|Maggie fooled a generation|
I was working in central London on the day Maggie Thatcher died – 8 April 2013.
Me in the Strand, and Margaret’s corpse 1/2 mile away in a suite in the Ritz.
As I entered the tube at Charing Cross a news vendor repeatedly hollered “Read all about it. Iron Lady Dead!”, and I hollered back “40 years too late!”
The tourists, at least, were amused.
But this was no joke.
Thatcher had been a controversial premier, closing down the industrial north and encouraging the money dealers in London to play Monopoly.
That is her legacy.
On another occasion, at a dinner party with the Prime Mister, she forgets his name.
But these are perfectly normal symptoms of dementia, and don’t qualify her as a disturbed woman.
What convicts Margaret Thatcher as a disturbed woman is rather the aloofness and detachment from ordinary people that can be seen by looking at the milestones in her political record.
Near the start of her career as a senior politician I remember demonstrating as a student against her ending free school milk in the late 1960’s. Interestingly the Prime Minister whose name Thatcher couldn’t remember as her dementia kicked in has had to reinstate free school milk as a result of the increasing incidence of rickets. Yes, as a shopkeeper’s daughter she knew the price of everything, but alas, the value of nothing.
At the end of Thatcher’s career I remember her personally authorising, during the war with Argentina the sinking of a retreating ship, the Belgrano, sending hundreds of Argentinian sailors to their death.
In between these two milestones she closed down all the mines in the UK, destroying hundreds of communities.
In 20 years her record was devoid of any compassion.
It’s the absence of love that connects her with Mark Chapman, my subject in Part One of this series on disturbance, and though Chapman’s lawyers might argue that his crime only killed one person, Thatcher’s disturbance destroyed hundreds of thousands of lives.
Possibly Margaret Thatcher was one sausage short of a good fry up.
However you explain her deviance from the norms most of us live with she did one heck of a lot of damage.
Listen to Dame Glenda Jackson’s tribute to Mrs Thatcher in parliament. 10 out of 10.
Because disturbed, without any shadow of a doubt, Margaret Thatcher certainly was.
And there’s a place for people like her in heaven…
On the naughty step.