08 Apr Thatcher’s death an excuse to blame
As I write this it is only a few hours after the news of the passing of Margaret Thatcher broke and already this event has divided the country like it is the mid 1980s again.
On the BBC they have wheeled out every political ally and foe, no matter how infirm, who have eulogised about what a unique place in history the Iron Lady will hold.
It has all been very dignified.
However, in the uncensored world of social media there has also been a catalogue of tweets and Facebook entries rejoicing about her death- some going as far as to say she was as evil at Hitler!
One of these entries is from a former primary school classmate who has very recently joined me as a Facebook friend, after me not seeing him for 20 or so years.
This is an excerpt of it – the more lurid comments have been omitted.
“I was thinking about the effect she had on me and on countless others. How many times she almost killed me, not directly, but her policies and ideologies did for many of my friends their families and their aspirations by destroying everything they knew and replacing it with a barren post-industrial wasteland devoid of any hope or opportunity.”
This man, now in his late 40s, who in the three weeks I’ve re-engaged with him seems mostly concerned about what’s happening at the local takeaway, was from a slightly more privileged background than me. His parents had the nous to send him to the local grammar school, whilst my less initiated parents sent me to the failing comp.
From that comp one of my friends became a Hollywood film producer working with Spielberg, whilst another is a personal concierge for some of the world’s best known stars. His greatest claim is delivering Madonna to Madrid during the Icelandic ash cloud crisis a couple of years ago.
Also from that crop of 1981, I now run my own PR company, there are teachers and lawyers, and a university professor.
Just to emphasise the true picture that leaving year of 81 also saw one person die of a drugs overdose, and a couple of others detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
Meanwhile this sad Facebook friend, a once very bright teenager, works in a lowly paid manual job and lives alone.
This is not a blog about the late Baroness, as I care very little for politics, or about a miserable old school mate, but rather about responsibility.
The truth is no one, Mrs Thatcher, your education, your background or your boss can keep you down if you accept you’re the captain of your own ship.
OK, an Eton education and the right connections help, but maybe what those metaphorically jumping up and down on Mrs Thatcher’s grave should remember, is she wasn’t exactly born with a silver spoon in her mouth.
Her background was as a greengrocer’s daughter,hardly poverty, but in a time of rigid class systems for her to become a woman MP was some going, let alone actually make it to become the first female Prime Minister!
In death, Mrs Thatcher has divided the country once more, but taking the politics out of the equation she is some testimony to what belief, having focus and being prepared to work hard can do.
This is partly how she should be remembered, but I doubt my now de-selected ex-Facebook friend will agree.