Too Late To Party…..

She was a woman that split opinion, a woman revered, a woman hated; but she was a woman, a mother, a daughter, a wife.

I am 28 years old, born in the last day of July in the year 1985. If I were to sit here and give rhetoric on Margaret Thatcher then I would be discussing matters that I knew little about. I am not old enough for Margaret Thatcher and her politics to have had a massive direct impact on my life. However, I am from the former steel town of Motherwell. On that basis alone I am entitled to an opinion on the first and only female Prime Minister of our nation.

Ever since I was about 5 years old I remember the name Margaret Thatcher being used in everyday life. Her name was never far from the discussions I remember over the family table at gatherings. I sit here in my office right now and were it not for the house directly opposite my window I could see the former Ravenscraig site. Indeed I drove through it only half an hour ago.

I could rabble on about my opinion on certain matters: The Falklands, the miners, Northern Ireland. I will completely miss those subjects out though and focus purely on the matters that my own home town feel so strongly about; the Steel industry.

This is not a history lesson either, so I will refrain from making it one.

In Motherwell, there was a sigh of almost relief when the news of Margaret Thatcher’s death was announced. I have friends whose fathers or perhaps older brothers worked in the steel industry in this area – all of whom blame Margaret Thatcher and Margaret Thatcher only for their demise and the subsequent demise of the town itself.

The day she died there were cheers, celebration and a wry smile shared among many that have never fully recovered from their redundancy. Families torn apart, lives ruined, addictions formed.

Motherwell, for those that are not familiar – is a town that lived in the shadow of Ravenscraig and has never fully emerged from that shadow some decades since the doors finally closed. Like many town centres it is run down, drug addiction in certain areas is high and crime is…well…not unknown. There are some lovely parts of the town, yet there are some parts that are considered…undesirable, without being too blunt on the matter.

Living in this town I have spoken too many about the old steel industry and listened intently to their stories. Many of the men love to tell stories of their scams, of clocking in and going home without actually working and yet being paid. This is not to denounce all workers as the same as I am sure many a hard day’s work was had in the steel industry. My point is this; the steel industry was in decline. No matter what anyone else tells you it was in decline. Cheaper prices from abroad coupled with bad management and bad running decisions and higher running costs were becoming detrimental to the industry. Do I blame Thatcher for closing the industry? Not really. I think it was inevitable.

On the flip side of this it was all done too quickly. Ravenscraig employed a large number of people in this town and to close it overnight showed a severe lack of foresight. No new jobs for these men to go to, no real training, taking away the community that they lived, worked and breathed. An increase in suicide rates, crime rates and drug and alcohol abuse.

Typical of the woman in my opinion.

Implementing strict and better management of the industry could have saved the ‘craig and many of its patrons from the misery to which they succumbed. The steel industry was in decline – but that is not to say that the skills and knowledge could not have been utilised to the benefit and profit of the country. Instead it was forgotten about and thousands slumped on the scrap heap with no prospects, no money and no direction. What kind of leadership is that?

Margaret Thatcher will for me be the woman that made the right decisions in the wrong way, especially in this town. The almost overnight closure of the biggest employer in the biggest industry spelled the end for the conservative party in this part of Lanarkshire – not that they were particularly popular by any means anyway.

I do not necessarily agree with the massive funeral bill – however, I am not going to get worked up about it. This is a nation that pretends Winston Churchill was a hero as Prime Minister when in actual fact he was no better than Thatcher, even once threatening to have miners shot. Hero indeed. In this time of austerity measures i find it a slap in the face that such an expense be spared for this occasion.

I do not agree with the parties to celebrate her death, nor do I agree with the vast amount of 16 year olds that claims hard done to by Thatcher.

I do not wish to speak ill of the dead, yet I do not absolve Margaret Thatcher of her wrongdoing and misgivings simply because she has died.

The simple fact is this; there is absolutely no point celebrating Thatcher’s death in the year 2013 because whatever reason you have for disliking the woman means that her death has come approximately 25 years too late for you to celebrate.

However, if feelings are so great then i would urge all of those so offended by Thatcher’s politics to vote YES to independence next year. The YES vote is the only way that you can all guarantee to avoid such a Tory Government ever again. Many, i assume , will shy from this decision – yet continue to complain about consecutive conservative governments voted for by their southern neighbours.


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2 Comments on “Too Late To Party…..”

  1. Ian Cottrell Says:

    You were doing so well……… until the last paragraph! So a YES vote is an anti Thatcher, anti Conservative, anti “South” vote? I find it hard to believe you would “urge” this without explaining why this is a far too simplistic response to an extremely complex and potentially life changing decision.

    • No no, of course not. It was slightly tongue in cheek. There is far more to a YES! vote than any one political party. The decision needs to be made on qualified, almost business like, decisions regarding the potential of Scotland and the shortfalls that our country inevitably has. My comment,as i say, was not entirely serious – however, in saying that i stand by the truth in my words. An independent Scotland WOULD be Tory free, of that i have absolutely no doubt. My ‘Urge’ was completely tongue in cheek, there are those that say the would not contemplate a YES! vote on the simple basis they do not like Alex Salmond, so my simplistic refute could be taken as a simple response to those.

      Independence is a complex matter, and one that i do not sadly have the time to explore in full. What i will say is that those gathering to protest against Tory policy are from a high percentage of Labour voters; something that is only natural in Scotland. If those people wanted to make sure that they had a strong possibility of Labour Government then independence would be one way of achieving this. There is no argument against that, it is fact.

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