Why Mrs T should have left the room quietly, closing the door behind her….

Thatcher ThanksOk, I give in. I have to write something on the subject. The media are not going to shut up, as I had hoped. Days after Margaret Thatcher died we are still getting quotes, anecdotes  tributes, vitriol and all manner of unnecessary and prurient detail coming at us from all sides. It will undoubtedly continue until after the funeral next Wednesday when, once again, my daily dose of Bargain Hunt will probably be cancelled to make way for something I don’t want to be part of.

The debate in Parliament yesterday was full of sycophantic hypocrisy from all sides. Her gender was to the fore but the fact that she was born a woman has very little relevance to her legacy in my opinion – she didn’t exhibit any of those traits that make me proud to be female. It was likely that only those Labour members of Parliament who stayed away were expressing their true feelings and to many the gesture just looked disrespectful. But if you do feel as strongly as they do and believe someone destroyed your community it would have been impossible to sit and listen to all that tosh without a fit of apoplexy. They were looking after their health, if nothing else.

I was born and brought up in Margaret Thatcher’s constituency of Finchley in North London. When I was first able to vote, there was simply no point – she always won by a mile. However, my family did vote – Labour and more recently Lib Dem – and I distinctly remember my Mum saying that when Mrs T walked down our street she would have liked to throw a bottle of ink at her. No love lost there then. But Mum was no flag waving socialist; and my father had views I suspect would chime well with UKIP now. We lived in a relatively comfortable suburb, largely unaffected by her brand of conviction politics. Even if you weren’t a direct victim of her divisive policies there was something about her that just rubbed people up the wrong way.

And now we discover that she died at The Ritz. She is to have a ceremonial funeral that will cost millions and apparently this is being justified, financially, on the basis that she ‘saved us billions on our EU rebate’. Pardon me, but you can’t pick and choose on our austerity measures. If we are truly all in this together she should have been holding court in a Costa Coffee. Her ‘remains’ as they were frequently referred to by the ghastly Nick Witchell should be in cheap pine; the handles unscrewed and recycled before she goes through the curtain in the crem. There are many people in struggling communities quietly making this world a better place to live in who aren’t being paraded through the streets of London and eulogized before 2,000 people – including the Queen- in St Pauls. Even some of the most right-wing voices in the press are suggesting this is not appropriate. She may be an historic figure, but she was not a saint. By the end of her tenure at 10 Downing Street, even her friends knew she had become a liability.

So shouldn’t it be ‘Margaret Thatcher exits, quietly and with dignity, stage left‘?

The funeral will happen; we can’t stop it. But there has already been a backlash against the Conservatives in opinion polls as people are reminded of those years in which social cohesion was sacrificed in the name of opportunist greed. If only we could stand here and say that Tony Blair was not her direct descendant…..

But there is a tiny crumb of comfort. Let the last line of her obituary read:

“Jeremy Clarkson came to her funeral….”

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7 Responses to Why Mrs T should have left the room quietly, closing the door behind her….

  1. sally says:

    Here! Here!
    My husbands family were all coal miners in Scotland. They were handed four pounds each per week to live on – 3 coalminers in the family twelve pounds for seven people to live on a week, no help from the government, no council tax paid, no benefits – the children were entitled to free school meals after 6 months on strike, and all the coal miner family children were ostracized at school by having to sit on separate tables to those who paid for their meals. Countless people over the country were donating food etc for the miners families, but when it reached the mines, it was the managers who were going home with their car boots full, and they were all still on full pay because they had to ensure the mine was safe. Miners had to go on a rota system to cover safety, working about 2 – 3 days in the whole year they were on strike.
    My husband is currently going around humming or whistling the song from the Wizard of Oz – Ding dong, the witch is dead.
    No other Prime Minister in the past 100 years will held in such disdain as Margaret Thatcher.
    Communities are still reeling and trying to recover from her policies.

    • keatsbabe says:

      She certainly splits opinion. We could never forget her could we, living in her consituency as we did? My siblings do not necessarily agree with me (see Phil, below!) but I have always maintained my dislike of her policies and of her as a woman. Frankly, she would have scared me witless.

  2. Phil says:

    No diatribe from me in response Suzie, even though you probably know I don’t agree with some of the above. I’ll simply say that there were some things that really needed to be done (however difficult the transition) and she had the balls to do them. Odd that we’ve had 4 male PMs since and none of them have had the balls she had!

    Alas, I must concede that some things really didn’t need to be done, but she did those too. She will always be a divisive figure for this reason alone.

    Interesting that your view of Dad’s politics is that UKIP would be his natural home now – I’ve thought the same myself more than once. I do wonder that you managed to grow up a dyed-in-the-wool(ly) liberal in a household which took the Express as its daily paper!

    • keatsbabe says:

      Two years of counselling still hasn’t identified the reason why my views are so different from Dad’s but I am so glad they are. He was a wonderful, brave man and I am sorry that he found me difficult because I expressed myself in plain opposition (and probably badly) but he was very anti-Europe (a little ironic considering his name), was a great fan of ‘;Love thy Neighbour’ and said some terribly homophobic things. Mum is actually quite different in many ways – maybe because she fell in love with a Spanish man and had a number of crushes on men who turned out to be ‘sensitive’ (her words). And of course, Dad only read the Express for the crossword….

  3. wurzelmeone says:

    I still remember the massive hangover I had on the 23rd November 1990, the day after she resigned as prime minister. It turned out that that was a celebration too soon. Unfortunately, just as her resignation did not signal the end of ‘Thatcherism’; nor will her death. It is a shame that we cannot put all of her dogmas and ideologies into her coffin with her.

    • keatsbabe says:

      Like many I still mourn the loss of John Smith. I think Britain would be a kinder (and less broke) place if he had been around long enough to ensure Tony Blair’s real politics had become obvious.

    • Treegray says:

      In death there is still a marked division. I wanted to ‘not comment’ ‘like’ anything on FB or anywhere and carry on with my daily grind – it is hard to escape it though – especially as I am (in FE/HE) still dealing with the children (and grandchildren) born in, or after her lasting period of impact. She is however, mortal. She leaves people who loved her – but I guess many more who loathed her.

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