When I left my Saturday job to go to university, my manager asked what I’d be studying. I told her I would be studying politics. “politics eh? You’re going to be the next Margaret Thatcher?” I politely laughed, and said ‘No. No I do not want to be the next Margaret Thatcher. No thank you.’ Over the next few weeks, more neighbours and co-workers, kept suggesting that I would surely want to be the next Margaret Thatcher.
I’m sure these random well-wishers meant well, so why didn’t I take it as a compliment? Margaret Thatcher was the First Female Prime minister, and was a dominant figure in British politics. Did these random well-wishers think that I, could also be a dominant figure in British Politics? Or was it because I was a girl, and I couldn’t be similar to any male politician, because that would be ludicrous. And this was what made me feel uneasy. These well-wishers didn’t really care that I did not agree with Margaret Thatcher, and did not think she was the best person that ever existed ever. But I am a woman she was a woman, so I must regard her highly.
Margaret Thatcher is obviously a massive player in the world of powerful feminists. Her infamous quote “being powerful is like being a lady, if you have to tell people you are, then you aren’t” Good one Maggie. I think you showed them. But did women in the 80’s benefit under Margaret Thatcher? Well that was my next problem with Maggie T.
The next factor is my upbringing and was also why I felt a little bit annoyed that people had decided that my life goal was to be the next Margaret Thatcher. Both my parents are Glaswegians, and grew up in Scotland in the 80’s, under the rule of Margaret Thatcher (you should maybe read any Scottish person’s twitter feed today, that should give you a good rounded view of Margaret Thatcher through the eyes of a Scot @robertflorence @frankieboyle @janeygodley)
I was undoubtedly influenced by my parents. And honestly I think all of us are. From a young age, I heard my dad shouting at the tv “F*&% off ya old boot” ( I have toned this down, I just didn’t think it was appropriate today) to an elderly lady on the television screen. And that was Margaret Thatcher. So from a young age Margaret Thatcher was never someone I had inspired to be. I was told that Margaret Thatcher had brought in the poll tax, a policy that was simply unfair for families like mine. That unemployment in Scotland was at an all-time high, and it was thanks to Margaret Thatcher. My dad would often look off in to the distance and say “just you wait til the Tories are back, you’ll see” in a wistful, angry, quiet voice. (Have you ever seen Harry Potter? You know when Hagrid is telling harry, ron and Hermione about Voldemort and says “there’s a storm coming harry, just like last time” it was a bit like that)
Since the Tories have come back in to power I’m paying £30,000 for my education, unemployment is high, and we’re probably about to head in to a triple dip recession, and EVERYONE in the EU hates us, (but that’s another blog). My dad’s prophecy came true ! (Just like in harry potter when … oh forget it.) Maybe in years to come I’ll be telling a new generation that that’s why I have a massive dislike for Cameron and Clegg.
So that’s why I have an uneasy feeling about Margaret Thatcher today. I possibly have been blinded by my lefty parents, but I think it also more than that. If Thatcher had never been prime minister, would my manager have said “politics eh? Yeah that’ll be the day, a woman for PM?” (she probably would have cackled afterwards). Should I be thankful for Maggie for being a woman and a prime minister, even though many of her policies and decisions I think are wrong? I don’t really know. Are the tories basically Voldemort (did you enjoy the subtle hints?) well we just can’t be sure. But one thing is for sure, Maggie T is definitely a name British politics won’t forget.
Disclaimer – This wasn’t meant to be a massively political blog, it was literally my feelings on the matter. I wanted to tweet. But it probably wasn’t going to fit into 140 characters. I also acknowledge that I have mainly focused on negatives of Margaret thatcher’s career. But it was just a blog.