Grace Dent: Thatcher's children we may be, but these death parties are just childish

Would I be here without her as an example? There’s no place for cogent pondering right now. You’re either a “Tory twat” or you have a death party to organise

Share

One might have noticed a news story this week about a 1980s Prime Minister passing away. Sadly, having only reasonable and not swivel-eyed or ghoulish views on the demise of Thatcher, I did not rush to a “Thatcher death party” or spend Monday screaming on the internet, which within three hours of her death was curiously 92 per cent populated by children of coalminers. My calmness has rendered me, sadly, somewhat redundant as a member of the chattering classes.

Obviously I have memories of Thatcher: I spent my entire youth in the far North under her decree during the three times in which she was voted into power. (Just to remind readers, there was no military coup to move Thatcher’s Carmen rollers into Downing Street. She won three general elections.) I am a child of the Thatcher era, my gob full of NHS silver fillings, my school milk snatched, my teen years passed in a tremendous strop about Clause 28 and cruise missiles. Yet still I cannot muster the righteousness and moral certitude of, say, those noble types climbing the front of the Brixton Ritzy cinema to unveil their “THE BITCH IS DEAD” banner. Well done everyone there. And you, Snapdragon, the one with Costcutter sparkling Lambrusco, the one who rearranged the letters to say RIOT. Great work.

I can muster up ire about anyone affiliated with the left – of which I still count myself a member – using, in 2013, the words “Bitch”, “whore”, “witch”, “bint” and, of course, “c***” to describe Margaret Thatcher. It rankles me that one must spell out to these supposedly fervent socialists the weirdness in calling women with whom one doesn’t agree – regardless of the view, regardless if she shut coal pits – a “bitch” or a “witch”.

I also question how, in 2013, one female with power during the 1980s appears to now be carrying the can for thousands of decisions made by thousands of men. Or how in today’s  enlightened age the attributes of powerful men – an eye for detail, doggedness, abundant energy, an ease with making unpopular  choices – are still seen in women as evidence of a malevolent robot or a witch.

Oh but then Thatcher wasn’t a proper woman, it seems; neither was she a feminist, or a believer in women, in fact she hated women, we’re told. She kept women down. Again, I didn’t agree with Thatcher on a legion of ideas, but thank God as a little girl I knew the story – told to me on Saturday Superstore and numerous other channels – of her becoming a research chemist, retraining as barrister, and determinedly elbowing her way into places men had never permitted us before. “I always felt sorry for her children,” mumbled Russell Brand, which is coincidentally what  dusty old Conservative farts in the 1950s said when she pitched up in a frock and tried to prise away a little power. “Oh the children, the poor children”. I disliked Thatcher, but would I be here – still very often the only woman at the table, the only woman on the panel show, the only woman on the judging body, the token woman on the shortlist – without her as an example? Obviously, there’s no place for cogent pondering like this right now. You’re either a “Tory twat” or you have a death party to organise.

Are these death parties? Well, who knew they were a feasible adult manner of protest? I have watched curiously the fireworks and ghoulish laughter of my ardent lefty chums, the ones who now run entire businesses propped up by people writing for free which due to the dismantling of the unions no strike can touch, the ones who have bought up ex-council houses to add to their property empires.

Obviously, if you are genuinely an ex-miner or the family of one, the thought of you raising a glass to the end of a very painful era is wholly understandable. I wish you well. The truth is, of course, there is no end to this era. We’re almost precisely in the same state, government-wise, as we were. So, on the other hand, if you’re 25 and have the time and the gumption to stand about in Brixton waving a bottle of prosecco, your time could be used more profitably by doing actual work in politics. The left needs passionate young blood right now. And if you’re still so very angry about milk being snatched in the 1970s – well, believe me, schoolchildren are starving right now and this ire could be used to get milk reinstated.

In fact if you’re truly so angry about Thatcher’s legacy you might have noticed there isn’t time for any parties. Celebrating death seems to me rather childish, when there’s adult work to be done.

Thank goodness I grew up before the internet

I ’ve watched the dismantling of  17-year-old former Youth Crime Commissioner Paris Brown’s burgeoning career with some fascination.

Paris, previously overjoyed to have taken on the pioneering role, has now been left tearful, tarnished and jobless due to a series of daft twitter outbursts, some of which were sent back when she was 14.

When I was 14, I remember winding up in the headmaster’s office for defiling a work folder with a number of graphic swearwords. I was a constant truant, smoked five Regal King Size a day, walked around in laddered tights, boxer boots and a luminous pink old woman’s pac-a-mac and would spend Saturday’s with my equally idiotic friends removing Twilight Teaser Number 7 lipsticks from Boots without paying. I was a complete tit.

The difference between me and Paris Brown is that I did my growing up pre-internet, so when the time came to blossom into a young woman ready for responsibility, one could neatly segue into adult life with nary a backwards glance. If we’re determined to encourage and permit young people to have every single second of their formative years photographed, recorded and electronically dispersed, we’re going to have to get a lot better at letting them, when the time comes, forget it.

React Now

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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Labour leader Ed Miliband unveils Labour's pledges carved into a stone plinth in Hastings  

Election 2015: Smash the two-party system! Smash the voting system!

Armando Iannucci
Tactical voting is a necessary evil of the current first-past-the-post system, where voters vote against what they do not want rather than in favour of what they do  

Election 2015: Voting tactically has become more fraught in new political order

Michael Ashcroft
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before