It’s not what I’m going to write about but, for the record, my attitude towards Margaret Thatcher is, as they say, complicated. I grew up in the staunchly working class Tory stronghold of Bognor Regis in the 1980s, and my earliest political memory is of bawling at my younger brother that we were going a different way home on my mother’s tricycle so “mummy can vote for Margaret Thatcher”. Happily, I avoided the smack of firm government on that occasion as mum doesn’t believe in that sort of thing. But I am no miner’s daughter and, frankly, as my parents benefited from Thatcher’s policies, so, inevitably, did I.
However, my first job in politics was working for a Labour MP in a coalfield area, and without giving the impression that it’s a normal human response to celebrate an elderly lady’s death, I can quite see where many are coming from in their loathing of her. The pits were closed, the economic and societal glue that held those communities together was destroyed and there was absolutely no attempt to temper the blow or help those for whom coal wasn’t just a job, but the Force: it surrounded them and penetrated them; it bound their galaxy together. Heroin misuse, generational unemployment and teenage pregnancy were rife.
That’s not to say that I don’t believe that the utter arse Scargill isn’t at least as culpable for his game-playing with the lives of people who he – like Thatcher – considered to be cannon fodder in his revolution, but supposing I were a miner’s daughter, I reckon I wouldn’t have shed any crocodile tears at her passing either.
Glad to have got that out of the way.
So, without further ado, and in anticipation of there being riots at Thatcher’s funeral on Wednesday attended by people who weren’t alive in the 1980s and have never been north of Watford Gap Service Station, I will write for you now the only three articles that will be written about the disturbances.
The BBC was plunged into a fresh scandal last night when it emerged that one of the newsreaders who reported on the death of Baroness Thatcher had once passed within half a mile of Cherie Blair.
The revelation, which surfaced late last night, calls into question the impartiality of the taxpayer-funded broadcaster as it is believed that Mrs Blair, nicknamed “the wicked witch” by some, implied in 1985 that she wasn’t overly fond of all of Margaret Thatcher’s policies.
Speaking exclusively to everyone, a spokesman for the Taxpayers’ Alliance said, “This just confirms that the BBC are a bunch of pinko commies who spend their time setting fire to £50 notes when they’re not siphoning off public money to commission sympathetic programmes about immigrant paedophiles who probably vote Labour.”
Commenting on this story, the Daily Mail pundit Quentin Letts said, “This demonstrates that ‘Squeaker Bercow’ isn’t fit for office and should resign immediately.”
In other news: underage daughter of a celebrity looks older than her years in this exclusive picture of her in her pants. Hussy.
The boy next to me, his sea-blue eyes a stark contrast against the grey and overcast April sky, froze in fear. In the distance a line of police, a menacing wall of uniform black, began to advance. I couldn’t see their eyes as they were hidden behind visors; an arm of the establishment had been raised, ready to strike.
I had been rolling a cigarette but the paper suddenly felt limp in my tremulous hands, the tobacco scattering across the road like the dreams and aspirations of my generation, a generation lost in space with no time left to start again.
A police horse snorted. It was cold, terribly cold, for the time of year and the steam from the beast’s nostrils rose into the frozen air whilst it tottered on its hooves – straining away from the protestors – like a grotesque marionette.
A deadly silence fell.
Whilst we wished the horses no harm (many of us had attended workshops on the importance of checking our anti-equine privilege), the fascist intentions of the state who were exploiting them, as they have always exploited us, meant that we were face to face with allies who we were forced to oppose.
I felt, very keenly, what the soldiers in the Somme must have experienced. Indeed, this was no less a meeting and of no less importance. Those who would have been allies have been co-opted by the powers of fascism. The voice of a generation wanting to roar with rage, rage against the dying light, was about to be cut off in its guttural, atavistic anger by a state that only wanted to protect itself against the dreams and ideals of the young people who yearn so desperately for change.
But they had divided us. They had pitted us against each other, just as Thatcher had done with the working classes: brother fought brother, and father died.
That day we – all of us – were that horse.
There is one clear message that has come out of the death of Margaret Thatcher: I was right about Iraq, and Tony Blair is a war criminal.