Margaret Thatcher’s funeral

This entry was posted on
Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
8:48 am and is filed
under Tories! Tories! Tories!.

The 85th anniversary of Margaret Thatcher’s birth should serve as a reminder that some of her supporters are already planning for her death, and recently even floated the idea of a state funeral:

Daily Mail – Lady Thatcher to be honoured with State funeral
Guardian – State funeral planned for Lady Thatcher
Guardian – Harman: we have not agreed Thatcher state funeral
BBC – Thatcher state funeral undecided

We’ve had a change of government since then, and I’d like to ask if the proposal that we give Margaret Thatcher a state funeral is being seriously considered (or even quietly approved), especially in light of the savage and immediate cuts to expenditure the Tories insist are a necessary evil at this time.

I’m shooting myself in the foot here, as I did plan to sell DIY tap-shoe kits to the large crowds that would be sure to gather specifically to protest this expenditure, but I would also urge David Cameron and others to look at the logic of a privately-funded funeral:

Where there is discord, may we bring harmony.

You may recall the fuss in the streets when George W. Bush invited himself to town and awarded himself the honour of a state visit, and no-one in Blair’s government dared to object.

Many of the people I spoke to at the relevant protests were angry about the illegal invasion of Iraq, but stated quite clearly that they mainly objected to Bush being honoured in ceremonies and events paid for out of the public purse. It wasn’t the entirety of their case by any means, but it was this aspect that greatly swelled the number of protestors then, and I firmly believe a similar objection to public money being spent will lead to large and ugly protests if Margaret Thatcher is awarded a state funeral.

This confrontation can be avoided simply by honouring Margaret Thatcher appropriately upon her passing (and when I say ‘appropriately’, I do not mean according to a leftist doctrine that exists mainly in the minds of paranoid right-wing pundits).

Where there is error, may we bring truth.

Thatcher’s clearly stated political philosophy involved reduced state interference and a spirit of entrepreneurialism enabled by a free market; marking her passing with a state funeral that is agreed or even discussed in principle before her death risks labelling her an opportunist (fairly or otherwise), and if Thatcher is a believer in the free market and her supporters agree, then surely the most fitting tribute to the woman is to make a show of numbers and support their argument with a privately-funded funeral.

Where there is doubt, may we bring faith.

I not only propose that we take Margaret Thatcher at her word and attempt to honour her political legacy appropriately, I further propose that we tie this in with David Cameron’s flagship initiative; Big Society

If we’re to have soldiers lining the streets, for example, then let’s see them do so of their own free will in their own free time. Similarly, a volunteer workforce can organise the event, marshal on the day, and clean up afterwards.

I acknowledge that in some areas there are limits to what private money can do, particularly when it comes to policing the event, and on that note…

And where there is despair, may we bring hope.

I understand that many people will never forgive Margaret Thatcher for her actions, but I would trust even these people agree that there’s little point in shouting at a passing coffin if the relevant ceremony isn’t costing them anything.

So in closing I propose that if the Tories do embrace this idea and agree to drastically minimise the cost to the public, then their opponents should do the same, and minimise the cost of policing the event by taking potential confrontation out of the equation.

Save your energy for a private party, because if the Tories agree not to be ultra-hypocrites about this, there’ll be a lot to celebrate.

OK, I’ve presented my case. Does anyone have any objections that don’t involve merely shouting ‘leftist’ at me or accusing me of stalking a sweet old lady?

About Tim Ireland

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