Monday, 8 April 2013

"THATCHER'S CHILDREN": A PERSONAL NOTE

On this day I remember my mum, who died of breast cancer at the age of 56 in November 2005.

She was everything Margaret Thatcher, who surpassed her by some 30 years, was not.

As the daughter of Republican Irish Catholic immigrants living in post-war Britain, my mum grew up with an inherited belief in egalitarianism and political change, in a society where a tentative form of socialism was making those values more widespread and more potent than at any time before or since. Like many members of the so-called sixties generation, my mum regarded society and our collective improvement of it as the greatest good. For my mum, self-interest, competition, and greed were great evils that had to be combated with a political philosophy of altruism, cooperation, Love.

Margaret Thatcher believed that there is "no such thing as society". She believed that individuals are primarily motivated by self-interest, and that, because of this, they should not be supported in times of suffering by any means other than the largesse of the charitable rich. She was a friend of murderous tyrants and zealously racist political regimes. She delighted in the violence and theatricality of war. She worked hard to destroy the solidarity and unity of British working-class people, to take away their jobs, their communities, their pride.

My life has been dominated in very different ways by these two very different women. Now they are both gone, and I feel very forcefully that it is time for us all to decide whose children we are.

8 comments:

Grace said...

Hear, hear xx

Rhoda said...

Great post, Alex

Iona Niven said...

Well said Alex! xxx

Feargus O'Sullivan said...

I think I love your mum

David W. Kasper said...

Time to remind ourselves that even Thatcher's own children don't feel like her children really.

Thanks for this.

Michael George said...

Did she work hard to destroy society, or did she do what she needed to do to rebuild the country after it was bought to the brink of disaster by the very unions that were supposed to represent the working class?

Alex Niven said...

That's an interesting question Michael. I think what I'm going to do is take a trip to the rebuilt post-Thatcherite utopia of County Durham, ask a sample of people there, and get back to you. It shouldn't take long.

Joe K said...

Or the post-Thatcherite utopia of South Yorkshire. Or the Welsh Valleys. Or most of Ayrshire. Or Lanarkshire. Or Fife. Or most of Tyneside. Or Wearside. Or Merseyside. And loads of other fucking places.