I was surprised when I saw this photograph in a colour supplement a few days after the demonstration. It was captioned “A West End shopper argues with a protester”, but that’s not what happened at all: I was trying to calm him down. I wrote to tell them truth, and to my astonishment they published my letter.The truth behind one of the more famous photos taken during the 1990 London Poll Tax Riot. [more inside]
"Pride", a critically-acclaimed new film given a limited release in the US today, tells the true story of how a small group of LGBT activists became the biggest fundraiser for the year-long British coal miner's strike of 1984-85. The miners faced a pre-meditated, organized, thuggish, dishonest, deceptive, and illegal surveillance and smear campaign by the Thatcher government, which froze all mining union funds, cancelled their unemployment, and denied food and housing welfare to their wives and children, in an attempt to starve them out. For the first time, the British government trained Britain's police into a paramilitary force, bused in at great expense and in great numbers to overwhelm the protesters, using violent, repressive, and corrupt tactics against non-violent protesters, with prolonged police detentions and the indiscriminate arrest of over 11,000 British citizens. The government was supported by the rightwing tabloid media, who used sensationalist, crude headlines to shape public opinion. LGBT activists reclaimed one such headline as the name of their most successful benefit. Although the miner's strike was broken by the Thatcher government, the miners kept their promise to support the LGBT community, by marching alongside them at the front of London's 1985's Pride parade.. Later that year at the Labour Party conference, a motion was tabled that supported adding equal rights for gays and lesbians as part of the Party's platform. This motion was opposed by Labour's executive committee, but the motion went to a vote – and passed, thanks to the votes of the National Union of Mineworkers and their allies.
After an aborted exclusive deal with the Daily Telegraph, The Guardian has published the new short story from Hilary Mantel. The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher – August 6th 1983
Conservative MPs have drawn up an “Alternative Queen’s Speech” with radical policies - "The 42 bills also include legislation to scrap wind farm subsidies, end the ringfence for foreign aid spending and rename the late August Bank Holiday “Margaret Thatcher Day”. Britain’s relationship with Europe features prominently in the action plan, with draft laws setting out how the UK would leave the European Union and a Bill to prevent Bulgarians and Romanians winning new rights to work, live and claim benefits here from next year. All of the proposals were laid before the House of Commons last night after the Tory backbenchers hijacked an obscure Parliamentary procedure by camping out in Westminster for four successive nights." [more inside]
Margaret Thatcher has died following a stroke her spokesman Lord Bell has said. Details are still coming out but the Iron Lady of British politics was and is a divisive figure even today. She will probably be best remembered for her role in the coal miner's strikes and the Falklands War. Her life in pictures is already online. The obituaries have been written for some time.
Iron Lady lost in Russian translation. [Guardian.co.uk] Speaking to a crowd of supporters, Margaret Thatcher, as played by Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady, explains what she would do as prime minister: "Crush the working class, crush the scum, the yobs."
Rumours abound in the UK about secret plans by the current conservative government to offer Baroness Thatcher, lately of ill health, a state funeral nearly exclusively afforded to the Royal family. [more inside]
"My exact words were: I’d like to overthrow the government. I was a young firebrand and I wanted to answer honestly. I was very angry about the social injustice in Britain under Thatcher and I’m delighted that came into the show." - former Doctor Who script editor Andrew Cartmel on the shows 80s political stance. Terrance Dicks and Andrew Cartmel on Newsnight. Meanwhile former Doctor David Tennant gives his veiws on the Master-like characteristics of Tory leader David Cameron.
The Greatest Interviews of the 20th Century according to The Guardian. The interviews are with Princess Diana, John Lennon, Marlon Brando, Dennis Potter, Francis Bacon, Marilyn Monroe, Sex Pistols, Malcolm X, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Margaret Thatcher and Fidel Castro. You know who else is interviewed? That's right, Nixon. Oh, and there's a Hitler interview, too. Apparently he likes tea. So do I. Funny ol' world. [via Neil Gaiman]
Cookd and Bombd: With news about the drug Cake, Margaret Thatcher as the new Doctor Who questions in Parliament and Blue Jam. Turning the zeitgeist of news gathering into the spirit of investigation, an archive to savour
Margaret Thatcher dies, aged 79. [hoax]
Flashback: Margaret Thatcher writes about Ronald Reagan. President Reagan saw instinctively that pessimism itself was the disease and that the cure for pessimism is optimism. He set about restoring faith in the prospects of the American dream — a dream of boundless opportunity built on enterprise, individual effort, and personal generosity. He infused his own belief in America's economic future in the American people. That was farsighted. It carried America through the difficult early days of the 1981-82 recession, because people are prepared to put up with sacrifices if they know that those sacrifices are the foundations of future prosperity.
Man Beheads (statue of) Margaret Thatcher. His "sense of 'satirical humour' left him no choice but to carry out the attack" on the £150,000 Maggie as 'artistic expression and [his] right to interact with this broken world.' Jury fails to convict and a retrial is scheduled. Perhaps there is a creative solution to replacing the head?
Another Prime Minister kisses ass. Maggie tells us to git 'em, because "it is best that the United States, as the only global military superpower, deploy its energies militarily rather than on social work." (NYT)