Wednesday, June 27, 2007

End of an Era

I wasn't in work today, so I watched the daytime coverage of Tony Blair's last speech in the House of Commons. It was quite moving actually, he got a standing ovation from the House, and even David Cameron was nice to him! Even though I haven't always agreed with his policies, making Labour electable again was the best thing he did, for so many people.

Growing up with the Thatcher government was so depressing, it seemed never ending and it must have politicised a whole generation, not just me. Every time they appeared on the news with another policy initiative, it felt like they had absolute contempt for most of the working classes, I'd never felt so patronised by such an apparently smug bunch of politicians before. It really felt like they were putting the boot in sometimes, and were kicking ordinary people when they were down and just needed a bit of help. Maybe I got the wrong impression, but they really seemed totally heartless to me at the time.

Sometimes I see ex-Thatcher cabinet members doing their shopping round here. It's interesting in this area, as quite a lot of politicians have flats here because it's near Parliament. It's quite weird seeing them, they're just like their Spitting Image puppets, but buying their fruit and veg in the market, or collecting shoes from the menders, or (really scarily, if you're ill!) waiting in the doctor's waiting room at the local GP surgery (not to be treated though!). They look surprisingly benign in real life, considering some of the policies they came up with. Even the one described as having 'something of the night about him...'

I think I'll always remember when Labour got elected again, because it felt like a horrible all-encompassing toxic cloud had just disappeared. I doubt it would have happened that way if Tony Blair hadn't been leader, so that's quite a legacy. And it'll be interesting to see what Gordon Brown does next.... apart from welcoming more defecting Tories, maybe!


Annette said...

excellent post.
Your so right. Mrs T. did treat us with utter contempt.
When Tony got in the first thing he did was give us our dignity back.

Great post.

Claire said...


It's amazing how so many years later she can evoke such strong feelings - still makes me angry if I dwell on that period too much. My mum feels the same way.

Annette said...

Yep, makes my blood boil!