Decorum Please

Yesterday, Margaret Thatcher passed away. And I was absolutely disgusted with the reaction and sentiments of some people on all forms of media. Just to be clear before we get carried away, this post is not going to be an endorsement of Lady Thatcher, nor am I going to rant and rave. This is about reminding people to be human beings.

I could not believe some of thing things that people were saying. “Burn in hell” and “I will dance on her rotting grave” were just a selection of the tweets I saw just minutes after acknowledging the saddening news. It made me extremely angry. We must remember that behind her controversial politics, she was a mother and a grandmother and these familial roles should be respected and treated with sensitivity. Imagine how her children and grandchildren must be feeling, seeing idiots in Brixton square dancing and trampling over pictures of her in today’s’ newspapers. It is akin to the trolls that attack tribute pages on social media sites, which add further unnecessary insult to injury.

There are many who have made it clear that Lady Thatcher has systematically ruined their lives, causing them significant hardships which they are yet to recover from. These people have my deepest sympathies, but it does not excuse their behaviour, which is damn near indefensible. The hard truth is that Thatcher has not had any real control of politics for over 20 years. And it defies logic to place the blame of all incidents and bad things on one person’s head when national government is a deep, complicated system that relies on an infrastructure of hundreds of individuals. She was also voted in THREE times, given a majority – and so it is foolish to claim that she was not wanted by the people, when this is clearly not the case.

But putting the petty politics to one side, we have to remember that however controversial, she has written her page in history. And we must respect that. There have been many controversial figures (which I will not name, but you can fill in the blanks) that have earnt our respect, even if they have not made many friends. We must learn from the tenacity and determination of such characters, good or bad, which shape the way that we think and the way that we progress. And we can learn…if we look at the bigger picture, and try not to score cheap points.

All I am asking for is decorum. The British invented it. A little bit more sensitivity and a little less bile. It is cheap, it is degrading and it is pathetic. And nobody wins. Especially not the Thatcher family, who our prayers should be with at this difficult time, so let’s be a little more adult shall we? From the point of view of someone who has lost a family member recently, we need to give them the time and space that they deserve. Free from our own politics. And free from any idiocy.

Humanity costs nothing.

8 Comments

  1. Barney Kumar 9th April 2013 at 23:24

    Her policies were irreversible as a result of the changing global climate (fall of the Berlin wall, political reliance and change in China, financial deregulation on a global scale – all under her watch but by a massive transformation) then the local factors which were the end of major British industries. Questionable whether this was definite or required but I would say she didn’t have to demolish so much of it but she made agreements overseas that led to the end of it.

    So I would say, with the 20 year gap she had the influence. The major factor she made use of as a result of the US influence and the economic policies that led to the banking crisis, she was given (literally handed) the PR campaign that was used the American presidential campaign. Add this to Rupert Murdoch’s effect and the destruction of the left wing in the UK and you have recipe for keeping a right wing government in power for a while.

    We can go on and illustrate other factors too regarding politics and the influence of it (I personally feel the rise of rap music in the form of Jay-Z and reality TV can be related to Thatcher’s policies of individualising against communal growth) on a mass of people but I would say, the people are very well positioned to lay blame on one person. It doesn’t seem possible and truth be told, the catalyst did come from the US but she was the gears and engine for it and considering her own government were against her and she required outside help for this then… nobody pushed her but she revelled in it considering the personality change all the prestige made of her.

    1. hiran1 10th April 2013 at 12:45

      You make some very interesting points Barney, but I think you have missed the core of the article. If we put the politics aside for one moment, I think we can all agree that the behaviour of some people towards her death, especially on Twitter, has been extremely vicious and wholly insensitive. Her children and her family should not have to pay for the mistakes that she made and we should not subject them to the torrid abuse that they have received over the past couple of days. I can understand and sympathise with those that have been adversely affected by her administration, but that does not justify their actions. She is a human being at the end of the day and like I said, humanity costs nothing.

  2. Barney Kumar 10th April 2013 at 14:37

    I think some of the things that people have said illustrate the anger they are feeling towards her. I look at it differently and that is away from the abrasiveness of the comment and more so from the perspective they are coming from. She has grandchildren and children, yes, but one thing I wonder is where were those grandchildren when she made these decisions in parliament that harmed so many people nationally and now internationally? Did she consider their welfare at that point?

    Now to look at it in a different perspective, is she aware of the impact her actions have had on not only her own family but the families of her friends as well who also have to struggle in these times. The members of her constituency for instance. Some of us live in comfortable surroundings or are in safe environments so we don’t see the effects but they are there. A permanent job no longer exists, people work longer hours, mothers can’t stay home with theid kids – all as a result of the changes she brought in. Many of which even her government questioned. Power is very seductive so people follow it and that is the sadness in all this that there is the ego, that only you know what is right and the seduction of power, that you need position to make a change.

    It’s rare that you can blame someone for your plight and struggles. It’s rare that so many can point a finger at one person but with Margaret Thatcher it becomes clear that this is possible considering, for all she did, the alternative, the simple alternatives could have been better. I wonder about the education system, the money she brought from Europe that could have gone into the health sector, the privatisation of industries that could have gone towards giving people more secure jobs. If you look at the GDP, the resources Britain had, the consumer index and many other economic indicators of the time, Britain needed administration – not a massive overhaul of the system. Her Government did this, a Labour government couldn’t fix it for all the problems from the US as a result of the cold war, Chinese and Indian economic changes, wars in the US and turbulence in the US market – the UK was the only country who was doing well. Yes we were called the sick man of Europe by somebody but we were also doing very well otherwise. Italy took over us while she was in power but we were still (as good an indicator GDP is) ahead of most countries in the world.

    The result as we see today is consumption and the effects of mass consumption by a world investing in consumables and mass marketing and global trade is yet to be seen but it has as we know led to an increase in poverty for many and the gap between the wealthy and the power increase. This is largely due to taxation of the people as our cultures change. The effect she has had is pretty brutal the deeper you enter the quagmire of this philosophy to consume and consume more. The problem is, economically, it is unsustainable for the number of poeple on the planet and that is becoming scary. Was the world a bad place before her? In parts but we didn’t have the logistical might to have as many wars, terrorism etc as we do now.

    The question is, would she have been aware of this culturally? At first I thought yes, but now I am thinking, maybe these politicians are not as aware or intellectually astute as we think and assume we’re all economic cogs in a wider picture. So harming many of us, would work.

    Things needed fixing in this country but not destroying completely that whole communities wouldn’t have recovered and for all the suicides, bankruptcies and false promises of wealth that her government and the media was built on at the time (and in the US and around the world right wing politics relies upon now) the bigger picture states, her ideology is wrong. I say her ideology because for all I know about politics, the wrong people are in power because they know little about the plight of those around them, believing people, in a world of regulation and limited funds can break those regulations and accumulate someone else’s money to “better” (for lack of a better word) themselves.For some people in power, their background could say, fine, we need to develop and grow – but do we? Is growth the answer or a retransformation of economy and politics where everyone has a roof, food and shelter and there is no ideological or cultural demand for anything more…

    In a perfect world, there would be respect, community and charity for all people but the fact people do these things makes me realise that they are so scarred that they are unable to pick themselves up from political activity. The same political activity that is supposed to help those in trouble and need who are unable to help themselves. I say this because I think it is important that the future generations understand where the fabric of their activity comes from (from education, to family, to immigration, to ideology and consumption etc.) and how, the alternative was only 30 years ago… and for almost 5 to 6 billion people on the planet today, that alternative way of living still exists, regardless of Thatcher’s and the US policies to take advantage of a transforming world.

    She is a human being but many human beings believe in politic that is harmful and we still unfortunately exist in a world where belief is so strong that people forget there are people there.

    1. hiran1 10th April 2013 at 15:55

      It is difficult for me to comment on her politics purely because I was not born when she was in power. Although the effects, as you say, of some of her policies can be seen today. But you put a lot of emphasis on what she did wrong and the repercussions of those mistakes. However, there must be some good in there as well and we cannot talk about the bad, without discussing the good.

      On your point about it being rare that a person can point the finger at someone and it being justified because the alternatives would have been much better. I cannot help but disagree with you on this – it is never justified to tell someone that you are going to ‘dance on their grave’ regardless of what they have done. It is more of a reflection on the people that are saying those things as they are obviously completely ignorant of their own actions and words. Why fight fire with fire? Nothing is gained from this hate or anger…it just shows how inhumane we can be and how petty we have become.

      When we are discussing the support for people in trouble, we cannot deny that Britain has one of the biggest welfare budgets in the world. We have free healthcare at the point of contact, subsidised and free education, a benefit system that is the envy of the world and progressive taxation. To suggest that Thatcher has ruined and bankrupted this country is a complete farce. The financial sector that was created be her creates some of the most respectable and highly skilled jobs in this country and has allowed us to take on technological advances such as personal computers and the Internet much more easily. The general level of poverty, including child poverty has fallen in the last 20 years, literacy levels have increased, life expectancy has increased and the level of employment has been continually on the rise up until the recent recession in 2008.

      It is easy to say that other ideologies exist, but they fail to bring the prosperity that our government over centuries has provided us. And with that old adage, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

  3. Barney Kumar 10th April 2013 at 19:20

    I don’t believe Britain has the biggest welfare budget in the world. It’s hard to believe but an article indicating more people sleeped rough and died under Thatcher (that it was so huge that cardboard city and a lot of poetry and music was written about it) is an indication of what she did.

    You said, she did some good – I would say… not really because as I said the alternative, being a collective communal world is better. Shouldn’t we be living in that communal world?

    The ideology statement you make I have to say is a bit off kilter. The Right Wing ideology prior to Thatcher, lets say prior to the 1970s was based upon the belief that the rich create society therefore they can create it. Makes sense, makes sense when you are not being controlled by the outside world. This is what Thatcher did. She didn’t understand the economics and politics that this would bring. Now we have a world heavy on consumption and unable to sustain itself. Our aim? To go into space and harvest asteroids… is that appropriate? It just means more emphasis on resources that are running out. The Iphone for example. A device that people laud Steve Jobs for.

    There is nothing innovative about the IPhone, yes, the marketing strategy is innovative because they made fools of billions thinking it was a need but for all the suicides, abuse, mental health problems not to mention the 5 to 10 year olds killed and dead in the Congo so somebody can tweet and facebook messages is what the politics and economy of Thatcher as a result of east Asian investment and deregulation of markets and financial markets brought us. This is what her own government didn’t want. You needed a market for this and an individualised market at that which created the need for a phone for each individual. Only 10 to 15 years ago it was one phone per household…

    I wouldn’t say that the financial sector creates respectable and highly skilled workers. The vast majority of the financial sector couldn’t understand the economic equations and derivatives that were formulated from the economists that Thatcher lauded and followed as a result of the terrorist activity financed by the US to push all of this forward. That’s what brought about the banking crisis.
    The Welfare sector you speak of is largely paying the pension fund for this country and very little goes to the poor and now Cameron is squeezing more of this money away from them. Have a guess how many people have committed suicide as a result of Cameron’s changes – which is something that happened under Thatcher too and now under Cameron? The last time I checked it was just over 3,000 and now rising as Cameron makes more cuts. How much of a percentage of the budget goes on the sikh and unemployment benefit. Let me go check…

    No more than 10%. Not a lot considering how many are dying and suffering as a result of right wing, well supposed confused right wing policies that have forgotten about those in ill in the world.

    The level of employment was rising as a result of the credit that was created from the false debt that Thatcher accepted through the deregulation of financial markets. Now even East Asia is beginning to suffer and struggle as the markets are unsustainable.

    I think your views that literacy levels and child poverty have increased are not true. They have been falling and any increase was as a result of a change in indicators and what the Labour government spent on state help. Not what the Conservatives helped with.

    To end with, I really don’t believe you have seen the vast amount of problems that exist in this country and the world as a result of what Thatcher did. I would read up more – stop reading statistics and read the truth and understand how to read economic data and also the history since then (especially the reasoning behind economy and political policy) and you’ll see how ugly what she did was. I do think these politicians are unaware of how brutal they are and the damage they do. They are not as smart as you believ and the people working in the city are, trust me, nothing more than a degree and pushing buttons. Flippant, but true.

    So to start you on your journey of Dharma and Truth… why aren’t the government asking the rich financial sector to pay for the damage… especially since they have made billions since Thatcher’s policy changes (as billions of people went into poverty around the world) – so they could pay off debt and other supposed hurdles, alleged hurdles to our problems over night.

    Why not?

    If you really want to help people. If you really want to – accept you will have to climb up a steep lateral face not walk down hill. Can you take that challenge?

    1. hiran1 11th April 2013 at 20:13

      I believe that we have reached an impasse. Whilst you make points, I do not agree with them, but at the same time I do not feel the need to argue my point of view further. You make very strong judgments and conclusions based on what you think the consequences of Thatcher’s politics were and how they have impacted on us now. The reality is that there is no one factor or person that can be used as a cause for anything, and it would be silly to try and create links with facts and statistics that simply are not there. I have very much enjoyed our discussion, but I am wary that I did not want to get into the details of politics purely for this reason – that it can lead to clashes because we stand on two sides of the ideological fence.

      I am glad that you enjoyed the article and am extremely glad that you chose to comment. I hope that you will subscribe to the blog so that you can receive more updates and can be involved with more of my work. Thank you.

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