17 April, 2013

The Funeral

Lady Thatcher's funeral is today. I shan't watch it; I can remember Churchill's funeral in 1965 and that of the Queen Mother: the hushed voice of the BBC announcer, the pauses and the repetition not just repetition but again and again and again with the same clich├ęs...first woman Prime Minister.. served longer than anyone in memory..divisive figure. Yuk. I missed out on Lady Diana's because I simply found myself unable to share the grief or even to understand it.

In truth I find all funerals, particularly big ones, a little pagan, as if the death were more important than the life. This may have been true of Lady Diana but most certainly is not true of Lady Thatcher.

And her 'life' was some time ago, between 1975 when she became leader of the Tory Party and 1990 when she lost the job. Between 38 years ago and 23 years ago, fifteen hectic years which changed Britain and the world, in my view greatly for the better, but I am happy to hear the opposite argument.

This today, by contrast, is just an old lady having died, as they do.

There has been a certain amount of idiot discussion as to whether we need Lady Thatcher now. I am a great fan of hers, but of course we don't. We have a set of problems which are quite different to the ones she faced and which have to be solved, not just with diffferent soluitions, but in a different style. Her legacy, the lesson she has taught all politicians, is surely this: never assume the status quo to be a good thing. Examine it dispassionately and if it needs to be changed, change it.

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