Thatcher’s legacy: measure the price of everything and the value of nothing

At times like this it’s difficult to know how to feel. Margaret Thatcher was loved and hated in almost equal measure; her politics divided the country, and to her death her Labour opponents continued to praise her “courage and determination”. She was the catalyst to today’s capitalist society, and the message Tony Benn delivers in the video below about Thatcher’s legacy is as evident today as it was thirty years ago: measure the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Amongst today’s tidal wave of opinion following her death my thoughts are best summed up by two men whose words, despite being thirty years apart, speak for those who bitterly opposed Thatcher’s injection of greed into the British public’s psyche which is as evident today as it was throughout the ’80s.


Today, Billy Bragg wrote:

“This is not a time for celebration. The death of Margaret Thatcher is nothing more than a salient reminder of how Britain got into the mess that we are in today. Of why ordinary working people are no longer able to earn enough from one job to support a family; of why there is a shortage of decent affordable housing; of why domestic growth is driven by credit, not by real incomes; of why tax-payers are forced to top up wages; of why a spiteful government seeks to penalise the poor for having an extra bedroom; of why Rupert Murdoch became so powerful; of why cynicism and greed became the hallmarks of our society.”

“Raising a glass to the death of an infirm old lady changes none of this. The only real antidote to cynicism is activism. Don’t celebrate – organise!”

Thirty years ago Tony Benn spoke with a straight-talking passion about Thatcher and the Tories, slandering the injustice and unfairness of a capitalist society. Whilst I appear to be on a current blog love-in with Mr Benn, the man speaks with a truth and honesty so desperately missing from today’s Tory parliamentary opponents. This is indeed no time for celebration, but a time to remember, and should itself be used as a catalyst for change.


One thought on “Thatcher’s legacy: measure the price of everything and the value of nothing

  1. A brilliant Russell Brand article on Thatcher –

    “As I scan the statements of my memory bank for early deposits (it’d be a kid’s memory bank account at a neurological NatWest where you’re encouraged to become a greedy little capitalist with an escalating family of porcelain pigs), I see her in her hairy helmet, condescending on Nationwide, eviscerating eunuch MPs and baffled BBC fuddy duddies with her General Zodd stare and coldly condemning the IRA. And the miners. And the single mums. The dockers. The poll-tax rioters. The Brixton rioters, the Argentinians, teachers; everyone actually.”

    “Barack Obama, interestingly, said in his statement that she had “broken the glass ceiling for other women”. Only in the sense that all the women beneath her were blinded by falling shards. She is an icon of individualism, not of feminism.”

    “I can’t articulate with the skill of either of “the Marks” – Steel or Thomas – why Thatcher and Thatcherism were so bad for Britain but I do recall that even to a child her demeanour and every discernible action seemed to be to the detriment of our national spirit and identity. Her refusal to stand against apartheid, her civil war against the unions, her aggression towards our neighbours in Ireland and a taxation system that was devised in the dark ages, the bombing of a retreating ship – it’s just not British.”

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