July 17, 2008

A Thought On The Iron Lady's State Funeral

My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police.

Margaret Thatcher, 1981, News Of The World interview.

I came to office with one deliberate intent: to change Britain from a dependent to a self-reliant society — from a give-it-to-me, to a do-it-yourself nation. A get-up-and-go, instead of a sit-back-and-wait-for-it Britain.

Thatcher, 1984, speech to Small Business Bureau Conference.

Margaret Thatcher, doyen of the self made person, believer that the state should have as little to do with the lives of individuals as possible, advocate of privatisation… and a state funeral? Paid for by the masses and arranged, organised and promoted by the state itself? Not from her own purse.

Does this not sound like it completely contradicts everything she stood for? She should stick to her principles (“The lady’s not for turning”, anyone?) and refuse the offer. But then again, raging economic rightwingers who proclaim they detest the welfare state are always amongst the happiest to take any financial hand out the state is willing to give.

It’s hypocrisy exposition week here all right.

- 24 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

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  1. I hadn’t thought of it that way; I hadn’t got beyond being angry at the Evil One getting a state funeral. Your clear thinking once again shows the way.

    17 Jul 2008, 19:01

  2. Fantastic take on the situation Holly. Both my thumbs are up.

    17 Jul 2008, 19:27

  3. Michael

    I thought for a moment there that the reason you were discussing this was because Thatcher had died. I was pretty disappointed to find this was not the case.

    17 Jul 2008, 21:54

  4. Joe Thompson

    Thatcher Thatcher milk snatcher

    18 Jul 2008, 00:10

  5. I was wondering why the chat about it if she hasn’t died.
    Although I’m a little biased as my family suffered from her meddling in the number of science/civil servant jobs in the country… I’m not sure she was that well liked by the masses to warrant a state funeral.
    Am I right in thinking that it’s only been Churchill outside the Royals who got one?

    18 Jul 2008, 09:04

  6. Am I right in thinking that it’s only been Churchill outside the Royals who got one?

    No. Palmerston, Pitt, Gladstone, and Wellington had them too.

    18 Jul 2008, 18:49

  7. Good point, didn’t know about them. But perhaps I should clarify.
    Am I right in thinking that it’s only Churchill who got one this century apart from Royals?

    18 Jul 2008, 19:16

  8. Sue

    I’ll ask my Mum when I see her this morning, she knows about things like that. I remember when I first met my partner and we were talking about the solar system and my Mum said that the sun went round the earth, we were all very surprised and my partner said “No, it’s the other way round.” but she was adamant that it wasn’t, so he looked it up in an encyclopedia and showed her and she was surprised. But unlike Margaret Thatcher she’s a very cultural person, Margaret Thatcher would have known about planetary orbiting but cultural studies in this country began to fragment when she was in power. They migrated to the United States, Canada, Australia, France and India. We were a bit worried that she’d had pupils in her charge for years and may have passed on wrongful information but I’m sure what they gained culturally would have more than made up for it. I think when my mother went to school science wasn’t high on the agenda when it came to teaching girls (that was even the case to a certain extent when I went to school) and she studied English at university so I can see how the gap in her knowledge could have occurred, actually I quite like the idea of a whole tribe of people going around thinking that the sun goes round the earth.

    19 Jul 2008, 10:45

  9. Am I right in thinking that it’s only Churchill who got one this century apart from Royals?

    Churchill was last century…

    19 Jul 2008, 17:38

  10. Sue

    Yes, that’s exactly what my mother pointed out to me. It’s funny how all the fuss about the new melenium now seems insignificant only a small way down the line. My mother is a very wise person and what made me think of the incident with the sun and earth was reading about David Hume who points out that almost nothing about existence is demonstrable. Just because the earth has always gone round the sun doesn’t mean that it will tomorrow. Also, the idea of the sun we have in our brain is a long way removed from the actual sun as it exists.

    19 Jul 2008, 19:43

  11. Plans have begun for Margaret Thatchers state funeral. It’ll be the first time ever the 24 gun salute is fired into the coffin.1

    Oh ho ho!

    1 (Dara O’Brien, Mock The Week)

    20 Jul 2008, 13:53

  12. Churchill was last century…

    Oh no you didn’t! My bad. Perchance I wish I had written ”... in the last century…”
    But I didn’t. And hang my head in shame.

    21 Jul 2008, 10:45

  13. I quite like the idea of a whole tribe of people going around thinking that the sun goes round the earth.

    They’re called Christian fundamentals.

    21 Jul 2008, 10:46

  14. “believer that the state should have as little to do with the lives of individuals as possible”

    ...yet imposer of her personal homophobia on the population through the state. Condtradictions galore!

    21 Jul 2008, 17:52

  15. It seems a very partisan split… Guardian readers say, ‘no’, Telegraph readers say ‘yes’.... It strikes me that this is more a political action than anything awarded through the love of the people, such as royal funerals are or Churchill’s were.

    23 Jul 2008, 09:50

  16. Casey

    Idly wondering about the potention for this lady’s not for turning in her grave puns…..

    24 Jul 2008, 10:04

  17. It’s been announced that Margaret Thatcher will have a state funeral.
    The former PM is to be buried at the bottom of a man made lake.Or at least she will be once we’ve finished pissing on her grave.1

    Oh ho ho!

    1 (Jimmy Carr, 8 Out of 10 Cats)

    24 Jul 2008, 17:50

  18. Kim White

    I believe Palmerston did not have a State Funeral. However, Nelson did. As for Lady Thatcher, surely if there is any hypocrisy involved it is not hers. After all, she hasn’t decided to give herself a State Funeral. I do tend to think that all the carping comments allied to personal views about specific policies is somewhat narrow minded. To make an exception, in the form of a serious comment, perhaps there is a tinge of hypocrisy from all those critics themselves – after all they will most probably collectively achieve much less than she did. Who cares how they will be buried? It will certainly never be discussion-worthy in a blog.

    27 Jul 2008, 18:26

  19. She didn’t award it to herself, but she didn’t say no. It’s like die hard Little Government advocates who still happily take their child benefit or state pensions. It comes across as highly hypocritical to a hell of a lot of people, especially the vast numbers who do believe in social security and the welfare state. Is it really a serious comment to imply that everyone commenting here shouldn’t comment because they will not be offered state funerals? A state funeral is not an indicator of brilliance – Disraeli said no, Nye Bevan was never offered one, the guy who had Oscar Wilde jailed was given one but Wilde himself wasn’t… I personally couldn’t care less where I’m buried, and there’s really some things she achieved I’d be mortified to have achieved myself. But then again, getting into a argument about Thatcher’s policies and achievements is an epic and disputed topic in itself.

    27 Jul 2008, 19:19

  20. Kim White

    Let me be clear, I am not and never will advocate support for all that Mrs T did. That wasn’t my point. If you accept a high profile role like PM and really try to make a difference, as she undoubtedly did, you expect to upset some people and be roundly criticised. That goes with the territory. But someone has to be prepared to make those tough decisions on the nation’s behalf. Is it then so wrong to accept a formal gesture of wider recognition to offset some of the criticisms, snipes and downright damnation from some? I think not, that’s all.

    28 Jul 2008, 09:28

  21. Ah, now I get you. I don’t necessarily agree, but I think it’s a perfectly good point.

    28 Jul 2008, 10:08

  22. So you can only accept state benefits if you believe in socialism? That’s quite a leap of logic there, completely unrelated to anything Thatcher or the libertarian wing of the Conservative arty has ever stood for or done. You might just as well call all Labour closet-Commies and leave rational discourse to those who like to speak in something other than stereotypes.

    03 Aug 2008, 16:22

  23. The current Labour government are nothing like the Communists; they’d never flood the press with massaged statistics, intimidate the media, throw people into long term unaccountable prison stays, or produce wildly optimistic and exaggerated economic predictions.


    If Milliband goes it’s officially a purge.

    05 Aug 2008, 23:31

  24. A proper purge would see him wearing a Stolypin Necktie. He deserves to get chucked by Brown. Not only is he one of the more useless cabinet ministers, but he’s about the smarmiest git I’ve ever seen in politics. Fave Miliband moment?

    ’”I think it’s a very sad fact that there are two countries in which the council is not allowed to operate. That is Burma and Iran.” – http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article3045750.ece

    I’m proud that he’s our foreign minister. I’m sure the British Counil (Iran) is too. http://www.britishcouncil.org/iran.htm

    06 Aug 2008, 19:02

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