Monday, April 08, 2013

Speaking ill of the dead

We should all be grateful to Glenn Greenwald for expressing in an admirably concise way why we should not be compelled to apply the rule that one does not speak ill of the dead in the cases of political leaders generally and Margaret Thatcher in particular (http://m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/08/margaret-thatcher-death-etiquette).

Anyone with a spark of humanity who came of age under that brutal Government, which largely opened the continuing assault upon our class and our society hated that Government for what it was doing.

And we hated the Prime Minister who personified that Government.

And we still do.

Thatcher's death is an entirely legitimate cause for celebration for millions of decent people - but it is Thatcherism that we need to finish off.

We live in a country which is (on average) materially wealthier than it was thirty four years ago when Thatcher came to power, but it is in many ways poorer.

The raising up of greed as a socially acceptable motivation, the looting of commonly owned assets to enrich a tiny minority and the ruthless and continuing disempowerment of all possible centres of popular opposition have combined to create a nation into which I am almost ashamed to have brought children.

For Labour Party members we bear the additional shame of political responsibility for a Government which, in far too many ways, continued her poisonous legacy of privatisation at home and imperialism overseas, thereby paving the way for the return to power of Thatcher's true heirs.

I am with all those who are raising a glass this evening and trying to remember the lyrics to "Tramp the Dirt Down" - but particularly if tomorrow they will be waking up committed to the fight to bury Thatcherism alongside Thatcher.

As the establishment mourn their heroine we should remember, and draw inspiration from, all those who opposed her. The Greenham Common Women, the Miners and their supporters, the opponents of Section 28 and the much derided "loony left" in local government should all be rescued from what EP Thompson called "the enormous condescension of posterity" and rehabilitated as examples to those of us committed to carrying on their struggles.

I make no apology for smiling at the news of Thatcher's death. Now let's work to bury her legacy.

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1 comment:

James Cheetham said...

Disgusting man. Mocking the dead stands for Socialist values? I beg to differ with your radical ideals.