Sunday, 14 June 2009

Winning the Argument

It is axiomatic that our great universities reviled Margaret Thatcher, both during and after her years in power, whatever the public may have thought, and despite how the public voted.

On the one hand, all those left-liberal dons, brought up in an age of austerity, fascinated by communism, contemptuous of those who would champion the liberty and self-determination of the common (uneducated) man.

On the other hand, all those late 70s and 80s students, listening to the Pistols, the Clash and the Cure, and embracing the New Romance of Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran at the same time as ploughing their way through the Old Romance of Blake and Wordsworth, Shelley and Keats. Hardly the sort of folk who would be natural children of the Thatcher Revolution.

As a result of which, the sainted Margaret was shunned by Oxbridge. Every time a fan (there were plenty, in truth) tried to get his or her college or university to acknowledge and honour her, she would be defeated in the vote, and it always made the newspapers - I suppose the dons made sure it did, so as to boast another badge of honour.

BUT WAIT! Is it that time heals, or is it that the awful realisation has dawned upon them that the sunlit socialist uplands they dreamed of have turned out to be barren, overcast, and unfriendly? Or is it that Dan the Man Hannan, held in such high esteem by this blog for his oratory and advocacy, has convinced them otherwise?

Whichever, the Oxford Union has decided that Margaret Thatcher Saved Britain, albeit by the slenderest of margins. It was Dan Wot Won It. Rejoice!


Tuscan Tony said...

Guido has a commenter who describes socialism in 3 unconnected words, which effort I think can be improved upon. The Tuscan effort:

Envious. Bitter. Aggressive.

Needs work.

Thatcher is/was like a doctor administering an unpalatable cure to a dying patient: the recovery process was arguably worse than the illness, and that makes her easy prey for those who wish to target her.

lilith said...

Never a Thatcher "fan" I find the residual loathing of her extraordinary. She made unpalatable choices that needed to be made. And some that didn't (like inviting Ronnie to house his Cruise Missiles on English Common land or like making local authorities hand over the money from house sales to the Treasury instead of making them reinvest it in housing.) She was ousted when I agreed with her most...on Europe.

Thud said...

The missiles on British soil convinced me once and for all that Maggie and Reagan ment business,I loved them both...still do.

Alceste said...

Always good to see the Lady get her due.

Mind you, you are being a bit unfair to the Oxford students of the day. There were plenty of lefties, of course, but on balance the place was right of centre, which helped John Patten take the seat from Labour in 1979. There was very little left-wingery in the Union, where the only marginally leftist President was Michael Crick - and that was despite his politics rather than because of them.

I think Boris might have been President at or around the time of the Thatcher snub.

idle said...

Alright, alceste, I bow to the fact that you were a gilded youth Oxonian at the time and I wasn't. At least confirm what you were listening to at the time.

Philipa said...

all those left-liberal dons, brought up in an age of austerity, fascinated by communism, contemptuous of those who would champion the liberty and self-determination of the common (uneducated) man

Forgive me, Idle, but I think most students adopted communism becasue it seemed, and still seems, sexy. They were in fact adopting the mantle, the outward appearance of a freedom fighter, a rebel, a serious and thoughtful caring knight. in short; they wanted to get laid and thought this was the surest way. Perhaps it was? Who the hell am I to argue with Chris Hitchens on that score??

Peter Hitchens would say they haven't grown out of it. Perhaps he did because... well, let's not there. The thought is quite disgusting to me.

Being a capitalist is in no way sexier. It just isn't. Unless you're richer than God.

Philipa said...

PS: if Boris were dressed in jack boots he would still be sexy.


idle said...

It always occured to me, pip, that the one thing you couldn't accuse commies of was sexiness. Seediness perhaps, but not sexiness.

The idea of waking up next to someone who will start banging on about the ownership of the means of production when all a chap wants is a bit of howsyerfather and breakfast in bed is just too ghastly to contemplate.

The Beast of Clerkenwell said...

Things have changed
The Oxford union now have some damn good "Nigger" jokes
I spose its Like Bernard Manning only plummier
When does a black man turn into a Nigger? As soon as he leaves the room

Bill Quango MP said...

Did I just see the chief anarchist himself on the telly, advertising butter?
Johnny Rotten's 2008 butter campaign earned him some £5 million. Its true what they say. If you live long enough you will one day have an ISA.

No doubt he is working to bring the system down from within.

As for the 80's ..
Madness, Spandau, OMD,Thompson Twins, the Fixx,Thomas Dolby,The Cure,Meatloaf,FYC,Lloyd Cole and the commotions,ABC, Gary Numan,Dire Straits and the band at the dawn of the modern age of music Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Philipa said...

Hmn, so why did Che's face grace a generations T shirt?

You cannot appreciate this, Idle, as you cannot possibly appreciate what it is to be a spotty thin unnattractive student in the UK with no family provenance to support your chances and only the social circle of the other nerds at your local comp. At freshers week what clubs are these people going to join, Idle? They run away from cricket balls because catching them hurts, if they ever caught one, which they tend to avoid.

I remember the little lefties at uni. They always had girlfriends, which they kept and treated badly. It's sad really.

idle said...

Apologies for the Beast, everyone. He tops up his claret with vinegar, too.

idle said...

All you say is true, pip.

I was whippet thin at Sandhurst, though. Built for speed rather than comfort in those days.

My diet eventually caught up with me, however. I dread seeing the new slimmed down Tuscan 2.0 this summer, as it will be clear who has been eating all the pies, and it won't be the Tuscan (or the Tuscana, once she has calved and returned to her graceful figure).

Alceste said...

Re your 16.26, Idle, I can't quite recall what I was listening to at the time, but I think that's because I'm too embarrassed to remember.

Just back from Lord's. It may be dumbslog millionaire, but it's a good crack. And of course we won.

Ran into two mutual friends of ours with animal nicknames, one of whom was with a girl almost too young to be his daughter. I suppose one has to admire the feline stamina.

lilith said...

"I remember the little lefties at uni. They always had girlfriends, which they kept and treated badly. It's sad really."

Yes, my first lefty boyfriend shagged both my best friend and my sister. But I did actually dump him. The second one borrowed my grant to score and then charged me full price for an eighth, and offered me £5 to sleep with his best mate. He got dumped too. My third lefty boyfriend spent all my money on alcohol. I went for landed gentry after that.

Elby the Beserk said...

Having been at Oxford at a time of great Leftyism, the main problem I have with Lefties is that, whereas the Jew is circumcised at birth, the Lefty has a Total Humour Bypass at birth. Brothers.

Many of my contemporaries were in the IMG, the IS, or claimed to be Trotsykites and hence undying enemies of Spartacists.

Well they can fuck off, as I am Spartacus.

Nothing they liked more than to go and stand with the brothers when there were strikes at the likes of Cowley motor works or Didcot power station. And there were strikes at those places all the time for a long time in the 70s. I can recall half mile long queues for the dole in Oxford when Cowley went on strike.

Indeed, one of my contemporaries, now pulled out whenever they want a GP who is on the lefty side, is even now a member of the Revolutionary Communist Tendency, itself a splinter group from the Revolutionary Communist Party.

I quite liked demos as there was always a laugh to be had. Joint rolling competitions at sit ins, and such like - indeed, I even got my mug on the front page of the Oxford Times in such a situation :-)

Thatcher made my early family days a misery. Every fucking penny I earned went as inflation raged and our new, first mortgage suddenly needed servicing at a 17% interest rate. Couldn't stand the old bat. More or less froze child benefit as well, stopped the child tax allowance, so bringing up a family on not a lot of money in her early years was no joke, no joke at all.

TT, your final para has much to recommend on Mrs. T.

However, I always clocked she had principles. Didn't like them, but acknowledged them. Blair or Brown confronted with principles would turn to dust, in the manner of SIR Christopher Lee. About time too. The Siring of the man, that is.

Where were we? Lefties? Po faced bores. And yes, Philipa, they did indeed treat their women like shit, and got them, I think, because they had black leather jackets and black polo necks.

Elby the Beserk said...

@lilith said @14 June 2009 22:33

//My third lefty boyfriend spent all my money on alcohol. I went for landed gentry after that.//

Land? Me? Where?

lilith said...

Oh Elby, I was talking University. Eventually I found you.x

Philipa said...

Lils - I dumped my landed gentry. WHAT a mistake!

Elby - you were at Oxford with Christopher? Was he as louche as I imagne? Oh the stories you could tell ;-)

Idle - I like upholstery on a man.

Philipa said...

Sorry, you were having a moment there.

As you were..

idle said...

Way too much to answer at this late hour. Just carry on amongst yourselves, as you seem to be doing fine without me.

Elby the Beserk said...


I think we might have overlapped. Certainly I had nothing to do with him, the crossover between hippies and politicos pretty minimal. I do recall him being arrested for trying to attack Enoch Powell as he entered Balliol College for something.

But then he always was an attention seeker :-)

Scrobs... said...

I've never been convinced that the Right to Buy was a good idea Iders.

It's OK while you live there, but who is the next buyer after you've gone? The values never stacked up.

idle said...

Hold on, the subject of this post was that the Oxford Union agreed that 'Margaret Thatcher Saved Britain', and now we are into the minutiae of Right to Buy, scrobs.

But if you want an answer, it is this. The RIGHT to buy, not forced to buy. Increases self-determination and liberty of the citizen.

Anyone selling-on does so because they have floated free of the state. The 'next buyer' is determined by supply and demand if it is a private buyer, or policy considerations if it is the council re-purchasing.

Anonymous said...

idle said...
All you say is true, pip.

I was whippet thin at Sandhurst, though. Built for speed rather than comfort in those days.

Morning Idle, Farqs here. Having annihilated Idle in the school fathers race on Saturday I can confirm that he is unquestionably built for comfort not speed!

PS Good game of dumb slog last night. Did you see me on the telly?!

lilith said...

Were you the streaker Farqs?

Surely you would need a jet pack to beat Iders phenomenal limbs?

Thud said...

The right to buy did more for the working people of Britain in one stroke than 100 years of labour...ask my mum!

idle said...

It is true that Farqs beat me. I lost sight of him as he was the other side of a very fit racehorse trainer from me (indeed, a former trainer of the idle nag). It was only 50m so the start was crucial.

Well, the trainer shot off like a 5 furlong sprinter and rather took the wind out of the idle sails. We staying types don't switch on until half a furlong has passed. As a result of which the drumhorse physique of farqs also managed to bolt.

If they do a father's race over 800m next year, farqs, I'll give you decent odds.

idle said...

PS To the great amusement of both farqs and idle, the racehorse trainer 'did a leg' with 10 yards to go, and was last seen hobbling off towards his car with his picnic hamper in one hand and the other hand clutching his hamstring.

No wonder the idle nag barely won a low grade handicap under him.