Brezhnev took Afghanistan
Begin took Beirut
Galtieri took the Union Jack
And Maggie over lunch one day
Took a cruiser with all hands
Apparently to make him give it back
– Roger Waters (on Pink Floyd’s “Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert”)
The passing of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has led to a divisive public discourse over her legacy and whether it should be celebrated or denounced. While some would call her “one of the great champions of freedom and liberty”, others contend that she was a war criminal on account of the sinking of the Belgrano.
The controversial figure, who once called Nelson Mandela’s ANC “a typical terrorist organisation”, is being heralded as a feminist icon, even though she did not see it that way herself.
“I hate feminism. It is poison.”
Even though she is still reviled in the public sphere and even in British Parliament (and justly so, I might add), it is still disconcerting that sexist language and misogynistic overtones have dominated the public conversation, even to the point of rocketing “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead” to #1 on the UK charts.
Such animosity is understandable given the context of Thatcher’s role in the bloody battle of Orgreave, a violent conflict between police and unionised miners. But that does not excuse targeting Thatcher for her gender or labelling her with gendered profanities. Fortunately, amid the white noise, there is one voice of reason that stands out balancing the hardships and woes of Thatcherism with the advancement of women to positions of power in global politics. That one voice is Morrissey:
“Iron? No. Barbaric? Yes. She hated feminists even though it was largely due to the progression of the women’s movement that the British people allowed themselves to accept that a Prime Minister could actually be female. But because of Thatcher, there will never again be another woman in power in British politics, and rather than opening that particular door for other women, she closed it.”
Ok. I lied.
Not at all.