It’s hard to get angry about the 80s (despite the Iron Lady)

January 19, 2012 1:18 pm

I have a problem. You see, when Ed Miliband says that the Tory-led government is taking up ‘back to the 1980s’, as he did in PMQs yesterday, I find it hard to get angry.

Just to be clear – I lived through the 1980s, and hated what the Tories did. I joined the Labour Party in the 1980s. I marched against apartheid, section 28, the poll tax and cuts to the NHS. I paid close attention to the lyrics of the Communards and Style Council. I dug deep for the miners. When John O’Farrell brought out his memoir of life in the 1980s, I could laugh because I was there too (in some episodes, literally). Like him, I remember that 1) Mrs Thatcher was in power during the 1980s. 2) I did not like her very much.

But the problem is that to be young in the 1980s was also a blast. Despite the enforced misery of a decade buttressed by Joy Division at one end, and The Smiths at the other, to be aged 13 in 1980 and 23 in 1990 was the best of times. Ed Miliband spent the same period at school and University, meeting the icons of the international left in his own home, interning in Tony Benn’s basement (and not getting paid), and getting into Oxford. I’ve never asked him, but I imagine he enjoyed the 1980s too. So for the generation who grew up in the 1980s, the charge ‘back to the 1980s’ doesn’t really resonate. For anyone younger than me, ‘the 1980s’ doesn’t mean much either. Who is aware of politics as a small child? All you care about is ice-cream.

What of the older generation? The generation of coal miners, printers, iron forgers and dockers who bore the brunt of sado-monetarism has a cause to twitch with anger when the 1980s is mentioned. But this section of society is small. Even at the time, whilst the mining communities, ship yards and industrial communities were getting a pasting, the middle class was growing, in size, confidence and prosperity. It wasn’t just about yuppies and the Big Bang. It was skilled workers, buying their council house, a car and taking a foreign holiday. As Neil Kinnock said, it’s hard to go to a worker with a new car in the drive and plenty of overtime and say ‘I’ve come to liberate you from your misery.’ The misery, as in the 1930s, was highly localised. It meant that 100 to 200 parliamentary constituencies, mostly in the Scotland, Wales and the north of England, could be safely written off by the Tories.

Always nicely behind the curve, I went to see The Iron lady last night. Our local flea-pit (sorry, ‘independent cinema’) hasn’t changed since the 1980s, so it was a suitable venue for our CLP outing. As part of Refounding Labour, we have decided to go to the pictures more often. I thought it was a remarkable Oscar-winning film about an old lady coping with grief and dementia. The politics was incidental. The historical narrative – the Falklands, miners’ strike, poll tax and her defenestration – was so lightly woven in and out of her struggle with the ghost of Denis, the pain of the absent Mark, who like Godot never came, and Olivia Coleman’s Carol that it almost didn’t matter. Olivia Coleman, by the way, wonderful in Peep Show and Rev, steps up to playing opposite Meryl Streep without missing a beat. She deserves a best-supporting actress Oscar nomination for her first proper film performance: unlike the real Carol Thatcher, who I’ve only been in a room with once, and thought an absolute cow.

The Thatcher movie will generate huge sympathy for Thatcher herself. It portrays her as courageous, taking on the establishment in her own party, winning back the Falklands, and pursuing her own ambitions and convictions. The miners, whose lives she has ruined, are outside her car, battering the windows. We do not see them, other than as a shouting, placard waving mob. Her children too, are outside her car, desperate for love and attention as she drives away to Westminster.

When she dies, there will a huge outpouring of nostalgia. Many will remember their own personal 1980s, some with anger, most with fondness. Cameron, who worked for her in her final months as PM, will be able to capture the popular mood. The nastiness of those booking in celebrations will reflect so poorly on them, I hope they see sense and abandon their plans. It will only take one Labour Party member somewhere in the UK to make a stupid comment on a blog for there to be a massive row about Labour not showing respect, and putting us off-side with the public. It’ll be Foot and the ‘donkey jacket’ (yes I know there wasn’t one) all over again.

  • derek

    Why the article then Paul? seems to me that the best thing you can do is to remove this snare?

  • Kernow Castellan

    There is another, slightly morbid, point. Northern working-class men (typically) who lived through the 80s are now in their 50s & 60s. Actuarial tables show us that these people do not live as long as a middle-class member of the stockbroker belt.

    The 1980s will remain a potent emotional issue for Labour as SDP/Liberal (as was) activists, but will not resonate the way it did in the 1990s. Banging that drum will feel good, but lose you votes.

    Continuing to demonise Thatcher after twenty years simply gives other parties permission to demonise Labour’s economic record for 20 years.

    • Anonymous

      The doctors stated my father in law who died last year, had lungs which were severely damaged by coal dust, but what killed him was he had been suffering from Malaria which he caught in the war in Burma. He was in a nursing home all his benefits were taken off him and the government handed back £18 a week called pocket money, out of that he had to pay £5 for news papers and £8 for laundry

      He had £6 a week for fighting a war then working down a mine for a pittance all his life.

      yes I think we should give the old bat a  state funeral so i for one can have a real good party to see her and her kind go.

      As for Labours last twenty years I think labour can tell the people on  most sites are no longer the followers of idiots, but Labour gave me Child tax credits, they gave me well that’s about it really

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.arrowsmith2 David Arrowsmith

    Perhaps you would like to meet my friend from sunny Kent who didn’t work for ten years or myself who trained for five to find no work even freelance in 1990.  If you don’t get the massive damage done to the working class and men in particular by the 80s then you should posting on a Lib Dem board but then that is New Labour, a denial of the past only the PR marketed now.

    I remember the decade and bear the scars to this day.  I remember the Poll Tax, the closure of the hard working Chatham dockyard and of course the scandal of the Falklands, the lies, the arrogance, our wasted youth and worse of all the deployment of the army against the miners: Peterloo indeed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Collins/100000033820132 Stephen Collins

      What scandal about the Falklands?

      • charles.ward

        Presumably he mean the scandal of hard left Labour MPs opposing the war (a just war if ever there was one) and criticising the behaviour UK forces for sinking the Belgrano.

      • Anonymous

        Not being able to get the men and equipment off, not having a back up plan, not having helicopters so the Marines and the  2nd para yomped off to get the Argies.  On the whole though you could say why did we leave the Falkland without a force knowing the Argies were thinking about retaking it

        • Anonymous

          There was a lack of helicopters because the transport – Atlantic Conveyor – was sunk. They were on the way but destroyed by Exocet which is why there was so much yomping.

          Despite the sabre rattling, few people seriously thought Argentina would be so stupid as to actually invade. Or then continue her occupation after the UN had condemned it and demanded they left. Or continue to fight after the Islands were isolated and the Agentine fleet essentially in hiding.

          • Anonymous

            Come on we remember how rushed it was to go to war and how we just about managed to get the ship  ready, but who would have thought our helicopters would all be placed on one ship.

            How other ships had to wait in line while they tried to disembark troops, and equipment.

            We then remember Thatcher riding her tank.

          • Anonymous

            The UK responded to Argentine imperialist aggression and had to get there before they a) started murdering civilians b) deported the entire population c) winter came making any action much, much harder in the S Atlantic and d) before they could dig in making any liberation far, far harder. So of course the response was ‘rushed’. Time was a factor.

            Helicopters being transported on a transport ship? Who would imagine such a thing happening? They couldn’t fly there, there were limited ships – how else could they get there?

            There were problems unloading troops which led to a high death rate but that was a logistical issue in theatre and a common one in many wars. 

          • John Reid

            I seem to recall Roberts A exSquaddie like me except he joined 20 year later, the scandal was that she took away the navy frigget’s and submarines giving the Argentitnian gov’t A vhancce to invade, and yes the Belgrano wass ailing away and she said it wasn’t

          • Anonymous

            That does not alter the fact that it was Argentina that invaded and ARgentina that is ultimately responsible. Should we keep all the UK units in Germany forever just in case Germany invades France or Russia invades Germany? No. Changes get made which other people can react to in ways you can’t predict. 

            There were errors made in dealing with Argentina from before 1982 up to the invasion, but  there’ no real scandal. 

            Belgrano was a 100% legitimate target who’s loss probably saved many lives, which way it was heading is 100% meaningless. 

          • Anonymous

            I think I must be a christian after all.

          • Anonymous

            Check your facts, it’s 30 years now since the Belgrano, and the information has been released.

    • Anonymous

      I suppose that ‘scandal of the Falklands’ you mention was when we stood up against a fascist military dictatorship who invaded our territory.

      Would you rather that we had left British people living under a fascist dictatorship?

      • Anonymous

        Callaghan dealt with the Falklands far more effectively than Thatcher: he made sure there was no invasion by steadfastly refusing to bow to the MoD when they insisted on making cuts to defence spending in the Falklands.  In spite of the sabre rattling from the Argentinians during the 1970s, they did not invade while the UK maintained a decent military presence.

        The Tories, almost immediately upon coming to office, put their Friedmanite economic policy before the security of the Falklands by cutting defence spending.  This was viewed as, correctly in my view, as a lack of interest by the Argentinians and they duly took advantage.

        This is what is known in international relations as a f*ck-up, a major f*ck-up.  Saving on defence spending when there is a high likelihood of war/invasion is the height of stupidity and ignorance, and cost lives that need not have been lost.  

        Yet another example of Tory incompetence in the area of foreign policy/international relations.

        • Anonymous

          There

          • Anonymous

            Konrad,

            South Thule undermines your argument to the extent that it indicated the seriousness of Argentinian sabre rattling and the extent of their ‘stupidity’.  Callaghan was looking for a diplomatic solution whilst maintaining a decent military presence in the region.

            Nevertheless, the central point still stands: the cuts to defence were a clear signal to the Argentinians that their opportunity had arrived.  If the cuts had not been made, diplomatic efforts had continued and the UN had maintained its position (with US support) and the Argentinians had still invaded, then that would have been entirely different story.  The position taken by the Thatcher government made invasion more and not less likely: that much is self-evident.

            I stopped campaigning for the Labour Party from 2002-2009 primarily because of Iraq, so you have no argument from me on that point.  It is to my party’s eternal shame that such a decision was taken and endorsed by the Conservative opposition.  I agree that it was a total disaster and that a Macmillan, Wilson, Heath or Callaghan-lead government would have done their utmost to avoid.

          • Anonymous

            Callaghan allowed an invasion of British soil to go unchecked. He was shown to be a paper tiger  to the Argentines and his military deterrent was pointless if he wasn’t going to use it to evict an illegal military base on UK territory. 

            He may have been seeking a diplomatic solution but he still allowed it to happen and to continue. Thatcher was seeking exactly the same when negotiations under her government were happening before and after the defence cuts. 

              Thatcher inherited this situation and then made more decisions. Some of these were very wrong, but the rot started earlier, the encouragement started earlier.  negotiations continued after Thule so the threat of war was not imminent continually, especially considering the juntas reliance on the USA.

            Argentina may have interpreted a signal but we are not responsible for how others interpret what we do all the time. Argentina was a friend and ally of the UK, negotiating over the issue was continuing, the UK was clearly withdrawing from the area and was clear that if the Islanders wanted to be under Argentine sovereignty that was  okay. An invasion would be a massive error and it was believed that Argentina understood that, despite all their bluster and what Callaghan had allowed to happen.  This was incorrect. the junta was stupider, madder and more unstable than realised and it is perfectly possible that Argentina would have invaded anyway even if the local defence cuts in the Falklands had not happened. 

            The cuts did not strip away all the defences of the Falklands and they still had a garrison so they were not defenceless and had not been abandoned.  I don’t see how one ship HMS Endurance could have stopped the might of the Argentine invasion other than symbolically. 

             The ship was due to be withdrawn on 15 April but the action on S Georgia happened on 19 March so even though the ship was present, the Argentines still invaded. They were working to their own timetable which was influenced by what the UK did but not controlled by it and had stated actual planning for the invasion in late 1981. 

            Agree about Iraq and the starin it has le on Labour and the UK. As Labour lied to the public so much about Iraq, think of how many lies were told to the Opposition and other politicians to get the war to happen.

          • Anonymous

            Just a short reply Konrad as life must go on: I would argue that the boats and cuts did matter in terms of symbolism, in addition to more pragmatic concerns and especially to a Military Junta.  Why?

            As military personnel, they were more likely to take a realist approach to international relations, where any sign of withdrawal or weakness would be interpreted as a sign to attack.  Maintaining a presence was a key element to strengthening Britain’s position in negotiations/diplomacy.  I think that much is clear.

            The withdrawal/cuts opened the door to attack, if you view this from a realist perspective.  It also a rational act to strike when your opponent is weak, not mad, stupid or unstable if you’re a realist.  Now, if you know your opponent thinks in such terms, it would be better to maintain at least the outward appearance of strength rather than outwardly exhibiting weakness.  The actions of the Thatcher government would indicate that they took their eye off the ball, and just didn’t think the situation through.  Not good poker.

            On Iraq, Labour was lied to just as much as anyone else by Blair and his coterie.  If we had been made aware of the deceit earlier, Blair might not have survived – though any speculation is merely conjecture.

            Anyway Konrad, good joust and all that. Good luck to you.

            Jason Butcher.

          • Anonymous

            And Callaghan surrendering British territory was not an even greater sign, it as not an even greater symbol?

            The Thatcher cuts certainly mattered but don’t were not the be all and end all of the situation. 

            A realist approach would have been not to invade from a military, diplomatic, economic point of view. The junta did not act in a realist fashion however, which is why it was believed that the cuts would not imperil the situation further. 

            The invasion was neither rational nor realist at all. It presumed as a pre requisite that the USA would abandon – or fight against –  the UK and therefore cripple NATO and the cornerstone of Western Defence. The invasion was a gamble and a reckless one. 

            Even with the proposed cuts the British still maintained a military presence in the islands and Argentina invaded when the assets were still there. 

            Labour could have brought down Blair before, during or after the invasion but failed to. The marches, the protests – all failed to galvinise the Labour party and membership. 

  • Lapuntadelfin

    Just nods……

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

    I really couldn’t care less whether it arouses sympathy for Thatcher or not. It won’t do up here, and I shall happily crack open the champagne when the witch goes to Hell, like the majority of people in Liverpool! If ‘the public’ are still in hock to Thatcherism, then we will lose the election in any case – really wish some party members would recognise this, and stop trying to put power above everything else.

  • Daniel Speight

    It will only take one Labour Party member somewhere in the UK to make a
    stupid comment on a blog for there to be a massive row about Labour not
    showing respect, and putting us off-side with the public.

    Isn’t this article intended to draw just that type of comment. I suspect your honesty Mr. Richards.

  • Anonymous

    We all know that some will not cancel their plans and we will see days if not weeks of various places having ‘The Witch is Dead’ parties being covered in exhausting detail.

    Instead of trying to King Canute this, best spend time working out how to limit and / or manage this from a Party perspective. Recognise that some are glad an old woman they hate is dead, accept that there will be some celebrations as well as some grief but take a dignified line as a parliamentary party and not get drawn into it as much as possible.

    • Anonymous

      If labour could have they would have invited her to be  the new head of new labour for god sake, Blair and brown fawned over her.

  • Anonymous

    I think you also forgot another few sizeable groups in there…. single parents most certainly did not have ‘a blast’ nor did those who faced a stream of redundancies as smaller companies fell by the wayside, nor indeed did many other people who I knew through the dark, dark days of the 80′s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

    I think its perfectly acceptable, and will happen, so get used to it

  • Anonymous

    I don’t relish the death of anybody, but I should hope people would show some restraint when the time comes for Mrs T. Perhaps even more frightening is the thought of what will happen when our former spiritual and war leader shuffles off this mortal coil, at least from the diehard Blairites. I can just see Paul Richards and John Rentoul in their black veils in the front car, wiping away a tear with their hankies. I have horrible visions of the great man lying in state in full view like the dear leader of North Korea recently did – they might even want him preserved for ever like Stalin.

    The 80s, BTW Mr Richards was not much fun for the unemployed, especially the unskilled. I know because I used to do some voluntary work for an organisation called Jobmate at the time run by Capital Radio and I saw the misery of others even though I was not unlucky enough to experience the misery of unemployment personally.

    • Anonymous

      I have not have a drink of Best bitter for a long time because of my health she goes I will have two…and I do not care, I do not like the old bat.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t like her either, but she is now an old lady and from what one hears is now seriously afflicted with dementia.

        That you might say is a punishment enough. I dislike Blair (I’d better be careful what I say or Cobley will be questioning my psychological health again) but I wouldn’t wish dementia or any other terminal health problem on him or anybody else.

        As Orwell said, all lives, when viewed from the inside, are a series of defeats and I would say she is now suffering for all the wrong, spiteful decisions she made. Strangely enough I don’t gloat over that, nor would I do so with Blair

        • Anonymous

          Problem is of course these type of people have political dementia most of the time, Blair thinks he’s a hero as does Brown, sorry but forgiveness is not easy for somebody who made so many people lives hell.

  • Anonymous

    What sense is there in this cod-sentimental nonsense? Is it some kind of prospective obituary for Baroness Thatcher, who, as far as I know, is currently still alive? Or is it an oblique criticism of the “Iron Lady” film because the movie sanitises and glamorises the life of a highly divisive British political figure, who wasted the enormous revenues accruing from the North Sea oil boom not on infrastructure but on tax cuts for the rich and unemployment benefit for the poor due to systemic economic failure that happened under her watch, as played by a great left-of-centre American actress who can imitate an accent like no other? Or is this article simply an expression of nostalgia for a time when its author was young and tender in the method of his means? Or is it just twaddle?

    You decide.

    • Anonymous

      Remind me what NHS spending under Thatcher was like?

      • Anonymous

        I’m not sure but I remember the waiting lists were very, very, very long…

  • England85

    I’m less angry these days about what the Tories
    did in the 80s (and I was there during it all in my 20s and early 30s lost 4 jobs and
    a house, the usual crap, but kept voting Labour all the time), but more than a bit miffed at what Labour did from
    1997 to 2010. Things got worse round here with higher crime, lower educational achievement,
    and fewer jobs. The Tories had started the rot but Labour failed totally to
    address it. They wasted millions locally but the only people I saw benefit
    where the ‘consultants’ and the outsourcing companies.

    Not seeing Labour really addressing its own
    history of being in power and failing is what makes me angry. Hating an old woman in her last years is not healthy politics and helps no one.

  • Anonymous

    I think there are different sides to this Paul.

    It was the politics and ideologically driven choices
    which I believe large sections of the population
    recall vividly, over a 17 year period, starting in the 80′s?

    The landscape changed dramatically- almost overnight;
    for example- sudden influx of consumerist goods,
    almost overwhelming.It was just something noticed
    but not explained.

    It’s those “symbols” and images of the 80′s which reflect the values:
    flashy kids in wine bars, outsized mobile phones,
    influx of homeless people alongside “yuppies”
    on every street corner in London….
    Much of it surreal- like watching a film.

    I saw similar in NYC- extreme contrasts of poverty
    and wealth; some people almost treated as invisible;
    high levels of mentally ill people seen on the streets
    and on park benches.

    Living in London at the time, I thought a great escalation.

    I agree the music was brilliant, and I do wonder
    whether those who grew up in the 60′s and 70′s felt a bit more freedom
    and more of a free space to develop creatively?

    There certainly seemed to be a lot more originality
    and a huge range of artists and music styles.
    Plus they had something to rail against and write about;
    look at the fab alternative comedy and satire inspired
    by Thatcherism?

    I have a real sense of dumbing down now over a generation;
    people seem to be far less active and aware; more likely to be slumped
    in front of reality TV and reading celebrity gossip?
    Not all- but I think less sense of “empowerment.”

    Social inequalities have deepened massively over the past 30 years.

    Manufacturing has been utterly neglected, and skills lost.

    The markets have almost become a religion, almost ingrained
    into our consciousness as a given.

    These are some of the legacies of that time.

    Personally I admired Maggie T in many ways,
    although detested the politics.

    It was also that “entourage” of strange Tory ministers
    talking through our radios day after day, sounding
    utterly out of kilter with ordinary people, some of them
    with really hardline views. Again, surreal.

    I do think there are significant echos back to that time,
    albeit from a modernized image and change of language.
    But it’s more or less the same agenda and ideology- and I do believe
    anyone who’s about 40+ will easily recall those miserable 17 years.

    I had a great time growing up, but there was that constant backdrop
    of bizzarely strange politics which had such a hugely detrimental
    effect on our country and society.

    Perhaps they should bring back Alan B’stard, Mr Loadsamoney
    and a few Spitting Image characters to remind us how extreme it was?!

    Not that I hold out huge hope at the moment Paul;
    things may have to get much worse before the penny finally drops….

    Thanks, Jo.

    • Anonymous

      Gosh, returning to bottom of thread- I sometimes feel as if I’ve been relegated to the naughty step Mark!

      I wasn’t undermining anything Paul has said- merely adding my own very real recollections.

      Sorry if I’ve read too much into this.

      Jo

  • Anonymous

    I vote for a state funeral hold on Blair and Brown said that, have her around for coffee Brown did that and I think Blair, Thatcher was a hero of both Blair and Brown sadly the cat in downing street was browns hero.

    In the end for what ever she did Brown and Blair did the same, she is now an old lady who has dementia, I say live and let live.

    Still p*ss on her grave when she is gone.

    • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

      A cock-eyed salute?

      • Anonymous

        Salute which I think Thatcher Blair and brown would get are banned in Germany and France,

  • David MacDonald

    I was working in manufacturing industry as a professional engineer throughout the 1980s and we did fine in the two companies where I worked. Sadly neither the Major nor the Blair Governments continued the expanded civil nuclear power programme initiated by the Thatcher Government. So we now face power cuts.   As for manufacturing industry under 13years of Labour rule – I suggest a look at the records. The bankers and the lawyers did well though.   Now let us consider the utterly miserable time thought the 1970s, culminating in the 1978/79 “Winter of Discontentduring which I had to escort my very pregnant and frightened foreign born Wife past a picket line of jeering pickets on the steps of St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester; never have I been so deeply ashamed of the country I love.

  • Anonymous

    I lived through the 80s as well.  I was in my 20s, just left University and working as a computer programmer.  

    What I remember was a wonderful decade of opportunity, ambition, success, and lots of hard work and long hours for big rewards.  A great time was had by all my friends. We were ex-working class and  upwardly mobile.  

    A great decade.    And to top it all, we had the greatest PM in modern times.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Homfray/510980099 Mike Homfray

      On some other planet, obviously. I left University, was unemployed for nearly 2 years, eventually did a years full time Community Service Volunteers. Then worked in the voluntary sector, largely with the victims of Thatcherism, who were entirely left behind by the selfishness and greed lauded by people like JoeDM.

      A horrible era best forgotten

      • Anonymous

        He was not on another planet, just in another part of the nation.

    • Anonymous

      Any decade is great if you lived comfortably through it. I did myself, but I am afraid the vulgar ostentation of some of those “upwardly mobile” types was revolting and sickening. I remember an evening in 1987 walking down Cheapside when two City gents in their early twenties complete with their business suits, swigging from bottles, and clearly very drunk It was about nine in the evening, fairly quiet. One of them stood by a bus stop and relieved himself. “Who the **** do you think you’;re looking at!” he yelled out at a woman standing by the stop.

      A pity some of them didn’t use their wealth to learn some manners.

      Thanks Joe for reminding me of that period of excesses

      • Anonymous

        Quite right.  The 80s were disgraceful in that members of the lower middle classes and, even worse, working classes, made money.  Inevitably their lack of class, and the good manners which form such a valuable part of a public school education, came out for all to see.  The oiks should know their place!

        • Anonymous

          It’s not a question of class.  It was a case  that people began to think normal standards of behaviour didn’t apply if they had enough money: you see the same sort of behaviour now with pop stars shoplifting in Boots, and the drunken antics of footballers. And of course, politicians began to feel that they could behave as they liked

          • Anonymous

            It was you who objecteed to “vulgar ostentation”.  “Vulgar” means “marked by a lack of good breeding, boorish”. 

            Many of those who criticised Mrs Thatcher in the 70s and 80s did so on the grounds of snobishness. 

          • Anonymous

            I consider it very vulgar to urinate in public in front of a woman at a bus stop. I also think it crude and vulgar to vomit out of the window of a taxi – i aw all this sort of thing because at the time I was working in Central London.

            There were just as many drunken wrecks who had been to public or private schools, who behaved just as boorishly.

            As you are treating us to a lesson in semantics I would remind you that vulgar also means   indecent; obscene; lewd, or any one of these things. And what that bloke did that night was, in my opinion, lewd and indecent.

            I didn’t castigate Mrs Thatcher because of her upbrining – I think she did a great deal of damage to this country in many different ways, just as I feel the same way about Blair, and I don’t think anyone would say he was of lowly upbringing.

          • Anonymous

            I’m sorry if I misunderstood you.  You seemed to dislike the “vulgar ostentation of some of those ‘upwardly mobile’ types’”.  By “upwardly mobile types” I assumed, obviously wrongly, you meant those who were improving themselves, but – given their “vulgar ostentaion” – lacked the class to carry it off.

            You seemed to be of a similar mind to the late Sir John Mortimer CBE QC (Harrow and Brasenose College, Oxford) who in his now largely forgotten novels and TV series Paradise Postponed and Titmuss Regained, gave us Leslie Titmuss, the archetypal upwardly mobile, vulgar, lower middle class Tory (contrasted with the decent, Labour, public school GP, as I recall).  Sir John did not approve of members of the lower orders who sought to “better” themselves.

          • Anonymous

            I’m sorry. You obviously have a lot ot time on your hands today to nit-pick.

            I think walking along the street swigging booze from a champagne bottle is ostentatious whoever did it, be it Albert Steptoe or  Princve Philip (not that I am suggesting he would to save you making another silly point.

            Manners and “taste & decency” to use that overworked politicians phrase, isn’t a matter of class. I myself came from a working class, single-parent background at a time when that was difficult, if you must know, so I am all for people improving themselves. What I don’t like, as I have already said, are people of whatever background who think that normal standards of behaviour don’t apply to them

          • Anonymous

            Manners maketh man!

    • Anonymous

      Werner Heisenberg the German Nobel prize-winning physicist reportedly said much the same thing about the decade 1935 – 1945 and Adolph Hitler while incarcerated at Farm Hall in England.

      • Anonymous

        Good stuff!  It is always appropriate to suggest that anyone who betrays the slightest degree of support or admiration for Mrs Thatcher is a Nazi!

        • Anonymous

          Typical Tory misinterpretation and distortion. No reasonably well educated person could read my comment and make a conflation like the one AnotherOldBoy does above. Explicitly, here’s the syllogism:

          Major premise:  Awful, terrible and cruel things needlessly happened to many innocent people from 1935 – 1945 and during the 1980s;

          Minor premise:  Moral, conscientious people usually cannot turn a blind eye towards and ignore awful, terrible and cruel things that happen to others even though they themselves happen to do well or be favoured by fortune when it comes to judging the overall worth of a particular historical epoch;

          Conclusion:  Moral, conscientious people would almost certainly disagree that 1935 – 1945 and the 1980s were “great decade(s)” – probably very much the opposite if truth were told.

          I thought this would be obvious to the sensible and the sane.

          Just goes to show you doesn’t it?

          • Anonymous

            I would have thought that accusing JoeDM of having no moral principles and no conscience and comparing him to someone who worked for the Nazis on developing a nuclear weapon of mass destruction was suggesting that he was a Nazi or, at least, not better than a Nazi.  But there you go.

            Indeed, I see that you now think that anyone who thinks that the 80s were a great decade almost certainly is not a moral, conscientious person.  It’s always good to monopolise the moral high ground, I suppose.But since you believe that it is typical of Tories to indulge in “misinterpretation and distortion” I will not bother to respond further to your outpourings.

          • Anonymous

            ” …will not bother to respond further to your outpourings.”

            Thank you. Mind that you keep your word.

  • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

    “It will only take one Labour Party member somewhere in the UK to make a stupid comment on a blog for there to be a massive row… ”

    Now I understand why social media sites like facebook are underused by L.P. branches – someone may say something uncomplimentary about Thatcher.

  • Anonymous

    BTW there is an e-petition going to privatize Thatcher’s funeral :)) I think instead of holding parties we should push this through and enjoy the most ‘efficient, cost effective and wealth generating’ funeral in history.

  • Mike Murray

    I’ve been misled. I thought I’d logged on to Labour List not Conservative Home.

  • robertcp

    The 1980s was a decade of mass unemployment.  This was actually due to the incompetence of the Tory government rather than any lack of compassion.  They were following silly monetarist theories that were a disaster.

    Thatcher is an objectionable right-wing Tory who did not seem to have a problem with Apartheid and Pinochet’s Chile.  However, I agree that it will be distasteful to celebrate someone’s death. 

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