Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Grieving Process, Thatcher and All That

I felt that I just had to write something about this, after the death of Margaret Thatcher.

How dare people tell others how to grieve! The grieving process is a very personal thing and one grieves differently for different people. But British society would have us believe that there is only one way to grieve, which includes doing things such as wearing black, being quiet, keeping one's head down, crying, and reminiscing.

Heavens! There are many different ways to grieve.

And if one thinks that one particular person caused or helped to cause misery, suffering and death to millions of people, then one might well be inclined to dance, cheer, sing and celebrate rather than to cry and wail when that person dies. And Margaret Thatcher was one such person.

And so we have much of the population singing and dancing to 'Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead'. Good luck to them!

This is supposed to be a democracy that believes in freedom of expression. If that is the case, then heavens - let the people sing as and when they want to. The issue of 'freedom of expression' also came up on another blog entry of mine - 'Emotional Geology'. There is such hypocrisy in this country around this notion.

But what else do we find? That many of those in positions of power and influence that did not like or agree with Margaret Thatcher's policies are not daring to say much about what they actually thought about it all. Presumably, this is because they are worried about being accused of being disrespectful.

And so it is left to the likes of people such as Glenda Jackson (see my previous blog entry) and John Prescott. And even then, Miliband is getting 'ticked off' by the likes of Tony Blair for letting his rank and file run wild. Heavens!

John Prescott  is very brave here, it has to be said. Writing in the Daily Mirror of 12th April 2013 (see, he refers to how Margaret Thatcher stood on the doorstep on No 10 in 1979 quoting St Francis of Assisi (a sore point for me, as I was brought up to really believe in and value the words of St Francis). Talk about using words and twisting them for one's own agenda. And, this is what Prescott exposes very magnificently.

For example, St Francis saying:

"Where there is doubt, may we bring faith."

And Prescott replying:

"Thatcher never had faith in society. She claimed it didn't exist. Her belief in the individual led to selling off council homes and refusing to build new ones, leading to record waiting lists for social housing and homelessness. "

He ends his article saying:

"On Wednesday I'll remember the wasted lives, the blighted childhoods and the lost industries that were the result of Margaret Thatcher's policies.

And I'll pay tribute to a former PM who made Britain stronger, healthier and happier, not weaker, sicker and despondent.

Clement Attlee, Prime Minister, 1945-1951."

Right on John!

I have looked around to see what other famous left people are saying but it is pretty thin on the ground. Shirley Williams's comments in 'The Guardian' of 8th April 2013  (See quite amusing though, as well are revealing. She says:

"Margaret Thatcher was neither the cleverest nor the most eloquent politician of her generation. But she was without question the most determined...[she studied at Oxford but] The principal of her college, Somerville, the distinguished, radical haematologist Janet Vaughan, dismissed her as 'a second-rate mind', the ultimate academic put-down."

I very much agree with Shirley Williams's comments here. However, this should also help us to be mindful and fearful of those with lesser brains, and lesser intellects - they can do a lot of harm and damage both to society and to individuals if we are not careful.

Indeed, George Monbiot highlighted the fact that the Daily Mail  (no less!) reported the findings of some research that found that conservatives do actually have lower intelligence/lower IQ. This was in an article he wrote for 'The Guardian' on 6th February 2012, entitled 'The right's stupidity spreads, enabled by a too-polite left: Conservatism may be the refuge of the dim. But the room for rightwing ideas is made by those too timid to properly object.'

Monbiot says:

"Paradoxically it was the Daily Mail that brought it to the attention of British readers last week. It feels crude, illiberal to point out that the other side is, on average, more stupid than our own. But this, the study suggests, is not unfounded generalisation but empirical fact...Importantly, it shows that prejudice tends not to arise directly from low intelligence but from the conservative ideologies to which people of low intelligence are drawn...This is not to suggest that all conservatives are stupid. There are some very clever people in government, advising politicians, running thinktanks and writing for newspapers, who have acquired power and influence by promoting rightwing ideologies. But what we now see among their parties - however intelligent their guiding spirits may be - is the abandonment of any pretence of high-minded conservatism."

For the full article see:

So, we must keep our wits about us in general and not fool ourselves otherwise, and try to ensure that wise heads and some kind of worthiness prevails in some way.

Anyway, the whole thing about grieving and the supposed importance of being respectful to the dead is clearly playing an important part in all of this. Even though no such rules apply to dictators and thugs abroad that die and that we, as a country, are pleased about. Oh no, it is fine to celebrate such deaths!

Glenn has also had some interesting comments made on his Facebook page on this matter; with him being accused of being disrespectful to the dead and those grieving. One person, for example, said 'What about her family?' suggesting that Glenn shouldn't be talking in the way that he was. But how on earth do we know how her family feel or how they want to grieve? And how presumptuous of us to assume that we do know. As well as Mark Thatcher's many shortcomings anyway - but we won't go into that one here.

But when my father-in-law died, for example, I was going around the house singing and dancing to Michael Jackson's music. Now, no-one else would or could understand that, and I would not expect them to. How ridiculous it all is!

And so, for now, I rest my case. But that is all I am resting for now!

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