16 April 2013

Thatcher’s death: Miliband's betrayal

It’s Labour and Ed Miliband's collaboration in the pomp of Thatcher’s funeral that has robbed ordinary people of a voice.

It is obvious that socialists and other progressives want to make their feeling felt about the death of Margaret Thatcher, the Tory Prime Minister who led and symbolised the political programme which did did so much to wreck or worsen the lives of ordinary working people.

Against a British state which is doing everything to aggrandise Thatcher’s memory (plans incidentally drawn up by Gordon Brown in 2008), ordinary people are powerless. Demonstrators resort to tactics which can seem to be puerile and pathetic: they buy the Ding Dong song and chant “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, Dead, Dead, Dead." They lack a voice to represent them, and are left shouting from the sidelines - and become merely a bothersome element for the police to mop up.

The main culprit for this humiliation of ordinary people is the ineffectual Labour leader Ed Miliband, who rather than give working people a voice has echoed the establishment narrative on Thatcher. Parliament would never have been recalled to honour Thatcher had the Labour leader not gone along with the proposal, for Cameron would have been foolish to push ahead with a debate with all the opposition benches empty. And in terms of the funeral itself, it is doubtful whether such a pompous military affair could have been envisaged, if backed only by the Tories and the Blairs.

So what Miliband has done is to fail the represent the feelings of the left and centre-left in Britain. He could, at the very minimum, have said something like this:

“I was saddened to hear of the death of Margaret Thatcher. It is a personal loss for her family and friends to whom I convey my condolences. However the political legacy of the recently deceased is not something that Labour can mourn. The funeral arrangements for Margaret Thatcher should be a matter for her relatives, friends and the Conservative Party.”

But of course that is not what he said.

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