May 4, 1979. Margaret Thatcher becomes prime minister of England. Her first remarks are borrowed from the prayer of Saint Francis: “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope.”
Thatcher’s decade in office was a consistent contradiction of this initial statement. A truer story is told by flipping each sentence: Where there is harmony, may we bring discord. Where there is truth, may we bring error. Where there is faith, may we bring doubt. And where there is hope, may we bring despair. “Society doesn’t exist,” Thatcher said. There are only individuals. We are unequal and we all have the right to be unequal. “Thank heavens,” Thatcher exhaled in relief.
In this video, an excerpt from Antonino D’Ambrosio’s Let Fury Have the Hour, artists and musicians weigh in on the twin legacies of Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, and the grim courses they set for their nations. Click here to read the full essay from which this text is an excerpt, and here to read D’Ambrosio’s book, out now from Nation Books.