Friday, May 07, 2010

"I've never voted Tory..."

Like many people, I've spent the last day following the British election. Indeed Victoria University's internet almost broke under the strain of the sheer number of people streaming BBC on the Guardian website. When I stopped to think about it couldn't figure out what I wanted to happen - except the spontaneous combustion of all present candidates for British Prime Minister and their predecessors. But I couldn't stop watching.

There have been many words spilt over the British election results and what they mean, with more to come. It seems a little arrogant to stake a claim to that process. But what is important to me is that the Tories could not get a majority. It's been 13 years since they were last in power, Labour has nothing to even pretend to offer, and is widely loathed. Despite this the Tories could not make it happen.

One of the things I respect most about the place I was born is its long memory and deep hatred for Margaret Thatcher and the Tories. Gary Younge summed it up brilliantly:

I don't have a phobia about Tories. That would suggest an irrational response. I hate them for a reason. For lots of reasons, actually. For the miners, apartheid, Bobby Sands, Greenham Common, selling council houses, Section 28, lining the pockets of the rich and hammering the poor – to name but a few. I hate them because they hate people I care about. As a young man Cameron looked out on the social carnage of pit closures and mass unemployment, looked at Margaret Thatcher's government and thought, these are my people. When all the debating is done, that is really all I need to know.

Coming from New Zealand where the collective political memory is goldfish like I think Britain's burning hatred is worth celebrating.


  1. Anonymous2:41 pm

    Why would someone be celebrating coal mining? It is the exploitation of a non-renewable resource which is responsible for global warming.

    The sacrifice of the coal mining industry is a worthy one to combat global warming.

  2. It's not like Thatcher was investing in renewable resources. It's a false dichotomy, industry largely shifted to the Third World where labour was cheaper - she was just attacking workers. I've seen a similar argument for car plant closures, when the US has for decades been outshone by the Asian Dragons, so a bunch of workers losing their jobs doesn't actually do anything to slow down global warming.

    Until the economy can be democratically planned to benefit workers *and* meet environmental targets, I won't be celebrating the loss of jobs. Coal not dole!

  3. Anonymous2:12 pm

    Incidentally, one of Thatcher's answer to coal was to increase Britain's commitment to nuclear power. I don't believe nuclear power contributes to global warming, but it's not exactly a solution to be celebrated.

    However this move to nuclear power was never about global warming, but about shattering workers power without mercy. The workers' and their communities resistance to Thatcher is undeniably worth celebrating.

    - John A.