Monday, 8 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher

Okay, so Margaret Thatcher's died.

How do I feel?
I'm not quite sure.

Now look, I consider myself a bit of a lefty. Not a full-blown socialist, but a lefty nonetheless. So already, a former Conservative Prime Minister is not going to be high up on my list of people to mourn the loss of. I know from a lot of people that lived under her (my parents generation and beyond) that she's not exactly well-liked.

Yes, she privatised a lot of industries that were nationalised before. Yes, she stole children's free diet of milk at school. Yes, she introduced poll tax and destroyed much of Britain's manufacturing industry.

That's just to name a few of the things she did. There are many more that people who actually lived under her could probably name. But it's undeniable that yes, Thatcher was, and still is, an inspiration, at the very least for the achievement of becoming leader of the Conservative Party and British Prime Minister, fighting against the adversity she faced simply because of her gender.

Now, obviously, as someone of my generation, who didn't have to live under her, I'm not going to pretend I can talk about Thatcher with much authority. There are many who hate her - many who are rejoicing today in her death.

But we must remember that she was still a person. She still had a family. A family that will be mourning her loss. A following who will also be mourning her.

For anyone who's seen The Iron Lady then they will also have a degree of respect for her. Because despite that debate about whether it was a good idea to be releasing a film about someone with dementia when they were (at that point) still alive, it paints a very sympathetic view of her.

Now I admit, it is very easy for our generation, that didn't have to live under her, to be more sympathetic...
But I suppose what I'm trying to get across is, regardless of what you think of her policies, and the bad things she did while in power, is it right necessarily that we rejoice in her death? That was still a human being. As a friend of mine put it, 'Slightly evil or not, she was still a person.'

I compare it to the death of Osama Bin Laden (and come on, let's face it, say what you like about Thatcher - no really, say whatever else you like about Thatcher - but she was not as bad as Bin Laden.)
Of course no-one was going to be mourning his loss. But did that make it right that people were rejoicing in the death of another human being? Is rejoicing in the death of another ever morally right, however much you may have hated them when they were alive, and are not going to be wishing they were still with us?

Now, it's not something that's going to play on my conscience enough that the jokes that are already spreading about her passing aren't going to make me laugh.

As far as I can see, there's not much problem with laughing about jokes made about Thatcher, particularly given the horrible things she did do to the country, etc.

But actively rejoicing in the death of another human being, however much you hate them?

I'm not so sure...

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