Baby goes to Daddy: Changing Britain

This is a regular post in which I document how I try to distract myself and take my mind of missing my baby when he is spending time with his Daddy.  I also try to do something that I would not be able to do with a small baby in tow.  Last time I went to Columbia Road flower market. Today, I went to the Changing Britain Festival at the Southbank Centre.  

Changing Britain is a pre-election festival at which a load of academics, journalists, thinkers, novelists and cultural icons examine the politics that changed us and the culture that shaped us in 70 years of Great Britain.  It is on for three weeks.  I went on Saturday 25 April, the middle weekend, which covered 1979 – 1997 – an era of rapid change as Margaret Thatcher set about transforming Britain through radical economic and social reform. 

Changing Britain

My day at Changing Britain

We started with a lecture entitled “No Such Thing as Society”. In reference to those on benefits, society’s ‘losers’ in her eyes, Thatcher proclaimed:

“There is no such thing as society.  They are casting their problems onto society.  Who is society? There is no such thing.” 

Thatcher despised those who survived on benefits, who relied on the safety net of the society to exist.  I think she changed Britain beyond belief.  The post-war period brought in a wonderful sense of community, of support for others.  The NHS was set up in 1948, the European Convention of Human Rights came into force in 1953, there was space to debate, to share views, to disagree with each other.  Thatcher, I believe, undid all of this and changed the nature of Britain by promoting greed and individualism.  She taught us to tolerate greed as a means of self-advancement.  I don’t think Britain will ever recover.  I will save the rest of this rant for a future blog post / diatribe on Thatcher.

I then went to a lecture on the New Romantics  – you know the subculture of flamboyant dress and new wave music that grew to dominate the look and feel of 1980’s pop music.  Think Bowie and Ziggy Stardust.  It was light hearted.

The afternoon session on Feminism (From Cosmo to Nuts) was really interesting.  We are now in the 4th wave of feminism (note to self to do some research on waves 1, 2 and 3 for a future blog post) which has changed in shape, feel and modus operandi from its predecessors and like all current forms of activism the epicentre is online. 

All in all it was a really interesting day and one that has given me food for thought for future posts. 

Next week Changing Britain looks at 1997 – 2015.  There are talks on ‘How to be a Woman’ looking at whether women’s lives have really changed for the better in the last 70 years and the battles that remain, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the future of welfare.   I would thoroughly recommend it – if you can find someone to look after your child for the day!

Linking up to #OrdinaryMoments at MummyDaddyMe

Oh, and I should say, these are all my own thoughts.  I am not writing on behalf of the Southbank Centre or indeed anyone linked to Changing Britain.  No money has passed hands (other than from me to the SBC in exchange for coffee and cake).


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