Glenda Jackson is a two-time Oscar winning actress (for Women in Love and A Touch of Class). She's also the Member of the British Parliament for the constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn. Yesterday she delivered a powerful speech in the British House of Commons in which she declared that the recently deceased former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had wreaked "heinous social, economic and spiritual damage" on Britain. Jackson also said that Thatcher had created a Britain that 18th-century cartoonist William Hogarth would have recognized. Her comments elicited howls of protest from Conservative backbenchers.
Undeterred, Jackson went on to say:
By far the most dramatic and heinous demonstration of Thatcherism was not only in London but across the whole country in metropolitan areas, where every single shop doorway, every single night, became the bedroom, the living room, the bathroom for the homeless. . . . Thatcherism turned vices into virtues. Greed, selfishness, no care for the weaker. Sharp elbows and sharp knees, this was the way forward. People saw the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Jackson also said that the women who helped run the country during the Second World War would not have recognized the idea of ‘womanliness’ embodied in Margaret Thatcher.
"The first prime minister of female gender, okay. But a woman? Not on my terms," she said.
Below is Irish Times columnist Donald Clarke's description of the context of Jackson's speech, followed by a YouTube video of the speech itself.
Earlier today, the House of Commons convened to pay tribute to the recently late Margaret Thatcher. It was a very uneasy session. Obviously, various Tories queued up to celebrate the passing of the Grand High Empress. That’s fair enough. She was on their side after all. The contributions from Labour were much queasier. Parenthetical sighs and more-sad-than-angry subclauses sat uncomfortably in carefully guarded encomiums. [Deputy Prime Minister] Nick Clegg wore the look of a boy who has been told to go and apologise to the next-door neighbour for knocking a cricket ball through his window. It’s hard to see what the point of all this was.
Then Glenda stood up and got stuck into the late Baroness. It was impressively unrestrained stuff and all delivered with the poise of somebody who’s torn up the RSC’s main auditorium on many occasions. . . .
Related Off-site Links:
Margaret Thatcher, Britain's 'Iron Lady,' Dies at 87 – Joseph R. Gregory (New York Times, April 8, 2013).
Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013): Tariq Ali on Late British PM’s Legacy from Austerity to Apartheid – Democracy Now! (April 8, 2013).
Margaret Thatcher, a Controversial Figure on Gay Issues, Dies Aged 87 – Joseph Patrick McCormick (Pink News, April 8, 2013).
Margaret Thatcher: A Swashbuckler on the Grandest Stage – Eugene Robinson (TruthDig.com, April 8, 2013).
Mrs Thatcher's Mean Legacy: The Queen Mother of Global Austerity and Financialization – Michael Hudson and Jeffrey Sommers (MichaelHudson.com, April 8, 2013).
On Inhabiting Mrs Thatcher’s Britain – Donald Clarke (The Irish Times, April 8, 2013).
Thatcher's Legacy – Julie Hyland and Chris Marsden (World Socialist Web Site, April 9, 2013).
Russell Brand on Margaret Thatcher: 'I Always Felt Sorry for Her Children' – The Guardian (April 9, 2013).
Margaret Thatcher and Misapplied Death Etiquette – Glenn Greenwald (The Guardian, April 8, 2013).
Glenda Jackson Lays Into Mrs Thatcher – Donald Clarke (The Irish Times, April 10, 2013).
Glenda Jackson on the Death of Margaret Thatcher: "I Had to Speak Out to Stop History Being Re-written' – Andy McSmith (The Independent, April 10, 2013).
The BBC's Not Sure How to Deal with the Sudden Popularity of 'Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead' – Adam Clark Estes (The Atlantic Wire, April 11, 2013).
BBC in Hot Seat as Anti-Thatcher Song Climbs Chart – Raphael Satter (Associated Press via Yahoo! News, April 12, 2013).
What Margaret Thatcher Really Meant to England and the World – Joe Conason (TruthDig.com, April 11, 2013).
Throw Out the Fallacies About Margaret Thatcher – Ken Livingstone (The Guardian, April 11, 2013).
Margaret Thatcher: A Muslim’s Perspective – Amir Dastmalchian (Religion Dispatches, April 12, 2013).
The Iron Lady is Dead But Thatcherism Lives On – Gary Younge (The Guardian, April 11, 2013).
Anti-Thatcher Party in London's Trafalgar Square – Associated Press via Yahoo! News (April 13, 2013).
If Thatcher's Revolution Had Truly Saved Us, Why Is Britain In Such a Mess Today? – Will Hutton (The Observer, April 13, 2013).
Why Margaret Thatcher and Glenda Jackson Are Two Peas in a Pod – Katy Brand (The Independent, April 13, 2013).
Thatcher Funeral Draws Dignitaries and Complaints – John F. Burns and Alan Cowell (New York Times, April 17, 2013).
Maggie – Andrew O'Hagan (The New York Review of Books, May 23, 2013).