Thatcher death: readers respond
I went to get my morning newspaper and also needed a sympathy card for a relative. When I asked Shah, my local shopkeeper, where his sympathy cards were his eyes nearly popped out of his head – “I don’t believe you are getting a card for Thatcher!” he joked.
After getting back home Swansea Sound, the local radio, interviewed me on the phone and asked me what I thought of Thatcher? I said: “Like millions of working class people I hated Thatcher, hated what she stood for and have continued fighting Thatcherism in the Tory Party and in the Labour Party for the past 30 years.
“She destroyed working class communities across Wales, especially in the mining areas and her policies were responsible for sending hundreds of ex-miners to an early grave, of condemning their kids to a life of unemployment and drug addiction, which is rife in the Valleys.
“When I heard she had died yesterday afternoon I cheered out loud and last night I raised a glass in her memory – Good riddance!”
After a few more choice comments on the Poll Tax and how Militant turned the Iron Lady into iron filings the interviewer laughed out loud and thanked me for a ‘different’ interview!
A pub in the pit village of Clowne, Derbyshire, in 1984 during the great miners’ strike: None of us had money beyond being able to afford a solitary pint, but when her name came up, one miner said that on the day she fell off her broomstick he would break the habit of a lifetime and buy champagne.
A silence followed for a few moments, then somebody else said, “let’s make a pledge tonight that we’ll all do the same on that day.”
So tonight – and I don’t even drink – I’ll lift a glass of Tesco’s cheapest fizz to the memory of the courageous striking miners whose fight was for all workers, to their inspiring wives and girlfriends, to the camaraderie I was fortunate enough to be part of in villages like Clowne, and to all those whose futures were blighted by Thatcher.
I have spent 35 years hating Thatcher, alive and now dead, for so many reasons. But today my thoughts are with the 96 innocent football fans (demonised by her) I saw die at Hillsborough. May THEY rest in peace.
I celebrated Thatcher’s death and I make no apology for it. I raised a glass for the miners from Treharris I stood alongside in 1984/85, to David Jones and Joe Green who died on the picket lines. Thatcher didn’t cry, she called you the enemy within.
I raised a glass to Darren Holmes (15) and Paul Holmes and Paul Wormersley (both 14) who died picking coal during the dispute. Thatcher regarded you as a price worth paying.
To the most inspiring MP ever, Terry Fields. Thatcher imprisoned him. For Nelson Mandela, she hated us for opposing apartheid and called him a terrorist.
For the Shrewsbury pickets. For the Liverpool and Lambeth councillors. For victims of Hillsborough whom she blamed.
So I give her death the same respect she gave all those mentioned.
To those who tell me I shouldn’t speak out against Thatcher because she is dead, I say this – I am no hypocrite, I loathed her while alive, so why would you expect me to now think otherwise?
To those who tell me it’s a matter of respect for her family, I say this – where were you with your talk of respect for family when she destroyed the lives of so many? It is these families I think of now, these families that my heart goes out to.
For those of you who tell me she’s dead now, it’s over, move on, I say this – the people cannot and will not forget the pain and suffering she rejoiced in causing.
The truth is, dead or alive, her legacy lives on, division and inequality. Where is our industry? She was homophobic, she privatised everything she could – subsequent governments have followed because she made it possible.
She destroyed trade unions because they gave voice to the people she wanted to destroy, the working class.
And so, I have no objection to some mourning her death, but I am still mourning her life. We must learn from history, to do that we cannot and must not forget.
As a born-and-bred Yellowbelly, I’m proud to be from Lincolnshire. I’m proud of the Lincolnshire civil servants who struck last week, and the bridge-keepers who have struck for weeks at Sutton Bridge recently.
What I’m not so proud of is that our county produced one of the most vile, brutal people that has ever led this country.
While, like many people, I smiled at the news that Maggie Thatcher is finally dead, I’d rather keep the champagne bottles corked until her ideas are buried with her and we’ve achieved our real aim – a democratic socialist transformation of society by the mass of working people. That will be true vengeance to her and her ideas.
Nick Parker, secretary, Lincoln & District TUC
On Plumstead Common in the London Borough of Greenwich on Monday night, there was a firework display by a local trade unionist who had personally spent £100 to celebrate the death of Thatcher. A crowd from the local pub came out to watch the display and join in the celebrations!