The Tories have lost one of their heroes and millions of workers are celebrating.
What did Thatcher do to deserve the endless talking heads extolling her virtues? She never invented a life saving medicine. Her only foray into creativity amounted making soft ice cream full of air and so cheaper to produce. She certainly didn’t bring about world peace—she was a warmonger.
Thatcher’s contribution was a war on workers and the poor, and an ideological assault on the belief that the state should take collective responsibility to look after people. It’s a project that the current bunch of Tory millionaires in government want to pursue.
David Cameron and his public school ministers are entranced by Thatcher. They see her as someone who attacked workers, defeated trade unions and looked after the rich. They want to emulate her as a warrior for their class.
Yet the truth is she was often weaker than she appeared. Documents published under the 30 year rule reveal that she was not sure she could get a military victory in a war fought in the Falklands. Several times she worried the miners would win their year long strike.
Today the Tories are weaker and more divided. The different wings of the ruling class are forever battling it out as to how best to force the working class the pay the price for the economic crisis.
And however much they claim to revere Thatcher, most of them have had to admit they can’t get away with openly advocating her ideology. Cameron, like Thatcher, may still think “there is no such thing as society”. But he doesn’t dare say it—he has to claim he supports the idea of a “big society”.
Some of the same Tory MPs who once criminalised the promotion of LGBT equality now advocate the legalisation of gay marriage.
This doesn’t mean these Tories are any less vicious in their class hatred of workers and the poor. It just means they have to try and spin their class attacks differently.
They still want to divide and rule. Their strategy is to make recipients of welfare, and immigrants, the scapegoats for people’s anger at the cuts and austerity.
But the sense of society and collective solidarity that Thatcher thought she could banish is visible on the streets in the bedroom tax protests and the demonstrations to defend hospitals.
Today’s Tories have inherited Thatcher’s legacy of rabid class hatred. We need to show that we are ready to bury them and their policies along with her.