By Paul T Kavanagh
My Mammy always taught me that you should only speak good of the dead, so when the news was announced that Thatcher was dead, I said: “Good.” It’s the only time she ever gave the working classes what they wanted.
Thatcher died a frail old woman. They tell us that toward the end she was unable to remember any of her great achievements — but then neither can any of the rest of us. Those of us who feel no sadness that Attila will Handbag no more may well stand accused of a lack of compassion — but that’s what Maggie would have wanted.
But no one is taking any pleasure from the death of a frail old woman. No one is angered by what Thatcher did when she was ill and elderly and suffering from dementia. We’re taking pleasure from the death of a deeply malign force who was very much alive and in full possession of her faculties when she wrought her destructive influence on the lives of so many.
She knew what she was doing. She didn’t care. Just like she didn’t care that she received better healthcare in her later years than redundant miners and steel workers were able to obtain on the privatised English NHS. Benefits for the disabled are slashed, but Thatcher died putting on the Ritz.
An online campaign to get people to buy the Wizard of Oz song “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” to express their feelings about the funeral has seen the track reaching number 2 in the charts. Tory MPs were outraged, leading to the surreal possibility that whistling a tune from a 1930s musical could get you arrested in London today.
Persecuting the Munchkins for singing cheerful little ditties is exactly what the Wicked Witch in the musical did, so it’s all highly appropriate and in keeping with the theme. Though perhaps if Alistair Darling had flipped a house on her he might be making a better fist of the anti-independence campaign.
Thatcher’s minions, henchpersons and minor demons, who apparently do exist ‘dahn Sarf’, demanded that the BBC refuse to play the song in its chart rundown. The BBC obliged, although you’d think Thatcher would have approved of a protest you have to pay to participate in.
Meanwhile Thatcher supporters launched their own online campaign to get the early 80s punk song “I’m in Love with Margaret Thatcher” into the charts, seemingly unaware that the track is actually a satirical attack on her. Thatcher didn’t get irony either. The BBC, being even handed and unbiased and everything, didn’t ban it.
Some are trying to ignore today’s events, but with the wall to wall media coverage it’s impossible to pretend it’s not happening. The Scottish Socialist Swimming Club decided to give a swimming lesson to the comrades instead. Party members were asked which strokes they’d like to see demonstrated. After a democratic show of hands, they all said they wanted to see the one that killed Thatcher.
In an effort to gloss over the fact that just about everyone hated her as much as they hate Nick Clegg and Tony Blair combined, the media keep telling us that Thatcher was a “divisive” figure. But that’s not true, she succeeded in uniting Scots in a way no one ever had previously, with the possible exceptions of Edward I and Jimmy Hill. When her death was announced most of Scotland was jumping for joy. Admittedly not everyone was, but then some of us have fragile bones on account of not getting enough milk when we were weans.
In a spooky coincidence, in the week she died retailers in the UK were rationing babymilk. Buyers from China have been buying it up in bulk because Chinese-made babymilk has the unfortunate side-effect of killing babies. This is because China has enthusiastically adopted a Thatcherite free market, and hasn’t bothered with barriers to business like food hygiene inspectors. Maggie wasn’t very keen on bureaucrats interfering with the free market either, and getting in the way of hard working job creators who think it’s just fine to make babymilk out of rancid fat. So following the remorseless logic of the free market, weans in this country went without their milk again.
Wednesday’s funeralfest tells us all we need to know about the British state. It’s a Tory creature and always will be. Many have said that if the funeral had been faithful to her memory they’d have privatised it, but then we’d still be paying off the PFI costs by the time that Tony Blair pops his clogs. Tony said that the Thatcher parties we’ve seen this week are in very poor taste, which is a bit hypocritical coming from the man who turned Labour into a Thatcher party.
Tony will of course be attending the funeral, Thatcher once described him and New Labour as her greatest achievement. Tony is following the events keenly, as he’s got a personal stake in discovering what happens when the country buries a Tory that everyone hates.
Former Thatcher-era cabinet minister Cecil Parkinson also criticised those who were less than distraught about the death of his former boss. Cecil said that he was angered by people who laid all the blame for the destruction of manufacturing industry and creating mass unemployment at her door, as though she was solely responsible. But don’t worry Cecil, we haven’t forgotten that we blame you and the rest of your party too.
Action Krankie Ruth Davidson, the pretendy leader of Scotland’s diminished band of Tories, interrupted a kick-boxing session (got to keep in practice for kicking benefits claimants when they’re down) to release a fulsome tribute to her party’s former leader, not that anyone was listening. But then just two years ago Ruth told us all that she was too young to remember Thatch’s time in office, so obviously Ruth was just making it all up as she goes along. Why break the habits of a lifetime eh?
They say you can judge a person by the company they keep. Thatcher had a peculiar choice in friends. She was pally with the Chilean dictator Pinochet, a brutal dictator who imposed his will on his country without regard to the human cost. They had a lot in common. On the other hand it’s hard to see why she was such a good friend of Jimmy Savile. Thatcher didn’t like miners.
Thatcher once famously said “the lady’s not for turning”, but she hated all other heavy industrial activities too. She ensured that no one in Scotland would be for turning either, and bequeathed us a generation of kids who’ve never seen a lathe. So no, she won’t be going to Hell, she’s already closed down all the furnaces.
To commemorate these “achievements”, Davie Cameron and the Bullingdon boys, supported by Labour leader Ed Miliband, is giving Thatcher what is a state funeral in all but name. The funeral will apparently be attended by the great and the good. And Nick Clegg will be there as well.
The UK Government ordered all its departments and private sector contractors to send the Thatcher family letters of condolence. The Dept of Work and Pensions sent a letter telling them they now have too many bedrooms, and ATOS sent a letter saying Mrs Thatcher was fit for work.
The total costs of the funeral are expected to run into the tens of millions. That’s about 1 million for the funeral itself and 15 million in overtime payments to the riot police. It was only by ensuring that there are 1000’s of polis lining the route that there would be anyone present who’s not an official mourner wearing funereal black – that and to make sure that the public don’t behave on her death as they did during her life, by having a riot in Trafalgar Square.
G4S were originally asked to provide an honour guard, but they couldn’t get the staff or give a guarantee that she wouldn’t escape. So it’s the military instead, paid for by you and me. Claims have been made that the only reason they’re firing 21 guns at the funeral is to make sure she really is dead, but of course that’s just silly nonsense. Due to the austerity cuts they can’t afford silver bullets.
There are demands for a permanent memorial. A group of senior Tory MPs have called for a major airport to be named after Thatcher, which would be quite fitting, as she left much of the country in a terminal condition.
Other Conservative MPs want a permanent shrine where the public can pay their proper respects. The costs will also run into the millions. Good dancefloors don’t come cheap you know. Other Tories have said they want a Margaret Thatcher Library, which might go a small way to making up for all the local libraries that she closed down.
After the funeral there will be a private cremation, which will be the only part of the proceedings her own, not unwealthy, family will be paying for. They’ve already ordered in a bulk load of coal from Poland.
It’s interesting that Mark Thatcher got so rich, blessed as he is with the intelligence of a gerbil and the personal charm of a gall wasp. And as his sister once pointed out, he’s never actually had a proper job. That’s that Thatcherite meritocracy for you.
So farewell to the alleged saviour of Britain. But if she was so wonderful, her achievements so all-embracing that they altered the fabric of the nation forever and set the political agenda for decades to still to come, then it’s reasonable to ask why it is that British governments -Tory or Labour – are such utter crap, the economy has gone down the tubes, and the bonanza delivered by the exploitation of Scotland’s resources has been pissed up walls in the City of London and Canary Wharf. Thatcher’s legacy to Scotland is unique. She made us into the only country in the world which struck oil and then got poorer.
In the days before 1979’s Home Rule referendum, former Conservative leader Alec Douglas-Home urged Scotland to vote no, and promised us “something better” in return. Scotland didn’t vote no, but the referendum failed to pass an artificial hurdle created at the behest of a Labour MP. So we got the No campaign’s “something better” anyway, and they’re burying her in London today with full military honours, fanfares, and Nicholas bloody Witchell.
Remember “something better” when today’s No campaign promises us that we’re “better together”. Better together with Thatcher’s heirs? Hell no.
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