It would be a remarkable legacy for any British political leader to leave behind them, to bequeath their nation a culture of individual selfishness, divisiveness, indifference, intolerance and in some cases maybe even hatred, between peoples of the same national tribe, all in the name of a particular economic and political ideology.
Who could forget the words of Margaret Thatcher, quoting St Francis of Assisi with "Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope." How hollow those words and the sentiments appear to be now, some thirty-odd years after she chose to utter them on the steps of Downing Street in May 1979, after defeating the Labour Government of James Callaghan.
Could we live in a more discordant country, one which is error strewn and where truth is often the very first casualty of our politician's and our media's everyday propaganda exercises? Have the people of Britain ever been more doubtful, suspicious, sceptical or dubious about the words coming out of their politician's mouths, their broadcaster's news bulletins, or their newspaper's editorials? Has there ever been such a lack of faith in our national leaders, to find solutions to the multitude of daily problems that are affecting peoples lives? Have the people of the UK ever been so desperate and hopeless as many are today, to escape the clawing apathy, indifference, despondency and misery that blights their lives each and every day?
Cameron, Clegg, Osborne and Co are just the latest in a long line of political incompetents who have helped to drive Britain to the edge of national destruction, creating a country where sixty-odd million cowed and neutered citizens fear more for their own personal incomes than they do for their own basic principles, or indeed for the fate of their neighbours and friends. Along with Thatcher, Major, Blair and Brown they have helped to create a truly fractured state, one where the equally important regions of Scotland, Ireland and Wales have been driven away to the political periphery, to where hopes of their territorial independence could now be a realistic outcome.
It is remarkable to think that within the space of forty years, these half dozen mediocre British politicians have somehow managed to systematically undo nearly three hundred years of our country's economic, social and political history, much of which was orchestrated and built by far better men and women than them. Although the supporters of such changes undoubtedly believe that Scottish, Irish and Welsh devolution is an inevitable part of any modern political process, the fact that further territorial separation will almost certainly be accompanied by increasing antagonisms between the various national populations cannot be anything but damaging to all of the people of the UK, regardless of their nationality.
Interestingly, even though she was widely regarded as the most divisive politician of the entire post-war period, Margaret Thatcher's recent death has lead to an almost incomprehensible outpouring of political revisionism bordering on religious fervour, social propaganda and commentary, most of which would not be out of place in some of the world's most suppressed societies. In spite of the catastrophic harm that she undoubtedly wrought on the former industrial heartlands of Britain, their businesses, their communities and their individual workers, any public criticism, condemnation or even celebration of her passing is deemed to be spiteful, anti-social or unwarranted, by those within the chattering political classes who would have us believe that she somehow rescued our country from the "enemy within", even though this phrase alone would tell us we need to know about her own implicitly divisive, inflexible and uncompromising attitudes, when it came to the British society that she so easily dismissed as being non-existent.
Anyone who lived through the three-day-week, the power cuts, the mountains of uncollected refuse, or the dead not being buried, would recall those dark days as being enjoyable, or indeed ideal, but neither were they ever sufficient justification for introducing legislation that essentially sold our country off to the highest bidder, or to undermine the rights of workers to sell a fair days labour for a fair days pay. Ultimately, the 1970's and the 1980's became periods of extremes, when an elected government extensively used national agencies, the media, the courts, private money, Parliament and an awful lot of good fortune into rolling back many of the gains that the working population had fought for over several generations.
Of course nobody in their right mind would have wanted the country to be run by the great union barons, who in some cases hadn't been properly elected to their posts, let alone given permission to hold sway over the economic, social or political future of our nation. But then, with conflict rather than compromise being the primary driver for both leaders of the dispute, maybe the outcome was almost inevitable, most especially where one side has the national media supporting their actions, albeit for the most selfish and self-serving reasons. Whether or not the newly revised history of Thatcherism agrees or not, it was during her leadership of our country that the concept of British society, began to be swept away, as she purposefully set class against class, worker against worker, neighbour against neighbour; and friend against friend. Her periods of office marked the beginning of the now widespread idea that being rich was good, being poor was bad, being self sufficient was good; that dependency of any form was bad, small or non-existent state was efficient and good, big state was inefficient and bad.
The greatest economic, social and political myths also largely emanate from Thatcher's years, most especially that private enterprise does things better and more cost effectively than their much maligned public counterparts. As has been mentioned many times, here and elsewhere, in reality the privatisation of the Telecommunications, Gas, Electricity, Water, Mining, Steel and Shipbuilding industries has only benefited their private shareholders and certainly not the millions of consumers who are now regularly held hostage to the annual price increases that each of these vital businesses apply. As an interesting note, it is ironic that a number of these highly important national assets, formerly owned by the British people, are often in the hands of overseas governments, meaning that the German and French people now own more of our vital industries than we Brits do, which would perhaps be funny, were it not so tragic for our own national population.
Although Margaret Thatcher and her personal ideology no doubt formed the basis for where we are today, the fact is that her initial foundations have been built upon and added to by a succession of likeminded individuals, all of whom have been in enthralled by the "Iron Lady" and her theories of monetarism and the free market. The likes of John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown are all equally guilty of building upon the social divisions and deprivations initially set out by Thatcher, to the extent that there is little if any chance of these changes ever being undone by any future government, even if they wanted to.
Now more than ever there is a need for our vital services, our water, gas, electricity, health services, housing, schools and transport infrastructure to be safeguarded by government, yet they would seek to hand over what little is left to private interests, despite the fact that this would leave them open to rampant financial exploitation, thereby making them scarcer and far more expensive to the consumer. However, if you happen to be wealthy, greedy or acquisitive then you probably won't be that bothered, as you'll be able to pay the costs of such vital services, regardless of whether or not your poorer neighbour can or not.
After all, if you happen to be a follower of the Mail, the Express, or the Telegraph, then you'll need no persuading that virtually all benefit recipients are work-shy listless layabouts, who struggle to raise themselves simply to sign on every now and again. just look at the case of Mick Philpott, proof, if proof were needed; that some benefit recipients are not only lazy, but potentially dangerous too. It must be true mustn't it, because it says so in these quality papers? Also, if you're a true believer in these same newspaper's articles and editorials, then you definitely wouldn't think about being treated in a NHS hospital, where the nurses generally treat you like you're a prison inmate, assuming of course that they can be dragged away from their computers where they're busily surfing the net. Not that it's related of course, but it is interesting to note that many of these same newspaper articles and editorials just happen to carry banner advertising for one of the many private healthcare companies that are busily establishing themselves around the country. But of course that'll just a happy coincidence, won't it?
Interestingly, the BBC ran a piece about the expansion of the old class system, which suggested that the old three class system, the upper, middle and lower classes have been superceded by seven new classes, giving a fresh view of where the British population sits in their standing to one another. Of course, it might well be viewed that modern Britain could easily be broken down into pairs of distinct classes, the "haves" and "have-not", the "rich" and the "poor", or "northerners" and "southerners", or better still, the "plebs" and "patricians", whichever of these particular terms happens to rock your boat.
Whatever your preference, there seems little doubt that Britain is more divided now than at any time during its recent history; and possibly since the United Kingdom was formally created by the various national treaties. It cannot just be coincidence that all three regional assemblies have seriously contemplated full political separation, resulting in Scotland actually holding a national referendum on the subject in 2014? Despite the fact that such campaigns are likely to be unsuccessful in the short term, the fact that they're being thought about, talked about and even planned seems to say much about the divided nature of British society, none of it good. Increasingly, the northernmost regions of England are beginning to express their disillusionment with and detachment from their southern neighbours, to the extent that the idea of a fully regionalised and therefore separated England is no longer thought of as unimaginable, but is inevitably becoming possible to contemplate. For the southern counties of England, especially London, there is probably much to recommend the idea of an entirely separate capital state, one that owes no political allegiance or indeed financial support to its much poorer northerly cousins; and one cannot imagine that they would lose much sleep over the fate of the millions of people who presently live beyond the limits of the M25.
Although the idea of a federal UK, or even a regionalised England might seem fanciful today, given that there seems to be growing tensions between the North and South, England and Scotland, England and Wales, as well as between the mainland UK and Northern Ireland, over time these tensions and differences are almost certain to increase, leading to an erosion of the common ties of Britishness that have previously held the four home nations together. Even though no-one could legitimately claim that Margaret Thatcher, John Major, Tony Blair or even Gordon Brown have deliberately or purposefully set out to fracture the historic cohesion of these four distinct nations, ultimately their shared destruction and undermining of our country's common ties, including its culture, habits, populations and laws have undeniably helped to cultivate the very worst of people's human nature; at the same time eroding the very best of the British character.
Today, large numbers of our Parliamentarians celebrated the life of our former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, recalling how, in their opinion, she had saved this country from its own self destructive impulses and from the enemy within, the working classes who had helped build our country in the first place. Today in the Commons, fictions largely replaced facts, and party political ideology replaced personal integrity, as one after another elected representatives revised our country's recent history in an attempt to eulogise and lionise the chief architect of our nation's social, political and economic decline, Margaret Thatcher.