On Thatcher And Etiquette

Margaret Thatcher's papersMargaret Thatcher, the first and only female British Prime Minister is dead. There’s a saying I often hear in regard to Thatcher and it goes something like this: “Depending on who you are, Margaret Thatcher is either God or Satan”. I’m not a massive fan of branding famous people in such Marmite-esque diametric terms but it seems that with Maggie, this is somewhat true.

And so it can come as little surprise that on the occasion of her death, some people are sad and others are having a party with fireworks to, as one of my Facebook friends put it, rival the ending of Return Of The Jedi. The second of these reactions I fail to understand.

I mean, I hate just about everything that woman did when she was in power, and I was only alive for a year of it. I disagree on just about every point with Conservatives in general and Maggie was the greatest of them and so it stands to reason that I would quite happily happy slap her, but why have a party when she’s dead?

Now I’m not on a “respect the dead” rant because I struggle to logically justify that position. What I’m questioning is why people are partying now. Is Margaret Thatcher less of a political threat now she’s gone? Was she breathing threats and devising elaborate schemes to further impoverish the poor yesterday? No. The truth is, that Margaret Thatcher, an elderly lady who suffered from dementia, was no more of an influential figure alive than she is dead. Her time has been and it went many years ago. The party should have been in 1990.

You can whine about hurting her family’s feelings, or quote that you don’t rejoice in the death of anyone (though I find it hard to believe as I for one breathed a sigh of relief upon learning of the deaths of Osama Bin Laden, Col. Gaddaffi, and Kim Jong-Il) but the real mystery is why people are making this a bigger deal than it is. All that has happened is that a previously immensely powerful, influential, and divisive political figure who retired from professional life many years ago and eventually grew less and less herself due to illness, has finally and quietly ceased to be. The main show was over before I even knew there was a show.

Anyway, as much as I disagreed with Lady Thatcher’s ideals, I honestly have to hand it to her for being the first woman to smash through the glass ceiling, defy the patriarchy, and lead our country. That, ladies and gentlefolk, takes balls.


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