Thatcher did not invent selfishness and greed. However, sane people have always shunned selfishness and greed as anti-social.
Human solidarity predates Socialism by centuries. Our ancestors found out that they could achieve far more working together than they could by selfishness.
If, as Thatcher believed fervently, there was ‘no such thing as society’ then it made no sense to talk about anything being ‘anti-social’.
For the first time selfishness and greed were lauded as positive virtues. The virtues indeed of the hard working strivers.
Thatcher believed in hard work. She herself worked very hard. However the strivers who benefited most from Thatcherism were the spivs and speculators. They worked hard at making money. A pickpocket also works hard and an old fashioned Socialist might regard the pickpocket’s activities as anti-social.
Indeed one simpering sycophant on the BBC gushed about how restricted the banks were before the blessed Margaret set them free from old-fashioned regulation. Then the commentator clearly realised what she had just said and started backtracking, ‘maybe that wasn’t such a good thing!’
The other aspect of Thatcherism was described as ‘rolling back the state’ as a means of setting free the hard-working strivers. Instead of subsidising the infrastructure for the public good, state money and assets found their way into private pockets.
Far from demonstrating the power of capitalism, privatisation merely verified its rapacious nature. The resources of the public were plundered for the benefit of profiteers.
The state, in the form of Maggie’s blue cavalry, rolled over the mining communities and the lives of thousands of people were devastated. For some strange reason a police truncheon on the head did not make them love Thatcher. How ungrateful.
So the first response to Thatcher’s death was to push ‘Ding dong the witch is dead’ up the Amazon charts and there were street celebrations.
This is not enough. We need a lasting memorial to Thatcher. For decades parents who saw selfish behaviour in their children would mutter ‘I blame Thatcher’.
Every time you do something Thatcher would hate; every time you help a neighbour, every time you express solidarity; every action you take which asserts that there is such a thing as society is a nail in the coffin of Thatcherism.
And the time is coming when it will be buried forever.
Giblets Lane, Horsham