The death of Margaret Thatcher is something I’d spent a while thinking about before it happened. In advance, I really didn’t know how I’d react, but thinking about it as an abstract idea, I tended towards taking the killjoy position: while the country is still so strongly in the grasp of Thatcherism, the passing of an individual figurehead is pretty meaningless. Then it happened, and I realised I felt no desire to play the spoilsport: right now, a lot of people who, like me, haven’t found much to celebrate in the news for a long time have found a piece of news that makes them happy, and I have no inclination to argue with that.
To tell the truth, I don’t even really properly hate Thatcher. I certainly dislike the idea of her, but that’s all it is, an idea: I was a young child when she left office, and so I can’t really summon up the kind of visceral loathing that I feel for the likes of Tony Blair or Iain Duncan Smith. But, even if I don’t take that much personal satisfaction from the news, a lot of my friends – at the risk of sounding terribly drippy, both the friends I already know and the ones I have yet to meet – are happy about it, and that does make me happy.
Of course, it’s true that a confused old woman dying of a stroke doesn’t take us any closer to the end of neoliberalism. But then it’s also true that there was never a magic man born to a virgin on the 25th December, and that doesn’t change the fact that Christmas parties can be quite fun. We spend enough of our lives feeling unhappy, stressed and anxious as it is, and not enough time celebrating. When opportunities to enjoy ourselves come our way, we shouldn’t squander them.