Margaret Thatcher died this week. And some people had parties. That doesn’t seem right to me. I am aware of Thatcher’s reputation as the ogre of the right in British politics and while not knowing a great deal about her or her policies (I know enough to where I stand), my opinion of her was always, frankly, low. My political views always drift to the left and often to near-socialism – that being said I am incredibly vain and love cash, glamour and all the fleeting trappings of the entertainment business so I guess I’m one of these annoying little turds that claims to be a righteous lefty but maybe am about as close to Che Guevara as Donald Trump masturbating into a pile of dollar bills, anyway I know enough about Thatcher to know that many, especially those in the industrial north, have genuine and legitimate grievances against her and her policy-making.
My point however, is that it’s almost always wrong to celebrate someone’s death. There are some cases when it’s ok. For example when, deep beneath a ruined Berlin and the tramping of Red Army boots, Hitler bit down on a cyanide capsule at the same time as firing a pistol into his brain, hence ending any lingering German desire to prolong a war (that he started) that claimed 55 million lives not to mention removing from existence a soul who’s entire emotional and intellectual outlook had been based on hatred, then yes, the world became a better place. But Thatcher wasn’t Hitler. I don’t believe in the term ‘Don’t speak ill of the dead’. If we did that we’d have no history as we’d constantly say be saying how Grrrrrreatttt everyone was and just because someone dies doesn’t mean you have to change the opinion you had of them while they were alive.
So if you didn’t like Thatcher in life, then that opinion remains the same. However, to actually celebrate someone’s death feels like the height of bad taste. An 87 year old lady dying after a stroke has no impact on your life. Feel free to continue disapproving, disliking or even hating what she did in life but now she’s dead don’t your celebrations feel a little empty not to mention ‘wrong’? The problem is there are grieving family and friends left behind and how do you think they feel when they switch on the telly, see shots of the Ritzy Picture House in Brixton with the official news reading ‘Margaret Thatcher is Dead’ and underneath a hastily constructed homemade banner bearing the legend ‘The bitch is dead’ while people dance in the streets in front of it? Those family and friends didn’t create her policies. They didn’t take your milk or send soldiers to the Falklands so why don’t you show those grieving for her the respect that you felt she denied you and many others in life? No matter what terms you couch it in, whether it means that’s the ultimate victory and shows that deep down you’re better than the Tory governments you so hated or simply you believe it’s the right thing to do, isn’t it better than throwing a party because someone’s no longer alive?
Many politicians have left a mixed legacy and Monday’s events made me wonder what fate awaits the demise of Blair and George W. Bush, it wouldn’t surprise me if there was nary a piece of agitation on the streets when these two men who contrived one of the most controversial wars in recent history pass away. Despite my empty respect for shiny showbiz baubles I am deep-down and inexorably a lefty and had I lived in Thatcher’s Britain I believe I would have openly disdained her and her government but I also genuinely believe I’d have kept the bunting in the loft yesterday. What do scenes of violence and destruction on the streets of Brixton and Glasgow achieve but to drive yet another divisive wedge between two ends of the political spectrum that had gone some way towards healing the old wounds and prejudices exacerbated during the Thatcher era? And what’s to be gained by celebrating the passing of someone you thought of as ‘bad’, apart from to make you a little bit worse too?
Bit serious this week I know and not exactly ‘showbiz’ but I was struck by something I dearly wanted to write about and often it’s best to go with this instinct but never fear back to tits, Taylor Swift and TOWIE next week.
First published on IAmMusic.TV, 11th April 2013