In those days the mark of the beast was clearly imprinted on the ravished terrain between the A13 and the river: discontinued industries, generic towers rising on the malign compost of the deregulated financial markets, crude surveillance systems protecting speculative retail parks. ‘Don’t you know there’s a war on?’ The repeated challenge as security guards questioned me at every imposed barrier. Thatcher was an abiding presence. Like the smell of the Thames: oil and river-rot and yellow mud. Along walls and embankments, the rabid slogans and anti-Thatcher curses were large and scarlet. In certain hideaway pubs, inscribed photographs in polished frames signalled a positive allegiance. Now, from the window of the empty train to Tilbury, there was nothing. No acknowledgment of funeral or legacy. Margaret Thatcher’s traces were visible in every new shed, in every mushroom estate under a pergola of pylons, but she was forgotten.

Iain Sinclair on Thatcher’s legacy in the Thames Estuary (LRB)


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