My heart sank when I learned of the death of Margaret Thatcher, because I knew our eyes and ears would be afflicted by so much sickly verbiage, whether in her honour or disparagement, it mattered not. For her whole career, and of those who followed in her footsteps, represented the grip that money politics has upon our thinking.
We spend so much time being bewildered and confused by the dancing of the organ grinder’s monkeys, ignoring the real power of the organ grinder who determines all such careers.
Of course, as Plekhanov pointed out, characters like Thatcher play a role in history:
” . . . it is the relation of social forces which, in the last analysis, explains the fact that Louis XV’s character, and the caprices of his favourite, could have such a deplorable influence on the fate of France. Had it not been the King who had a weakness for the fair sex, but the King’s cook or groom, it would not have had any historical significance. Clearly, it is not the weakness that is important here, but the social position of the person afflicted with it…
“It follows, then, that by virtue of particular traits of their character, individuals can influence the fate of society. Sometimes this influence is very considerable; but the possibility of exercising this influence, and its extent, are determined by the form of organisation of society, by the relation of forces within it. The character of an individual is a ‘factor’ in social development only where, when, and to the extent that social relations permit it to be such.” (G.V. Plekhanov, The Role of the Individual in History, 1898, Lawrence & Wishart, 1976, pp 36-37)
What distinguished Thatcher from Louis XV is the way in which her true character, a weak, petulant woman who stole milk from our schoolchildren and had not the guts to denounce Ronald Reagan for his forces’ invasion of Grenada, sovereign British territory, in 1983 was never exposed.
Instead of analysing her true nature, and the nature of the forces that put her in place and then brutally discarded her when she had served her purpose, her critics instead contributed to her false image, calling her “the iron lady”, a sobriquet which she adopted proudly.
But such an analysis could not spare the other failures of the left during her rule, the failure to build upon the brief success of the anti-Poll Tax movement to shift the balance of power decisively, the catastrophic mismanagement of the miners’ strike, notably in accepting the challenge of the set-piece battle of Orgreave, which any guerrilla could have told Arthur Scargill the police were bound to win. As Sun Tzu put it, as long ago as the sixth century BC: “. . . in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.” (The Art of War.
The columns of mourning print, the military honours at her funeral, all bear out the truth of what I wrote in my song about Stalin:
They’re two sides of the very same coin.
Both a con to keep you under,
Both a trick to do you down.
History’s made by human people,
praise the good and love the small.
One man can accomplish nothing,
many make the tyrants fall.
In the end, one can sum up her life and death in two words: