09 April 2013

Mrs Thatcher - A Point I Haven't Noticed Elsewhere

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It was Mike Cliffson (a frequent commenter on this blog)'s mother who told me in 1983 how pleased she was that for the second election in a row there was a clear ideological choice to be made: Thatcher versus Foot; capitalism versus socialism.

It's easy to argue that we should avoid extremes, but in fact, in a parliamentary democracy, the extremes are left to take care of themselves and parties attempt to appeal to the centre.

Appeals to the centre from a defined ideological position, though, whether left or right, are so much more refreshing than people eschewing ideology altogether.  Foot versus Thatcher: you can work out for yourself where you want to be along the (long) line which separates them.  Cameron/Clegg versus Milliband (or Milliband/Clegg): where is the line? Who is drawing it?

Politics actually matters.  And I'd rather people remembered the ideologically opposed days of Thatcher and Foot than pretended that consensus was a goal to be fought for.  I'd rather hear Ken Livingstone explain why he thought Thatcher was wrong, than hear Ed Balls tell us what a towering figure she was.

But I can't help feeling that people in their thirties celebrating her death with parties have lost the plot: not just of politics, but of humanity.
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8 comments:

Rubricarius said...

Some of the behaviour is very odd indeed.

Love her or loathe her, she was a giant figure in British, and world, politics in the twentieth century. The transformation - again, what was both good and bad about it - of our society was irreversible after her three terms. Not only did she change the nature of her own party but she changed the opposition too which is quite an achievement.

FWIW, I was not over keen on many of her policies but admire her for the leadership and determination she exhibited. I think if she had gone after the second term it would have been better for her and everyone.

Anagnostis said...

Agree with Rubricarius, and with your last paragraph. I was (and am reminded by the pictures in today's papers and the archive soundbytes on R4 that I remain) firmly in the "loathe" camp; but I'd accept this is as much visceral and atavistic as rational. She certainly wasn't a political soul mate - but then neither are any of the grave-dancing tendency. I don't have a political "soul" at all, and perhaps that's what made her tribal Toryism so repulsive to me - that, and the perception that moving from a market economy to a market society began with her suburban brand of populist libertarianism.

It's been a depressing week, what with TBW all over the front pages again, and the reappearance of the droopy aluminium crucifix and the polyester mitre.

Ttony said...

Anagnostis: at least the droopy crucifix and the polyester mitre aren't your problem any more. ;-)

If you get a chance can you e-mail me (I've lost your address): I want to post something about the Filioque but I want to make sure I don't traduce the Orthodox.

Mark Lambert said...

In a time when I despair at the bland mediocrity of all our politicians as they bicker over the middle ground, and try desperately to avoid upsetting anyone, I can't help but look back at her strong leadership and direction with some sense of nostalgia.

Independent said...

One wonders where the children who were pictured demonstrating against Mr Thatcher were educated and by whom? Where did they acquire the idea that hatred in politics is legitimate?

Rubricarius said...

Anagnostis, I am being thick: who or what is TBW?

Ttony said...

Rubricarius: That Bloody Woman, one of the soubriquets by which MHT was known during the 80s.

PJ said...

I heard Lord Tebbit speak recently, where he argued that a good leader aims for the common ground not the middle ground and I couldn't agree with him more.