Then thinking about that claim, that old Maggie would be delighted so many old lefties were doing what she wanted everyone to do at the end of the Falklands war: rejoicing.
As I staggered out of Brixton's 99p Store (around here we can't afford Poundland) I saw "The Bitch is dead" stencilled onto a wastebin and then saw the smashed-in window of the Barnado's charity shop, and I had to stop to think about what I was thinking.
|Seen in Brixton High Street, the day after |
Mrs Thatcher died
Yes, I hated Thatcher, I lost my first and best job within 6 months of her getting power (yeah I worked for one of the hated quangos, and educational film outfit) because of her policies, I felt only elation as I wandered around the Trafalgar Square area on the night of the Poll Tax riot, I smelt that same heady burning smell as on the morning after the first Brixton riot of 1981 (I was not there, only cycling through Brixton to work the morning after, when the ruins were still smouldering).
Since then, we've seen Thatcher defeated, we've seen her ageing, struck down by dementia, we've seen iron lady become sad old lady. All my instincts were to think, what about forgiveness? And I thought, why? Well, she reminds me strongly of some of my own relatives - aunts of the same sort of age, and of Thatcher's same social background - with the same scrimp and save and stand on your own feet philosophy - and I can't deny part of me feels, let her people have this day, the funeral etc.
But it's a very precarious feeling. Especially when you start to think of "her people". Mark? Carole? Sir Bernard? Jim Davidson? Tebbitt? That bastard who used to edit The Sun?
Next day i cycle to work in Kensington, along streets lined with hideous lumps of metal on fat tyres - things they call Chelsea Tractors, although that is truly an insult both to tractors and even to poor hijacked Chelsea. I see these beautiful old houses being gutted, turned inside-out to create revolting palaces for the beneficiaries of the latest global crises - the hedge-fund-fuckers and their like, the legit money-launderers of city-boy united who are the natural heirs of M T - and think, no, her poison is still very much at work in the body politic.
The absolute polarisation of London - super-rich, desperate poor - is so obvious, so tragic and so dangerous, and so much the legacy of that decade, that you can only wish, not that she should burn in hell, but merely that she should never have existed.