Friday, 12 April 2013

Letter to Glenda Jackson, MP, 12 April 2013

(Text of a letter sent to Glenda Jackson, MP, following her speech in the House of Commons)
Dear Ms Jackson,

I thought twice about writing to you, not because I doubted that it was a good thing to do, but simply because I was sure that you and your staff would be drowning under a considerable number of similar missives. Nevertheless, I wanted to congratulate and, equally to the point, to thank you for your speech in the House of Commons debate on Margaret Thatcher. Not quite singlehandedly, but not so far off, you transformed a dubious state-sponsored eulogy into something a little more akin to a debate and, needless to say, found yourself heavily criticised for having done so. Although there will doubtless be no need for such reassurance by this stage, I can certainly say that you gave voice to a significant proportion of the population, both in and beyond London, a group which, in the face of relentless hagiography and stifling of our ability to speak, has found itself almost voiceless, at least in any official context. What I thought most admirable was the combination of a reminder of just how desperate our social plight had become during the last years of Conservative government and your concentration not upon personality but upon ideology and policy. A personal attack would have been unnecessary, or at least not the priority. (Thoughts of General Pinochet might tempt me to say otherwise, but let us leave him on one side for the moment.) However, to attack the catastrophic consequences of policies pursued and, in many cases, intensified during succeeding governments was absolutely necessary, especially in the context of the present government’s seeming intent to exceed the wildest of Margaret Thatcher’s expectations and dreams.

This is probably the last thing you would want to hear, but I cannot help but wonder whether you might be persuaded to consider standing as a future candidate London’s mayoralty. Someone needs to say these things, to repeat them, and to continue to do so in public political life; we shall certainly not hear them from the present Mayor of London with his insidious cocktail of infantilising demagoguery and extreme neo-liberal ideology.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Berry