Wednesday, 10 April 2013

A Complicated Death

Someone famous died.

Someone famous that was both loved and hated.

That someone brought change, some good and some bad.

That someone brought misery and yet also freed many to pursue wealth and property that they never would have been able to if they hadn't done what they did.

That someone fought a whole load of other someone's that had different opinions to her. The bitter conflict that raged through the land brought poverty, broke families and destroyed communities. Many still feel the effects of that conflict.

The thing about that time, about that era of unrest, social conflict, class war and modernisation is that it was always going happen following the seventies, as the events of the seventies were dictated by the change of the sixties, as they too were birthed by the fifties and forties.

I was born in 1975, making me four when this someone came to power. Four. No, I had no idea what was happening. When they left I was 15. No, I had no real understanding of what was going on. How could I? I had never had to fight for a job, watch my house slip into negative equity, be on the dole, get a shot at owning my own house, watch the social housing disappear, start a business, marry, strike or even vote, and yet millions did all of these things (of course through historical study I could learn and there are always some teens that buck that closed view and do have great perception at a young age).

The north suffered terribly as I understand it, pits were closed, industries were lost and a whole city looked to be on a list that didn't see it as having a future. Grim faces streaked with tears marked the television screens and the police went to war as the strikers rallied to the fight. This is as I understand it.

I watched a program not to long ago about the seventies and it showed the power of the unions; power to halt coal production, shut off the power and water, hell, even power enough to convince the staff of Great Ormond Street hospital to walk out. Power to run a country through the power of the workforce gun. Used with sense and reason this could have been a weapon that brought incredible change for the country but as I understand it it was used undiscriminating.

There was a reaction as many of the population grew sick and tired of the unions and so they looked for someone to fight them. A fight came and you know what? Too many people lost.

This fight was one that both sides picked and neither side really won. It's clear this someone never beat her enemies as they haven't lost their will to fight, even now, and this someone didn't really win either. Not really, seeing as this someone was removed from her post by her own allies and political side.

After all, this someone had had their time.

I can read the numbers and see that we were a more prosperous country (on the whole) at the end of this someone's time but that doesn't tell the story. I can read the reports and see the unemployment figures, see the loss of industry, the privatisations and I can see that this tells a whole different story. I can flick back through my memories and I can tell you that I knew dick all about the politics and I am unable to give you a harrowing account of the eighties. I was a kid, we lived in a shitty area in London, it didn't get any better in the nineties.

I look at this time with mixed feelings. I can see the emotion and the horror that must have gripped many  hearts and is still plainly evident but I can't tell you I hate this someone.It may be unpopular but I see a raging bull of a union movement, coming into a headlong collision with something they had never encountered before; someone that wouldn't back down. Sadly some of the population were crushed in the conflict.

Utterly crushed.

Two forces came to a place where they could have compromised and given some ground each and yet they didn't. This someone is to blame for this as much as the other someone was. I think they share the blood, the guts and the horror.

I won't party when the other someone goes, as they surely will, I'll great that death with as much sadness. Not sadness for them but for the people they led into battle. Both of these people, generals of their great armies, watched as the bodies fell and in the end they both lived comfortably afterwards.

This someone won three general elections and so cannot by definition be universally hated as some people are claiming. There are two sides to each and every argument. Always two sides at least.

I'll do what I always do. I 'll stand in the middle and hate them both, but I can see where they were coming from. One standing against massive change across the whole country, trying to lead the people, yet all he ended up doing was hauling them forward like lambs to the slaughter. The other standing in a castle under siege, determined to bring sweeping change, wielding the sword of power on those foolish enough to test the might of their army.

The end result?

We live in a country that is both better and worse than it was before. The changes brought modernisation and yet destroyed our industry and the livelihoods of millions, millions now waiting for the chance to work and frustratedly screaming at the current fools that they would if only there was work to do! PAID WORK!

We have been failed. Failed by those that followed that recently deceased someone and then by someone that jogged grinning onto out televisions telling us that 'things could only get better.' He stayed as the other someone stayed and the grey men before and after them, and yet they all share a damning truth; none of them have put back what they took out.

None of them have replaced the industries and yet those same industries that were lost thrive elsewhere in the world. The fight against 'Containerisation' destroyed the London docks and they have remained dead. The ship building is gone, the steel, the power, the coal, all gone.

Leaders point backwards and blame but when it comes to pointing forwards they have failed on every single level. All of them. So when I'm told everything that's wrong with this country comes from this someone I just can't agree. The want to have what you can't afford comes through the credit car companies that have plagued the population and they started their assault before 1979. The unions brought the idea of greater and greater wages all through the seventies and took their war to the point that they were attacking the very people that they were meant to represent. THE PEOPLE.

We now have to suffer under more arseholes that follow the arseholes that came before them. There is no money, no jobs and no compassion for anyone on that bread line.

So, when someone like this dies I just feel sad. Sad for everyone that was caught up in the civil war and I'll feel the same when the other main figure of that time goes. They both should have found some common ground.

Sorry I can't stand with you on the picket line or put my feet up on the desk or stick up another brick wall as many private builders did when it was going on. I can't and I won't.I'll feel sorry for the police, the strikers, the families, the unemployed, the broken, the scabs, the boys from the black stuff and the communities that died.

As to the two someones at the heart of the storm?

Fuck em both.


  1. Praise indeed! Ta! I was pretty sure I was going to get hammered straight away. :-) Thanks for the kind words.