Unsurprisingly I have some serious concerns about Wednesday’s send off for Baroness Thatcher and as the days go on and more information is released there is a more bitter taste left behind for a woman who splits public opinion across the country. In each news bulletin we hear that things are happening “in line with Baroness Thatcher’s wishes.” So here’s the question – would she still be getting her own way if it wasn’t a Conservative led government in power and a Conservative London Mayor?
Firstly the pomp and ceremony that will surround the event is making it a farce of the feelings of a large percentage of the population and is also risking protests and potential riots which would be the wrong thing on the day of her funeral. I didn’t like or agree with the woman on most things but her funeral deserves to go ahead without any nasty interruptions. That she is being given a ceremony that is only one step down from a state funeral at the cost to the tax payer of over £10 million pounds is not right. She was a highly unpopular leader in many areas of the country and to be seen on a level with the likes of Churchill is a disgrace and an embarrassment to the country. This is just below the level that our Monarch will receive and that is unjustifiable.
If you consider what Clement Attlee achieved in his time in office: standing alongside Churchill as Deputy during the war; formalizing the Cradle to Grave welfare state; helping to rebuild damaged Britain from the scars of war; the Prime Minister who brought us the NHS and the Nationalisation of Coal did not receive such a send off so why is Thatcher? And at a time of austerity it smacks of us and them – we’re not all in it together when the “boys club” of Westminster are seeing off one of their own in the same week as Benefit cuts and disability cuts are coming in is a huge slap in the face to those that have to bear the brunt of these reductions in welfare. I’m sure £10 million could help some of the worst off at this time of need.
Yes she deserves a send off, but now with Big Ben being silenced; the armed forces lining the route (again a hugely underpaid part of our society); the expense of the security and policing required to stop the protestors encroaching on the event; and then the use of all these public buildings and the shutting of roads and infrastructure there is an overkill that I don’t believe we would have seen if Ken Livingstone was the London Mayor, or if Gordon Brown had been PM. Of all the Prime Ministers to be given such a lavish and expensive funeral there will be along term bitterness towards all involved for a long time to come. politicizing the funeral of a Prime Minister is more disrespectful to the country than a song reaching number two in the charts in my opinion.
I really hope the backlash is not seen on Wednesday as it would be a sad thing to see on international news channels and would damage our reputation. There will be a backlash that will last beyond this week and perhaps Cameron’s manoeuvres to use Thatcher’s death to realign himself politically could be the single biggest mistake he’s made politically.