A handful of a title, but the various subjects on which I have been asked to blog on for Mars Hill's first anniversary.
As there has been no majority suggestion, I will try and do one blog on all of the above, only right now I am kind of mulling over whether to make it into all one subject or as a series of short subjects?
Oh heck, I will just make it into one subject.
There is a strong dislike on many of the left (and even among One Nation Conservatives) towards Margaret Thatcher. This is understandable given her aggressive assault on all on the Unions, the economy, and, put basically, anyone and anything that stood in her way. Perhaps given the loathing many in the Conservative Party feel about Tony Blair, they may get some idea of the depth of feeling many Labour people felt towards Margaret Thatcher (Conservative readers and Thatcher affindos please note, I am talking purely about emotions there, not policy or rationale). Loved and loathed in equal measure it is not for nothing that the late President Mitterand of France said of her that she has the eyes of Marilyn Monroe and the mouth of Caligula.
But, to paraphrase Shakespeare in reverse, I have been asked not to bury Thatcher, but to praise her. Bit difficult perhaps, but not when you realise that she was not the worst British politician we have had, or even the worst Prime Minister of the Twentieth Century (For various reasons I have less of an opinion of David Lloyd George, and Neville Chamberlain for all his well meaning platitutes, was not exactly helpful as Britain approached it's finest hour).
So, to put the question in another perspective, what do I like about her? Well she came from Grantham (as did my maternal Grandad, who incidentally used to help deliver groceries to a certain Alderman Roberts), she helped develop the first soft frozen ice cream when she was a research chemist, she has a lovely daughter called Carol, and beat the odds to get to the top of her political party. She is tenatious, determined, resourceful, and tough. Qualities that are needed in a senior politician. She also sometimes reminds me of my paternal gran, who was a member of the Conservative Party, and I got on well with Grandma). In fact, on the one or two times I have found myself completely agreeing with Thatcher, I can see (as I have found with Tony Benn on the rare occasion I have completely agreed with him) why her supporters hold her in such high esteem.
I think she was right about the Falklands War, and the First Gulf War, and whilst I disagree with her monetarist aims, she had a role in ending Keynesian orthodoxy, although whilst her supporters would welcome that as a route to privatising almost everything in sight, I would argue that, whilst I dearly wish it happened another way, it gave those of us on the very centre to rethink our approach to economics, in particular inflation and unemployment, and to redefine Kenynesianism. A problem that Callaghan noticed, but only too late!
In face she is almost seen as an Iconic figure, almost to the extreme of being seen by some as a Madonna. Although personally I liked her better in Evita and didn't think much of her book sex, which I thought had a bit too much, well, er.. sex in it!
All those bums and breasts, too graphic I suspect as to be boring. Those old forties and fifties movies, much more stylised!
But the golden era of Hollywood was something in itself wasn't it! If there was anything they were pornographic about it was smoking! All those film noir moments with people lighting up for each other. But then I am one of those who doesn't smoke and is not a fan of smoking. I do drink on occasion though, although not much as I am not keen on the strong taste. But some I do like, such as red wine (particually French and South African), Kilkenny Beer, DarkStar (discovered courtesy of Neil Harding), as well as smirnoff ice. Favourite tipple! Possibly whisky and lemonade or whisky and soda, as I don't like drinking spirits neat.
Of course whisky has a particular Scottish feel to it! Maybe it's the iconic tuff like Loch Lomond (as immortalised by Captain Haddock in the Tintin books), but then again I have a love of things Scottish. Perhaps it is because I have ancestry from my mothers' side. The Heitons, who were allegedly accused by Sir Walter Scott of being noveau riche. But I like Scotland. I like the tartan, the countryside, the history, the accents, Edinburgh, the Western Isles etc.. In fact I like Scotland so much I want the next Prime Minister to be Scottish.
No, not Menzies, the other guy, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Well I am lying a bit here. The bit about wanting Gordon to be the next PM and Labour Leader because he is Scottish. I want Gordon to be the next PM because he does a sterling job (no pun intended ;) ) managing the economy, has done much to help with regards to fighting third world debt and has the experience, in opposition and in government, as well as the expertise, to lead our country into a fourth general election.
Of course some argue against Gordon becoming PM. Either it's personal dislike, or fear, or ideological differences, or the simple fact he is Scottish, thus raising the West Lothian Question. I don't think that this in itself is a barrier for Scottish MP's in Westminster seeking high office (In any case the Conservatives, the main critics here, have very few MP's representing Scottish constituencies in Westminster), but the West Lothian Question does raise some pertinent and legitmate causes of concern. This has been redressed for now by lowering the amount of MP's from Scotland in Westminster, but something more definite needs to be done.
The main, and indeed simplistic answer is to have devolution in England, whether that is to bring forward regional assemblies (although that seems to be unpopular) or an English Parliament! In any case time will tell how this question will be resolved and resolved it will be. Our unwritten constitution may take time to develop, but rarely leaves untidy loose ends. My own personal view is that an English Parliament, with deference to Westminster, is feasible, but that is up to popular consent and I don't see much of that and the mainpoint of our legislative assemblies in this country is that they serve Queen and Country.
Phew! Think I will be a bit frivolus and blog on Doctor Who next time. ;)