Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died this week and the world went a little crazy.
It’s been a week that’s seen British people partying in the streets because an old woman died of a stroke. It’s been a week that’s seen people who assert that they are rational, skeptical people liken Margaret Thatcher to Robert Mugabe. It’s been a week that’s tested my ability to hold my tongue and walk away in order to keep some semblance of peace and friendship with those who engage in and support the most vile of human actions. And anyone who knows me knows how difficult that has been.
Too difficult. I need to vent a smidge. Fortunately, I have my own website for just this purpose.
Almost universally, I would say that my friends and peers would describe themselves politically as left wing. I imagine that if any of them had considered it, based on arguments or discussions we’ve had in the past, they might think that I’m right wing. But they’re wrong. This belief that I am right wing might have been reinforced from the way I immediately started attacking those who celebrated the death of Mrs Thatcher. And it’s still wrong. And even though I voted Conservative in the last election it’s still wrong to think I’m right wing. I vote for the best candidate to fix the mess the last one made or to limit future damage; in recent years I’ve voted Labour and Liberal Democrats for the same reasons. Anyone who votes for the same party time after time without realising that the party’s politics are changing time after time is a complete moron.
I do believe in very liberal attitudes where it comes to society. And I do think that everyone deserves the chance to be what they want to be and get what they need. It all sounds very socialist; it all sounds left wing. And it is. I want the Star Trek future of peace and no wants.
But I realise we’re living in the wrong time for it. The best we can do is push the species forward towards that goal and hope to catch some of it before our molecules break apart and move into new homes. And to do that we need to prosper and innovate and improve the standards of life, lifting everything and everyone up around us. Keep at it and eventually we’ll get over that tipping point where everyone wins.
So, how does this differ from those people who sentimentally hold to the fiction that Margaret Thatcher single-handedly destroyed their lives three decades ago or some other such nonsense? Don’t they want a future of no wants too? Yes, they do, but only so long as nobody prospers more than anyone else. Instead of lifting everyone up to a better standard they’d rather everyone dropped down to the lowest common denominator of living; if anyone were better off than anyone else then that person would be privileged and that just won’t do. No, no, far better to give people work that makes no sense and take from those that would benefit the country to offset the difference. Far better to keep the country in poverty so everyone suffers rather than give anyone any incentive to better themselves. Far better to stifle progress in the name of equality. Let people do what they want and if that happens to be not enough to survive or live at exactly the same standard as everyone else then just take away from someone who’s worked a little harder or smarter.
This is that wonderful world that Margaret Thatcher destroyed. A world where everyone has a job, no matter how pointless, unless they don’t want that job or unless they want to get more for their job than actually makes sense. Isn’t it a wonderful place? A place where there is no aspiration and no competition for anything. Your tablet PCs and smartphones? Choice? No need for any of that! One size fits all! Personal possessions? Precious few! What’s the point?
Nobody really thinks we’d still be living like that without Thatcher, of course. The world changed and as a country we would have changed too no matter who was nominally in charge but we wouldn’t be where we are now. We’d probably be where Greece or Spain is, only without the nice weather. That blast of capitalist greed and fast expansion under Mrs Thatcher’s stewardship, however, was just what the country and the world needed to set us on the path to that Star Trek future I want; there are similarities to Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels here, too: a bit of pain now to bring about a better life for our descendants.
In the Thatcher years and since then we’ve all been granted the chance to make a success for ourselves and make our lives better. Some people don’t want that. Some people want to be given everything for nothing and they look to blame anything and anybody they can for their own inherent laziness.
These sorts of people:
You know: scum.
I neither liked nor disliked Margaret Thatcher and her policies; some were good and some were bad because that’s the way the world works and sometimes you’re on one side and sometimes you’re on the other. Everyone’s going to have different viewpoints – I get that – and people are going to disagree with mine and come up with their own fantasy of what might have been and what might yet come to pass. Good for them! Hopefully, they’ll have their own website and can write about it too. It might even be compelling enough to cause me to question my opinions on this subject.
Just one thing, though: there is no chance in hell that I would ever want to live in the Union of Soviet Socialist Planets, flying from world to world in the USS Ken Livingstone. I’m just saying.