Monday, 8 April 2013
WE, TOO, CAN PASS THE BATON ON - DAY EIGHT, APRIL WRITINGS
THIS IS WHAT CONCERNS ME:
There’s been some strange and vivid flashbacks going on inside me, hearing the news that Margaret Thatcher has died: her dreadful parody of S. Francis of Assissi “Where there is discord I shall bring harmony”, when it was obvious to myself and others it was the doublespeak George Orwell wrote of.
Flashbacks of Orgreave, the Miners’ strikes, faces bloodied and baton’d, the crushing of spirits, G28, encouragement of ‘loadsamoney!’ Toxteth burning, our friends in Liverpool close to the edge of it … too many disturbing images flashing into memory: seen, witnessed, protested against.
But worse than this, to me, is the legacy she’s left behind and which the present-day Tories have picked up like a baton and run with; run rings around us, most of us – some would disagree, and that’s fine – this government has picked up her baton of greed and ‘me first!’ attitude and run riot, with its own version of Orwell doublespeak, painting the vulnerable and the poor, the sick, the elderly, those in work or out of it, as being not in need of help, compassion and practical policies, not in need of a decent wage, or a full time job, or some hope for their future and their children’s future, but are hellbent on convincing people in the UK that the majority of people in need are the cause of their own predicaments, that their troubles are somehow self-inflicted. And this is just not true.
Just as Thatcher was told, believed, advised by Howe and others that Liverpool should be left to burn during and after the Toxteth riots, as there was no point in pouring money into it to help towards its regeneration, as the issues in the city were somehow self-inflicted.
Just as today’s government are using the media to persuade people that those out of work, those in need of a home, or help with disability payments to remain mobile, the sick and the elderly who can’t pay their heating bills or food costs, are to blame for the situation they find themselves in.
Just as any one of us, at some stage, could find ourselves out of work, homeless, struggling with bills, sick and with no way of paying for healthcare, elderly, housebound, lonely – Thatcher’s legacy is this government.
I’ve given a lot of thought to how I feel about the news of Mrs. Thatcher’s death - it’s a complex mix of feelings - and whether to post ‘something’ and this is it: here and now to turn and view the past clearly and know how I feel about her policies, how it affected family and friends in the 1980’s, the protest marches I went on, my passion to change her policies and create hope.
And now to face the future, from where I am in the here and now and refuse to be sucked into the vilification of the vulnerable, to believe the divide and rule tactics of her and other Tories.
I won’t mourn Thatcher’s death. Neither will I rejoice. But I will be proactive in whatever way I can, to change what this government, her political offspring, are doing. Alert to the fact that Thatcher’s death may (probably will) make this generation of Tories more entrenched in their policies of destruction and pitiless punishment of the poor and attacks on the vulnerable more brutal than ever.