Thursday, April 11, 2013

Worth Quoting: Annie Lennox

I recently posted links to two commentaries on Margaret Thatcher that I thought were interesting. They can be found in the comments to my post about her. Today, I saw another interesting commentary that I think it’s worth presenting here.

Annie Lennox, a singer probably best known as half of 80s (mainly) group, Eurythmics, wrote this today on her Facebook page:
Margaret Thatcher's death has provoked an outpouring of polarised responses, clearly reflecting how people felt, and still feel about her, right up to the present day.

As a political leader, her style was strident (some would say strong), inflexible (some would say firm), authoritarian (some would say powerful, tough (some would say resolute), arrogant (some would say assured), snobbish (some would say she had a sense of values), and faintly ridiculous, (some would say patriotic). She was the headmistress and we were the renegade schoolchildren. She was the leader and we were the ardent followers…all depending on which side you happened to be on. Despite the evidence of her gender, she could never be described as a Feminist. She was more of a singular woman in the old boys club than a defender of women's rights.

Although she was the daughter of a humble grocer shop owner, her aspirations far outreached her roots, which is tremendous but… she failed to have any real understanding or connection with ordinary people, riding roughshod over their lives, leaving them to deal with the aftermath of a decimated industrial era. Entire communities disintegrated with generations being left to cope for decades down the line.

I admire dedication, strength of purpose and vision, these are all fine qualities but when political policies are so brutally hard line, that they affect people's entire existence at a pen stroke (whilst being told to pull themselves up by their boot straps), you can be sure that the spirit of dictatorship has arisen. From my own perspective I keep recalling the heavy sense of oppression that saturated every aspect of the Seventies, and I can't say I have any sense of fond nostalgia.
When I first read that, I assumed that Annie meant “…aspect of the Eighties”, since Thatcher’s rule was mainly in the 1980s, but I’m not certain. After all, Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979 and, before that, Leader of the Opposition in 1975. So, she was central to Britain’s politics in the 1970s, too.

I’m sharing Annie’s post partly because of her unique perspective: The pop music scene in Britain in the Eighties that she was part of was heavily influenced by the Thatcher regime. Some of what was, in my opinion, the best British music of that era was a direct response—often angry, challenging or protesting. I especially like pop music displaying a passion for changing the world, rather than merely a passion for making money.

In any case, I think perspectives like that of Annie Lennox are interesting: Not at all vitriolic, but firm, with convictions and passion quietly displayed. Dancing on Thatcher’s grave is something that many people clearly feel they need to do, and I won’t judge them for it. But for me, I prefer to listen to the quieter, more reasoned voices of opposition reflecting on why Thatcher was bad, not just screaming that she was.

No comments: