Let Thatcherism be buried with Thatcher

Regardless of creating a society of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, the prosperity she created was a mirage - I can only see the one million 16-24 year-olds who are unemployed

Share
Related Topics

When Margaret Thatcher left office in November 1990 I was barely a month old.

I obviously have no memory of the dramatic fall of the Iron Lady but I’ve been told by my mother on several occasions that I could not bear the sound of her voice. For some reason, despite all the work she famously did to lower her pitch and tone, I could not listen to any radio or television broadcast without howling with newborn distress - despite being a rather docile baby most of the time.

To this day I don’t think my mother has ever been more proud of me.

It seems ironic that for all she tried to achieve in office, the children born at the end of her reign are the ones who will suffer worst from the economy she created.

The graduating class of 2012, that is children born between September 1990 and August 1991, is the very first ever to be poorer than their parents.

For all the talk of her creating an aspiration nation, everything she gave to the father she took away from the son.

I don’t want to do a hatchet job before she is even cold in the ground. Despite my personal opinion of her I did not take to the streets dancing when I heard of her death. Nor did I get involved in the frankly asinine musical spat in the charts this weekend.

Her time in office; the Falklands War, the crushing of the unions, the miner’s strike and the Big Bang. The sound and the fury emanating from all corners of public life over the past week has urged everyone to either condemn or condone her policies as if it’s a public duty.

But I won’t. Whether the unions were too strong or not, whether the country benefited from a deregulated financial sector, whether she put the ‘Great’ back in front of Britain or sped up its terminal decline is not for me to say.

I didn’t live through it so I am not going to comment on it.

All I can see is what is laid out ahead of me. I can only see the one million 16-24 year-olds who are unemployed. I see the thousands of graduates who got thousands of pounds in debt to ‘aspire’ for a better life but get to work for free. I see my generation shackled to rising rental contracts drifting further and further away from the Thatcherite home owner dream.

The free market may have given thousands of small businesses owners a chance to get started but it means their children who want to climb even further up the greasy pole have to accept a new market wage of nothing.

She may have given thousands of families a ticket into the middle class with council house purchases but her refusal to build more not only cut off those on a lower rung, but precipitated a housing crisis which means the children will never get to enjoy the rewards.

Regardless of creating a society of ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, the prosperity she created was a mirage. She created a temporary spike.

The Thatcherite dream lasted only a few years because it was a gorging, grotesque, all-consuming type of prosperity which can only turn in on itself as it is runs out of external nutrients.

The pursuit of glory and riches is said to only be worth it if you can pass it on. That is why kings and tyrants try to build dynasties; if you can’t pass it on to your son or daughter why bother building it at all?

So, what was the point of Thatcher? We can let historians debate whether what she did was necessary or not but we have to ask ourselves whether it was worth it in the first place.

Why turn what will one day be a small spec on our history books into a political ideology whose life support society refuses to turn off?

In case it escaped anyone’s attention the Cold War is over.

My generation has never once had to fear the ‘reds under the beds’. An air raid siren does not send a chill down our spines. We do not quiver in fear at the sound of the word ‘socialism’, nor do we embrace it as an old friend.

To us ideological war is fought by lone men with bombs and extremism, not armies and totalitarianism. We don’t care for personal responsibility politics as it is evident our politicians and financial leaders do not practice what they preach.

We want a new doctrine. One that takes all the ugly realities of the twenty-first century life. Whether it is based on the political right or the political left, we don’t care. Let Thatcherism be buried with Thatcher.

Ideas must evolve as societies evolve and the winds of history change. It has been two decades and we are still trying to use eighties solutions to modern problems.

My earliest clear political memory was the billowing smoke emanating from two skyscrapers early one morning in New York back in September 2001. My generation is living in the scary new century which began that day. We’d appreciate it if those running the country would join us in it.

I am the last of Thatcher’s children and I say let her rest in peace.

React Now

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

QA/BA - Agile

£400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently seekin...

Primary Supply Teacher

£121 - £142 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Primary supply teacher Hertford...

KS1 & KS2 Teacher

£115 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: We are looking for infants and...

Secondary Trained Teachers for the watford area

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Qualified secondary teachers - ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Ebola virus in the US: How did the disease ever spread this far?

Sophie Harman
 

The most common question I am asked is 'How do I become a YouTuber?' This is my reply

Jim Chapman
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?