The cartoonist for the Militant newspaper – Alan Hardman – had an uncompromising view of the Iron Lady. Always with a large beak of a nose, sharp teeth and mad eyes. Though Thatcher was massively unpopular, she was a gift for cartoonists and satirists.
The imagery often used to attack Thatcher was pretty brutal. Even at the time as a Marxist, I was uneasy about some of the sexism that wafted over some of these cartoons. Thatcher didn’t advance the cause of women particularly and she rejected the idea of being a feminist. But her gender did seem to stoke the vitriol in ways that crossed a line on occasions.
I recall a discussion at a college Labour Club meeting in around 1982 where the slogan “Ditch the Bitch” was hotly discussed. Some felt it summed up the anger of people in working class communities and we had no right to criticise that. Others argued that there was no place for that denigrating word. Passions ran very high and needless to say, nobody changed their mind.
Yes it is true, this week in Brighton you can buy your very own ‘dance on Thatcher’s grave T Shirt’. Whilst some people (mainly Tories) have branded this as offensive they should remember when Class War adcocated their own cuts.
I think it all encapulates the legacy that Thatcher will leave.
Cartoonist Serge Clerc interprets the Spandau Song ‘I don’t need this Pressure on’ by showcasing the baggy trouser chic of 1981. The year when you could just about walk down the road with a sixteen pleat or more pair of ‘Bowies’ – unless you encountered a gang of heavy metal fans, in which case you were severely beaten up. I saw this happen to one New Romantic at a club on the Kings Road. His head audibly cracked under the bovver boot of a rocker – still makes me shudder to this day.