NO doubt like many of you reading this, I’m what might be called a “graduate” of the Thatcher years. I was 21 years old when Britain’s longest serving Prime Minister of the 20th century took office and was 32 when Margaret Thatcher finally walked out the door of Downing Street for the last time.

Like many Scots I loathed Thatcher and the politics she and her Tory party represented. I still do today. Her time in office changed me as an individual, just as it did British politics and most certainly Scotland.

In instilled in me an indelible rejection of the callousness Tory rule invariably brings and with it an understanding of the class politics that remain among the most forceful of weapons with which to fight back in refuting that rule.

Looking back on that time going on 32 years ago now, I can still see in my mind’s eye Thatcher with husband Denis in tow leaving Number 10 and making her parting speech in that distinctive voice.

The National: Margaret Thatcher with her husband Denis who vetted a celebrity guestlist for a showbusiness reception planned by Number 10, marking it with a red pen and questioning the inclusion of Paul McCartney, newly released documents show. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

“We are leaving Downing Street for the last time after 11-and-a-half wonderful years and we’re very happy that we leave the United Kingdom in a very, very much better state than when we came here,” Thatcher intoned.

For those of us who had lived and come of age under Thatcher’s ruinous years it was like she was twisting the knife in our ribs for the last time. For a moment, my mind flitted back across the preceding decade and more.

What I saw was a kaleidoscopic montage of monetarism, and privatisation. I saw too Union flag waving and manufactured jingoism for a bloody Falkland’s military adventure. Snapshots returned also of the picket lines during the miners’ strike and images of myself and comrades marching from Glasgow to London on the People’s March for Jobs in 1983 as mass unemployment plagued every corner of working-class communities across the country.

Those were, not to put too fine a point on it, bloody awful times. In short, years that I never thought would be surpassed in terms of their political toxicity and division within my own lifetime in Scotland. Thatcher made people angry, and nothing remained untouched by her negative impact.

Remember “Gizza job. Go on, gizza job. I can do that”. Those readers of a certain vintage will doubtless recall the hectoring catchphrase of Yosser Hughes, the character played by Bernard Hill in Alan Bleasdale’s classic BBC drama Boys from the Blackstuff, set among the unemployed of Liverpool whose experiences were echoed here in Scotland and elsewhere. If Thatcher’s rule made people angry, then she also set in train a bitter learning experience for those ready to stand up to rapacious Toryism.

The National: Boris Johnson. Picture: PA.

Which brings me to Boris Johnson’s “vision” of Britain. It’s taken time, but slowly and surely a young generation of Scots are beginning to witness much as their forebears did during Thatcher’s’ era what the true face of Toryism represents.

Today it might pretend to wear a different mask – or no mask at all in Johnson’s case. But the talk, like the motive behind it, remains as predatory as ever. All this crap about “levelling up” and being “all in it together”, is, just as it was during Thatcher’s time, nothing but subterfuge, a smokescreen of deceit while once again Tory policies hit the poorest hardest.

No one could ever call Johnson a “good” prime minister, his own plummeting personal polls, now at their worst on record, tell us all we need to know about that.

No, Johnson is far from good, but he is an important prime minister just as Thatcher was. Important insofar as once again he has openly laid bare what drives the Tory mindset, which remains persistently preoccupied with pulling the ladder up behind them while blaming the most vulnerable when things get tough.

Here in Scotland, Johnson, like Thatcher before him is in one sense at least a Godsend – or should be for those of us determined to move toward independence. For in laying before us Toryism in the raw he has gifted us with greater motivation to fight back, just as Scotland did when faced with Thatcherism.

READ MORE: Why the Scottish Government should be a little more like Margaret Thatcher 

Brutal as Thatcherism was for many to endure, the solidarity that it garnered in terms of facing down the Tory onslaught was among the most positive things to emerge from that period. Scotland fought that battle with conviction, passion and above all unity and only the most myopic or politically stupid could fail to recognise that those times are upon us again.

IN some respects, the threat is arguably even greater given a current Tory government that at times frankly makes Thatcher’s era of grandees look almost benevolent.

It was Malcolm Rifkind, who was Thatcher’s Scottish secretary from 1986-1990, that famously quipped in one interview about the Scottish view of Thatcher: “She was a woman, she was an English woman, and she was a bossy English woman, and they could probably put up with one of these but three simultaneously was a bit too much.”

Scotland’s dislike of Thatcher had nothing to do with her being a woman or English or indeed being bossy, it did though have everything to do with her being a Tory and a staunch defender of the Union.

The same can be said of Scotland’s take on Johnson and the longer he stands in the way of another independence referendum the greater the resentment towards him will become. That’s not to say that those of us desirous of Scotland’s sovereignty can afford to sit and wait for Johnson to concede anything. That stubbornness again he has at least in common with Thatcher.

As the year draws to a close the Tories have found themselves on the ropes. Now is precisely the moment then for those of us who want to see the back of this Tory government to close ranks and fight with renewed vigour in the same way that we did against Thatcher.

Decades from now I can think of few things worse for the current generation of my fellow Scots than to look back on the Johnson years the way their forebears now do on Thatcher’s 11 years of bludgeoning Scotland.

To those young Scots I say now is the time to grab the opportunity with both hands and break free from this toxic union. I have every confidence you will not regret it.