Beware of the rabid right, not the loony left

In the wake of Thatcher's death it has been shown once again that the most intolerant, Stalinist and insistently PC forces are on the right

Share

On January 30th 1978, the day my son was born, Margaret Thatcher charmingly told white TV viewers their country was in danger of being “swamped” by other cultures. Enoch Powell’s gory warnings about black and Asian immigration  were rebranded and detoxified by the wily, well groomed, Lady Tory and embedded in the nation’s psyche. Her words were calculated, and won her populist support and admirers within her party. Sixteen months later she became PM.

In the ceaseless cacophony following her death, scant attention has been paid to her supremacist views of Empire (Bruge Speech, 1992) or the race riots, or the many deaths in custody of black men, or government-sanctioned unfair policing, or her deep hostility to immigrants of colour or concomitant warmth towards white Zimbabweans and South Africans. As the blogger Jacqueline Scott writes: “Racism fattened under Thatcher”. Forgotten too is her vendetta against the GLC and ILEA, those London bodies that did not fall in line with her little-Englandism. The politically correct, radical right has silenced all such talk and much more besides.

Make no mistake, the most intolerant, Stalinist and insistently PC forces today are on the right, not on the so called “loony left”. Last week the right hysterically attacked the Diana Fund for supporting a pro-immigration organisation. Diana was a friend to the outsider and the despised; yet those she was close to are kicking off about this funding. The same reactionary battalions stopped the BBC from fully playing a song that legitimately got into the top of the charts, because it “insults” the hallowed Tory matriarch. Most of our newspapers are on the right and they push, and sometimes bully, broadcasters into that same ideological space. Fearful of bad headlines, the BBC meekly accommodates their propaganda – and so the right gets bolder and more demanding.

I was on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff as a panellist all week and expressed unfashionably critical assessments of the Thatcher era. Some of the reactions I received made me wonder if I should better conceal or disguise my deeply-held socialist, anti-racist  views. Walking through Whiteleys, where the programmes are recorded, a group crowded and abused me. Some were racist, others insulting or filthy. It was horrible. Back home, onto my screen came more from the rabid-right PC brigade. They are offended by anyone who disagrees. Dissent, to them, is treason, an embodiment of the enemy within (Lady Thatcher’s term for striking miners).        

Every day we, the people, are instructed on what we should say, think and feel. To belong, we must not only praise Lady Thatcher for her greatness, but also be foolish, doting royalists, hate the poor, approve of welfare cuts, hate the unions, reject the principle of equality and proclaim immigration as a threat. Lady Thatcher, the Boudicca of the fanatical right, reclaimed the kingdom for them and they remain powerful, unbeatable and unbearable.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...

Ashdown Group: C# Developer - (C#, VB.Net, SQL, Git, TDD)

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Developer (C#, VB & ASP.Net, SQL Server, TSQL) - Pe...

Ashdown Group: Business Relationship Manager

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Business Relationship Manager - Enfield, North Lond...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Pressure is growing on Chris Grayling to abandon the Government bid to advise Saudi Arabia on running its prisons (Getty)  

What in sanity’s name is Chris Grayling doing in the job of Justice Secretary?

Matthew Norman
Health workers of the Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontieres take part in training  

Are we starting to see the end of Ebola? Not quite, but we're well on our way

Tom Solomon
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea