April 9, 2013 – the day I knew no politician could ever really hope to piece broken Britain back together again. The previous day, Margaret Hilda Thatcher had died.
She was 87 and her death was both mourned and celebrated in equal measure.
I bought two national newspapers on April 9, 2013 – the Daily Mail and the Daily Mirror. Both were virtually given over in their entirety to covering this country’s first female prime minister’s life and legacy.
It was hard to believe they were both talking about the same person. Was one of the greatest figures in British political history – if you believed the Mail – really the same one whose effigy was being burnt in working class areas up and down the country?
There can hardly be another person in history who could have been the subject of two such widely contrasting obituaries. I’ve racked my brain and I can’t think of one.
Even now, almost 30 years after she quit as leader of the Tories, the mention of her name in certain parts of the country will elicit a ferocious, expletive-filled response.
The coverage of Thatcher’s death perfectly summed up what’s at the heart of our politics. Tories v Labour, upper class v working class, the haves v the have-nots. It was ever thus and Brexit has only succeeded in widening the chasm. Some achievement, that.
I would love to see the Green Party win on December 12, but that’s not going to happen. More so now than at any time in modern history, we are a two-party nation.
In 2017, the Tories and Labour enjoyed their highest combined vote share since the 1970s. It was also the closest result between the two since February 1974. It will be equally close on December 12, and that equals a bad result for Team UK.
It doesn’t really matter who wins; neither a Johnson win nor a Corbyn takeover will apply the sticking plaster we so desperately need. The abuse, the hugely contrasting views, the keyboard warriors peddling their poison, Robert Peston. They will all still be with us.
Still a huge part of broken Britain.
Anything but miserable: no business like show business
I did something the other day I’d never previously done in my 50 years on planet earth... I bought two tickets to watch a musical – Les Miserables, at Southampton’s Mayflower.
Even though the production had been showing every day for more than three weeks, the place was packed
Do the maths. The Mayflower’s capacity is about 2,300, so say 2,198 were there alongside me and my partner. And say we’d all paid £49.50 for a ticket, as I did. That’s the best part of £110,000 in ticket sales for one night. And Les Mis was there for almost a month.
The figures will be much higher – the tickets I bought were up in the gods, the cheapest left when I went online. Big business, for sure.
Thanks for reaching out, but don’t send any more e-mails
Do you know how the UK could reduce its carbon output by more than 16,433 tonnes a year?
Simply by each adult sending one less unactionable e-mail a day. Apparently, more than 64 million unnecessary emails are sent by Brits every day. Most of these end up in my inbox, or so it seems.
Those which just say ‘thank you’ and ‘thanks’ top the list of the most regularly sent pointless e-mails.
According to OVO Energy, if we all sent one less ‘thank you’ e-mail a day, that would save more than 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year – the same as 81,152 flights to Madrid or taking 3,334 diesel cars off the road.
OVO sent me this information by e-mail.