It might appear a bit unseemly to cheer the death of someone, but the news of the death of Baroness Thatcher elicited quite a few cheers in this household.
First when Mark came running into the room, and tore off my headphones, none too gently either. He looked so happy that I thought he had won something. When he told me the news we did a little spontaneous dance right there and then.
And then mum rang. And Mark’s mum. And Auntie. All in the space the last hour before writing this. And to a woman, they sounded jubilant about the news, and I had the vision of the song and dance from The Wizard of Oz, “The wicked witch is dead”.
My mum and my aunt comes from a small town near Sheffield. That town had coal pits and steel-works. By the time Thatcher was finished, if you took the sign above hell’s entrance from ‘Divine Comedy’ and hung it on the road-sign with the town’s name, you would have hung an accurate description of the town.
It is hard to convey to foreigners the sense of damage that this woman did to people, to communities, and to whole sections of the country. So the expressions of joy or glee over an old woman’s death might appear unseemly. But she did do so much damage, and she did wreck so many lives, and even across the generations the hatred for Thatcher is carried on.
Which makes a person like me who was born in 1995, five years after she had resigned, write this post. I grew up under Blair and Gordon Brown, at least for the part where I was aware of anything. And of course, I lived in Sweden through most of the Blair/Brown years. Maybe I should be more reserved, more tempered, more forgiving. But nah.
It’s hard to be when you hear the Schadenfreude in your own mother’s voice when she talks about Thatcher’s death. Or in Auntie’s. Or in Mark’s parents’ voices. She had such a powerful impact on people, and destroyed so many lives, and the survivors will have their moment of glee now. Including their children because if that woman had not been defeated, Mark and I would not be possible, because she introduced Section 28 which was a soft ban on homosexuality.
You weren’t sent to prison, but it must never be mentioned.