Now that Thatcher’s dead…

April 8, 2013 at 12:18 pm (gloating, history, James Bloodworth, left, politics, protest, reaction, reblogged, Thatcher, Tory scum)

James Bloodworth (writing at Obliged to Offend in December 2011):

Instead of celebrating … the left should reflect on what a
pig’s ear it’s made of the past 30 years

Ever since Margaret Thatcher stopped appearing in public due to poor health, the
fit and proper reaction to her eventual exit from the earthly realm has been
discussed with increasing regularity by the left.

That rolling news will gloss over her legacy with the empty platitudes of the obsequious is entirely  predictable. Nor will it surprise many to see the leading lights of the Labour
Party queuing up to shower the former Prime Minister with praise.

There  are, however, plenty of us who haven’t forgotten the lives she destroyed, the
dictators she championed or the unmitigated social disaster set in motion by her
particular brand of finance capitalism. We do not feel the need to do what many
formerly of the left now do, and parrot the dictum that we are ‘all Thatcherites
now’ (just a hint, but when a person says neo-liberal capitalism is ‘inevitable’
what they really mean is that it is desirable). Many of us are not, and never
will be Thatcherites, and we will continue to feel no shame in believing that
there is more to life than the winner-takes-all capitalism she so
unapologetically championed during her lifetime.

There are of course  also those, on the other side of the fence, who view Thatcher’s eventual demise  as an opportunity to get one over on her family, her friends, and her supporters
in a way that was not possible in an era when her ideas triumphed so
emphatically. In this regard, Margaret Thatcher’s death is not only to be
greeted with sullen contempt, but is to be actively celebrated.

The idea  of getting back at this almost mythical figure for the numerous defeats she
inflicted on the left is strong motivation for those planning to crack open the
Champers on learning of her passing. Considering that during her reign she
trounced us at every opportunity, revelled in her victories, and then did it
again, the desire to see the back of the woman is perhaps understandable, even
if the outright celebration of her passing is, to my mind at least, taking
things a bit far.

What we on the left would do well to remember, however,
is that the ideas embodied by Mrs Thatcher are not going to be dented, let alone
killed-off by the departure of their most famous living embodiment. ‘All the
forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come,’ Victor
Hugo once said, and if the left is to recover from the tremendous setbacks it
has suffered during the past 30 years, it is the ideas embodied by Mrs Thatcher
that must be replaced, not the worn-out figure of an elderly lady.

Rather than celebrating the death of a human being, even a not
particularly endearing one, the left should instead examine with
clear-sightedness where it has gone wrong, how it has behaved and how it can do
better – and boy, can it do better. Considering the complete failure to make any
political inroads since the 2008 banking crash, this should be clearer today
than ever.

Time and energy spent celebrating the deaths of those who
popularise ideas we dislike is time that would be better spent popularising our
own ideas. With this in mind, morbid celebrations are better left to the
psychologically unhinged. The media already does an effective job in portraying
us as morally detached from the values of the average person; they certainly
don’t need us serving up ammunition on a plate for them.


  1. Colin in Cleckheaton said,

    Not celebrating, but smiling. Maybe one extra pint this evening, and then back to trying to get the trade unions to abandon the Thatcherite Labour Party and it’s anti union laws.

    • Colin in Cleckheaton said,

      PS. Love the video.

  2. Jim Denham said,

    Any excuse for some Ella!

    Actually, I don’t entirely agree with James (and didn’t when the article first appeared|): I think some celebration is in order, so long as it doesn’t become an end in itself.

    A good slogan for today might be “Don’t Just Celebrate: Organise!”

  3. ted edwards said,

    To me James that was spot on and without a doubt the right tone for the occasion.

  4. Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head this time with feeling said,


  5. Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    Bang on link to James except that Enjoy Yourself may be a better choice – it really is later than we think (and in all probablility far far too late…)

    And I can’t help but see a real element of transference here – its wasn’t Thatcher who did all that – it was the Great British People including millions of members of the working class who voted for her in 1979 and 1983 and 1987 and who continued to vote for those continuing her policies in 1992, 1997, 2001 and 2005 and 2010.

    And we – the Left – brought that rejection and the catastrophe that is still unfolding upon ourselves by mistake after mistake and crime after crime and still show barely any remorse or contrition or understanding of why the masses have not just rejected us but excised us and our ideas from their very consciousness.

    So I actually feel strangely mournful.

    • les said,

      well, if you’re feeling strangely mournful and you want to post a video featuring the specials how about this one::

      ever since the election of reagan and thatcher in our two respective countries, i feel that more and more the left has come to resemble the figures at the very end of this video, standing on the banks of a broad rushing river throwing stones that will never hit their target. celebrate and organize? perhaps. but it would be nice if we could finally lay our ghosts to rest and begin the work of morning…(you know, building a new day for ourselves)

    • Babz said,

      I think the press played a decisive part in getting large swathes of the working class to vote Tory. The vast majority of newspapers bought in this country are right wing.

  6. Jim Denham said,

    Amidst all the nauseating, obsequious obsequies, Neil Kinnock came like a breath of fresh air on this evening’s Radio 4 ‘PM’ programme. Not gloating or obviously mean-spirited, he still managed to strike just the right note. He made it clear that he still hates, if not her personally, what she did to society and the cruelty and inequality that she introduced. You may not agree with what he said about Scargill (I don’t), but overall it was an honest and well-judged comment and well worth checking out:
    P.S: I write as someone who has never considered himself, before now, a Kinnock fan.

  7. Jim Denham said,

    A Labour councillor told me that within minutes of the announcement today, he’d received a text from Party HQ instructing him to stay away from Facebook and twitter for the next four days. Apparently, it also went out to all MPs and Party Chairs.

    • Boleyn Ali said,

      From twitter

      Middlesbrough Labour ‏@borolabour 19h

      As a mark of respect for Baroness Thatcher, we are suspending our Pallister by-election campaign activity for today.

  8. Jimmy Glesga said,

    The loony Marxist left fucked LABOUR then Thatcher fucked the Unions and Labour for years. And the loony tunes blame Thatcher who was so gratefull to them. Where are those loony Marxist lefties now!

  9. Dr Ian Taylor said,

    With one small caveat (that I’ll come onto below), I pretty much agree entirely with James Bloodworth’s original article. There are very few victories that the Left can chalk up over the past 30+ years. (I’m not counting the New Labour Government of 1997 to 2010, for obvious reasons.) Given this record of failure the Left needs to do some serious thinking about where and how it all went so horribly wrong. We need to reflect on this – not in a morbid, navel-gazing sort of way, but with a view to figuring out where we can go in future. And you know what? I actually see grounds for cautious optimism.

    James argued that ‘since the 2008 banking crash’ the Left has completely failed ‘to make any political inroads.’ I can see why he said that, particularly when writing in 2011. But since then we’ve seen the emergence of the Occupy and anti-austerity movements. My initial reaction to these movements was to wish them well, whilst believing that they were most likely to fizzle out in pretty much the same way as the ‘anti-globalisation’ (or as I prefer ‘alter-globalisation’) movement did in the late ’90s/early noughties. There are undoubtedly many similarities here, but there is also an important difference, particularly in relation to anti-austerity campaigning. Whereas the anti/alter-globalisation movement talked about however many billions of pounds were traded on the international stock-exchange every single day and the atrocious scale of Third World poverty, the numbers that the anti-austerity campaigners deal with are much, much smaller. Now questions are being asked about what it’s like to live on £53 pounds a week. When economic arguments are pitched at this level they become far more accessible and ordinary working class people can relate to them because they know what it is to try to get by on so little. By contrast whenever the numbers being discussed are in the billions, they are simply too big for any of us to really get a handle on. My hope then, is that the anti-austerity campaign will connect the working classes in ways that many of the other campaigns from the past decade haven’t really been able to. I’m talking about environmental and anti-war campaigning: whilst these were undoubtedly for good causes, they did not, in my humble opinion, resonate with the working classes who the Left have traditionally spoken up for. (This trend was a long time in the making – it pre-dated Thatcher as it happens. But it partially explains why she was able to win over a few working class voters, although probably not quite as many as many of the eulogies are now suggesting.) But to return to my main theme: I’m cautiously optimistic about the future of the Left on the basis of my hope that they will be able to reconnect with their core constituency.

    I am not suggesting, by the way, that the Left should abandon issues like Climate Change, War, or Third World poverty. We have to champion those issues as well.


    • Jimmy Glesga said,

      The left never had a core constituency the Labour Party has.

  10. Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head this time with feeling said,

    i haven’tbread bLoodwerth cos he’s a thick liberal tosser. as are most coomenters and contributors to this bLergghHH. If not all of them. excepting very few exception like me.

  11. Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head this time with feeling said,

    people who use the term ‘the left’ these days shud also be shot without mercy.

  12. charliethechulo said,

    I see that the AWL’s paper ‘Solidarity’ is condemning use of ‘Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead’ as sexist. What do people think?

  13. Laban said,

    “Instead of celebrating … the left should reflect on what a
    pig’s ear it’s made of the past 30 years”

    From the perspective of global capital, the left’s been tremendously successful over the last 30 years – including the Thatcher years. While she marched on to victory after victory in her economic wars, she sustained defeat after defeat in the cultural arena (I’m never sure she even realised there was a battle going on). Britain in 1990 was a lot further culturally from Alderman Roberts’ Grantham than the Britain of 1979.

    And those cultural victories of the post-68 left, above all their advocacy of mass immigration, have created today’s Britain just as much as Mrs Thatcher’s anti-union legislation. Legislation alone couldn’t do it – look how the 19thC anti-union legislation was rolled back as the unions grew in power.

    But with a huge reserve army of labour, zero hour contracts, and an atomised, divided, demoralised British working class, we’ll continue to see headlines like this.

    “Chief executives enjoy ‘bonus boom’ as economy struggles”

    “Total pay for chief executives rose by 15.8pc over the last 12 months – largely due to bonuses – to £215,879 on average, the analysis showed. Stripping out bonuses, chief executive pay rose by just 1.8pc, the study of 43,000 middle managers in 180 organisations showed. The report showed chief executives’ total pay increased five times as much as that of middle managers, whose pay including bonuses grew by just 3pc to reach £43,456 on average. “

    • Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head this time with feeling said,

      thick racist fucknutt. needs to meet a brick in the head. repeatedly. until dead

  14. SteveH said,

    I don’t see much evidence of reflecting on the left’s failure on this site (though I see may examples of the failure), on the contrary, you continually criticise everyone bar yourself!

    PS good riddance to the old bag.

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