Sunday, 14 April 2013

Rest in War

Lennon opined that Elvis died when he joined the army in 1958; I’d put it slightly later than that (it was when Blue Hawaii came out), but I agree in principle, and I mourned.  Thatcher, though, indisputably died when she was mortally savaged by a dead sheep in 1990, and yes, I rejoiced. Celebrating or abhorring her career was appropriate then; it’s a bit late now.  So I don’t feel any emotions in either direction now: ‘87 Year Old Woman Dies’ isn’t really a big headline.*   

Some will argue that this is a suitable moment to evaluate her legacy.  Indeed, whole forests of newsprint and terabytes of server space have been doing just that, with one theme emerging – the Lady was for fighting.  So I offer my post title as a respectful epitaph.

By way of evidence, I submit a couple of observations, with suitably martial keywords, regarding Wednesday’s State-lite** funeral:

·         Heartlessness: 800 members of various branches of the armed forces active in the Falklands war are to provide the guard of honour, but I don’t recall reading that similar honours are to be paid to the surviving families of the 255 British servicemen and women who died in that conflict.

·         Confrontation, or Conformance, take your pick: anyone who behaves in a (non-violent) manner ‘likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress’ along the processional route risks arrest under the Public Order Act.  

* Even if you add ‘at the Ritz.’
** It’s not a full State occasion, apparently, because that would involve revealing how it’s being paid for, not to mention invoking democratic processes in sanctioning it.


  1. I find it strange that Mrs T's death has provoked such strong feelings on both sides of the political divide given that her departure from power was so long ago. I don't understand why her admirers feel such a high level of loss (I'm referring to Tory voters here, not people who actually knew her) and I don't understand the level of celebration among her detractors either. I have worked in the public sector so I know a few socialists, but even the most left-wing of my lefty acquaintances says that 'her death is irrelevant' and I agree. She left power 23 years ago; since then we've had 4 other Prime Ministers to cock things up/improve our lives*

    * delete as appropriate

  2. Liz, I totally agree with you - all this venom/adulation is irrelevant. It seems pointless in creating such a fuss now. The one thing she should be remembered for is being a woman in a unique position which maybe motivated other women to attain "power" of some sort.

  3. Section 5:
    "A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he:
    (a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or
    (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting
    thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress."

    Worth watching this:
    Rowan Atkinson on Reform Section 5

    "Having considered the views of respondents and both Houses of Parliament, the Government intend to remove the word "insulting" in Section 5." Lords Hansard 1 February 2013

    I wonder if any arrests for insulting behaviour will be made tomorrow.

  4. Look up the funerals of Gladstone, Attlee and Wilson for some perspective. Actually, don't bother - that sliver of perspective will just be like spitting at a juggernaut.

  5. Richard, I watched RA and totally agreed with him and then I looked at your Hansard clip and noticed a few lines further down the following:

    "...The Government are considering the consultation responses on proposals to strengthen existing police powers to demand removal of face coverings and the introduction of new powers to impose a general curfew. A response will be published by the end of March 2013."

    Whilst I probably agree with the removal of face coverings, powers to impose a general curfew???? Are we at war again? Have the Argies got massed forces waiting just off the Strand to target the coffin as it parades past?

    But yeah, an old woman has died. And while she undoubtedly did good, she also did bad. But that was a long time ago. And do we really want to rake that all up again?