
With ever-burning Sulphur unconsum'd:
Such place Eternal Justice had prepar'd [ 70 ]
For those rebellious, here thir Prison ordain'd
In utter darkness, and thir portion set
As far remov'd from God and light of Heav'n
As from the Center thrice to th' utmost Pole.
O how unlike the place from whence they fell! 

Here instead, the voice of a man whose politics came, quite literally, from the coalface rather than PPE, a think-tank or a lobbyist's office.

Perhaps it's tasteless to say these things on a person's funeral – but she wanted a public funeral and the Tories have used taxpayers' money to make it a political affair. And nothing's more tasteless than what she did to this country.


Parrish Lantern said...

Beautifully stated. My only addition would probably be described as poor taste but is heartfelt

Anonymous said...

This is excellent, Vole.

Shackleford Hurtmore said...

I've just started reading The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, and Dennis Skinner's rousing speech is already resonating with Owen's opinions in Chapter 1...

Karen said...

Having grown up in County Durham during the miners' strike, I couldn't agree more.