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Memento mori

This is long, but please read this. And, if you like it, please pass it on.

I have said this before: I have said this for years, if Baroness Thatcher is given a state funeral, I will leave the country for the day, because what her policies did, what her belief did, what her legacy did, is doing to this day are things that are anathema to me.
But we must not speak ill of the dead. (Not unless they are poor or powerless or long gone or far away. Not unless they are of no use to our masters, the oligarchs of wealth whose trans-national networks run our world.) And I did not, in her declining years, wish Baroness Thatcher harm -- dementia is harsh enough. I wished her only obscurity. It was her legacy I wanted -- I still want -- to see dead.
And that legacy lives on, on blunderbuss, cudgel limbs, on heavy crushing feet marching one and on over the poor, the disabled, the disenfranchised, the outsiders, the misfits, those with mental health issues, the disadvantaged, the underprivileged, those without important friends or influence, women, QUILTBAG people, people without UK citizenship, the powerless. The hunger of holy free market capitalism for new flesh is limitless, and it has no feelings. It has no empathy. It has only the drive to acquire, to grow, to possess -- and the devil take all but the winners.
Alive or dead, Baroness Thatcher doesn't matter any more, because this great devouring ideology outlives her, infests the policies and actions of our masters on all sides of the political spectrum. It gave birth to the over-heated banking bubble and its consequences. It trailed our double dip recession on its wings. It lies heady on every word uttered by Cameron and Osborn and Gove and Duncan Smith, just as it pervaded those of Blair and Blunkett. It handed over utilities and hospitals, newspapers and infrastructure to the moneyed few and left them free to treat those things as simply sources of profit. It left them free to plunder, to cheat, to evade taxes and responsibilities -- and to publish as truths self-serving (power-serving) lies about benefit claimants and immigrants, trans-people and asylum seekers, lone-parent families and people with serious mental health issues.
It tells us that there is no money for schools, to help the poor and those who are socially, physically or psychologically disadvantaged, though there is money to help banks. There is no money for compassion, for help, for support, but there is money for tax cuts for the rich. There is no money for low earners or the unemployed -- and these groups must be pursued and measured and harassed to ensure they get even less, whatever the cost --- but the cost of pursuing those individuals and companies who evade and avoid tax is far too high.
And there is £10 million available to pay for a ceremonial funeral for a multi-millionaire.
And we must not complain or protest, because we must not speak ill of the dead. We must accept censorship, because we must not upset or offend.
Though it's fine to upset and offend the relatives of the dead poor, the dead weak, the dead powerless. It's fine to upset and offend those who still live in the communities that Thatcher's policies, Thatcher's legacy have destroyed. It's fine to upset and offend those who have suffered through care in the community, lost relatives to superbugs created by the outsourcing of hospital cleaning, lost people to poverty, seen sisters, daughters, mothers abused and killed because the refuges were closed. It's fine to insult and offend victims of domestic abuse, asylum seekers, the homeless, the unemployed, those driven to illness through year-on-year 'efficiency gains' and institutional bullying in the public sector, those burdened with debt due to student loans and fees, to wages that are below the living minimum.
Those people don't matter. They aren't influential. They need to remember their place -- which is in silent acceptance, without protest.
I am not downloading songs. I am not dancing in the streets. There is nothing to celebrate in this death. But I am protesting, loud and clear. But not about the memory of Baroness Thatcher. I'm protesting about the insult this ceremonial funeral represents to all those her legacy has harmed and still harms.

This is how.
I don't have £10 million. I don't have anything approaching it. But I can find some spare money, and, on Wednesday, when Cameron is trying to ensure he stays in power by pandering to the right, I'm going to make a donation to a charity that works to help those groups that Thatcherite economics and Thatcherite lack of compassion is harming, day on day. And I'd like you to join me. You get to choose your charity -- there are many to choose from -- Shelter, MIND, Help The Aged, women's refuges, charities that work with underprivileged children, MENCAP, charities that help those with physical challenges, charities working with asylum seekers, any group anywhere that is fighting to undo or at least mitigate the effects of Thatcherite 'I'm All Right Jack, Greed is Good, cut help for the weak and give more to the strong' policies. I'm going to be donating to MIND, because Care in the Community was wrapped up as inclusive but turned out to mean little more than abandonment and abuse, because mental health services have faced 30 years+ of cuts and these cuts kill.

Please join me.



( 46 comments — Leave a comment )
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Apr. 18th, 2013 09:30 pm (UTC)
I hadn't realised they - no wait, *we* - were wasting 10 million quid burying 'Lady' T! In the light of that and your - entirely justified - rant perhaps I should rethink the cynical but frivolous comments I made in my post earlier today. I rather suspect I will come to rethink them (if not revise - it's late and I have work tomorrow): I now work for a local branch of Age UK (previously Help the Aged) and a lot of my work will involve filling in the tearing holes in social care started by her policies. We forget how much damage she did, because we've become used to living without the things she destroyed.

Edited at 2013-04-18 09:36 pm (UTC)
Apr. 18th, 2013 11:47 pm (UTC)
Wasting it -- and being smug about it, while censoring any dissent.
And yep. Dave's 'Big Society' aka get it done for free part two, just like his beloved Mrs T
Apr. 19th, 2013 01:15 pm (UTC)
The trouble with the ideology of thatcher is the it doesn't really exist. There is her legacy which has been endlessly discussed recently. There are statements of her principles and ideals in speeches and articles - principles she would often ignore when the situation called for it. This means her successors as they think of themselves have little to go on other than asking themselves 'what would she do'? The trouble is of course is that for all here faults (also endlessly discussed)she was a woman of ability and charisma. Those who claim to have taken up the mantle are lacking both. While they think of themselves as her inheritors they are in fact more like a faithful hound waiting in vain on the grave of a dead master for them to return and praise their tricks and throw them a ball. There now will be no praise that will satisfy them and I don't think they ever knew what to do with the ball.
Apr. 19th, 2013 03:37 pm (UTC)
From where I sit, her ideology is pretty clear -- monetarism and a conviction that free market big money capitalism is the solution to every problem; individual selfishness and self-interest are better than altruism and communitarianism; private property -- especially large-scale private property is sacred; state support for the poor, the weak and the disadvantaged is a drain to be minimised, not a responsibility to be shared; it's okay -- indeed, it's desirable -- that the rich own as much as possible and have greater access to power and influence, nd get to set not only government policy but to control and mould public opinion through their control of the media; and, above all, sharing is just plain wrong.
The most toxic part of this is that it has become so widely accepted and internalised that questioning it, let alone trying to undo it, is seen as dangerously radical and undesirable: but letting so much of the UK media pass into the hands of a wealthy few whose main interests lie outside the UK, she allowed that same narrow oligarchy to dictate opinion and to normalise the idea that what is good mainly for the super-rich is in the general interest. SO we got Blair kowtowing to the press and the free market -- and betraying the principles on which his party was founded. We get Cameron and Osborn and Ian Duncan Smith, saying 'we're all in this together' while continuing to privatise the NHS, dismantle the welfare state and demonising the poor. They may be small people on the historic scale, but their effects are no less damaging for that.
I was 17 when she was elected. I remember her very clearly and if she had any form of charisma it passed me by completely. I found her heartless, patronising and domineering.
May. 8th, 2013 06:45 am (UTC)
The one concession I will make is that at least Thatcher had convictions. The current generation would shoot their grandmothers and fuck a goat on live tv if they believed it would boost their ratings.
May. 8th, 2013 06:41 am (UTC)

Can't speak ill of the dead? That's half the fun.

The charities for which Ann and I set up monthly donations - and which I still fund, despite the change in circumstances - are mostly the kind Thatcher would disapprove of: CND, Amnesty, WWF, Oxfam.

Part of me hopes there is a Hell, so she could burn in it.
May. 8th, 2013 09:21 am (UTC)
The problem with me is that I'm incurably soft.
I do think, though, that there was a kind of cosmic balance to her developing dementia. If nothing else -- and I don't wish it on anyone -- it meant she didn't get to be a Tory adviser or to wield her power in the Lords.
May. 8th, 2013 12:55 pm (UTC)
The problem with me is that I'm incurably soft.

Hey, I'm not complaining: if you weren't, you'd have seen sense and shunned me years ago.
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