Maggie’s Part In My Downfall

How can I let the death of former British Premier Margaret Thatcher pass without a word? Well easily actually. 

But I thought at least I would congratulate Thai TV Channel 5 for using not a picture of Maggie but a picture of Meryl Streep, who acted the part of Maggie Thatcher in the film ‘Iron Lady’.

This is so much kinder than some publications, which used the ‘Spitting Image’ version of the woman almost beatified today by the London Daily Mail, but was topped by Taiwanese television which used a picture of Queen Elizabeth II.

Ian Macdonald – Picture – COI

I have no personal feeling towards this British icon.  I was not sent to the Falklands conflict the winning of which enabled her to become one of Britain’s longest serving Prime Ministers. I was at the Ministry of Defence press conferences in Whitehall hosted by the MoD’s chief press officer Ian Macdonald.

News in those days, particularly that coming out of the South Atlantic, could be controlled, so the whole country became a trifle jingoistic…not that of course it was not a bad show.

I also was around reporting at News International at the time of the Miners’ Strike – but luckily escaped duties there too – as colleagues nearby tried to label it a commie revolution.

But I could not avoid Thatcher’s support of Murdoch during the Wapping Industrial action.  That’s when I took my leave.  I spent one day on the picket line and packed my bags for a round the world trip for the C4 UK – in those days travelling first class.

But she followed me unfortunately. By deregulating the financial industry she managed to throw one last knife in my back.

Margaret Thatcher was aged 87.  Many of us I fear will not get there. RIP.

Of course I no longer look like the person on the left above here on that trip with my producer in Phoenix, Arizona.

This is, well yonks ago, but there is one picture I cherish, which came at the end of the trip. After filming in Penang – the film was about a Briton who was executed there – I took R & R in Phuket.

 (It looks like Rawai.)

This was of course at a time when the Wapping Strike was at its most violent and printers and journalists were trodden under hoof.

Still I did do my bit. Look at the sign on the post I am leaning against.

Can’t read it? Here you go….

Don’t tell the desk

And finally, in a desperate attempt to show that I once  had got what it takes, here’s a picture taken in Penang while filming ‘No Man Wants To Die‘.

And if anybody is thinking ‘Did he get off with one of those two?’ the answer is no. But we had a few ‘jybes’ and ‘ready abouts’.

Inevitably I had to get back to blighty and the company’s yacht outing (below) while still on strike pay.

I returned of course and missed the ‘loadsamoney’ period which came before the recessions.

Now that Maggie has gone – I guess I can go back now

But some people tell me its not a pretty sight.

17 thoughts on “Maggie’s Part In My Downfall

  1. You are having a larf, aintcha?
    Fleet Street was a communist run closed shop run by the sainted few. To get a job in the print shop you had to be related to someone in the job. I recall the average earnings for these guys was up to £20,000 a year, 5x the national average. The owners got truly pissed off with being blackmailed by them but before Maggie no one would risk taking them on. Eddie Shah and Wapping changed all that and their power was broken. Dinosaurs fighting for greed and privilege they only sustained through blackmail and coercion is never an edifying sight. I'm surprised you hadn't the character then to see though them and acknowledge the future when it came. Maggie freed so many from their shackles and destroyed the moribund useless Labour Party personified by the sclerotic Micael Foot and his fellow travellers, to the eternal thanks of Tony Blair.
    Great woman and modernised Britain.

    1. Putting Micky Mouse and Donald Duck aside for a minute journalists were told that they would be in charge of the newspapers when the print unions went I did not believe. Once the print unions went there was a mass firing of journaliss of course.

    2. And with no,immediately, discernible change in quality of copy it seems many were indeed redundant.

      The obsolescence of the industry, as it stood before Wapping, was apparent to everyone but in the nature of the thing, much as the Luddites demonstrated 200 years previously, no one involved wanted to give up their seat on the gravy train engineered by the boys in the print room.
      And who was right? That the News International group went on to enjoy its salad days for over a decade with the Sunday Times et al enjoying yearly increases in circulation is confirmation that the change was well merited.

      I suspect it was all those days languishing in hostelries with one's chums up and down the street of shame, phoning in your copy whilst filling in those fat expenses claims that you all miss, eh Andrew? Happy days indeed but screwing the rags for all their worth was never going to last.

      Blaming Maggie is a bit like making her responsible for rain on Mondays but I suppose such silliness is inevitable from the Hampstead luvvies, viz Glen Jackson ( Shurely shome mistake? – Ed.)but I never figured you for one.

    3. Shome mishtake shurley, Westerby. Salad dsya, Rising circulations? Now, St, Times and Sun circulations have only gone up at 'special offer times'and those figures were maintained for weeks rather than days. NoW went from a peak of 7 million copies to about 3 and of course now to Zero because the quality of the staff they were recruiting…and with no unions to protect them from the insatiable demands of their bosses. The emails between editors and writers handed over to the Met show just how bad it got.

  2. Having broken the back of the unions, destroyed most our industrial base and any kind if meaningful opposition, what precisely are we left with? A bunch of toadying sychophants like Rupert Murdoch who equate greatness in a nation with the unfettered greed of a few miserly never-contented rich gits and their free-market bonus-banker chums. Thatcher saved the nation for her supporters. And that's about as far as it goes. Truth be told, it didn't exactly help many of her own supporters that much. They just had to go on repeating her lies, knowing full well that the reality really wasn't that wonderful. Thirty years on (and a number of very significant economic slumps), the longer term future of post-Empire UK is still very much in the air. The trouble is with people like Thatcher that they live on the dream, and never wake to realise that it is actually far worse than even they were prepared to admit or make a personal sacrifice for. We haven't even begun to fix the problem.

  3. The campaign to get "Ding Dong The Witch is Dead" is gathering momentum; number 1 on Itunes and Amazon and number 10 in the UK charts at time of writing. It will be interesting to see if the BBC Top 40 will actually play it. Also, expect Death Parties up and down UK on her funeral day.

  4. I think she did more damage than good for the uk she made many redundant.Ripped appart the heart of many communities.She widen social division and created unrest through her policies.The Iron ladyboy who is currently running the country is following the same path and in my opinion will have similar problems what did he say "we are all in this together" what a load of lies the the most vunerable in this country are being persecuted the most.

  5. Indeed, Maggie ripped the heart out of so many communities, starved the poor, oppressed the downtrodden, ate so many of their babies and sold what was left into the maw of greedy capitalism that she never lost an election and NuLabour had to wait 17 years before they took their turn which, naturally, resulted in economic chaos.
    You guys really do live in a fantasy land. Communities?? I never lived in a community in my life. There ain't any. Everyone, without exception, wants what they want and if that means disadvantaging the next guy, so be it.
    Maggie made a new generation of millions richer than they would have been under that dreadful British socialist dream of left wing nutters exemplified by Hatton,Scarsgill and the dying Fabian dynasty of Foot et al.
    The British do love to blame anyone for their ills except themselves.The banks lent money to people who couldn't pay it back on assets not worth a fraction of the loan – did they break an arm to persuade them to take those loans? Naah,everyone wanted to play the housing roulette game, to stoke up their credit cards and bling themselves into a frenzy. It was just greed. Plain and simple and what is left? Whingeing, whining self pity about the nastiness of capitalism and, now, this puerile demonising of a politician who in fact did more for them in breaking the class barriers between the "working classes " and the middle classes.
    Jesus wept indeed.

  6. Glad you didn't enjoy that Gerry! No such thing as society, eh? In which case why bother trying to appeal to the electorate at all. Just go out there and rule alone, and then moan about how misunderstood you are. That is pretty much what both sides have done in the 30 years. Big Society? No society? Which one is the vote-catching spin that you are currently in favor of? The one your PR man tells you is currently the most convenient I suppose. You have never lived in a community? Perhaps not very surprising then that you don't understand other people who clearly believe that they do. You probably don't understand the conservative party either.It isn't an exclusively left-wing viewpoint. How do you square the notion of family values and social discipline with no community? Or is it just the case that you expect other people to swallow the propaganda whole, but actually have no intention of doing the same yourself. Careful that you don't end up like Mark Thatcher, who clearly still doesn't have the faintest clue what it is to be a member of the human race. ( I'd leave off the lefty-baiting stuff here if I were you. That's just digging up corpses to keep convenient myths alive. 😉

    1. Actually, on reflection, I'm now inclined to agree with you.

      Before Thatcher the world, and certainly Britain, was a much nicer place. The class distinctions were quite stark and a chap could buy a house in a decent neighbourhood happy in the knowledge that the lower end were confined to their own ghastly council housing estates where they and their spawn could conduct themselves without fear of infecting we richer, more civilised folk. Our schools were nicely segregated in that decent middle class children could be educated without fear of rubbing shoulders with those secondary modern tykes whose education was aimed fair and square at training them as fodder for the factories and other blue collar trades.

      And of course, the distinction that white collar folk should earn much more than factory fodder and people who got their hands dirty was a given. Excellent times which benefited we middle classes particularly when we had that friendly chat with our Building Society manager ensuring that only we could own property at a price well within our affordability since the cosy restriction of the money supply meant prices were pleasingly stable. Great times and the best bit was, the lower end accepted it as quite normal and as long as they got that little wedge in their Friday pay packets who cared?

      Travelling of course was positively exciting and far flung places were indeed foreign since all those ghastly oiks from the lower end couldn't afford the cost of the airfares nicely cartelled between all those regulated nationalised carriers. A week in Benidorm was their lot but what did it matter, they only needed cheap beer and their chips to be contented.

      Indeed,life was so much better when all one had to do to keep the workers in their place was to buy off those cloth capped mouthpieces of theirs with a round of beer and sandwiches even if it meant their jobs were steadily being taken by those little yellow men from the East and Germans reconstructed courtesy of the Marshall Plan .

      Oh happy, happy halcyon days. Indeed, Maggie has a lot to answer for.

  7. I think despite the eulogies Margaret Thatcher is going to be remembered for sending the 1939 song from the Wizard of Oz to the top of the charts by the time of her funeral. Ding Dong the Wicked Witch is Dead.

  8. The distance between what passes for the space from one ear to the next in British terms is the square root of idiocy divided by the size of the chip on one's shoulder.
    That the denizens of current British society measure this formula in the childishness of their thinking is probably all that is necessary to understand why the place is such an unutterable shithole.
    Looking at the young, fat arsed and branded in silly tattoos one is always reminded of the market of old when the swine were led to slaughter. These days they are simply led to the banal, the puerile and the vacuous seemingly confused that they are not swilling their way to a life of inconsequence.
    That senescent scribes who really ought to know better might sympathise may well be just a symptom of their incipient dementia.

  9. So to summarise, she is the "saviour of a nation" that has become "an unutterable shite hole", full of vacuous politically-correct ****wits. Sounds like something went a bit wrong with the cunning plan. I suppose if one now starts talking about Big Society (as if everybody had been suffering from Alzheimer's for the last thirty years), you would need to go into Parliament and talk up a storm, just to convince people you were still a Thatcherite Conservative. By all means build your statue. Just remember that Trafalgar Square has a very long history of disaffected plebs running amok. It needs to be at least as tall as Nelson's Column. I suspect this is why Labour councillors in Grantham recently and finally decided to vote in favour of placing an already once decapitated statue of Margaret in their town.

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