“There was a country that died, the one in which the classes felt a little responsible for one another, survived wars together, a country in which young people used to have options outside the service industry or the gambling fraternity. And you can still see that country dying every day of the week on television. Gap-toothed and overlagered, unemployed and proud of nothing, the great-grandsons and daughters of the respectable working class are seen screaming at each other on The Jeremy Kyle Show, a tribute to Thatcher’s legacy and her impact on British social cohesion.
It was an impressive work of social engineering but ultimately a dreadful one. She created a population that is more dependent and less productive. She made us more individual but less cooperative. It must have looked heroic on paper or in the essays of Milton Friedman. But what she did was incredibly coarse in practice: she ground the unions down but left workers with no alternative form of self-esteem or protection, and the result, today, is a workforce of the alienated. She boasted of setting people free but British working people have never been more enslaved to the whims of fashion, corporate greed, and agism than they are now. A young person from a former mining community where there might have been classes in the evenings and a sense of propriety, decency, modesty, and community can now only hope for a place in “the zone”—the world of the “haves”—by winning a celebrity contest or by thriving on the black market.
She made a Lottery nation. And it took her best protégé, Tony Blair, to make that a living delusion.”