Socialist Worker

Margaret Thatcher - a friend of Pinochet who hated our class

Former striking miner Steve Hammill bids a celebratory farewell to hated Tory leader Margaret Thatcher

Issue No. 2348

Where do I begin to comment on the blight on the working class that was Margaret Thatcher?

“Hooray, she’s dead” or “May her body putrefy, fester and turn to dust”? 

Better still, “I worship the ground that’s coming to her, and I’ll miss her like my last shit”.

All are legitimate working class responses to the news of Thatcher’s death.

I am sure Thatcher’s friends and admirers won’t see it that way. But I was never her friend, or an admirer. 

I was her enemy—she told me so in her every word and deed.

Thatcher stole milk from school children in her early days in Edward Heath’s government.

Later she championed the cause of General Pinochet, well known butcher of people in Chile.

She took away my rights as a trade unionist. She gloated over the death of Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands.

She ordered the sinking of the Belgrano cruiser during the Falklands War. 

She attacked the NHS and she took on the steel workers when my dad was a furnaceman.

On and on she told me and my like that we were her class enemies—and that she hated us. 

No section of the working class was left unscathed.

As an ex-miner it would be remiss of me not to mention the Great Miners’ Strike of 1984-85.

The Tories had long memories of the 1972 and 1974 miners’ strikes where they lost and we won.

In 1984 Thatcher consciously and systematically organised to provoke a rematch. They won—we lost. 

There were many horror stories. But one in particular sticks in my mind.

Thatcher had attacked miners and our families physically and economically. Then she removed death benefits for striking miners.

A striker broke down in tears on the picket line and told me his dad had died. He was at his wits end.

All the family were miners. They didn’t have the money to bury him. How low can you get?

We got him buried with dignity out of the solidarity fund. But it showed the depth of contempt and class hatred Thatcher represented. 

So now I say, party on comrades.


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Wed 10 Apr 2013, 15:56 BST
Issue No. 2348
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