Dave Wakeling Reflects on Margaret Thatcher and the Beat Song, “Stand Down Margaret”

Dave Wakeling (ex-Beat, of course) had this for The Hollywood Reporter:

The American perspective of Margaret Thatcher, certainly from a foreign policy point of view, was that she was a trusted ally — of Ronald Reagan’s in particular — and did a pretty good job at it. And there’s an argument there. 

But what most Americans didn’t see was the complete dismantling of towns and villages, of people’s lives being cut short and then cutting their own lives short because they thought, like the Sex Pistols said, that there was no future. That time signaled a breaking of the English spirit, where people who used to have each other’s back, and used to talk to strangers — Thatcher turned neighbors into competitors.

People misunderstand the socialism of the English after World War II. Soldiers like my father got back to England and there was nothing left — there were no hospitals, land had been decimated and that carried through our childhood. So everybody built stuff together and looked after each other. It was like, when push came to shove, although we had differences of opinion, we had each others’ backs. 

Mrs. Thatcher’s introduction of trickle down economics, and we’re still waiting for it to work, broke that mold. She broke the unions. She sold shares of companies that the people already owned, all of which flopped in value. A generation saw their parents give up on life as they saw their own opportunities stunted. They saw the town where they’d grown up dismantled. She was very divisive.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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