She’s only been in Hell a couple of days and she’s shut down three furnaces and privatised the Lake of Fire already!
Margaret Thatcher. A third of the nation loved her. Another third hated everything she stood for with a passion. And the remaining third is too young to understand why the rest us feel the way we do.
I was never a supporter. I found her intensely tribal style of class-based identity politics loathsome and dangerous, and hated the way she acted as if half the country were enemies to be defeated.
Some on the right are invoking “Do not speak ill of the dead” when anyone dares to mention anything on the debit column of her balance sheet. But Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian explains why that is only appropriate for private individuals, and should not apply to public figures, especially those as divisive and polarising as Thatcher. To allow her supporters and ideological heirs to heap unconditional praise while insisting that their political opponents remain silent out of respect is itself a highly political position, something many on the right seem unwilling to acknowledge.
There was certainly no love for her in Scotland, and Scottish writer Charlie Stross does not mince his words in response to the sort of uncritical praise I’ve seen coming from one or two right-wing Americans.
I’d like to remind non-Brits that strong leaders are more popular abroad than in their home land, because foreigners don’t get to see the skulls that were smashed in the process of building that reputation for “strength”.
The resulting comments thread contains some interesting discussion of Britain’s post-war industrial problems for which Thatcherism was supposed to have been the solution.
The funeral arrangements show that Thatcher is as controversial in death as she was in life. The Telegraph’s Peter Oborne eloquently describes why giving Thatcher a state funeral in all but name dangerously undermines the political neutrality of the monarchy, and is a very bad thing for democracy. A poster on Twitter made the very good point that an extravagant public event for such a partisan figure is the sort of thing that’s expected from a tin-pot dictatorship rather than a mature democracy. Charlie Stross (again) risks invoking Godwin’s Law by making direct comparisons with Nuremberg rallies.
I’m very glad to be overseas for the next week and a half. I fully expected Cameron et al to use the Maggon’s funeral as a rallying point for their clan, but I wasn’t expecting a full-blown Nuremberg Rally. Disgraceful.
Can’t say I disagree with that. Not that I want to condone or encourage rioting, but large scale public unrest would be as appropriate a memorial to Thatcher as what’s being described above.