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Gravedancing

In years to come will we be asked if we can remember the details of our lives the day we heard the news. I was at a bus stop listening to Radio 2 (unless I wasn't, details are sketchy). It's hard to remember anything or think clearly in the midst of this nauseating propaganda pea souper; the outpouring of Tory sycophancy and mistruth has been staggering - and it's still going on, partly because of the disturbances caused by 'leftists' dancing on Thatcher's (for it is she that I speak of) grave.

I am currently typing this (if, thanks to this broken keyboard, it can be called such) at Bristol library. On the way here I heard a couple of students, kids, on the seat behind me; one of them was saying that she wanted to get into 'sales'. That is the legacy of the 'iron lady'. Even when I was at school (which was during her heyday) I remember people saying similar things; one lad saying he wanted to get into accountancy. Even then I sneered - ok we need some people, I suppose, to deal with money matters, but to aspire to accountancy? In each case the motivation seems to be the same: it's good money. Whatever happened to true aspiration, with wanting to do something at least beneficial for society. While we might need people to count the coins, that's only because we live in a monetarist age.

There are better places to go to find a true representation of her reign of terror. Another Angry Voice is a blog on the links on this very page, while the Red Pepper has another analysis. Both will know doubt be ashes in the mouths of effusing Tory eulogists who, like Cameron, are happy to waste public money burying this creature while using the whole affair to launch into more ideological bollocks. I'm not going to engage in grave dancing, that's the sort of form the right wing media has (I seem to remember they 'celebrated' the sinking of the Belgrano with the phrase 'Gotcha'). This is how they operate, not I how operate.

Besides this isn't a victory: it's the marking of a new phase in the war against the Tory monied elite that worship Thatcher. The battle has not ended.

This whole business has revealed the Tories in a way they perhaps didn't realise. In their public eagerness to reveal their love for her warped and broken ideology they show their true colours in a way we could only have dreamed of during the Corporate Sports Festival and the Diamond Jubilee last year. Where it was ridiculous for GOve to suggest we all chip in to buy the Queen a new boat, we are told we must for out 10 million for a funeral.

It is now clear in a way it has never been before just how desperately wedded to a small minded ideology the Tories are, along with their hapless Libdem underlings. Every tribute is merely a thinly veiled pop at socialism/labour/the unions; a remark on how broken Britain was during the seventies. Yet it took a war and the vile rhetoric of the gutter press to shore up her support in the early years.

Noone can deny the devastating impact that is her legacy. No social housing at a time we are forced to undertake a 'spare room subsidy' (it's not a tax, remember!). She sold off the housing which of course gave more power to the banking sector (that she also supported). Why do people still have to rely on a huge millstone of debt - hundreds of thousands of pounds - just to get into a home! Thatcher allowed people to buy these houses, which of course is a vote winner, and never replaced them. Gone forever it seems is the notion of housing as a right and a communal resource. Now it's all housing bubbles and property speculation, all helped by banks that were unfettered in he eighties as never before. Where has that left us, well that's obvious to anyone with a brain surely.

Utilities were privatised in a purely ideological drive to destroy society leaving people with a dependence on market forces and profiteering corporations. This takes more money out of the economy as people have no choice but to spend their money on heating lighting and water. That is less money to be spent freely.

Perhaps the most nauseating part of her legacy is the perverse notion that she was an example to women. People the world over - including hopeless Hollywood actors like Streep - see her as a powerful icon of womanhood. They of course forget that she was backed by a very rich husband and was, ultimately, stabbed in the back by the stuffy patriarchy that remains in power to this day. There are very few women in the Tory party and in politics in general, yet most of them are obliged to pay this singular tribute to Thatcher just because she happened to be born with a particular set of chromosomes: had Thatcher not been the first, someone else would have. In my, masculine, opinion it means nothing. She did nothing to reform politics into a more gender equal environment, certainly didn't reform the attitudes of the ruling elite, and has left us with creatures as reprehensible and morally dead as the disgusting Edwina Currie and Theresa 'catwoman' May.

Yet since Monday the BBC has gone into overdrive, predictably I suppose, hosting an endless array of political superstars from yesteryear, from spitting image puppets like Douglas Hurd to Glasnost Gorbachev. It's like some ghastly TV reunion show. No doubt next week there will be wall to wall coverage of her corpse proceeding through the streets of a changed London, as oblivious in death as in life, to the havoc her stubborn ideas wrought.

Comments

  1. To my surprise there are quiet moments of genuine glee in my heart this last week - grim, dark, sick, macabre this maybe . . . yes, but horribly succulent underneath.

    No matter how the measure of sickness in my urge to clog dance her grave monument into oblivion, none of it is as startlingly negative as the sensation of having lived under the reign of Queen T.

    Champagne corks pop like dandelion stalks being scythed up T'North.


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    1. It's catharsis. THat's what the scumbag media can't understand. Instead all these people cracking open the bubbly are crazed loony leftist anarchists (unlike city bankers cracking open the bollinger on bonus day).

      The only issue I have is that we haven't won the war. Catharsis is great and certainly those wastelands created by Thatcher need to heal, but that can't happen until we get a proper government in. Things will not change for at least 2 years, even then I doubt a Labour government will be significantly different if at all.

      Those people moaning that the 'rioters' are too young to remember Thatcher are being deliberately disingenuous. As Owen Jones said, few remember the second world war but all can agree it was bad. Besides we can all see her cold whithered touch everywhere we look. Everything from the financial crash to TOWIE bear her mark.

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  2. It's the evil ideological shift that surged forward in the mid eighties and stayed I want to see mended (some hope!) - the time when freely expressed hatred became socially acceptable, and a vile, braying, anally retentive intellectual tea pot - ism took hold.

    The woman wasn't even a proper Conservative. Ted Heath, for instance, despised her. Another very highly placed and controversial grandee of the Tory party (who had best remain nameless here) had great contempt for her. It wasn't only lefties who could see the damage she was doing to the country.

    Imagine a nation that decides it's a good idea to have a greengrocer's daughter run the country like it was a shop. Then dear reader, if you don't know already, go and learn a bit about Ayn Rand, and realize that good old Maggie was a keen reader of this "philosopher", - a thinker of startlingly shallow, amphetamine fuelled emotionally dead tripe who appeared to favour turning Communism on its head as a basis for arranging a cult of herself.

    Anyway, I'll be raising a glass on Wednesday in a week of continuing surprising laughs. It's not a case of me expressing hatred at all, it is very, very dark humoured Joy.

    Scargill's head on stamps - that'd be good for a laugh.

    From our point of view the Labour Party are hacked by the same neo liberal expedio fascisti gang as are everywhere these days.

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    1. The libertarian objectivist ideal is childish in my opinion.

      I hope there's some dissent on wednesday though i've no doubt the cops have been programmed not to stand for it.

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  3. Hi, I replied to your 'Society Guardian' comment this morning, and I said that I would leave a more in depth reply on your blog.

    You were commenting about how younger people were given the opportunity to gain some experience in the arts. I know from reading your blog that you have an interest in writing; having the same interest myself, I wanted to offer a few ideas for you about that. I hope that I'm not telling you things you already know!

    I entered university at 40 as a mature student and gained an arts degree (music/music tech); after that, I was able to find work in community arts, but unfortunately now I am too ill to work.

    If you don't have a degree, have you ever considered studying for one? A person in your financial circumstances would be eligible to have tuition fees covered; the loan you take out would be for living expenses (you don't need a status to obtain this loan). If you don't have A Levels you could study with Open University full time; the standard at this university is very high, on a par with Oxford and Cambridge. I did a level 1 course with them, and this then allowed me to enter conventional university. As a mature student though, many universities would accept you based on an interview and your aptitude for a subject (presumably you would study English?). I'm not sure, but I think that you can study part time whilst claiming benefits, and you still get a small grant from the OU, around £500, which the DWP allow. At least I was able to do that in the year 2000

    You spoke in your comments about not having a newer computer or software. If you can demonstrate that you have some kind of disability – and you don't have to be on disability benefits to do that – you can get a disabled person's grant. This is used to purchase a new computer for you for university, all the software you require for your course, and pays for an internet connection, along with other things. This applies whether you study at the OU full or part time, or a conventional university.

    There are also good creative writing courses that give grants to cover their course costs. The best one I saw was in the Guardian last year. I can't do it now as I'm too ill to travel, and also the LA took away my activities grant. The website is here:

    http://arvonfoundation.org/1/Home

    Open University also do an online creative writing course. You don't need to register, you just read and complete the set tasks. I found it very useful:

    http://www.open.edu/openlearn/history-the-arts/culture/literature-and-creative-writing/creative-writing/start-writing-fiction/content-section-0

    Additionally, if you are able, and you have a good idea, I'd just get on with writing and consider uploading it as an e book:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/jun/06/become-an-ebook-superstar

    Finally, I found some good ideas with these tips from top writers:

    Part 1:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-one

    Part 2:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/20/10-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-two

    Again, I apologise if I'm only telling you things that you already know, but I hope that some of it has been of help. This is the sort of encouragement that workfare advisers should be giving people and allowing them time to pursue such goals. Rather than making them work the whole week for nothing, rather perhaps a day or two in the community doing something, and the rest focused on what people really want to do for work. But, the government don't get it do they?

    Sassonx

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    1. Thanks for the reply. I won't reply on the Guardian site as it's off topic to discuss my issues therein. That isn't the purpose of that thread.

      I tried university in 2000 with a view to studying Creative Music Technology but the course was a bit of a mess and I chose not to continue after the first year because the uni were no help and I didn't want to get into debt. Whether that was the right decision, only history can tell. But I felt that it wasn't creating the opportunities i needed and I really didn't want to be lumbered with student debts. Unfortunately the increase in tuition fees and the continuing of student debt as a policy means I'm unlikely to pursue a degree. I just cannot deal with that kind of debt. Ironically this is money that could come from the billions instead wasted on the Work Programme.

      I'm not opposed to the idea, but only if it means not getting massively in hock.

      I'm not sure what I would study; given the dire state of employment at present it would have to be something with a pretty concrete future. That was one of the reasons I didn't continue with the above course. It became pretty clear it wasn't going to lead anywhere (my work was being ignored and mucked up) and competing for opportunities using tech I couldn't afford to own was going to be very tough.

      I'll have to check out the OU. Seems better than the training opportunities espoused by the likes of the Salvation Army. I'm sure it will appease their needs.

      The point about the computer was to explain just how small differences people now take for granted can be important: different software packages even operating systems make all the difference. We might be forgiven that one OS is the same as another and that one shouldn't need to upgrade, but of course if you want to compete for jobs you need the skills. Take the kid from the US that built his own phone app and sold it for millions; I've never used a phone app! There'd be little point signing my ESA away for a phone contract and I doubt that would be a smart move! Somehow the world has changed and very dramatically over the course of a single generation. Given that society is hell bent on forcing people to compete what else can you do?

      What I'm trying to do right now is publish an ebook. It's really the only way I can think of. It would be nice if there was support for that, but I doubt very much if the Work Programme would recognise it as a valid job. That's the great irony of it all. I have something I am working on, but without the support it will only ever be seen as a pipe dream. If it ever gets done (worrying about benefits and dealing with the WP doesn't help) then of course it will be seen differently. I'm not trying to write fiction, it's a game. I can sell it for a few quid (providing i can do the layout which I might just be able to do) then great. If not, well that's life.

      Thanks for the help and the links. :)

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    2. Yes, I understand, being able to afford to keep up to date with your skills in technology to be able to obtain work is out of most people's reach once they become unemployed. I'm out of touch with all of the sound manipulation software now, and I can't afford to replace it.

      To be able to keep up at uni, most of my grant had to be spent on equipment, and then I'd have to hope that the people who ran the university hardship fund would have pity and give me at least a grant to live; most semesters they did fortunately! I have £17,000 worth of student loan debt; less than some because of course I was eligible for a course fee waiver, but that didn't phase me really as I knew that I would find work in my particular area. I think that if you do know that there's work available, it does make it worth it.

      I'm glad that you're writing an e book game; it sounds great and I wish you well with it. I've been writing a book for 2 years, but it's hit and miss as I'm ill most of the time. I'm currently going through ESA reassessment, and since the coalition came to power, I'm subject to yearly care assessments which last 4-5 months of the year and are very stressful, then an audit of the care books, then a financial assessment to figure out my contribution (now £4500 per year even though I have no assets or savings) and when the ESA is sorted out, perhaps before that since it takes so long, the care assessment phase will start all over in July. Last week I just had a DWP 'performance measurement visit', my 3rd in 3 years (yet they say its random: yeah, sure), to prove my identity, show all of my financial records and so on; very stressful again.

      My whole life is a round of assessments now, and I'm pretty exhausted with it all: NOT conducive to any kind of creativity. That said, I painted, albeit in agony, 4 small canvases for people last year and I started composing a piano piece and an electroacoustic composition. Nothing so far this year, apart from a detailed drawing of a damaged skull entitled 'As in death, also in life': sums up my feeling at the moment lol!

      I have another artist friend who is similarly going through hell due to ESA reassessment; last time they removed his income for 18 months. His has chronic social anxiety and other psychological problems as it is and he can't function at all presently.

      Mental torment: the product of Maggie's rule last time around, and it just continues.



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    3. I tried running music software, but without a decent soundcard (and a keyboard) it's just not going to happen. Never mind having to source pirate copies of what is extremely expensive music software.

      Maybe I'll ask the WP about the OU. It would be interesting to see if they can offer anything in that regard or have any knowledge thereof. Somehow I doubt it. I'm supposed to hear from them in the next few days, though the lst two appointments I've had to chase them up (which you think would count in myf avour).

      I'm still waiting to hear back from ATOS. I can't say i'm looking forward to an assessment as I don't belive I have a chance of passing; not when people that are dying are rejected. Unfortuantely despite the WP claiming they could offer me help if I was on ESA that turns out to be another mirage. I've been sold down the river somewhat.

      How on earth anyone is meant to survive in penurism for 18 months (or even 18 days) I will never know. Surely doctors must be speaking out about this as they have a duty of care over such patients (even if the DWP abandon theirs).

      Even though she's dead, Thatcherism carries on. The only way out of this mess is a concerted national effort: we need a general strike but the unions just bottle it everytime. Without them there's no hope at all.

      I think things are going to become increasingly angry and desperate if there isn't some hope soon.

      Delete

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