Kick Up The Tabloids

Thatcher Spare Room Eviction Tragedy

Apparently, we are told by certain unionist “satirists”, the referendum is affecting our freedom of speech. Having done a show about independence at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, I was subjected to a tirade of on-line threats and bullying. Not due to anything controversial that was said on stage, it’s just that the show wasn’t very funny and people resented paying seven quid a ticket to hear my skewed opinions.

Because let’s face it, we live in a time where cash is tight. We have benefit cuts to deal with, and we have The Bedroom Tax, whereby unemployed and elderly people may have to move out of their homes if they have a spare room. Indeed, just last month we had the horrific story of a woman in her eighties who had to move out of her ten-bedroom mansion in Belgravia and live out the last months of her life in the Ritz Hotel.

Margaret Thatcher was said to divide Britain. She united Scotland. Everyone hated her, even people who could not remember her. I have a friend in his thirties who has a vague memory of Thatcher cutting his school milk and is still so angry he was going to go down to London to throw bricks at her funeral. I told him that, much as I agreed with the sentiment, it could get him into a lot of trouble and that he should mark her passing by making a positive statement that moved us forward from her legacy. So he suggested he might go to his local primary school and give away free milk… I did suggest this might get him into more trouble.

Elsewhere in this edition, people will do doubt be discussing the damage that Thatcher did to Britain. And indeed it was horrendous. In fact, one fact that is seldom brought out is that Margaret Thatcher was on her own single-handedly responsible for the early career of Ben Thatcher.

So what is Thatcher’s Legacy. Broken Britain? Billy Bragg? UKIP? Nigel Farrage?, who likens himself to a latter-day Thatcher. Indeed, he seems to me to be some grotesque hybrid of Margaret and Denis Thatcher rolled into one. UKIP’s pitch to the English public appeared to be that you can trust their policies because the leader is always pictured in the pub. “Look, vote for us because we’re like that guy who talks utter bollocks most of the time, but after you’ve had ten pints, he appears to make sense.”

The party’s core vote is presumably made up of the borderline mentally-ill whose main leisure pursuit is calling into late night phone-ins on Radio 5, when most sensible people are either asleep or have drunk themselves into a coma. On late-night drives home from gigs, I’ve heard several calls along these lines:

Hello there, Stephen, I want to take issue with that last caller who complained about spending ten million pounds on Baroness Thatcher’s funeral. He seems to have forgotten one thing.

OK we might be living in austerity but that’s all down to her. She saved this country quite literally millions of pounds by stopping wasting money on students and school milk and the mines the NHS, so if you asked me she paid for it herself. She came to this country’s rescue when we were on our knees in the South Atlantic. If it wasn’t for her, we’d all be speaking Argentinian now.

Listen, I remember the Winter of Discontent when you couldn’t bury your dead because the Trade Union barons were having beer and sandwiches at 10 Downing Street

I ask you this, who did win World War II? It certainly wasn’t the European Union, was it? But that doesn’t stop us being ruled by the gnomes of Zurich. What they’re doing now isn’t madness it’s sheer utter lunacy.

You look at a country like Russia, and how it’s transformed itself from a Communist dictatorship to a free market police state. When they were under the iron grip of totalitarianism under Stalin and Tolstoy and all their cronies, anyone who spoke up against the Government was thrown into a mental asylum. Whereas, thanks to Margaret Thatcher, we closed down all our mental asylums. But we still have freedom of speech. Hello? Hello? Have I been cut-off?”

I realise that characterising UKIP as unhinged is not exactly an original idea. Kenneth Clarke described them as “a bunch of clowns”, after which 25 per cent of the English went to the polls to state that they would prefer to be ruled by a bunch of clowns than a coalition of idiots.

David Cameron had previously described UKIP as “loonies, fruitcakes and closet racists”, in other words Tory voters. Between now and 2015, expect Conservative think tanks to be formulating more policies to appeal to the Loony-Fruitcake-Closet-Racist vote.