The Permanence of Thatcherism

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Despite the best efforts of Paul Weller and Elvis Costello, Thatcherism, according to a new study, has permanently altered the British political landscape. Despite the rampaging, balaclava-clad students protesting government spending cuts…

Britain is now more Thatcherite than when Margaret Thatcher was in power, with people much less supportive of the welfare state and the redistribution of wealth than in the 1980s, according to an authoritative study of the country's mood.

New Labour oversaw the biggest recorded shift to the right in public attitudes on those measures, despite a surge in concern about the scale of the wealth gap between rich and poor.

Sympathy towards benefit claimants has evaporated, along with support for redistributive tax and spend policies, over the past 20 years, with Labour governing during a period of significant hardening of attitudes towards the poor, the annual results of the British Social Attitudes survey reveal.

It was a tough choice between The (English) Beat's "Stand Down Margaret" and Morrissey's "Margaret on the Guillotine," for most unsubtle anti-Thatcher song of the 1980s. But the Mozzer barely edges out Ranking Roger:

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  1. Instead of Morrissey, you should have put up that Genesis video with those gawdawful puppets that were so popular in the 80’s. I think there was a Thatcher one in there.

    1. Spitting Image.

    2. No Phil Collins, please. I haven’t had my Ritalout.

        1. Unless I’ve been misled, Phil Collins once drowned his wife’s rapist in a hotel pool and then wrote a song about it. That’s totally badass. I wouldn’t mess with him.

          1. According to snopes, you’ve been misled.

          2. You have been most seriously misled.

            But hey, did you know that there are spider’s eggs in Bubbalicious Bubble Gum? Seriously! I heard about it.

            And also some kid died when he ate Pop Rocks and drank a Coke. His stomach exploded. No, really, I heard about it.

            1. That “some kid” you’re talking so cavalierly about was Mikey (he likes it!), from those Life commercials. (The cereal, not the board game or magazine.)

              1. Wrong! Everybody knows Mikey died in ‘Nam.

                1. I don’t know why they complained about Vietnam if they had access to Coke and Pop Rocks over there.

                2. Nope, that was me.

      1. Can we get him back into Clapton’s band and leave him in North Korea?

    3. That is not Genesis. That is Phil Collins. Genesis had Peter Gabriel in it. I will not accept a Genesis without Peter Gabriel.

      1. Cult Deprogrammer: “My greatest achievement was getting Paul McCartney out of Wings.”

        Homer: “You idiot! He was the most talented one!”

      2. I’d prefer Peter Gabriel without Genesis.

        At least his first three albums.

    4. I would have gone with The Exploited.

      Probably “Daily News” over “Maggie”.

      …but that’s just me.

      1. Funny, I don’t recall any GBH anti-Thatcher songs.

        1. “Generals” is probably about as political as GBH ever got.

          I don’t remember anything about Thatcher from them either.

          1. It’s like trying to think of American punk bands who didn’t go after Ronnie Raygun. Few and far between.

            1. Shaved heads. If you’re gonna go there, you gotta think shaved heads.

  2. My favorite anti-Thatcher song is “Blue” by Fine Young Cannibals, though they recorded two different versions of the song and unfortunately the better version was only on the cassette and vinyl releases (just one more reason for me to finally invest in a USB turntable).

    1. Uncool but very good. FYC get a bad rap because they sound so dated, but they were extremely talented.

  3. Sympathy towards benefit claimants has evaporated,

    The British hate the poor!

    […]along with support for redistributive tax and spend policies,

    The British hate the poor!

    […]with Labour governing during a period of significant hardening of attitudes towards the poor, the annual results of the British Social Attitudes survey reveal.

    The British hate the poor!

    Uh, when are Americans going to start hating the poor? We’re LONG overdue!

    [Considering just how many people have become poor thanks to Keynesianism, Americans simply LOVE the poor TOO MUCH! Stop it, already!]

    1. The current administration loves poor people so much, they’re trying to make more of them. And what’s wrong with making more of what you love?

      1. Re: T,

        And what’s wrong with making more of what you love?

        Well, we’re not talking about mere aesthetics… The problem is how you produce, that is, the moral component of it.

  4. Pink Floyd’s “The Final Cut”

    “What have we done, Maggie, what have we done?”

    1. I thought of that album right away as well. The entire thing is fairly anti-Thatcher.

      1. “Fairly”?

        That’s akin to saying that if you stand beneath Niagara Falls, you might experience moisture.

    2. Beat me to it – I was going to post this exact thing.

      The Post War Dream.

      1. Gotta compete with the wily Japanese…

        1. I love that song.

      2. The Post War Dream was bullshit, that’s what happened. I still like the album, though.

    3. Floyd fans….. pfffftttt.. What, y’all a bunch of hippies or something?

      /sarcasm

      1. Sometimes Toto and I smoke a few and try to sync “Dark Side of the Moon” up with our lives.

    4. I wonder how Roger Waters feels about this development?

  5. For a more contemporary anti-Thatcher song I like “I’ll Dance On Your Grave Mrs Thatcher” by John McCullagh.

  6. And when will we comprehend the awesomeness of John Major?

    1. I always like to tell people that John Major was the greatest 20th century prime minister.
      It is great to read him pontificating in newspapers and giving his opinion as if anyone cares.

      He rose without trace.

  7. Did you even read past the first paragraph of the article, you a%%clo>

  8. Moz isn’t a bad choice, but how could you overlook the classic dream pop band Kitchens of Distinction? Okay, well, a lot of people did, but “Margaret’s Injection” slightly inches out “Margaret at the Guillotine” for me. Striking to me, really, how much she was hated back in the day. For all the anti-Bush and anti-Obama we’ve seen, songs fantasizing about executions seem to be pretty beyond the pale in mainstream American political/pop culture. Anyway, here’s “Margaret’s Injection:”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmOIwWhdksA

    1. I don’t know that song, but I do have the KOD album Strange Free World…

      1. I have Love Is Hell (and all the others) but I am completely immune to politics in my music. I never would have guessed (or cared) it was about that Margaret.

    2. Yes, going to say this one too. Patrick Fitzgerald was gay, and he had a completely legitimate beef with Maggie T.

  9. I love how British science fiction/comic book writers still obsess over Thatcher. They just can’t forgive her from saving the U.K. from becoming a Third World country. They were all set for a nice, squalid dystopia, and all they have are New Labour’s surveillance cameras.

  10. Don’t expect the Reasonoids to take note that the same article they link to reports record high satisfaction with Britain’s nationalized health care system.

    When all else fails, quote selectively, Reasonoids! Never let context get in the way of making a dubious point!

    1. This year’s dogshit is much better than last years!

    2. Wooooo, a whole 64% (an all time high no less as you point out) are satisfied more or less with their only healthcare choice, whaaaaat an accomplishment.

      Take that number and move it over to another product that people might be able to actually purchase. Say 64% of Coca-Cola drinkers are satisfied with the product. 64% of people who consume Pop Tarts every day actually like them. 64% of subscribers to Reason actually enjoy reading the magazine.

      In all these cases you’d tell the people who were unhappily using these goods or services to go find something they actually liked, wouldn’t you?

      Suddenly a 64% approval of a good/service seems outright weird or downright lousy, particularly if the other 46% are forced to use it anyway, despite not liking it.

      1. To make your analogy work, you would (a) have to think of something essential and universal, not like a brand-name soda or toaster-breakfast; and (b) factor in 50 Million + Americans not having any version of that thing (or only obtaining such thing in a sardine-can of an Emergency Room).

        Otherwise, your analogy is just a big Fail.

        1. Oh? What is the “essential and universal” thing you’re talking about?

          We’re talking about health care, which, like it or not, is a service distributed by doctors, clinics, hospitals, and so on, not health insurance per se, aren’t we? You seem to be confusing the two.

          The government takes over the entire food market (food being essential and universal so far as I can see, agreed?), 64% of people are satisfied with the new soylent green and how they feel they are doing because of it. Does that make it a big success?

          Also, the latest poll I can find, a Gallup joint, seems to say that 88% of Americans with insurance are satisfied with their healthcare, 82% on medicaid are (so even the government programs we do have seem to be producing more happiness than than Britain’s version), and 53% of people who are uninsured are satisfied with their healthcare, a drop from how people in Britain seem to feel, but not a particularly enormous one in the scheme of things.

          Satisfaction being defined here as feeling the service being provided is good/excellent. If you add in fair (which is reasonable) then 75% of the uninsured are satisfied with the health care they’re receiving and 75 > 64.

          So even by the happiness standard you set, you still likely fail.

          http://www.gallup.com/poll/144…..-High.aspx

        2. Oh? What is the “essential and universal” thing you’re talking about?

          We’re talking about health care, which, like it or not, is a service distributed by doctors, clinics, hospitals, and so on, not health insurance per se, aren’t we? You seem to be confusing the two.

          The government takes over the entire food market (food being essential and universal so far as I can see, agreed?), 64% of people are satisfied with the new soylent green and how they feel they are doing because of it. Does that make it a big success?

          Also, the latest poll I can find, a Gallup joint, seems to say that 88% of Americans with insurance are satisfied with their healthcare, 82% on medicaid are (so even the government programs we do have seem to be producing more happiness than than Britain’s version), and 53% of people who are uninsured are satisfied with their healthcare, a drop from how people in Britain seem to feel, but not a particularly enormous one in the scheme of things.

          Satisfaction being defined here as feeling the service being provided is good/excellent. If you add in fair (which is reasonable) then 75% of the uninsured are satisfied with the health care they’re receiving and 75 > 64.

          So even by the happiness standard you set, you still likely fail.

          http://www.gallup.com/poll/144…..-High.aspx

          1. (oops! double post!)

  11. A Weller reference and no highnumber? What is the world coming to?

    1. I was wondering that myself. I hope he’s okay. Maybe I can summon him.

      1. You’d better before it’s too late!

    2. WELLLLL-AAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

      1. Now the thread is complete.

  12. For many of these musicians, social authoritarianism, military-industrial complex buildup and Central/South American meddling were as central to their critique as Reagan-Thatcher corporatism, welfare state cuts and regressive reorganization of the tax structure.

    I should also point out neither Thatcher or Reagan were able to cut net government and both increased debt, so I have zero regard for either. Maggie’s minimal income tax cuts were overwhelmed by her increases in the VAT tax, and both greatly devalued the respective currencies. Why anybody praises either as remotely libertarian beyond faux small government rhetoric still baffles me.

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