In the last five years, Margaret Thatcher has claimed £535,000 in expenses from the taxpayer. I deliberately avoid the title Lady Thatcher because she is no more a Lady than I’m the 2nd Earl of Gotham City. I read that this morning and, even in an age of jaw dropping neo-liberal arrogance, I was frozen in my tracks. To paraphrase the old witch herself ‘There is no such thing as society: there are individual men and women, and there are families…..and there are evil, senile old extreme right-wing bigots skimming a small fortune off the taxpayer whilst the rest of us drown’.
The obvious question to ask is ‘what the hell has she spent half a million on?’ The woman is allegedly a senile, drooling Davros impersonator struggling to remember the apocalyptic destruction that she wilfully unleashed on British society. She may well remember the name of her first RE teacher at primary school but she won’t be able to tell you a single company in Liverpool that she conspired to destroy out of spiteful vengeance. She would probably imagine that Belgrano is a type of Italian pastry and that ‘Iron Lady’ was one of those strange photography sites that she found on Dennis’s web history. I have an image of her as a drooling modern Miss Havisham sitting in the dark, rocking back and forth and writing love notes to General Pinochet unaware that he is already keeping a bunk warm for her in Hades.
In an age which glosses over billions of pounds being siphoned out of the economy in tax avoidance by the chosen few, half a million either way may seem like incidental chump change. To the average Tory grandee it is indeed their equivalent of the shrapnel you find scattered on the hall table after a good night out. To the rest of us, the 99+%, it is a host of nursing staff kept in employment, treatment for cancer patients, day nurseries, safer roads and efficient public service.
Thatcher remains the pin-up gal for the forces of throat slashing capitalism. She made a mint, was left a fortune by her husband and gets a tasty pension. At one click of her gnarled, blood soaked fingers she could summon a host of grateful recipients who would cheerfully excrete freshly printed £50 notes through her letter box. She does not need that money and it is indicative of her ideology of greed and irresponsibility that she has taken it. Hers is an existence that is relatively cheap to uphold. A few bags of super strength Tena Ladies, industrial grade peroxide, sunglasses, cloves of garlic and a small bottle of Baileys at Christmas. She is not lying awake at night worrying about funding the kid’s school uniform, if she will get paid this month or how to pay higher gas bills.
It is no secret that her admirers are determined to ensure that she receives a State Funeral at St Paul’s. Apparently St Paul’s is happy enough with the remains of vicious despots, it is selfless anti greed protestors who get their backs up. I have been told in the recent past that my objection to this deification is petty and churlish. It may well be but it is also grounded in a historic recognition of the need to confront the past and challenge the wrongdoers. Find a remote high point in the North of England and look around. Note the absence of industry, count the decimated towns, view the rows of service job feudalism call centres and dump the body there. She will like that, a chance to spend eternity gloating over the barren, soulless remains of the country which she destroyed.