Tuesday, April 9, 2013

1984: People saying that you're no good for me

I felt really Eighties yesterday. All that Thatcher stuff. I was 14 when she came to power, and I remember arriving home from somewhere quite late at night to find my parents in the kitchen with some neighbours toasting a Tory victory.

Politics didn'tm ean much to me then. To be honest, I'm not the most political person now, but I was aware of who was who in government. All those names you heard on the TV and radio I could put faces to. But I wasn't celebrating like they were.

I first became aware of Thatcher during the 1975 leadership challenge. My uncle wanted Willie Whitelaw, but my parents were backing Thatcher. As you've probably gathered, I grew up in a Conservative household. My parents were and still are Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph readers, and the older they get the more conservative with ever 'c' they become, though there was a brief blip when they voted Lib Dem a few elections ago.

But when I say I felt Eighties yesterday, it's because I was transported back to those student days of going to London for marches against Thatcher (in reality sitting in the pub all day or going shopping), the miners' strike, the Brighton bomb and all that. The entire Eighties, almost all of my teens right up to my mid-twenties were lived under the dreaded Thatch.

Now, I'm not one to ding-dong about the death of an old women, no matter how reviled she was, and you wonder if Twitter had been in operation when Myra Hindley died would she have generated the same amount of bile Thatcher did? Devisive is putting it mildly. I was rather shocked by some people's reactions, but then again, perhaps I'm coming at it from a different angle. Politics didn't really affect me.

So how do I feel? Well, I never voted like my parents did, I was shaped by the events of the Eighties which meant I could never bring myself to vote Conservative, but watching that Thatcher bio doc last night - which was fascinating and moreover, had a wonderful soundtrack (Sleepy Shores! Mouldy Old Dough! Chi Mai!) - I got kind of nostalgic and wistful that I lived through this hugely eventful historical period and felt kind of sad it was all over. Of course, if my father had been a miner or something I'd probably be digging out my tap shoes and uncorking the Pomagne.

But then again, would I? Thatcher is all tied up with Red Wedge and Ben Elton and Wham's Freedom (on the common room jukebox the day of the Brighton bombing), a bit of the past that almost gives me a warm glow.

Is that wrong?


  1. If it's any consolation, while Thatcher herself is dead (though I wouldn't put it past her to start rising from the grave at midnight and spiriting small children away), Thatcherism is alive and well, and kicking the vulnerable and weak straight in the nuts as effectively as she ever did, if not more so.

    I've been on the Pomagne, of course.