So long, Mrs T.

Margaret Thatcher’s death is more interesting for what it shows us about what is happening now, than for anything that may have happened 25 years ago.

Here is my take on that.

Mrs T. was (like all of us) imperfect. She did some things that were ‘good’ and some things that were ‘bad’.

When she died, those that disliked her focused on the impact she had had on People. Those that liked her focused on the impact she had had on Money and… some kind of indefinable ‘rules’ or principles of behaviour. A set of ‘shoulds’.

Nothing to talk about here, you might think. “One set of people thinks people are more important than money. Another set of people thinks money is more important than people.” So what?

Well, there’s a little niggle that reinforces it for me, and it reveals something about the times we are living in now, rather than having anything to do with Thatcher.

Time and again when I saw a pro-Thatcher story, it would dismiss those who disliked her as ‘left wing’, or even ‘feminist’. A label that said “Those people, and their opinions, do not matter… Because they are not like us.  They do not believe what we believe. They do not follow the indefinable ‘rules’ or principles of behaviour, the set of ‘shoulds’ that [we imagine] Thatcher stood for.”

But we already know that the supporters of Thatcher think that [other] people are less important, so surely this is what we would expect?

Yes. But it shows us something deeper about the times we are living in now.

As a culture/society we are living in a time of change. Change brings stress (or can do).

The reason that Thatcher’s death caused such great reactions was because it reminded people of the emotional tensions they are living in Now. The reactions we read about show that many people now are living in a tension between whether People are important, or whether Money is important, and fear about whether the future will make us worse of in terms of one or both of these.

By reading the stories about ‘Margaret Thatcher’ we get to understand what is happening now. And we see that there are two groups of people in the world: those who believe that all people are important; and those who believe that only some people are important.

This is the underlying reason why the ‘Thatcher-supporting’ group or culture can sex up reports of Weapons of Mass Destruction in order to invade Iraq, irrespective of the civilian casualties and the birth defects from depleted uranium. This is the culture that allows fracking to go ahead. This is the culture that allows so many ‘other’ species of life, indeed whole ecosystems, to come to the point of extinction. Because “They are not like us, so they do not matter.”

This, I believe, is the crux, the core, of all the crises we face today.

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