Speak Ill of the Dead

Britannica rues Thatcher

I participate on a discussion board of writers and there are a sizable contingent of contributors from Great Britain.   The vast majority of them whom have weighed in have been absolutely SAVAGE in their disdain and contempt for Maggie Thatcher.

“Where’s the grave going to be? I’ve got my dance all worked out. ”

“I wish I lived in a bigger house, I’d totally invite you all to a party. I suppose we could take over the village pub. “

In response to an American poster horrified by the gleeful expressions to Thatcher’s death, there was this:  “Having witnessed the destruction of industries, communities and families because of her policies, I feel absolutely fine about saying how intensely I dislike her. I’ll say what I like, where I like, thanks.”

“Ding Dong the Witch is Dead!  And for everyone who is puzzled at the celebration of her death…. you didn’t live in Britain in the 1980s. Cos if you did, you would know. “

“Grew up in an industrial town during the Thatcher years. She left us nothing – no jobs, no money, no hope, no future. The town, once home to the largest steelworks in Europe, has never recovered.”

“So I’ll join the dance. She earned it. “

Maggie and Ronnie in a tree…

I would say “polarizing” is a good way to describe Thatcher’s passing from the scene.   Some people improve the world by being here and others by leaving it.  It is difficult, if not impossible for those of whose knowledge of Margaret Thatcher is second-hand to fully understand the feelings she engenders in those with first-hand familiarity with her time as prime minister.

Obviously those whom do not mourn her passing have strong reactions to her death and the intensity of their dislike for Thatcher is equal to those whom admired and celebrate her. The fact Thatcher’s death provokes such strong and passionate reactions can be confusing to those whose knowledge of her is second-hand.

Perhaps it is counter to the conventions of society and even good taste to take pleasure in and express contempt toward the death of another human being, but express insincere and false sentiments just to go along is playing false to yourself.

Thatcher’s passage is not the same thing as that of Roger Ebert or Annette Funicello and we shouldn’t act as if it is. There should be a certain latitude given to those who chose to bury Thatcher instead of praising her.

I have no feelings about Thatcher other than contempt for the way she was an accommodating apologist for the evils of South Africa apartheid.  On that score Thatcher wears the face of a villain as much as that of a hero.

The final word on Thatcher should belong to those who knew her as prime minister.   From her Facebook page, Annie Lennox recalls Thatcher and not all that fondly.

Annie is no fan of Maggie

Margaret Thatcher’s death has provoked an outpouring of polarised responses, clearly reflecting how people felt, and still feel about her, right up to the present day.

As a political leader, her style was strident (some would say strong), inflexible (some would say firm), authoritarian (some would say powerful ), tough (some would say resolute), arrogant ( some would say assured), snobbish (some would say she had a sense of values), and faintly ridiculous, ( some would say patriotic). She was the headmistress and we were the renegade schoolchildren. She was the leader and we were the ardent followers…all depending on which side you happened to be on. Despite the evidence of her gender, she could never be described as a Feminist. She was more of a singular woman in the old boys club than a defender of women’s rights.

Although she was the daughter of a humble grocer shop owner, her aspirations far outreached her roots..which is tremendous but… she failed to have any real understanding or connection with ordinary people, riding rough shod over their lives, leaving them to deal with the aftermath of a decimated industrial era. Entire communities disintegrated with generations being left to cope for decades down the line.

I admire dedication, strength of purpose and vision, these are all fine qualities but when political policies are so brutally hard line, that they affect people’s entire existence at a pen stroke (whilst being told to pull themselves up by their boot straps), you can be sure that the spirit of dictatorship has arisen. From my own perspective I keep recalling the heavy sense of oppression that saturated every aspect of the Seventies, and I can’t say I have any sense of fond nostalgia.