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Should Liverpool forgive Thatcher?

Tony Schumacher thinks it might be time we buried the hatchet

Written by . Published on May 19th 2011.


Should Liverpool forgive Thatcher?

I NORMALLY like to start this sort of thing with a twist, maybe use a quote or line that gives the impression I maybe about to talk about one thing when in fact I am talking about something else.

For instance, for this piece I was thinking about using some lines from a Wizard of Oz song: “Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch”.

But I thought, “Hmm, she isn’t quite dead, and it might be in poor taste... might.”

'You lot think she hated you,' said my
friend. 'But fact is, she was quite nice
to you - compared to the rest of the north'

So I’ll paint a scene, as Mrs T hovers halfway to paradise, like a character in a Catherine Cookson novel, relatives gathered around her bed as the Doctor steps back, removes his stethoscope, shakes his head silently at her son (who has just made it there after taking a wrong turn in Bolivia).

Behind the assembled worried relatives, Liverpool steps into the room, removes its cap apologetically, nods to a few family members and pushes his way forward to kneel next to her bed and whispers

“It’s me.  Liverpool, just wanted to see you before... well, you know.”

blackstuff_003_470x336.jpgOld Thatcher opens her watery faded blue eyes and with barely the softest of breaths says: “Come to gloat?”

And Liverpool replies, “No old girl, it’s been a long time, I’ve come to forgive.”

Actually thinking about it, that's just too far fetched.

Because Liverpool isn’t ready to forgive and forget a dying old woman. Instead, many are joining “Street Party when Thatcher Dies” groups on Facebook. But maybe, just maybe, it’s time to start thinking about it.

I left school in 1983, my mum and dad literally pleaded with me to stay on and do my A levels (this was before you got them in cereal packets). I was adamant that wasn’t going to happen. I wanted to be out, making my way in the world, and, as a first step on my way to my fortune I got job shovelling rubbish for a roofing company. Nine months later, I was with that rubbish, chucked out having been made redundant. Bloody Thatcher.

Not long afterwards I had my “Support the miners” badge on my donkey jacket as I went to work in a jewellers in town, more Wolfie Smith than Paul Smith. I was asked to remove it by the somewhat refined gentleman who owned the shop: “Our kind of customer won’t like it, they mostly come from Southport,” he told me, worrying if it had been a good idea to employ an oik from Huyton.

He didn’t have to worry for long. Two months later I was made redundant. Bloody Thatcher.

Not long after, I was at a Red Wedge gig at the Royal Court, leaping about to Billy Bragg and dreaming of a Utopian society. I had a Trotsky T-shirt I’d bought from the back of the NME, under my donkey jacket by now. I supported that famous ex fireman who was the face of the city council (not that one) Derek Hatton and I believed that Liverpool facing down the Thatch was the way forward, not just for us, for the country.

margaret-thatcher1.jpgThe Iron Lady won, we lost. Bloody nose.

I thought she hated us up here, I thought she sat in Downing Street grinding her teeth wondering how she could hurt this fair city. Then a few years later I was sitting in a bar with a couple of mates. Mick, from Barnsley told me: “Thatcher didn’t hate you as much as she hated us; she destroyed Yorkshire, with the pits closing.”

Joe from Glasgow nearly spat his pint. “Thatcher? She f**king loved you compared to us! That woman did more harm to the shipyards than Hitler.”

“She hated us the most! We tried to bring her down almost as much as anyone. What about Hatton?” I argued.

“Hatton kept her in!," he cried. "He was the best thing that ever happened to her. And what about the Garden Festival? She sent Tarzan down there to look after you lot. She didn’t do that for us, all she sent us was the bloody poll tax.

"You lot think she hated you," said my friend. "But fact is, she was quite nice to you compared to the rest of the north.”

Surely not, I thought as I made my way home, Thatcher can’t have been nice to us can she? She was horrible and so far to the right that you had to adjust the horizontal knob whenever she was on telly.

Scan_Pic0044_thumb.jpgBut then... well she wasn’t as right wing as Blair, what with his private funding initiatives and reluctance to help Rover and deregulation of the banks was she? And the poor Tommys from deprived areas of Liverpool who are signing up to go to Afghanistan because they can’t get jobs.

At least when Thatch went to war they were short, sharp ones, not long bloody questionable ones.

And let’s look at Cameron, he’s closer to Blair than Thatch, he’s almost a New Tory. The closest thing in recent years to Thatcher has to be Brown, and many rejoiced at his arrival because he was dragging Labour back to the left.

So, as in the life of Brian we have to ask, what did Thatcher ever do for us? And maybe, just maybe, we should ask “What did she ever do to us?”

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23 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Angie Sammons shared this on Facebook on May 19th 2011.
Tim TaplingMay 19th 2011.

The top and bottom of it is .. The British love to have someone, other than their own apathy and lack of action to blame for all the country's problems.

No doubt Thatcher was a hard assed politician, to believe for a second that she gave a damn about individual cities and personally sanctioned hate campaigns against specific people is ludicrous.

If the people in this country who seem make the most noise .. valued the education they get for free and choose to ignore; Then perhaps they could lose their parochial attitudes and understand the bigger picture rather than helping to accelerate the continuing slide to 3rd world status that this country is on !

For myself I have no faith in any political party, any system that is based on dividing the opinion of the population, is adversarial in practice .. is doomed to failure and certainly doesn't serve the needs of the country or it's people .

If I thought Thatchers death would lay the bogie-man
to rest .. then I would welcome it .. sadly .. focus will immediately shift elsewhere ... and another pale shadow of the intellects that made this country great .. will impose its pastiche of governance upon us .. and as long as 'they' leave us alone, we as a population with meekly allow them to lead us into the void !

Stephen DunnMay 20th 2011.

Although I cannot forgive/forget, I don't hate Thatacher as much as I hate Hatton; he did more damage than her! Like Bin Ladens death, I just can't get excited or happy over someones death!

Andy MedinaMay 20th 2011.

Let me say first of all, I hated Thatcher at the time...BUT before Thatcher, Liverpool like most of the rest of the country was hardly booming. It was in terminal, depressing, grey freefall. By the end of Thatcher's term the Albert Dock was in place, it was clean, busy and vibrant. I'm sure there will be a million and one people telling me that would've happened anyway, and I don't know if that is right or wrong. All I can say is Liverpool FC might have won all those titles without Shankly but I don't think many people would think so.
As for Hatton, a posturing, preening self publicising, hypocritical egotist who abused the socialist ideals that many of us believe in for his own ends. His commitment to Liverpool so huge that he moved to the affluent Manchester suburbs at the earliest opportunity and his teracotta coloured face and mutton-dressed-as-lamb figure now grace the bars of Hale.

NinaMay 20th 2011.

Not sure about Cameron being closer to Blair than Thatcher. Cam is decimating the welfare state and public services in a way Thatcher could only dream of. There was lots I didn't like about the last Labour govt but the minimum wage, better maternity provision, paternity leave, the re-introduction of pro-trade union laws, holiday rights for casual workers etc were not things Thatcher would have done. In fact, her destruction of the unions has meant we're all worse off as the workers get screwed while the bosses get rich. And a generation of young people are left on the scrapheap because there is no manufacturing industry so few manual jobs. Not time to forgive Thatcher yet but any celebrations at her death will be in very poor taste and I won't be joining them.

Clare GMay 20th 2011.

She did some terrible things, there is no doubt, and as she reaches the end of her life I do wonder if she ponders on this. But you are only hurting yourself if you carry hatred in your heart. Forgiveness is important for your spiritual wellbeing. Spread the love (clearly my philosphy/spirtual studies have made a big impact - a few years ago I'd have been saying "hang her").

Alan HirdMay 20th 2011.

What she did was, and still is, totally unforgivable she was the milk snatcher -free school milk. She wrecked the coal and steel industries, and destroyed the unions so that they were not able to bring her down like they did her predecessor. As for the Falklands war if she heeded the very first warning from the then foreign secretary -Lord Carrington who resigned as a direct result- then the invasion would never have happened and the islands would still be British. But no that evil woman wanted the war so that she could be re-elected on a wave of patriotism. Many lost their lives or seriously injured just so that evil woman could re-elected on a wave of patriotism.
I don't celebrate death but in Thatcher's case it will be a time for celebration, jubilation because that evil woman is dead. Because even if she was not as unfair to you, you should still unite with other areas worse hit because of the evil woman and therefore never forgive her.

Johnny.M.May 20th 2011.

Mr A Hird "I don't celebrate death but in Thatcher's case it will be a time for celebration, jubilation because that evil woman is dead." sounds like someones life didn't pan out as they hoped. My life never turned out how my parents dreamed either, but we have all decided not to blame the leader of whichever politcal party was duely and democratically elected at the time........

Mrs Thatcher and Phil Babb (liverpool defender in the late 80's) made me feel as I was growing up that anything was possible.
The tories blew away the institutional ideas that stocks, shares and home ownership was the domain of the upper classes and whilst were at it she broke down some walls in the class system too.

The stranglehold of the unions was broken and once again we were able to see off competion from the far east economies, can anyone remember powercuts and strikes. Management was able to manage and firms and whole industries returned to profitability.

The mines closed due to unprofitability, which is only now returned as commodities prices have spiked, all in all whichever party of lying polititions are in, thier job is to react to global trends and upheaval, dont blame the messenger is the message.

The Falklands were a British terriotory so why should't she defend it, afterall it was invaded. And facebook "parties in the street", it reminds me of the facebook pages for Raul Moat, get a grip or we'll all decend into paul gasgoine bathrobe waering , chicken eating fool's.
And Phil Babb................. If he could play for Liverpool we all have a chance to play pro footie.

History in the last decade has shown us Thatcher was not the worst PM in the UK, and over the course of the last 300 years, it may show her to be one of our finest, we had 3 chances to get her out ..... stop moaning!

FrancisMay 20th 2011.

Certainly not, Thatcher brought this great City of ours to its knees and she didn't do anything to stop it! It was Thatcher who ridiculed us and the Southern based so-called comedians and 'Tory' press carried it on... Would I forgive her, Never, Never, Never, just like I'll Never, Never, Never forgive that Tory Scumbag' of a newspaper the S*n. Both of them can be buried alongside each other... Good Riddance to Both of them, the deserve each other!!

Darth FormbyMay 25th 2011.

I am heading straight for the casa as soon as possible when I hear that Thatcher has died. If you're there I will buy you a drink!

Paul SMay 27th 2011.

Really Darth? Is that what you plan to do? get a grip.

Darth FormbyJune 3rd 2011.

Yes really Pauly! That is exactly what I plan to do. Any bar, or my own drinks, would do, but as the casa was paid for by redundant dockers, it seems the best place to go.

Get a grip of your self, in the manner to which you are most obviously well accustomed, Pauly.

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