Property

It is the evening of June 7th 1983. Archie and his wife, Rosy, are watching a Conservative Party Election Broadcast on their twenty-two inch PYE television in the front room of their council house on Orchard Park Estate in Hull. 

From the first day I became Prime Minister I’ve been gratefully aware of an understanding, of a trust that came from people in all walks of life.

Yer fucking what? Trust? You’re joking, Archie says.

I won’t promise what I can’t deliver, but I promise you this: we will work with unremitting energy that you may work.

She’s been in number 10 since 1975, Archie says. Eight years! And now, with three million unemployed, she’s promising me work. Promises like pie crusts! 

What I am offering can be put very simply. I offer the certainty of liberty and the chance of property ownership.

Property! She expects us to buy this hovel – how? With us both on the dole, how we going to do that? Rosy asks.

My hope for the future of all our people is that they should enjoy liberty and property. Their liberty is safe in Conservative hands. That they should acquire property, which brings with it security and independence, is the very essence of what I am in politics to achieve.

She’s taking the piss, Archie shouts. Liberty and property. There’s not a bloody mention, not a single bloody word about the Falklands and what we did, and for what? Property and liberty? Right. The British Empire’s property is worth two hundred and fifty-five British soldiers dead and seven hundred and seventy seven non-fatal casualties like me with my bloody night terrors and flashbacks from Goose Green. We had fixed bayonets. Look at me. Scared shitless of everything. For what? The liberty of being unemployed and off me rocker. Thank you Margaret fucking Thatcher.
You’re not mad, love. It’s PTSD; that’s what the doctors said, Rosy comforts.
 Whatever it’s called. What it was about was making her the fucking Iron Lady and keeping her in power. Property and liberty, what a fucking cheek. What about me having my life back and being my own property? Liberty? What fucking liberty is there for the poor, for you and me, Rosy? None!

I believe that in the tried and proven values of the past lies the moral strength we need to face the future.

Know my place. Tugging my forelock. Be grateful. Property and liberty. Bollocks!

May I suggest to every citizen of our country, every man and every woman, of whatever political persuasion, that on Thursday you pause and ask yourself one question: who would best defend our freedom, our way of life, and the much loved land in which we live?

My mate, Nick, he wrote it right. 

“Bayonet or arrow, Axe or knife, The bladed memory, Holds a taken life”

They don’t have a bloody clue. It’s our lives on the line to protect their fucking property. 

[The italicised quotations used in this story are from the transcript of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Party Election Broadcast of June 7th 1983 and can be found in the on-line archive of the Margaret Thatcher Foundation.]


I hope you enjoyed this story.  Remember, I publish a new story every Sunday. 
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© Phil Cosker 2021
Phil Cosker has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. All rights reserved; no part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted by any mean, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.

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