England 1980 was a wound to behold.
Margaret Thatcher, whose radical neoliberal economic and cultural agenda was causing social eruption and dislocation at a pace rarely seen outside of war, was under immense pressure from all sides to step back from her agenda.
A crippling and despicable war on workers and unions, massive unemployment, 21.8% inflation, the death of a NZ born teacher at a National Front rally, jolting deregulation, the IRA hunger strikers in the Maze and huge public service cuts had the UK in a state of open revolt as Thatcher went about implementing Milton Friedman’s Chicago School of Economics doctrine.
As the country twisted in torture commentators universally begged her to turn away from her hard right experiment.
On October 10th, 1980 at the Conservative Conference, to the delight of free market activists, Thatcher coldly responded to those calls to pull back with the infamous words, “The lady’s not for turning”.
That same chill down the spine the British Left felt in 1980 must be the exact same terror of realisation the sugar industry, landlords, private education, private health and the wealthy who profit must be feeling this week after the enormous courage Jacinda showed by smacking down big oil and the roading lobby.
This Aunty’s not for turning
The enormous courage it has taken this Government to say no to an industry as powerful as the oil industry and roading lobby shows all the claims by right wing pundits that Jacinda represented no meaningful change from the neoliberal establishment were hopeful wishes rather than an honest evaluation of Jacinda’s vision or determination.
Sure, progressives all have issues with the TPPA, we all have issues with the toxic culture in our social services, the lack of progress on housing, underfunded prisons, suicide, cannabis reform and the lack of meaningful relief for the poorest amongst us demands challenging urgently and every day, but allowing those debates to eclipse the truth that this new Government intends to walk the walk means the Left will end up tearing down what they hate rather than championing what they love and we will miss the greatest political opportunity of our generation.
The sugar industry, landlords, private education, private health and the wealthy who profit will not be so blind. They will understand the enormity of the change the new government represents. No Government crosses industries as powerful as oil and roading if they don’t mean it and those who haven’t been challenged yet will be frantically and desperately clambering together in private rooms and company offices to demand an end to this roll back of their power and influence.
Those who cheer this incredible decision to begin ending oil and promote real roading solutions must steady themselves for the looming backlash the enemies of the democratic majority will now throw at the new Government.
Dirty politics is about to get filthy.
Steady brothers and sisters. The battle hasn’t begun yet.