Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Celebrating a life not a death

I have been pondering....
Yesterday Mrs T. more recently known as Baroness Thatcher died.
To my mind the place of her death says more than I ever could about the legacy of Thatcherism: she died in the place that she had called home for the last four months: The Ritz Hotel in London. 
I cannot imagine ever in my life even taking tea at the Ritz, let alone making it my home! 
Yet she, who strove to bring greater riches to the wealthiest, who sought to remove all power from the Unions, who instilled into my generation such an ethos of self aggrandisement that when I reached forty for a brief while I truly believed I must have failed because I was not "wealthy", this woman, made that extraordinary hotel her home. 

In recent years she has been seen rarely and then all have been shocked by the diminishing of the Iron Lady. It seemed both poignant and tragic that a woman of such substance was reduced to a frail old lady. Her politics I totally rejected and despised. The woman, in her determination and singlemindedness I had a grudging respect for. 

But last night I was appalled to see people dancing in the streets, dancing on newspaper pictures of her face!
What is this about?!
This is not how we mark the passing of a human soul. No matter what they did, or how aggrieved any individual may feel, rampant celebrations and vitriol are not appropriate on the death of another. (And incidentally, many of those doing the dancing can barely have been bairns when she was in her prime)

She may not have been universally loved. But she was loved, she has a family, she has close friends and they will have been hurt and shocked by the response. 

The days of passionate left and right wing politics are a dim and distant memory.... the middle ground seems safer and more acceptable. But there is a part of me that misses those heady days of the 80s and 90s when you knew exactly what politicians stood for, even when you thought they were wrong. 

Rest in peace Mrs T, I never once agreed with you, but I always knew what you believed. 


  1. I agree with so much of this. I loathed and despised the woman's politics and policies, and still do. I have no wish to celebrate her death, and it shocks me that some do (although when one listens again to the miners' stories over the past two days I can begin to see where they are coming from).

    However, while I cannot and do not celebrate her death, I can and do remember her life. And it still makes me angry.

    But, as you rightly say, there will be those who loved her - not just as a politician, but as a flesh-and-blood person - and they deserve our sympathy and respect. For we cannot speak of a God of love and then hate. We cannot hold on to a hope in a merciful God and then deny compassion to those who mourn.

    In her later years she suffered enough. And now she is at peace. It is to be hoped that those who suffered under her can find that same peace. And move on in peace.

  2. Good blog. I am doing Judas Iscariot on Sunday (I was off last week) and pondering how people felt about what he did, tying in to the wealth of emotion around Mrs T. I was but a bairn in her day, not in a mining community but still feeling the pinch so to speak. Now I minister in an ex-mining community with a strong Labour tendencies (though more old than new Labour) and I suspect Mrs T was on a par with Judas. I admire her gumption and sticking power as a woman in a man's world and respect her death as I would any other. But I doubt she will be mourned here. Thanks for sharing Julie.