It’s clear with the present congratulatory orgy about Thatcher’s contribution to the current British state of being, that to talk about pre-1979 with any kind of fondness is to invite ridicule and disbelief.
After all, we all know don’t we that Britain was the poor man of Europe; that we had 3 day weeks; that the dead had to bury themselves and that union officials held the entire country to ransom over mugs of tea and bacon barms whilst camped out in Downing Street, holding the PM of the day to ransom.
We all remember don’t we that you couldn’t travel abroad at all with anything more than £50 in used paper bags; that schools were dens of illiteracy and the NHS a bloated command economy which paid no heed to patient care or customer demand.
Well actually I’d like to revisit those late 70s days and rehabilitate what’s turning into a majorly misrepresented era.
I remember an NHS service which looked after my sister carefully, with attention and dedication.
We went to a school with inspiring teachers. And so did lots of others. There were student grants, not overwhelming loans. There were apprenticeships. To be NEET was not about being excluded from much of society but a comment on how you dressed.
We had work, straight out of school. We could save up for a reasonable deposit for a reasonable house over a reasonable period of time.
True, the pubs shut at 11 but you didn’t see the level of mania of public drinking that you have done over the last 10 years. True, we had British Rail and endless complaints about their rolling stock and British Rail tea. But maybe we just like complaining, whatever the weather.
If being born post 1979 meant you somehow became one of Thatcher’s Children, then being born a bastard may be the best compliment you can be paid. I don’t want my kids to be tarred by the brush of some surrogate parent for whom ‘consensus’ was a term of abuse and for whom ‘conviction’ became a justification of the politics of the boxing ring and a way of wiping out the collective memory of hundreds of thousands of people.
So what do you remember pre-1979?
And what came next: