YESTERDAY I was catching up on lost sleep and, when the time came to post it was already too late. So here I am tomorrow morning!
What I did start to doodle on a piece of paper was some of the story of my life which began, as far as my public consciousness was concerned, with the Queen's Silver Jubilee in the summer of 1977 when I was 5.
I don't remember the street parties (though surely we had them) but I do remember the silver commemorative double decker bus I kept in near-mint condition. My brother (younger by 2 years) bashed his one up!
But I remember as a 5 year-old seizing on this anniversary year and wondering what and where I would be when the next royal jubilee came round ~ this being the Golden Jubilee in 2002 when I would be 30 years old. That 21st century date coupled to such a milestone age seemed impossibly futuristic.
When the biggest day came six years ago I was on the street begging money for my gear. It passed me by in such a haze I could barely remark on it, for it made almost no impression on my inner consciousness.
Had I been able to feel anything I suppose I would have wept for all the opportunities missed, the promise lost ... but I was far too lost then to indulge in tears.
The next woman to dent my public consciousness was Margaret Thatcher. She came into power in 1979 when I was 7 and was thus the first Prime Minister I remember. And she stayed so very long, till I was 19 that when she was eventually shoved out of office by snakes in her own Conservative ("Tory") party, I felt vaguely frightened. She was the only Prime Minister I had ever known.
How I loved Mrs Thatcher as she reigned over us! Before her appearance Britain had been a dusty, sluggish grey place marked by terminal decline (hey I'm nearly quoting her memoirs...) What Britain needed, so she believed, was a good kick up the backside. Get rid of the unions' stranglehold over British industry by eliminating practices like public ballots by show of hands. In the future only "proper" secret ballots into the box or by post would be allowed. Thatcher struck a crushing blow against union dominance when she smashed the longstanding miners' strike over pit closures. Unprofitable mines ought to be dispensed with. And so they were.
For all her faults, Mrs Thatcher did "get Britain working" again. And she made this country a businesslike place to be.
She started an international trend by privatizing national utilities: telephones, oil and gas, water, electricity and railways. Looking back I see this as national theft. Of course it's one of the most classic cons in the book to steal something off somebody and hoodwink him into buying it back and that's what she did with all her share offers. With the possible exception of telecommunications, there isn't real competition and choice in any of these businesses. Privatized electricity does not mean competing companies offering to wire your house. It just means they buy huge bulk blocks of the national supply and offer to sell dribs of electricity on to you cheaper (hopefully) than the competitors. This is a nonsense. Why not sell straight to US the public at the discount wholesale rate ~ THAT would be true democracy.
The great flaw in Thatcher's policy, which DID get a revived, modernized Britain moving again was that she seemed to view everything in the model of a business. Make a profit out of something and it's inherently worthwhile. But anything that just costs money is a "loss" and should be eliminated.
If she'd had her way, Thatcher would have got rid of the BBC ~ one of the jewels in our cultural crown. I think she was at heart a republican. The talk was always of how insufferable the Queen found her and "who does she think she is?"!
Now before Gledwood gets too boringly political here's some video entertainment from the magic era when my political sensibilities burst into life:
THATCHER UND DIE DEUTSCHEN
THIS IS TYPICAL entertainment from the best policial TV show of the 1980s: SPITTING IMAGE. See how lifelike those dummies are...
THE POLITICAL ASSASSINATION OF MARGARET THATCHER
It was Christmas eve in a war zone - I just about managed to rise this morning but shining is still a long way off. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I had my usual stress dream last night....
2 hours ago