Archive for April, 2013

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So much ’emotion’, quotations from various sources, replaying and even re-writing of history, accolades from the most unlikely of sources (have the NI unionists forgotten the 80s?), condolences and of course much celebration since Thatcher’s death was announced.

Amid all of this there have been calls to “move on” because it’s “the past”. Admirable and predictable sentiment.

I neither celebrate nor mourn her death. Some years ago, when she was at the height of ‘operation feed the wealthy’ I would have jumped for joy. And like many other Irish people, who are honest enough to admit it, I was a little disappointed not to have done so after Brighton.

If you feel bad about this, remember she was responsible for murdering Irish, Argentinians, Libyans, cosying up to evil dictators like Pinochet and declared war on her own people.

Furthermore, these days I believe, as Nick Cave said, “…death is not the end…” We merely move to the next stage. This may or may not give some comfort in relation to Thatcher. So rejoicing or mourning a death is a choice.

Amid Thatcher’s rhetoric of ‘putting Britain first’, it was putting the wealthy first that was at the heart of her policies – putting the wealthy first and woe to anyone who got in her way.

Was it not this philosophy that prompted Ken Loach;

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Isn’t this valid? Isn’t this the society she wanted and created? Particularly valid as it is rumoured the funeral could cost £10m. For someone who lived the privatised agenda it would seem valid to me.

The miners’ strike occurred as a result of this privatised agenda and other trade unions were taken on, on this basis also. The miners were the last one left. They were, as those of her religious belief would say, an impediment to the market and needed to be removed in order to free it up.

The fact that this freeing of the market created Civil War in England, the effects of which are still present today, and left it’s victims either dead, debilitated or lifelong bill payers is irrelevant. It was free for her friends to do and charge as they pleased.

The calls for us all to “move on” as “its the past” and we need to show respect for the dead even got to that tabloid dude from the UK, who now makes a living in the US. I leave it to you to discover the glaringly obvious hypocrisy – that’s assuming the tweet was genuine in the first place.

I agree – move on. However, there is so much more to moving on than saying “lets move on, that’s the past” and Martin Mc Guinness’ calling for it, does not make it any more valid. He does not speak for me nor many others who value Irish unity and believe we need real reconciliation. Remember, Mc Guinness has bought into a process and he needs to toe the line.

In any case, Mc Guinness and Sinn Fein won their battle against Thatcher. They won the hunger strikes (with a cost of 10 lives that she did nothing to protect, despite claiming they were her citizens and member of a parliament she was Prime Minister in) in getting all of the ‘5 Demands’. She couldn’t get Joe Doherty, despite pressurising the US to change the law on several occasions, they outlived her politically, they share power in Northern Ireland with significant power in the south and their support is growing.

Her brutality cost her and cost the kind of country she claimed to be protecting. Had she shown some compassion the Shinners and republicans may never have seen power. Ironic?

There needs to be a period of truth and reconciliation if we are really interested in moving on. And whatever ‘hatred’ I or we had for the English/British/UK had nothing to do with Thatcher. She just continued the shameful and criminal acts on this country that had been carried out for centuries and Irish people are culpable also in their collaboration. I do not speak for any group and I am not nor have I ever been a member of any group that had direct involvement in Northern Ireland. In any case, a 30 year campaign by the IRA hardly compares to the brutality of the most heavily fortified army in Western Europe. It’s not the same.

Some say there is blood on both sides. True, but it is not the complete picture and it is not an equal picture. Could you possibly believe that the Palestinian campaign against the Israelis is equal to the might of the Israeli army? Could you possibly believe that the ANC campaign (who she branded terrorists) against white South Africa was equal? No you couldn’t.

Some say she hated the Irish. I do not believe she hated the Irish. In fact I do not believe she had feelings for Irish people one way or the other. It’s irrelevant to me what she felt or who she felt it for.

She religiously imposed a privatised philosophy, with much greater determination that any Catholic Priest, that suited the rich and those who wished to be rich at any cost. The nationality of her victims was irrelevant – she murdered Argentinians, Libyans and brutalised her own people equally. So the hatred for Thatcher goes way beyond Northern Ireland.

If folk are offended by this hatred and feel they can’t stop it, then why not ask why it exists? As a lapsed Catholic it took me a long time to realise and understand why there is so much hatred for my church. But I understand it more each day and I am hopefully learning from it. Maybe when we examine it we can deal with it. Then, and only then, can we realistically ‘move on’ and properly call it ‘the past’.

 

Covered in part (along with Pope Francis) on my show here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgW-sSvQ-cI&list=UU0USUPxX2X-bg9MfCrLLz2g