Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Is it really necessary?

The fact that Margaret Thatcher divided opinion is one of the few things upon which everyone can agree. She is, to some, the greatest Prime Minister since Churchill, whereas to others she is the worst thing that has happened since the Blitz. This is debate that will go on for a long time, and is a healthy one to have, since by analyzing her mistakes and successes we can, perhaps, do stuff better next time round. There isn't much use, however, in dancing on her grave.

It is true that many communities were left devastated by the closing of the mines, as Thatcher tried to move the economy of Britain away from industry and more towards service and finance. Yet her policies were all down in the best way that she could do them, and she fought for what she believed in with all her heart. There is little evidence to suggest she acted maliciously out of spite for all those who did not benefit, but she simply misunderstood some of the problems that might have resulted from her interesting political style. She was not some sort of devil woman.

Being from the North, you can hardly blame me for not being Thatcher's biggest fan, but since she is dead we must all make sure that we take this opportunity to build ourselves a balanced opinion of the woman, untainted by spite or idolization. She was controversial, yes, but to party at her death, and to sings songs such as "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead," is frankly infant-like and cruel.

This was an 87 year old woman who was a mother and had already suffered a stroke in 2002. She was living out her final years in retirement, having developed difficultly with her memory, with her short term memory being particularly effected. In her death we should give her respect, acknowledging that no matter who someone is, they deserve dignity when they are laid to rest. 

Analysis of her life should not change the fact that we should respect the privacy of her family as they have to deal with the death of their mother. Whether or not she was good or bad does not justify celebrations of her death as if the whole country can now breath a sigh of relief, and to suggest that her death is worth celebrating is just plain wrong. She was no vile dictator, nor genocide inflicting general, but simply a democratically elected Prime Minister who followed policies that were controversial.

There is little justification for jumping and dancing upon the grave of an elderly woman, and it is sad that so many people have decided that it is necessary.

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