Margaret Thatcher’s Death and a bit of Punk music

10 Apr

Following on from my post Margaret Thatcher from yesterday, I have been contemplating the diverse reactions to her death, my seemingly disparate views regarding her impact as a woman in politics,as a scientist and her conservative politics and the philosophy behind the Punk movement (partially in reaction to Thatcherism). The Clash songs, “The Guns of Brixton” and “Know Your Rights” have been playing in my head.

Margaret Thatcher’s death is certainly a very contentious matter in the UK and the world. And for myself. I was raised in a liberal, left wing family with an English father. I heard of the impact of Margaret Thatcher, her policies and the Tory party on the UK from a young age. I am a big fan of British Punk band The Clash (and the Sex Pistols but to a lesser extent) and their political views. I am fascinated by the Punk Movement and its philosophy and the large role that the opposition to the Tory Party conservative politics, Margaret Thatcher and policies implemented by her government played in creating and maintaining the Punk Movement. There are a number of The Clash songs (great favourites of mine) that (I think) evoke the struggles that young people and minority groups encountered during Margaret Thatcher’s leadership and left wing political views –

– Know Your Rights
– The Guns of Brixton
– The Call Up

There are probably many other more politically charged and anti-Thatcher songs, but I have simply mentioned the songs that I like.

I am fundamentally opposed to so many of the policies and changes she implemented in The UK (and which influenced many other governments, whether right wing or left wing (including the Australian Labor Party) around the world). Privatisation and economic rationalisation are two legacies I particularly detest. I am also fundamentally opposed to the policies implemented against minority groups and disadvantaged areas, along with the UK’s involvement in the war in the Falklands (although I do have a keen interest in the military history of this conflict).

For me she is a symbol of women being able to achieve the ultimate in politics – leading a nation, leading a political party, leading a country at war and have power and influence. But the fact that she held little sympathy for feminists, female colleagues and ordinary woman, does sour the praise for her achievements as a woman. Rhian Jones in her article Was Margaret Thatcher the first Spice Girl? on the Guardian website mentions that “Thatcher’s impact on popular culture and as a role model for women, then, remains as contested an issue as her political and economic legacy.”

I never lived in the UK when she was in power (and also haven’t lived there in the aftermath) so I don’t know first hand the impact of her policies and politics. I discuss this based on my own political beliefs and my feminist beliefs. I find it a bit distasteful that people are celebrating her death. I acknowledge that she did do many “evil” things, but I don’t agree with celebrating the death of another human being. This is something that doesn’t fit well with me. I particularly found the celebration in the USA (and patriotic displays) of the death of Osama Bin Laden disturbing. But as I said above, I did not live in the UK and was not personally effected by her policies.

It will be interesting to see the reactions and sentiments when Margaret Thatcher’s funeral is held next week in the UK.



5 Responses to “Margaret Thatcher’s Death and a bit of Punk music”

  1. sapphicscientist April 10, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

    Reblogged this on Sapphicscientist's Blog.


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