Wednesday, April 17, 2013

On Thatcher's funeral

I didn't find anything to disagree with what Norm wrote on the subject and in the same vein I have two thesis, for neither of which would I claim any originality:

1) My maternal grandfather, who was as old as the century, had in peacetime been an opponent of Winston Churchill, on account of the latter's penchant for using the army to break strikes.  But with the outbreak of war, he - like many other British socialists - backed Churchill in the war against the Axis powers.  If I tell you my grandfather was a miner, you'll understand the point I am making.  It's not original but I do think it is important to stress that this has nothing to do with assessments of legacy or the 'verdict of history' and everything to do with what we already know.  What we already know is that while Churchill was personally a Conservative, in wartime he led a National Coalition; in peacetime, Margaret Thatcher did not.  It is entirely inappropriate, therefore, for Her Majesty's armed forces - and for the Queen herself - to be so closely-associated with such a partisan political figure.  Elizabeth did not attend the funerals of any other of the peacetime Prime Ministers and she should not be attending this one either.

2) There are ways of expressing one's disapproval of this, and her legacy more generally, but staging protests at a funeral should not be something anyone with any sense of decorum should even consider.  While it could conceivably be argued that there exists a right to do so - to imagine this is also a duty would be a perversion.  Are there people planning such events and if so, do they really want to become some kind of secular left version of the Westboro Baptist Church?  One would hope not.

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