I wasn’t alive during Margaret Thatcher̵...

I wasn’t alive during Margaret Thatcher’s rule, but here’s my opinion anyway

Today Britain showed the world how, sometimes, we’re very much a divided nation. I’m not a massive fan of Margaret Thatcher, but equally I wouldn’t say I hate her. Hate’s a very strong word to use against someone I’ve never personally met. The policies she brought in have affected our nation, of course, but as Right Rev Richard Chartres stated, “today she is one of us.”

Maybe the £10m spent on her funeral suggested otherwise – I can’t see the same being spent one someone who worked as a retail assistant their entire life – and of course people may think it’s a waste of money. But then again, had there been no risk of violence from protesters, perhaps less could have been spent on security? On the other hand, there are those who saw her as the Iron Lady, a woman who shattered the glass ceiling and did what she could to make the nation a better place, who see a state funeral as a proper sending off.

Put simply: there are two sides to every coin.

Honestly, I feel no emotion towards her. What I did feel today, however, was disgust and embarrassment for the people who were childish enough to turn up to someone’s funeral, regardless of who she was, and show a complete lack of respect, not just for the deceased but for her mourning family too.

You may tell me I have no right to an opinion because I wasn’t alive during Thatcher’s time in power, but just as you’re able to voice how you feel, so am I. So forgetting all her policies, her mandates and her actions, I’ll tell you what I do know:

I know that today, family and friends gathered together to say goodbye to a loved one. I know that six horses pulled a coffin containing a dead woman through the city among crowds of people, quite against their natural instincts. I know that a very brave young lady did something that most adults wouldn’t be able to do, as Amanda Thatcher stood up to recite a reading at her grandmother’s funeral, in front of an audience that spanned the globe.

Now what they deserved, if you ask me, was to be able to say goodbye without having to listen to protestors shouting outside, and without having to watch people throw things at the horses. Politics shouldn’t have made an ounce of difference today because, let’s be honest, her time in power ended way back in 1990. No one expects the country to forget the policies she brought into place, but what should be expected is, for at least one day, to put debates and anger aside. Because causing a scene that the woman herself cannot even see or respond to only upsets a family that’s done nothing wrong.

I don’t just want to dwell on the negatives of the day though because there were many positives.

The horses behaved impeccably considering the situation, young Amanda was amazingly brave, flags were hung at half mast to prove that somewhere respect was being shown, the entire ceremony ran on time as was expected, everything looked as perfect as it could for such a sad event, a strong and consistent sound of applause rang through London. It’s these little things that show the world that ok, we might not have agreed with each other, but we weren’t going to act like children and play tit-for-tat.

I’ll finish this with the handwritten words visible in the wreath that lay upon the coffin: “Beloved mother. Always in our hearts”. They ring true and remind us that at the end of the day, Margaret Thatcher, despite the controversy during her life, was ultimately just a woman that meant a lot to her family even if she didn’t always end up doing the very best for the country.

By Shannon.

  • People who throw things at horses: scum. Amanda was so moving, and any grandmother couldn’t help but to be so proud of that performance xx

  • Although I completely appreciate this article (which is a great read by the way), it’s left me feeling really confused.

    So we owe her family respect, empathy and sympathy at what is undoubtedly a difficult time? On the one hand, yes I suppose so but as much I liked to watch Carol Thatcher being her usual slightly batty self on The Wright Stuff years ago, her brother has a lot to answer for in a lot of ways and certainly has done something wrong. I wonder did he have any respect for the families affected by his involvement in the Coup in Equatorial Guinea? No doubt a serious amount of people were affected negatively by that, much more so than could ever be caused by a bit of booing. Not only did it affect the people of that country, his own family were no doubt left devastated by his prison term. And as for the millions (of largely inherited money) he has squirrelled away in offshore accounts, “morally wrong” comes to mind.

    I also wonder if as many people would be complaining about the £10 million expenditure, if it were the funeral of someone more likeable/liked. I’m sure a lot more would be willing to sacrifice that amount, even in the current ‘economic climate’ for someone/something deemed to be more worthy (Jubilee, Olympics etc) so really the economic argument is questionable too.

    • I think the main thing is that, regardless of opinion, people should’ve been mature enough to see her off with dignity, or else just ignore everything (like I did) let it happen, then go back to our normal lives. What are they protesting? The past? That’s great (if pointless), but nothing can be done about it. It’s protesting for protesting sake. She was popular enough to stay in power for a substantial time period, meaning the majority of people got who they voted for. She shook things up, but a Prime Minister’s manifesto’s NEVER going to be able to please ALL the people. Saying she doesn’t deserve respect because she didn’t respect everyone is such a childish attitude to have. Protest her ideas at the time, fine. Leave an old woman’s funeral alone.

    • She’s clearly not just ‘an old woman’ though, the £10 million expenditure and 10 years planning the funeral proves that. If anything, peaceful protest should be encouraged, we’re lucky to be able to do it in the first place.

  • Bess, I completely agree. It shouldn’t make any difference how people feel about Margaret Thatcher; the horses had nothing to do with her! I’m also not sure how Amanda coped, I wouldn’t have been that composed if I had been in her position.

    Gail, I appreciate your comments I just want to make it clear that I’m not suggesting that her family are perfect, everyone is going to be disliked by someone else but I feel that they still deserved to give their family member a proper send off without all of the criticism. I know that if I were in their position, regardless of what anyone in my family had done I would want to say goodbye to my loved one with as few complications as possible.

    There are people in my life that I haven’t agreed with entirely and I haven’t always got along with, but I won’t be turning up to their funeral just to be childish and disrespectful which is essentially what people did yesterday. They didn’t achieve anything by protesting, all they were arguing against is in the past. I don’t think that it takes much to just take the higher road and ignore what has gone on, at least for one day.

    Although I am going to have to agree that personally I feel that the £10 million spent on the funeral was excessive and I would feel that no matter who it was spent on to be honest.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with shannon, It’s not about what was done, and can’t be undone. A protest will would make no difference in making the world a better place, it served no cause. Liked or disliked wrongs or not the family deserved a peaceful send of in such upsetting times, I ask anyone how theyx would feel in her families poition on that day. Yes I think the money was excessive on the funeral, But that cannot be undone by any protest at something already payed for. Only cause a great deal of heartache to people already grieving for a lost mother, grandmother. Has this country lost all empathy, she was not a terrorist, that I know of.