Margaret Thatcher died today. The usual outpouring of sympathy spread like wildfire across the social media sites: great patriot, amazing leader, transformed the country.
So far only George Galloway expressed the sentiment shared by the North and Scotland tweeting: tramp the dirt down.
It’s a reference to an Elvis Costello song that is spookily accurate 25 years after it was written (possibly because the Tories are back in power):
When they flaunt it in your face as you line up
And then expect you to say “Thank you”
straighten up, look proud and pleased
Because you’ve only got the symptoms, you
haven’t got the whole disease
The media are trying to brainwash us with all the talk of Thatcher’s greatness. How a grocer’s daughter came to lead the country. Having attended a Girl’s School and Oxford, Thatcher is as much of a commoner as Kate Middleton – not by ordinary people’s standards. Another example is that while you and I will lucky to die in a substandard care home, it was not so in Thatcher’s case:
In January it was reported that the former prime minister had decided to convalesce from the effects of bladder surgery in a suite at the five-star Piccadilly landmark [Ritz], rather than endure the stairs of her Belgravia townhouse.
Not bad for a grocer’s daughter. Ordinary people would just have to put up with the stairs (as well as the constant cold, intermittent care and chronic lack of money) as their pension would hardly cover three nights in a bed and breakfast, never mind the Ritz.
Now it turns out that, for some reason, Thatcher will have a ceremonial funeral with full military honours. Who will pay for it? The public probably. Can we afford it? Of course! Just like we could afford the 2012 Olympic Games, 2014 Commonwealth Games, spending billions in foreign aid and making our politicians rich beyond their wildest dreams. The only thing this country cannot afford is helping out the poor and needy at home. We vilify them instead. Charity certainly does not begin at home.
My partner and I can’t afford a TV licence but today we were visiting a friend with a telly. To watch the coverage on BBC, Sky and ITV was utterly mesmerising. BBC was full of praise for our great leader while showing archive footage of strikers being beaten up by the police and trampled by their horses. Sky mentioned that she was a controversial figure; a stubborn lady “not for turning” but tried to make it sound like it’s a good thing. In what world is not admitting to your mistakes a virtue? Only ITV dared to show interviews with people who had the guts to say “good riddance” to her.
The coverage on publicly funded BBC reminded me the Korean media mourning the death of Kim Jong Il. To feel “sad” is the only right choice. Otherwise you have no respect for the dead and should be ashamed of yourself. The history is being rewritten in full public view.
I extend my condolences to her children – they lost their mother. However, as a voter, I am entitled to expressing my opinion on a public persona without the limitations of social conventions.