Louise Mensch would be appalled. The Queen Mother had just died, and I was in a pub near Trafalgar Square. There were some shrugs, and baffled looks, as the news spread. I know I’m supposed to care, but…? Suddenly, a friend very loudly struck up the tune of “Ding-Dong! The witch is dead”. The uncertainty suddenly resolved into mirth. It was the first time that any royal has brought me genuine joy.
Now, according to Mensch, the Tory ‘feminist’, this sort of thing is as serious a form of unacceptable public behaviour as racism. Invited by a young Labour Party supporter to join a party planned in the event of Margaret Thatcher’s demise, she made an issue of it on Twitter. Demanding that the Labour Party “discipline or repudiate those who would celebrate Lady Thatcher's death”, she insisted on a “statement that rejoicing in anyone's death is, like racism, cause for expulsion”. Challenged by a member of the public, she redoubled her contention one could not wish for Thatcher’s death and be a member of the Labour Party.
As far as I know, Mensch is not a member of the Labour Party. She does not pay dues, or vote in its elections. Yet she presumes to have a say over the party’s internal life, and to effect a dramatic change in its rules by virtue of running a Twitter account.
Labour bosses gave in a little to this transparent ploy, issuing an eye-rolling, placatory condemnation. The Tory bloggers claimed victory, and Mensch preposterously waxed magnanimous, congratulating Labour for its good sense. But it is unlikely that Labour are dense enough to expel members for publicly wishing Thatcher’s death, as that would leave them with a rather emaciated party.
All this does not, by any means, make Mensch a bossy, priggish crackpot. I wholly concur with her logic. Like her, Ialso have a Twitter account, and what I want from the Tories is a simple statement that they will expel Louise Mensch at the earliest opportunity. I will keep tweeting until they concede my demands, or at least humour me with a vapid statement.
Still, I want to pursue the moral logic of Mensch’s stance. Mensch is increasingly notorious for taking stances. Readers may recall, for example, her defence of innocent “families” when UK Uncut staged an excessively civil protest at Nick Clegg’s home. Likewise, Mensch stood up for Rupert Murdoch when it was suggested that he was anything other than a great newspaper man fit to run a major company, and protected his son from parliamentary criticism.
Now she is standing up for “Lady T”, who is so reviled that social media like Facebook are overburdened with ‘events’ promising celebrations when she finally gives up her earthly mandate. What these cases have in common is that despite her propensity to speak in an annexed language of progress, she always defends the rich and the powerful, and those in the camp of reaction. In this case she does so while claiming that Thatcher-hatred is in some sense equivalent to racism. To make such a claim requires a degree of ignorance and tone-deafness that is actually difficult to find outside of the Conservative Party.
Racism is a type of oppression. It is linked to a set of practices which systematically exploit, marginalise and devalue those who are its targets. Those who perpetuate it inexcusably add to the sum of human misery. Hopefully it can be agreed, as a minimum, that Thatcher-hatred is not a type of oppression. It has no link to oppressive practices, and indeed no established link to any deleterious effect for anyone’s material circumstances, including those of Mrs Thatcher. This is to say nothing of anything Mrs Thatcher might have done to incur, and thus deserve, popular contempt.
Yet, if Mensch has a habit of this type of advocacy for those who are already rich and powerful, she also has a penchant for sneering at and lecturing those who are not. Who can forget her dim suggestion, delivered with Hooray Henrietta panache, that those protesters in St Paul’s had already enjoyed the full benefits of capitalism by virtue of being able to drink Starbucks coffee. So, you can run a newspaper if you bug a dead girl’s phone, but drink a latte you must foreswear politics. The hysterical denunciations of UK Uncut’s anti-Clegg protest, and now the pettifogging complaints about Thatcher’s haters, are merely typical of Mensch’s impostures.
This is not a difficult pattern to decipher. Mensch, despite her shallow ‘progressive’ rhetoric, is a sycophant of the rich. And anyone with a modicum of self-respect should scorn her pathetic Twitter campaigns, and vow all the more to raucously celebrate the demise of Britain’s most hated leader. And I believe I know a good song that revellers can dance to.
Update: Louise Mensch quits! I declare my crackpot Twitter campaign a success!
Labels: civics, civility, class struggle, conservatism, ruling class, socialism, thatcher, thatcherism, tories, working class