THE BLOG

Thatcher's Britain

12/04/2013 11:49 BST | Updated 11/06/2013 10:12 BST

Here's what I remember of Thatcher's Britain.

I grew up in Ashington - at the time, the largest coal mining village in the world - in the North East of England.

We lived there during the 80's miner's strike. We weren't miners; we were then, and now, immigrants. Nonetheless, what I remember is that the strike was not just hard; it was devastating.

Thatcher starved the miners into submission - I remember kids whose families used the soup kitchens. It was civil war, and Thatcher gave the police full reign to do what they had to to bully people who - this is no crime! - wanted to save their jobs, their traditions.

Whatever you feel about unionism, the region never recovered; alcoholism was pretty much what Ashington was famous for after that. I think one thing Thatcher's government pretty successfully killed off was notions of Welfare state (and, lets face it, 'society'); I've read a lot lately that people need to make their own lives - and to not expect handouts.

However you feel about social living, and whether or not we owe a duty of care to other people - instead of villainising them; or criminalising them; or thinking the worst about their motives (and that goes for benefit 'scroungers', or Muslims, or immigrants, or any other Them/Other) - closing the mines surely should have come with some kind of welfare - or expectation of deprivation? Where were all these jobs and aspirations supposed to appear from, as if by magic? How do you undo generations of working, as opposed to going to university, having a nice little job, looking after your own bank balance?

Thatcher's government wrote the North off in so many ways; the press then as now haven't acknowledged the fact that this was civil war, by the state against people - people that we would have at one time said were like "us".

Thatcherism isn't dead - you can see it in the way we hate each other, as opposed to challenging governments, who are the real villains.

What's harder is the revisionism - pages and pages of it in the press. Even the putative left, the Twitter generation, always has one eye on sound bites rather than - as they were during Thatcher's time in office - being vocal, for right or wrong - at least there was a debate; I've only heard Glenda Jackson come out and say something close to a personal experience of life in Thatcher's Britain. How depressing to think of a generation who will grow up not even looking for the truth behind Obama's lie - that here was a woman who was a leader and liberator, as opposed to a fascist.

History belongs to the powerful; see it in action.