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Pearls of Wisdom


Hi, my name is Vinny, and I am Margaret Hilda Thatcher’s pearl necklace. I hear you! Sounds like a bleedin’ self-help support group. Well, maybe it should be, my old cocker.

It all started back in August ’53, the year of our Regina’s coronation. There I am, in Asprey, minding my own business, dreaming about one day getting the Lizzie Taylor gig, when this geezer called Denny comes in and points a digit in my general direction. Before you can say “La Peregrina,” I’m being bungled into a snazzy velvet-lined coffin and hightailed out of the gaff. A bit like, way back, when I was just a little grit. Except, this one was dry and didn’t smell of fish.

The next thing I know, I’m slapped around the neck of this bird, who’s holding a couple of bambinos. One on each tit. And I’m thinking, this could be cushty, my old son, tucked up in some dusty old jewelry box with a load of sparkly mates for company, only having to venture out at weddings and funerals to wow the relatives, occasionally.

But after a while it starts to dawn on me. This bird doesn’t act like one of those that sits at home day in, day out, keeping the dust at bay, moaning about her lot and eyeing up the tasty new postman. No, this one is always out. And wearing the trousers. Then one day, she only goes and gets a new job running the bleedin’ country. Now, the geezers who do the actual running of the country, them that always have, get her all dressed up for battle in blue twin-set fatigues, especially camouflaged for a terrain of business, selective tradition, and more business. They also manage to get the trousers off her and bung a skirt on. As a reminder of her sex, no doubt. But boy, when they say to her, “Ditch the pearls, love, as they make you look a bit posh and standoffish,” she goes off on one: (in a posh accent) “That’s the f-ing point, you numbskulls. When them toerags—sorry, I mean ‘voters’—see moi in my beads giving it some, them, not being the brightest sparks, will think I’m the queen of England, who’s come to rule over them all happy and glorious. And cos the beads make me look a bit super-soft and girly, the dumb fucks will think I haven’t got it in me to be all nasty to the poor people. As if!!!”

Former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher attends the first day of the Conservative Party Conference in Bournemouth, October 8, 1996. PA Photos /Landov

No. Stop. I am terribly sorry, I just can’t do it anymore. I’m going to have to stop talking in this awfully boorish faux Cockney accent. I only started using it to try and disguise who I am. So you wouldn’t recognize me and wouldn’t associate me with that … that woman. I’m just so terribly embarrassed about what I have done. I know deep down it’s not all my fault, that I didn’t have a choice, but any part I have played is still a heavy burden borne. I have witnessed first-hand the effects of my contributions to her evil agenda as she divided communities, distributed fear and loathing, drove people into the fringes of society, and dismantled the things that people had held most dear. (You, young reader, may not remember when the coal mines ground to a stop. Or when the country’s silver was sold down the river in the privatization of land, stock, and culture … And they say time heals.)

Take a look at me in all the photographs, in my exposed and exalted position, bouncing around her cold, clammy neck, powerless to escape the shackles of my clasp and/or my captor.

Forced to witness again and again how my harmless magic for emanating charm, femininity, grace, class, and softness was hijacked to deceive, to draw people in, and to sugarcoat a dark and harsher motive beneath.

I, so often a thing of gentle beauty and joyful decoration, became the dirty and deadly psychological weapon fired on an unsuspecting populace by a self-serving political elite.

But now the witch is dead. She has worn me, but I no longer have to wear her. I can brush off the flakes of dead Tory skin and the perfumes I never knew the names of from my lustred coat and I can once again be innocently worn by those who want me to only bring a little charm, femininity, grace, class, and softness to their own lives, I hope.


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