Margaret Thatcher

8 04 2013

I grew up in the 1980s and 1990s in a Welsh valleys mining family and community that was beaten but not broken. My memories of NUM Christmas socials even long after pits closed were of hwyl. Good humour and fellowship. Sitting listening to the old boys like ancient bards telling a tale and politely looking down as their stories were punctuated by coughs, hacks and spitting up coal dust. Decades after they last breathed in a pit. The community & quiet humanity endured even if the work did not

So I can’t stomach the idea of celebrating the death of another human being. It isn’t my way… isn’t OUR way. I echo the sentiments of another man of good hwyl that I follow on Twitter:

 

“The Tories failed to steal my humanity. So I neither sneer or celebrate. I regret the death of any human being.”

 

Margaret Thatcher partly made me what I am today. I saw every man of working age I knew lose his job through no fault of his own in Collieries that could be run profitably and I swore that would never happen to me. So I became self employed. I saw health and safety law being paid lip service whilst deserving cases were resisted every step of the way or people’s employment rights were rolled back. So I specialised in industrial injuries/diseases and employment law. I saw that I was powerless and buffeted around by the decisions of Government and so I supported the Labour Party & Trade Union movement even as a kid. Finally I saw that Labour in Opposition in Westminster are powerless to protect our communities so I give up my free time to plod around streets and knock on doors and talk to people about their worries and try to secure a Labour victory.

 

There is an entire determined generation of us now hitting our 30s. We haven’t succeeded because of Tories. We succeeded in spite of them. In the absence of local work we have empowered ourselves just as working class members of our grandparents and great grandparents generations passionately believed in. Like diamonds in the coal dust the downward pressure made us harder than we otherwise would have been. It made us determined to firstly empower ourselves and the ones that truly learned the lessons of our childhood turned back to lend a hand to help others.

 

The very worst thing Labour members can do now is show ourselves to be inhuman. After all isn’t OUR ultimate message that Britons are more than Consumers. We are Citizens and more than that we are a humane Society.

 

If Labour members sneer and make spiteful statements we take our eyes off the very real dangers that this current government presents to our communities. You have a choice: Scream at the moon about the battles of the past or articulate clearly the world you want to see in the future. I chose the latter. I chose to win power to protect the communities our party was built to protect.

 

The past is the past. It has shaped us but it’s Labour’s job to fight the battles of the present day and help shape the futures of others.

 

I hope she rests in peace. Her family have my condolences.

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