Ooh. Political.

You don’t pay attention to politics when you’re a kid do you. It’s all skateboards and videogames and nicking sweets from Woolworths and Billy’s Boots and going down the park isn’t it?

Not for this kid, not in these times.

It’s 1979, and I’m asking my mother why she isn’t voting for Maggie Thatcher? They’re both women, it makes sense to me. I don’t understand the answer. Thatcher sweeps to power and the 80’s are born.

Margaret Thatcher loved and loathed - CNN Video
Oh well, it’s only four years isn’t it?

It’s 1984, and the relationship between politics and ordinary life is all too plain. The tories have absolute power and everyone knows it. Police and miners are clashing on the telly and my parents are on strike in a much less publicised, but equally acrimonious, battle about factory lay-offs at Leavesden aerodrome.

Civil War: Dramatic Scenes From the British Miners Strike of 1984-85 -  Flashbak
Scab, scab, scab some more

It’s 1987, and my parents are still hanging on to their jobs, albeit barely. Friends, other peoples fathers, are not so lucky. I’m about to vote for the first time and this time, surely to god, the masses would vote for what is right, to do something to stop the rot. They don’t.

The Kinnocks would have been told 'they needed to spend more on clothes' if  Neil had been elected PM - Wales Online
Look at what we could have won

It’s 1992, and Thatcher has gone, although it will be another four years before we get a change of government. So have the jobs – my step-father is stacking shelves in a supermarket to make ends meet, and my mother has been looking for a job for three years without success. It’s the start of nearly 20 years of financial struggle.

Margaret Thatcher's resignation shocked politicians in US and USSR, files  show | Margaret Thatcher | The Guardian
Get you gone

It’s 2013. Thatcher has died and the Munchkin’s are at number 1. It’s a hollow victory.

Trump Loses Top Staffer Who Posted, 'The Witch Is Dead!'
Chuck a house on her, it’s best to be sure.

And you want me talk about videogames?

It’s 1979, and while the Tories are romping to victory I hear, before I see, Space Invaders for the first time at my mother’s work social club. The world will never be the same again.

Working men's clubs - Chronicle Live
My childhood in one image

It’s 1984, and while real life miners are struggling, I’m playing Monty Mole on the Sinclair Spectrum that I know my parents couldn’t really afford.

Wanted: Monty Mole
Politico-social commentary

It’s 1987, and I’m back at the social club with my mates, full of optimism for the future, drinking beer and failing to complete R-Type.

Contact - Rolls-Royce Leisure Association
Looks cleaner than I remember…

It’s 1992, and I’m playing at being a grown up. Videogames are a luxury that I don’t allow myself, because I know that life is a struggle and it’s not fair and there is no such thing as a job for life. I finally understand what my mother was going on about in 1979.

I wish I could be a grown up..
Gamification, that’s what you need

It’s 2013, she’s in the news again, and I realise that Margaret Thatcher made me.

First published in WayOfTheRodent.com


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