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Tony Grist

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Shooting Thatcher [Sep. 22nd, 2014|02:44 pm]
Tony Grist
"Imagine," says Stephen Glover in the Mail, "the response on the Left if a Right-wing novelist- not that there are many these days- imagined and appeared to endorse the assassination of past Labour figures such as Michael Foot and Tony Benn. Why there would be an uproar and the poor novelist would be torn limb from limb."

An uproar- just as is happening over Hilary Mantell's Thatcher assassination story? Yes, exactly like that.

Actually, I'm trying to imagine it and failing. No figure on the Left is as divisive and iconic as Thatcher was and continues to be. She has an era and a political philosophy named after her. Foot and Benn have neither.  Foot was a place-holder leader of the opposition, Benn a political misfit who morphed into a national treasure. Foot is almost forgotten, Benn will be forgotten in a decade. They are historical footnotes- and it's hard to imagine anyone shooting them or writing about shooting them or kicking up a stink about a story in which they get shot. The only Labour figure who matters as much as Thatcher is Tony Blair- and the Left hate him as much as- if not more than- the Right.

Also the Left doesn't have a rag like the Mail at its disposal to confect outrage on its behalf.

I've read the story. It's not implausible. A middle-class woman, a little like Mantell, has her flat taken over by an IRA sniper with designs on Thatcher- and choses to assist him.  It's both a thought experiment and a valid fictional reflection on a particular time. Yes, people hated Thatcher enough to want to kill her. That's an historical fact. Glover and his lot seem to want to rewrite the record and have Thatcher's memory be nothing but flowers and fruit.
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Comments:
From: cmcmck
2014-09-22 02:09 pm (UTC)
It's plain that Glover doesn't come from a mining family.

I do................
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-09-22 04:32 pm (UTC)
He's a Daily Mail hack.
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[User Picture]From: ingenious76
2014-09-22 06:41 pm (UTC)
And a twat.
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[User Picture]From: davesmusictank
2014-09-22 02:58 pm (UTC)
Now there's a thought. I have read it, and it is an interesting bit of fiction.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-09-22 04:33 pm (UTC)
Mantell's one of our best living writers.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2014-09-22 03:43 pm (UTC)
As you say, there were several very serious attempts to kill Thatcher, including the Brighton bomb which very nearly succeeded.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-09-22 04:41 pm (UTC)
Indeed.

The terrorist threat was much greater then than it is today- and we were very much more stoical in facing it down.

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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-09-22 07:07 pm (UTC)
I'm shocked.

Shocked.

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[User Picture]From: ingenious76
2014-09-22 06:41 pm (UTC)
I vividly remember Kenny Everett - who was surprisingly right wing considering his championing of alternative lifestyles - declaring to "kick Michael Foot's stick away!" That's the way many people remember him. As a joke.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-09-22 07:14 pm (UTC)
Yes, I remember that too. Didn't he also advocate bombing Russia?

Foot was unworldly, scholarly and unduplicitous- and therefore and thereby completely unsuited to high public office.
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[User Picture]From: matrixmann
2014-09-23 06:50 am (UTC)
Agreed on that. In my state there's also barely anybody of the present or the past which anybody would first write such a story about and second enrage about how tactless they find it. (Perhaps Gerhard Schröder or "mommy" Merkel would suit enough for that, but none of both is hated enough and second - Germans playing rebel against their king? Not even in fiction. Or the one who does hit needs to hide for the rest of his miserable days.)

I have a question. Where at all has Tony Blair gone? Didn't see him since he left his chair - or heard of him.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-09-23 07:47 am (UTC)
Blair is very busy jetting round the world making money. He advises governments- including some very nasty ones- on PR and he's supposed to be working for the UN as their Middle Eastern Peace envoy (which is turning out really well, huh?) He is so deeply disliked in Britain that he can't appear anywhere without bodyguards. A couple of years ago- in a London restaurant- one of the waiters tried to arrest him for War Crimes- and got chased away by the heavies.
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[User Picture]From: matrixmann
2014-09-23 08:18 am (UTC)
As they say: "Who once falls the stairs upwards never drops it down again.".
Well, watching the situation, I more often think like "Did those guys from Prolekult have a crystal ball with a vision in it?" Just because the hole-cover of record number 18 (KULT 18) depicts Blair and one of his opponents of the vote where he first was elected and it has two writings on it: "Zero difference" and "Fuck the vote". (Discogs' photos of the record:
http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=62543)
These days it seems like a very strange occasion.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-09-24 07:41 am (UTC)
Yeah, they were prophets.

That other guy is John Major- who was Prime Minister in the gap between Thatcher and Blair.
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[User Picture]From: matrixmann
2014-09-24 07:56 am (UTC)
See that.

Things like these make you consider abroad that the tree's been burning in the UK for a very long time already.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-09-23 04:18 pm (UTC)
The media- or sections of it- loves to make mischief.

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[User Picture]From: howlin_wolf_66
2014-09-23 03:13 pm (UTC)
It's fictional; it's not like it's going to inspire anybody to do anything - she's already dead!

... and if we can't have novels about people wanting to assassinate ANYBODY, then goodbye to the espionage genre; even fictional characters often have enough details and hallmarks about them to clue the reader in that they're *based* upon real people...
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2014-09-23 04:29 pm (UTC)
Exactly.

It's as though Thatcherism were a religion and any disrespect shown to the memory of its prophet a kind of blasphemy.
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[User Picture]From: howlin_wolf_66
2014-09-23 05:17 pm (UTC)
Wouldn't surprise me if that's the mindset, but it's clearly nonsense.
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