1984 Politics -My two retro snapshots
By Ray Schaufeld
- 97 reads
And in the Blue Corner
Hard, woman, hard, voice, hard views. Rock hard perm, chilly flash of teeth. She said there was 'no such thing as society' but some members of it must have voted for her, she had almost twelve years in power. 'The Iron Lady', the 'only man in the government' these were her conflcting images they show her mixed up needs for power and also for feminine appeal. The grocer's daughter she wanted to eat her cake and also to have it. Maybe she confused arrogance with strength. She wore lots of blue.
Her voice had mechanical emphasis, she repeated her phrases again and again. 'I know it was right', 'you must accept', 'to save our ships'. She wore down our will to listen. She aimed at winning over the individual. She tried to target the 'I, I, I , me, me, me' that she intended to stir up inside of our egos.
. Leaving aside 'society', had she ever had any notion of community? She assumed her targets by snapshot and close-fitting cliche - the familes struggling to run a small business and the pensioners scraping their pennies together when they go food shopping and then she aimed her arrows to hit them right between their eyes.
She was ruthless in her heavily armed attempts to sink and to submerge groups be they miners working underground, students who intended to become the future generation of teachers and doctors or Argentinians onboard the Belgrano. She handbagged our notions of democracy and of our Englishness to suit her own personal use.
When she was old. frail and out of her mind with dementia Meryl Streep played her in a movie. I went to see it and I felt it was very good but perhaps it would have been kinder and more respectful to wait until Margaret Hilda Thatcher had passed away.
And in the Red Corner
With his quiet voice and his fairish combover hair and is sideburns he is the picture of the ordinary man. He talks fast with only a trace of his local accent. He stumbles a little over ther urgency of his everyday words, over his phrases of certainty, his pressing need to 'and let me tell you this.'
The hundreds upon thousands of ordinary people who choose to follow him risk injury, poverty and the desperate tooth and nail battle of the Miner's Strike rips once close-knit families and communities apart. He never suggests that the struggle for bread is down to him. According to him it is always the fault of someone or of something else. It has to be the Prime Minister or the National Union of Mineworkers who is to blame and if these people cannot be held to account than of course it is the fault of the non-followers, of 'the scab.'
For him to keep and to maintain his postion he has to hold sway over a clashing world where it is 'us and them' and 'if you are not with us, then you must be against us.'
The miners follow them because they have been miners all their lives and he is their leader. They are certain at the start of the strike that to strike is to follow their conscience. They are sure at the start of it all that if they succeed in their long-term goal of keeping the pits open then they are leaving something to their famiies.
They struggle on in numbers of dwindling and exhausted staunchness because after all their rage and fear and sacrifice they want to march through a winning banner,
They follow their king because Arthur believes in himself.
Later he starts his own party, the Socialist Labour Party where he stands fo election twice and he doesn't win. He falls out with everyone on his own side. He has expenses scandals and divorces his wife Anne. He becomes a recluse.
1984 was the time of Margaret Thatcher and Arthur Scargill.
It was the collision of two titanic icebergs.
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