April 13, 2013

The Lady's Not For Learning

She helped drag Britain kicking and screaming into her version of the late 20th century, but she would have left it there, if given half a chance. In many ways she did it by reimposing her idea of the nineteenth century, but without the philanthropy and better instincts; she also did it by imperiously and hypocritically using Big Government to interfere whenever she thought small government, democracy, or localism produced the wrong result. As she proclaimed, she was a conviction politician, not a consensus politician; but her convictions were often less strictly ideological than psychological – she was a Believer, but I suspect political and economic ideologies played a small role compared to the personal and familial. And she's so often made the scapegoat for so much of the destruction that was really self-destruction on the left, especially in the union movement. Unmaternal, she was also pleasingly and deeply anti-Paternal. She was adept at smashing barriers – but mostly for the rich, the powerful, and the lucky. Like a lot of NeoCons, she conflated fairness and freedom, but they're not at all the same thing (freedom usually comes at quite a cost to fairness, and vice versa).

The shabby, demoralised, demoralising, broken-down London I inhabited in the Thatcher Years certainly suffered both from the immediate past decades and from the Thatcherite cure, but even as late as then a lot of the people I knew didn't see the change, didn't believe there'd be any sort of permanent revolution. She, however, surely never doubted; nor did I.

“There's no such thing as society” – just Us and Them, I guess.

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