Workshy Scrounger

Tag: Margaret Thatcher

Cry for your leader

I envy the Tories. They live in a comforting black-and-white world full of neat dichotomies. Something is either good or bad – no room for those pesky doubts that plague the rest of human kind.

At the same time, Cameron’s decisions leave me apprehensive about his ability to lead the country. It no longer matters that he never lived in the real world so things like minimum wage or inflation rate or unemployment figures are just meaningless numbers. It’s even beyond the fact that while he used to happily claim DLA for his son, he is now cutting it for other people.

During the English riots in 2011, London was burning, people were dying and the unrest was spreading across the country. It’s a classic definition of national emergency yet he delayed recalling the Parliament.

After Thatcher’s death, he immediately returned from his official visit discussing the future of the European Union even though there was absolutely nothing he could do. The Parliament was recalled almost immediately so that MPs could pay their tributes.

The official tributes seem to be a bit hypocritical considering that it was the Tory party that removed Thatcher after she refused to back off on the poll tax issue. The tributes are either meaningless clichés, turn her vices into virtues or pass them off as delightful quirks.

It did not occur to Cameron that some MPs might not share his view. Cry for your leader and don’t you dare say anything against her or you will end up in jail as a precaution.

I understand the sentiment behind Thatcher death parties – it is a long awaited release for many people. They want to show their emotions. Then there are Facebook campaigns. Thanks to one of them the suddenly irreverent Ding Dong charted at number two and BBC was censored (only a five-second clip was played). In the meantime, Michael Hargreaves, the singer of the previously obscure Notsensibles, started a campaign to get his song, I love Margaret Thatcher, to the top place instead. To me, this song is not a tribute. At least, not in the usual sense of the word even if you take it at face value and allow for his apparent attraction. Hargreaves himself was quoted as saying:

“I find it hilarious that Tories have adopted it. The song is a sort-of tribute and sort-of not.”

Trust the Tories to misunderstand something entirely and to take it out of context. Hargreaves and co will be laughing all the way to the bank (the song entered the chart at the 35th place) and good for them – Maggie would have approved their opportunism and initiative.

They say it’s times of austerity. Since it started we had two royal weddings, the Olympic Games and now Thatcher’s funeral estimated at £8m. It is hard for me to watch all the money being spent when we keep being told we cannot afford the basics. How different is it from the stereotypical benefit scrounger: all sky telly and pub trips while the kids are going hungry?


Ex PMs’ work worth £1.7m

According to the Independent, former prime ministers are still entitled to cost allowances for public duties:

The system was set up by John Major in 1991 to reward former incumbents of No 10 for work including answering letters and attending public events.

For someone who was so against state handouts, Thatcher managed to rake in over half a million pounds in the last five years. Due to her frailty, she was hardly ever seen in public. It must have been spent on the letters then. A simple solution would have been to ask her fans to include a self-addressed envelope (celebrities do it all the time).

Blair, on the other hand, is known for charging exorbitant sums for his attendance of public events. Asking us to subsidise his net profit is cheeky. A freedom of information request asking for details of the claims (who, when and how much) failed because it would take too much work. There goes transparency.

Grandma Maggie

Margaret Thatcher died today. The usual outpouring of sympathy spread like wildfire across the social media sites: great patriot, amazing leader, transformed the country.

So far only George Galloway expressed the sentiment shared by the North and Scotland tweeting: tramp the dirt down.

It’s a reference to an Elvis Costello song that is spookily accurate 25 years after it was written (possibly because the Tories are back in power):

When they flaunt it in your face as you line up
for punishment
And then expect you to say “Thank you”
straighten up, look proud and pleased
Because you’ve only got the symptoms, you
haven’t got the whole disease

The media are trying to brainwash us with all the talk of Thatcher’s greatness. How a grocer’s daughter came to lead the country. Having attended a Girl’s School and Oxford, Thatcher is as much of a commoner as Kate Middleton – not by ordinary people’s standards. Another example is that while you and I will lucky to die in a substandard care home, it was not so in Thatcher’s case:

In January it was reported that the former prime minister had decided to convalesce from the effects of bladder surgery in a suite at the five-star Piccadilly landmark [Ritz], rather than endure the stairs of her Belgravia townhouse.

Not bad for a grocer’s daughter. Ordinary people would just have to put up with the stairs (as well as the constant cold, intermittent care and chronic lack of money) as their pension would hardly cover three nights in a bed and breakfast, never mind the Ritz.

Now it turns out that, for some reason, Thatcher will have a ceremonial funeral with full military honours. Who will pay for it? The public probably. Can we afford it? Of course! Just like we could afford the 2012 Olympic Games, 2014 Commonwealth Games, spending billions in foreign aid and making our politicians rich beyond their wildest dreams. The only thing this country cannot afford is helping out the poor and needy at home. We vilify them instead. Charity certainly does not begin at home.

My partner and I can’t afford a TV licence but today we were visiting a friend with a telly. To watch the coverage on BBC, Sky and ITV was utterly mesmerising. BBC was full of praise for our great leader while showing archive footage of strikers being beaten up by the police and trampled by their horses. Sky mentioned that she was a controversial figure; a stubborn lady “not for turning” but tried to make it sound like it’s a good thing. In what world is not admitting to your mistakes a virtue? Only ITV dared to show interviews with people who had the guts to say “good riddance” to her.

The coverage on publicly funded BBC reminded me the Korean media mourning the death of Kim Jong Il. To feel “sad” is the only right choice. Otherwise you have no respect for the dead and should be ashamed of yourself. The history is being rewritten in full public view.

I extend my condolences to her children – they lost their mother. However, as a voter, I am entitled to expressing my opinion on a public persona without the limitations of social conventions.

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