Respect for the Dead?

Written on the occasion of the death of Margaret Thatcher in 2012.

Today I mourn the passing of those who deserve our tears
The many many victims of Margaret Thatcher’s years

The teenage generation, hopes destroyed without a care
Like jobless Sean and Raffy*, who ended lives filled with despair
Derelict inner cities where hopelessness was rife
Miners who lost their jobs, their communities, some their life

The millions who rely on a battered welfare state
The victims of the queerbashers emboldened by Section 28
The families of the 96, the contempt she showed for fans
The crew of the General Belgrano, bereaved families in both lands

Part of me’s not partying to mark that Thatcher’s dead
But wishing we were toasting the death of Thatcherism instead
I wish that she had lived to see her side of the class war lose
To see our side victorious, as reds strike out the blues

I wish she’d lived to see our sleeping giant wake
A mighty army rise up, a better world to make
Cast off the legal shackles, forsake the ball and chain
The ‘socialism’ word she thought she’d killed back on our lips again

Labour leaders squandered 13 years to right her wrongs
And now join in the mourning and the requiem of songs
Remember you’ll get up with fleas if you lie down with curs –
I wish our class was led as loyally as she led hers!

So you won’t see me mourning now that Thatcher’s dead and gone
The thing to really celebrate is that our struggle soldiers on
I’ll shed no tears for Maggie, and may even raise a glass
As a Shrewsbury picket might have said, ‘Respect for the dead? My arse’

* Sean Grant and Graeme ‘Raffy’ Rathbone, whose suicide became symbolic of youth unemployment and despair, with ‘Sean and Raffy RIP’ graffiti appearing around the country.

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