Monday, 8 April 2013

Why I won't be celebrating tonight

I've come out of hiding, briefly, to comment on what is a monumentally important day for our country. Many have awaited the day of her death for many years, and undoubtedly there will be those cheering in the streets tonight, and some even lining up for a chance to dance on her grave.

I am, I must admit, one of the millions who despised her. I believe that, though I was certainly too young to have known Britain during her time in office, I felt the repercussions of her decisions, I lived through the poverty my family were forced into, and I felt the despair of my parents searching and seeing no way out. I have no way of knowing if the abuse that took place in my family home would have occurred without the constant financial stress, I have no way of knowing if my parents marriage would have deteriorated as quickly and as toxically had they not had to fight for survival the way that they did, had they not had to make the choice between heating or food on a regular basis. I know some will think it ludicrous to even suggest such a thing, but last week I listened to people suggest that six children were killed because their father was on benefits, so it seems all things are up for grabs. All I know is that, despite many calling out "you weren't even there", I feel that I have inherited the right to comment, inherited the right to hate what she did to me and my family.

Despite all this, however, there will be no champagne corks popping in my living room this evening (and not just because I'm pregnant), just as I was not amongst those who celebrated when we "got Osama". I hope there will never come a day when I celebrate the death of another human being. I was genuinely heartened today to see the moderate, respectful and compassionate words being used by Facebook 'friends' in regard to her death. Though many have more cause than me to hate her, on the whole, I am proud to say, my associates' messages were those of respect for a woman's life, and concern for her family.

But that isn't the only reason I shan't be calling up my friends for an impromptu celebration. The legacy of her government has by no means died with her. I am, it has been reported, part of the first generation since World War II to face a worse lot than our parents. Cuts to welfare, disability allowance, tax credits, a tax on bedrooms as ridiculous and unfair as the poll tax she herself introduced, few prospects of buying an affordable house and even fewer prospects of being approved for a mortgage, all seem to make for an extremely scary world into which I am soon to bring my child.

I will not be celebrating the death of Margaret Thatcher this evening because I know, along with many others who hold on to the tarnished reputation of being 'left wing', that the death of Thatcher was never what any of us wanted or needed. While Thatcherism is still the dominating influence for the country's economic policy, while more children are plunged needlessly into crippling poverty in the name of austerity, while more families are left without hope of working their way out, none of us has any reason to celebrate.

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