Tom Harris and Lady Thatcher
It’s something of a dilemma for partisan spectators like me: should we be pleased that Labour is so ostentatiously handicapping itself in opposition, or disappointed that the best Labour MPs are on the backbenches?
Anyway, this wasn’t supposed to be a paean of praise to some unwashed Glaswegian socialist. It was supposed to be a reflection on Tom’s latest post: Considering the Iron Lady.
Last night I ReTweeted a message from Peter Watt, wishing Margaret Thatcher a heavily caveated happy 85th birthday. The response from some party members, particularly on my Facebook site, has been pretty extreme: “evil” and “hate” were used in abundance by my detractors.
Thatcher is a totemic hate-figure for the left. The mere mention of her name is enough to drive many of them into a frothing lunatic rage. Which made me think: who is the equivalent hate figure for the right? You’d think it would be Blair, after all he trounced the right for a decade, and had the same sort of contempt for his opponents as Lady Thatcher. But the real source of Blair Derangement Syndrome is on the left – often among the same people who suffer from Thatcher Derangement Syndrome. Gordon Brown? Well, that’s probably closer, but I really don’t see the name of Gordon Brown raising anything more than a shudder in 20 years time.
Are the right just worse at resentment than the left? To me, as to Tony Greig, a grudge is nothing more than a place to park your car – is this representative?