Eight days ago, on April 8th 2013, Margaret Thatcher died. Like the way most people find out the news these days, I read it on Facebook, just after finishing a game of FarmVille2. I had exited back to my wall and was considering whether to start a game of Candy Crush Saga when I noticed a post by a Facebook ‘Friend’ (I have put the word friend in quotes, not because I am unsure of the meaning of the word, but because when I added the person I had no idea who they were but they had a nice picture of themselves standing by a boat, so thought they would be an interesting person to know). It read ‘Thatchers dead’.
Now the funny thing is, initially I couldn’t work out how I felt. I was seven years old on the 4th May 1979 when she became prime minister, and nineteen years old when she resigned her post on 28th November 1990. She defined the 1980s for me – a decade that I have a great affection for. But most of my affection stems from memories of school, television and summer days with my friends – I was only 14 by 1985, halfway through the decade of Thatcherism – and politics meant little to me. Whizzer & Chips was what it was all about then, or beating my score on the TomyTronic 3d Sky Attack game that I had received for my birthday.
So admittedly, if I had only turned nineteen by 1990, it’s unlikely that her policies affected me in any meaningful way. Sure, I remember her withdrawal of free milk in the late 70s. I was but six or seven years old when suddenly, those lovely triangular cartons of milk that would magically appear in the classroom upon our return from playtime, magically disappeared. My Nan and Bamp would start using the phrase ‘Maggie the Milk Snatcher’ and so I had an early understanding of the power of politics. I knew that prime ministers could stop me drinking milk. This was serious stuff, but only serious for a day or two, before my collection of Superman bubble gum cards took precedence, or my days spent at Martin’s The Newsagents reading ‘The Smurfette’ because I couldn’t afford to buy it consumed my every waking desire.
But as I grew older in the 1980s I began to distance myself from The Smurfette – she was a harlot anyway.
Margaret Thatcher’s policies made little impact me, apart from two. The miner’s strike and the poll tax. The miner’s strike was a strange juxtaposition (don’t you just love ‘juxtaposition’? It sounds like an outtake from a Bob Marley studio session), as I was living in Wales at the time – in a small town called Cwmbran, South Wales. Cwmbran had no history of mining. We were known for our ability to manufacture valves – not any old valves, CAR valves, by way of the factory of Saunders Valves (the name was a bit of a give away). So the town and community in which I lived had no direct experience of the mining way of life. I empathised with their plight of course, but had no real understanding of the politics involved. I was more interested in trying to get past the Banyan Tree in Jet Set Willy.
And the poll tax. I wasn’t eligible to pay the poll tax, or any tax actually, as I was under age. That didn’t stop me buying Tennnents Super of course, or sneaking in to watch Predator, an 18 certificate film when I was only sixteen, but it did prevent me from paying certain taxes. And buying porn from the dodgy Private shop in Newport.
So the ensuing vitriol aimed at Margaret Thatcher, particularly on Facebook, was shocking, upsetting and worrying to me. Just eight days after her death, I sit here reading an odd mixture of stories on different news sites. Some supporting her reign as prime minister throughout the 1980s, some severely criticising her reign. Others, blatantly, state she should have died a long time ago. Even more are planning protests on the day of her funeral. Why on earth would anyone want to do that? I think those with hearts full of hate have got it all wrong, and here’s why.
It’ll kill you.
There. That’s it. End of story. Hate will kill you. It’s a bit like that old parable about the two monks. There’s these two monks on a jolly, wandering around the forest. They see this girl trying to cross a stream. The girl isn’t wearing much and has a very short skirt. From a certain angle, the monks think they can see her honey pot. Anyway, this girl, who has big tits, is worried about crossing the stream. She might fall or something. So one of the monks gives her a piggy back across. The other monk watches, probably jealous, as the girl wraps her tight white silky thighs around the other monk. So the monk drops her safely on the other side, the girl waves goodbye and the monks carry on walking to Porthcawl or wherever they were going. Four days later or something, the one monk says to the other “You know it is forbidden for us to have physical contact with the opposite sex.” The other monk replies “I put her down four days ago, why are you still carrying her?”
And that basically sums up my feeling towards all those who have such negative feelings towards Margaret Thatcher. It’s over 23 years since she had any meaningful say in our day to day lives, so why are you still carrying her?