Monday, 15 April 2013

Mrs Thatcher: still dead

So we're one week on from the death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and I can honestly say that in those seven days not one person on this island - Greek, British or any other nationality - has mentioned the Iron Lady to me.

I suppose that seeing as we are on a small Greek island where people have more pressing problems than the death of someone who hasn't been in power for the best part of two decades that might not be so surprising. Unless, that is, you look at the furore going on in Britain about her death, her life, her funeral and anything else to do with her.

To avoid confusion among people who are not in Britain I thought it might be helpful at this stage to put up a couple of pictures, a sort of Mrs Thatcher identification guide. And here it is:

Above we see two thatchers. For the avoidance of doubt, Mrs Thatcher is the one on the right (naturally). Yes, I can almost hear your chuckles from here. So why am I, living in a little house in an olive grove on Skopelos, writing about Mrs T? Well, I suppose if for no other reason than it pleases me to, everyone else has and this is my two penn'orth. I think at this point in a piece like this it is customary to nail your colours to the mast so far as your view of Thatcher goes. And so....I've never voted Tory in my life and I cannot foresee any situation bizarre enough for me to do so. Is that clear enough for you?

In some ways politicians remind me of surfers. Surfers don't create the waves they ride, but a skilled surfer will get the very most out of a wave and is adept at spotting a good one. Likewise with politicians, I think Mrs Thatcher caught the wave of public opinion sufficiently well to secure three general election victories on the trot.

Tragically, it seems to have led to the rise of a way of thinking where money became the only means by which something's worth could be assessed. While the haves prospered, the have nots found their outlook became increasingly grim, something the present bunch of multi-millionaire chancers now running the country seems happy to perpetuate. It was a way of thinking that also seems to have diminished Britain's capacity for compassion.

Despite all that, I have to admit to having found the celebratory nature of some people's reactions to Margaret Thatcher's death quite unpleasant and the campaign to download the "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" song quite puerile (although someone is making some money out of it, so it's an ill wind etc etc). The very compassion which she is said to have lacked is now being denied her and frankly I'm not sure that's anything to be proud of.

I suppose what I have to say on this doesn't amount to a hill of beans (although I always think a hill of beans would look pretty impressive), but even so it's worth bearing in mind that powerful as she once was Margaret Thatcher was still merely mortal which puts her on a par with the rest of us. If you really want to hit back at her legacy forget about burning an effigy or chanting a slogan, instead why not go out and do something nice for someone else? Remind them that there is such a thing as society after all and we would all do well to remember that there are no pockets in shrouds.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I'd like to hear from you so please feel free to comment. Sorry, no anonymous comments.