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Page 3 Profile: Very Reverend David Ison, Dean of St Paul’s

Still causing controversy, at 83?

Leading today’s service?

The Very Reverend David Ison will be welcoming guests to Baroness Thatcher’s funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral this morning. The Dean of St Paul’s will also give the bidding.

“We recall with great gratitude her leadership of this nation, her courage, her steadfastness, and her resolve to accomplish what she believed to be right for the common good,” he will say.

“We remember the values by which she lived, the ideals she embraced, her diligence, her dignity, her courtesy, and her personal concern for the well-being of individuals.”

‘Personal concern’? Really?

Baroness Thatcher’s legacy has long been a source of intense debate, and an interview CNN conducted with Dr Ison suggested he wasn’t entirely impressed with some of the changes the former Prime Minister made to British people’s way of life.

“You have to ask the question – why is it, 23 years after she left government, that Mrs Thatcher is still such a controversial figure? And I think part of that is [that] we still haven’t come to terms with the hurt and the anger that many parts of society have felt because of the legacy of her government’s policies.” 

That “hurt”, he said, was being “revived by the austerity policies” implemented by the Coalition Government. “There is some real work to be done here about what’s the relationship between the rich and the poor in our society.”

Rather damning, no?

Dr Ison asked people to remember that nobody was perfect. “Every funeral is ambiguous because none of us live up to our own ideals and all of us hurt people in ways we’re sometimes not aware of,” he said.

The service, he added, would be “austere”. The theme, on Baroness Thatcher’s own request, is about “praying for God’s forgiveness and love to cover for our own lack of love to God and our neighbour”. Despite its rumoured £10m cost, it will be “simple and straightforward” with “no pomp and circumstance”. Liam O Brien

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