Thatcher and Dementia


I grew up in a household in which Thatcher was something of a dirty word. We were living in Yorkshire in a period of my childhood that coincided with The Miners Strike (83/84). As my father collected us from school, we had to drive through police checks and with his London accent he was often identified as a possible ‘flying picket’ even with  three schoolgirls in the car with him.

I remember that.

I remember the miners’ wives coming door to door asking for money to support their families during the strike

I remember returning south and trying to defend in my rather unsophisticated childish ways why the mines couldn’t close and how important they were to the people whose livelihood depended on them.

I remember the righteous indignation raised against a heartless Conservative government who had showed a callous regard to community and Scotland (I have a Scottish parent!) and anywhere that wasn’t London

I remember the excitement I felt, after the poll tax riots and the ‘stalking horse’ election that anyone other than Thatcher could be a Prime Minister. I grew up with her and was of a generation described as Thatcher’s children.

I don’t know if it is age that has changed my views or just a greater understanding of the nature of politics and politicians.

The revelation (confirmation really in the face of many rumours) that she has dementia made me sad all the same. Best wishes to her and her family.

image SouthbankSteve at Flickr

9 thoughts on “Thatcher and Dementia

  1. I wouldn’t wish dementia on anyone and it was Jo Public who voted Thatcher into power. The public gets what the public wants.

    That is as objective as I get. I couldn’t stand her and her politics then and I am not going to change my opinion because she has dementia although I do not wish her or her family to suffer unduly. I am not an utter shit but am sure she will get a better quality of care than people from poorer backgrounds.

    Nuff said

  2. Hmm – Oh cb you are nearly a Yorkie! I knew I really liked you! Ilkley Moor baht’at and all that. I forgive you for living with all the softy right wing southerners 😀

    Seriously though I don’t like Mrs Thatcher, I never did and I never will – I like her politics even less. I do hope, however, that she doesn’t suffer as a result of her dementia, it is a terrible thing. I am with Mandy in that she will probably get better care than Mrs Working Class Woman from Bradford.

  3. I was never sympathetic to the policies and am absolutely sure that although money can buy better care to a point on another level the suffering is equal.

    And just for Silva, on Ilkley moor baht’at (where the ducks play football)- (do they still sing that bit.. we used to when I was little!).

  4. The dementing of Margaret Thatcher by a party that made her their ‘ woman of the people’ the naively morally focussed ‘Grantham exocet’, who genuinely believed she was doing good by destroying the ‘nanny state’ (when 90% of us never had nannies and had to rely on the struggle, oppression and deaths of many working people simply to get universal suffrage and a decent welfare state) is the greatest indictment of privatisation as an ideology I’ve ever experienced.

    Mrs T has been cut loose by the Tory party and had to bear the brunt (alone) of some people’s hatred of what her party had done. The tories distanced themselves from her reign and thus, history and her identity was rewritten.

    It must have crushed her to realise that her party really doesn’t give two hoots for the good housekeeping values of her generation. It was just a useful strapline to allow credit, drug and gamble mongers to exploit and addict the poor, privatise the health and social services and create the new industries of cancer and alzheimer’s instead of a place at the end of life where the over sixties can expect a refuge from the market!

    I really feel that Mrs T is experiencing the same lack of human rights that any member of the underclass experiences in ‘modern’ Britain.

    Without hope nothing matters, nothing means anything. Poor old Mrs T, poor old poor people in old peoples homes, poor old black kids daily getting murdered on our streets…….

    Let’s change this!

  5. No actually I don’t hate Mrs T – I don’t hate any one but I don’t like her or her party ex or otherwise. Hate is very different from dislike – And like it or not she will almost certainly get better care than Mrs Working Class from Bradford – I know I saw it,

  6. That’s an interesting perspective, Paula – thanks. There will always be some elements of care that will be provided on the basis of cost and she isn’t going to struggle as others do, but poor health is still poor health.

  7. cb, I certainly do not know UK politics like you or the rest of your commenters. I did appreciate the way you wrote this post, though. I liked the way you wrote about a person with dementia by repeatedly using “I remember” statements. They captured the power of memories, even sour ones, in a way that inherently expressed compassion for someone who now lacks memory. It’s this complexity and artfulness that I so appreciate in your writing.

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