Thursday, 11 April 2013

It Must Be Thursday: Politik

The ongoing saga of a weekly That-Was-The-Week-That-Was posting.
Commenting on things that caught my attention for better or for worse and left me shaking my fist at the sky and shouting "Whyyyy!!!" 
After all: until science brings us a better use for Thursdays - what else is there to do?

The last time I went to vote at an election I really had to ask myself the question "Why am I bothering?"

Let's be honest here for a second and say that this is a regular feeling that I have.  I live in what is considered to be a safe-seat area where the local candidates don't bother to come knocking door to door to try and get my vote, my opinion or my interest.  As such my little tick in a box might as well go to the Monster Raving Looney Party - if we actually fielded a candidate.

Add to this the fact that Tony Blair effectively turned the Labor Party into the Conservative Party to get elected, that Nick Clegg jumped into bed with the Tories so quickly after the last election that as a nation we're still surprised he doesn't just advertise his phone number in telephone boxes and on adult only websites and we find a generation of politicians that have no real-life experience, are all treading on each others toes as they try desperately to hog the middle ground, are afraid to make a policy decision in case they lose vital votes (the current government, for instance, have U-turned on unpopular decisions so often that we could attach David Cameron to a Dynamo and power South Wales - "Pastie Tax" anyone?)

And yet this week one woman has got us all saying quite a bit about the subject of Politics.  Admittedly there has been a certain amount of speculation that Munchkins might start dancing through the streets, singing songs with the refrain "ding dong" as a result of the death of Margaret Thatcher and that her pointy hat will be put in a special case on display at Hogwarts, but for the first time in maybe 15-20 years people are passionate about Politics

For those of us who survived the Thatcher Administration the best description of opinion on her legacy is "deeply polarized".  She was the Marmite of political office - if you were a city type child of the 80s making money in the city you probably loved her, if you lived in a mining village then she was the devil incarnate.  So, in the interests of fairness here's a few facts:

#1: She was important enough to be parodied by Monty Python's Flying Circus whilst she was still a back bencher (in a shot where they showed her brain as being in her knee)

#2: She definately withdrew free milk from schools - saying that it was a parents job to provide food and her job to provide schools - the decision was, like many of her policies, deeply controversial and earned her the moniker "Thatcher The Milk Snatcher"

#3: Thanks to satirical puppet show Spitting Image Maggie and her cabinet have never been more well known - an entire generation could name the Tory Cabinet of the 80s, whereas I would struggle to name more than the top two or three today.

#4: Though largely blamed for the demise of British Industry it is probably more fair to say that Coal, Steel and the Motor industry were already dying due to decades of striking, shrinking resources and the fact that British Cars were famously rubbish.  Certainly her no-nonsense approach, lack of concern and failure to see the community impact behind the political power struggle did nothing to help and have left bitter trenches in those communities.  However: it can be said that her commitment to privatization and decision to sell British Telecom did directly lead to the demise of the General Electric Company - who had put too much focus on one project only to have BT take their business elsewhere within seconds of having the option to do so.

#5: She had at least held a real job prior to going into politics - not like the former Eaton boy/career politician we have in charge today

#6: Since the end of the Thatcher Administration the numbers of people going to vote have drastically diminished - at the last election we achieved approximately 40% turn-out and the vote on proportional representation that Nick Clegg sold his soul to gain got around 20-30%

So was she a devil or just a strong woman?  Was her impact on England for the good, the bad or the ugly? I guess that debate will go on for a long time.

As I say: I survived the 80s and, as a result, I have quite strong opinions which do tend to veer towards the idea that Satan may be facing a power struggle right about now - but maybe I'm being unfair.  Maybe the very fact that as a nation we are still discussing her despite the decades of faceless politicians that have followed is the greatest legacy she could have hoped for.

Anyway - enough of the serious stuff.  Here's a song about an entirely different Maggie.  Watch out for DJ John Peel miming the Mandolin extremely badly


The Bug said...

You had Maggie, we had Reagan. Of course, to hear a lot of people say it, Mr. Reagan was the savior of America. Ugh.

PhilipH said...

I understand she is going to be cremated. Oh well, that puts the block on those who might say that 'deep down she wasn't a bad person...' (after burial, that is).

Stephen Hayes said...

I can't say if she was a good or bad politician, but she was certainly a force to be reckoned with.

Michael Burrows said...

I have absolutely no opinion, except I agree withe you.