Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I shall not mourn Maggie Thatcher

Today, amid great pomp and even greater security, Margaret Thatcher is being laid to rest. 

Neither she nor her "comrade in arms" Ronald Reagan did anything special to win the Cold War.  They merely carried on the policies of their predecessors, starting with Winston Churchill and Harry Truman.  But they got the credit.

What is too often forgotten is how they both turned a blind eye to the many who were suffering from AIDS, who showed hostility to the entire LGBT community. 

Ian McKellen helps us remember:

With regard to the divisive effect of her reign, one omission was significant and glaring: Section 28.
Lest we forget, this nasty, brutish and short measure of the third Thatcher administration, was designed to slander homosexuality, by prohibiting state schools from discussing positively gay people and our "pretended family relations". Opposition to Section 28 galvanised a new generation of activists who joined with long-time campaigners for equality. Stonewall UK was founded, to repeal Section 28 and pluck older rotten anti-gay legislation from the constitutional tree. This has taken two decades to achieve.
Pathetically, in her dotage, Baroness Thatcher was led by her supporters into the House of Lords to vote against Section 28's repeal: her final contribution to UK politics. She dies too early to oppose Parliament's inevitable acceptance of same–gender marriage.
Thatcher misjudged the future when, according to her deputy chief whip, she "threw a piece of red meat (Section 28) to her right-wing wolves". Some of these beasts survive her, albeit de-fanged. When, to take a recent example, a disgraced cardinal delivers anti-gay diatribes, the spirit of social Thatcherism is revealed as barren, hypocritical and now pointless.

I shall not mourn.

No comments: