CONTROMANO / Diego Marani
Ferrarese, nato nel 1959, interprete di formazione, funzionario europeo, scrittore. Fra i suoi romanzi tradotti in diverse lingue, Nuova grammatica finlandese, L'ultimo dei Vostiachi e Il Cane di Dio.

Stramp the dirt down

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Fiori per ThatcherIn 1988 Elvis Costello sang this, hoping to still be alive when Thatcher died to be able to jump on her grave. With a bit of delay his wish was granted and today he can finally tune the pitch of a song that couldn’t be more explicit:
“Well I hope I don’t die too soon
I pray the lord my soul to save
Oh I’ll be a good boy, I’m trying so hard to behave
Because there’s one thing I know, I’d like to live
Long enough to savor
That’s when they finally put you in the ground
I’ll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down.
When England was the whore of the world
Margaret was her madam
And the future looked as bright and as clear as
The black tarmacadam
Well I hope you live long now, I pray the Lord your soul to keep
I think I’ll be going before we fold our arms and start to weep
I never thought for a moment that human life could be so cheap
Cos when they finally put you in the ground
They’ll stand there laughing and tramp the dirt down.”
In an interview in 2008 the punk musician explained his sentiments toward Thatcher better saying: “You shouldn’t really celebrate when anybody dies, but I think she did this country a disservice in the things she tricked people out of.”
Who knows if in the rivers of ink that will run to commemorate the death of Margaret Thatcher someone will remember to also point out all the bad for which the Iron Lady is responsible. If today Europe is crossing its deepest financial crisis since 1929, we also owe it  to her because she was the first with her backward liberal politics to remove any brakes on financial speculation and opened Pandora’s box of money that does not correspond to wealth. It was Margaret Thatcher who invented the economy of services as an answer to the English industrial crisis. This transformation spread throughout Europe and today we are paying the price and undergoing the effects without a clear sign of a change of trend. Just recently the BBC published a study which pinpoints the existence of a new social class in Great Britain which no longer corresponds to the classic model of the industrial society. Across the Channel a “working class” hardly even exists anymore and has been substituted by a more broad class of precarious underpaid, but often educated workers.They are the new poor produced from the Thatcher economy, where for the first time in modern history, culture no longer provides prestige or social status. Where “every thing has a price but nothing has value,” as the American Philosopher, Michael Sobel, writes in his polemics and extremely popular books against market economy. Since Thatcher the middle class became even more poor and public services disappeared, not only in Great Britain but throughout Europe. During the times of British Rail the public service rendered what it cost because it only had to be a service. Today it must make a profit, like any other business, in a spiral that takes wealth from everybody to always give more to just a few. It was always her, Margaret Thatcher, who heavily sabotaged the European project, first with the continuous extortion of balancing the budget and then pulling out every time due to English exceptions from Treaties. Surely today a referendum on Europe in Great Britain would have an onslaught of no’s and if these days Cameron commutes between European capitals to convince his colleagues to definitively cut the wings to a political union, it is thanks to the trampoline that Thatcher already created for him during her 20 years of anti-Europe politics. The crisis of values, the obstruction of our democratic system and the disorientation that crosses the entire European society today began with Thatcher and with the dismantling of that “welfare state” that even with all its defects is still what makes the difference between civilization and barbarians. Let’s hope someone finds a way to write it, better yet to engrave it on the Iron Lady’s tombstone.
Diego Marani


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