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Ding Dong Thatcher's Gone - Should I Celebrate?

18/04/2013 11:01 BST | Updated 17/06/2013 10:12 BST

Remembered today is Iron Lady. She is undoubtedly one of the most divisive figures in modern history whose passing on April 8 once again caused divide amongst Britain. Whilst some mourn at her funeral today, others are partying in the streets.

Magaret Thatcher, the first female prime minister faced challenges entering her first term. 1979 was a time of economic decline, rubbish was left outs on the streets and the dead were left unburied.

She believed in dissolving state influence whilst maintaining a small but powerful core government. Her ideology gave people more stake in their own business, encouraging them to better themselves whilst driving the economy.

Whilst an opportunity for some, the poorer communities suffered as state welfare did not fit in with this self-reliance- a core value of Thatcherism.

Her stern stance on the unions which she was determined to confront led to the mining strikes and the wipe-out of a quarter of Britain's manufacturing industry. This saw the National Union of Miners - one of the strongest unions in the country defeated. The strikes were dealt with by the force of the state - mobilisation and intimidation by mass numbers of police.

Ten republic prisoners in Ireland died of hunger strikes as she refused to give them recognition as political prisoners.

She took risks - the Falklands War whose sovereignty is still disputed. She was a fierce woman with harsh policies.

People love her. People loathe her.

It is the latter to whom I wish to direct this post. I understand why people are angry by the woman who favoured functional inequalities and believed it to be a necessity for a dynamic economy as she cared little for those consequently suffering. The selfish "in it for myself" attitude in business is a product of her legacy and laces inequality issues today.

I understand the anger of those who lost their jobs and loved ones. I understand the anger of those harmed in the protests and strikes. I understand those who find it unfair that £10 million of taxpayers money is being spent on her funeral.

But what I fail to understand is how celebrating her death benefits anyone harmed by her government. No matter how much a person deserves to be scrutinized, celebrating another human's death can only ever say something about you. Whilst I might not be mourning her death, nor celebrating her legacy, I would not go out of my way to "party" over her death. I respect that she has children and grandchildren who are mourning and out of respect for them feel the need to keep my integrity intact.

It's easy for me to say, I wasn't alive during Thatcher's era, but I'm conscious enough recognize that if people celebrate, it will cause a lack of understanding and respect that will be witnessed by the younger generations who may not understand what Thatcher did. Thus, a cycle of negativity is created.

So what can we do? We reflect. We learn. Whilst the systems of division created by Thatcher's term still exist, we must seek unification. The precise reason Thatcher managed to be elected for three terms running was because of this; there was no united opposition.

Don't Hate, Donate is a brilliant initiative which aims to create justice and help those neglected by Thatcher's policies. On their website they say:

"We can't help but think it's pretty lousy to celebrate or gloat over anyone's suffering and death and we don't want anyone else to do it either. We just want to place front and centre people who had no place in the Thatcherite worldview. And we want to do that in a way that can actually do some good."

The charities supported by Don't Hate Donate are:

  • Hillsborough Justice Campaign
  • Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign
  • Child Poverty Action Group
  • Stonewall
  • Coal Industry Social Welfare Organization
  • The International for Transitional Justice
  • Tutu Foundation UK
  • Shelter
  • Don't Hate, Donate have used the anger as a driving force to do good in the world. They are an example of how we can convert negative energy into something positive. If anything, this is what we have to celebrate: Resilience.