The fact that the Telegraph has found it necessary to shut down comments on their hagiographic coverage of reaction to Thatcher’s death is simply one of many examples of the deep resentment many people are feeling. Celebrations may be distasteful, and premature, since the divisive spirit of Thather’s legacy is still so much a feature of British politics, but they are arguably a legitimate expression of dissent from the narrative of triumph people are being coerced into accepting.
Fact is, Cameron’s reaction to Thatcher’s death has been extreme, suggesting that he welcomes it as a diversion from his own weakness and incompetence as a leader. It’s being used as an unpleasant and undignified diversion from the far more serious matter of the Coalition’s spiteful and ill-conceived attack on welfare. The Tories can fulminate until the cows come home about the undeserving poor, but they comprise a minute minority of those who will suffer under recently implemented benefit caps. It is becoming incresingly clear that for the last couple of decades the primary role of welfare has been to plug the gaping holes in a free market economy that, largely as a result of Thatcher’s attack on trade unionism and liberalisation of the labour market, no longer feels obliged to offer hard-working people job security or even a living wage. The crippling fiscal burden of a soaring housing beneft bill has become a necessity directly related to the Thatcherite policy of selling off the country’s stock of social housing, a policy that the Coalition now has the nerve to penalise the very people who are suffering its effects for by taxing them for over-occupying their homes while leaving pensioners, often a far more invidious example of such behaviour, untouched.
History is written, or at least revised, by the winners, but these triumphalist bastards haven’t even won yet. They are trying to claim victory by association by fawning on the memory of the Tory party’s most iconic figure. And, even if it wasn’t costing an absolute fortune, it would be a disgrace. Who cares about a library being set up as a memorial to the Iron Lady? If you’ve got that sort of cash to spare, it should be going on all the much-loved local authority branch libraries that are closing up and down the country, robbing some of Britain’s neediest people of facilities they badly need. Not least, a quiet place for children to do homework as an alternative to chaotic home lives. Such a policy is one of many that deprives people of the very social mobility Thatcher espoused as part of her creed of self-improvement.