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Thatcher’s funeral: you mourn if you want to

Perhaps the most inane remark ever uttered by any leading New Labour figure – invidious though it is to select just one, of course – is Peter Mandelson’s vapid contention that ‘we are all Thatcherites now’. Some of us never were, and never will be.

Such abject ideological capitulation to the ideas Labour was created to stand against demonstates a certain arrogant incomprehension on the political right, a category into which Mandelson clearly falls. Admiration for Margaret Thatcher is far from universal.

The former prime minister, whose life is celebrated in an impending biopic, is now in frail health, and plans are already underway to mark her passing.

The announcement of her death, whenever it comes, will no doubt provoke endless days of media coverage celebrating her ‘greatness’, a quality that ‘even her opponents came to recognise’, or so we shall be told. For those of us who were involved in the labour movement in 1980s, such a conclusion will not readily be conceded.

My generation witnessed first hand her destruction of Britain’s industrial base, her deliberately planned decimation of entire communities and her erection of greed as the very basis of the value system in a country for which there was no such thing as society.

I remain too much of a humanist to exult in Thatcher’s departure. But my disgust at what she did is entirely undimmed by the decades.

The very idea of according this woman a state funeral – originally advanced by Gordon Brown, of course – is surely entirely inappropriate for the most divisive figure in post-war British politics.

You mourn if you want to; this lad’s not for mourning.


  1. redmik says:

    Reminds me of the time Thatcher visited Manchester and fell into the canal – only to be rescued by a strapping youg teenager.

    Her gratitude took the form of “whatever you wish I will give to you”, to which the lad said “I’d like a state funeral”.

    She was a bit taken aback and said wasn’t it a bit early for someone his age to be thinking of that – to which he replied: “No. When my dad finds out who I’ve saved he’ll bloody kill me !”

  2. Mick Hall says:

    Don’t mourn, organize as Joe Hill once said.

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