In 1979, upon the election of Margaret Thatcher, Ralph Steadman drew a cartoon headed “The Morning After The Vote Before: One Man’s First Vision Of Hell.” It was Bosch on (more) drugs. An apocalyptic view of Thatcher’s victory that many must have thought hysterically exaggerated.
Now that is history. Steadman’s verdict was proved right.
So what of this election? What does 2015 mean?
It is the full consummation of the Tory plan in 1979. War on the welfare state (RIP). Klepto-capitalism given full reign (Thatcher ‘freed’ the City to steal our money and our life chances). Housing as ‘property’, not just a decent place to live. Industry as a relic of the past. Most of the country written off and left to go to the dogs.
Thatcher wanted to undo the work of leaders from Churchill and Attlee to Callaghan who built a country in which all lives were lived with a minimum level of decency. She thought this sapped entrepreneurial verve. The fear of hunger made people hungry for success, she believed.
Cameron is her posthumous reward. The kind of country that made state school girl Thatcher possible has been swept away completely. Tomorrow belongs to the ‘self-made’ men like Cameron and Osborne. People who never for a moment feared for their own futures. Trust fund boys who have never had to apply for a job, save up for a home, worry about a bill.
The direction of travel is now clear. More privatisation, the gradual dismantling of the NHS, the strangling of the BBC, a nation as playground for money, purgatory for the middling, and hell for the needy. A smaller, lonelier nation, partitioned to the north, and possibly set adrift from our neighbours in Europe.