Thatcher's funeral: Here’s what we could have spent that £10m on…

You may admire Thatcher's policies and respect her political legacy, but do you respect it more than 370 degree courses or 465 new nurses?

Fact File
  • 465 nurses Number of nurses on an average salary of £21,500 that could be paid with £10m
  • 370 students The number of degree courses that could be funded for the price of Thatcher's funeral
Related Topics

Today parts of London will come to a standstill as the casket of Margaret Thatcher makes its way around the capital en route to a ceremonial funeral at St Paul’s, its journey facilitated by some 4,000 police officers and £10million of taxpayers’ money.

At a time when David Cameron, George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith preside over austerity politics that will see thousands of families go hungry, and working disabled people pushed out of work by PIP reforms just as those incapable of work are pushed into it, all in the name of saving money, you'd be forgiven for thinking we might just have something better to spend £10million on.

Of course, it wouldn’t begin to place a fiscal sticky plaster on the gaping estimated £95billion a year lost due to the tax evasion and avoidance of the wealthy, but let’s face it, not much will.

It could pay the salaries of 465 student nurses for one year, on an average salary of £21,500, or 320 teachers, on an average salary of £31,185. People who actually make a difference to the day to day wellbeing of sick people and children, people who are being consistently disregarded and pushed out of work as the Coalition privatises and downsizes vital services.

£10million could build local authority flats and houses for those who will be displaced by the Bedroom Tax. In Newcastle, there are 50 one-bed properties available for an overwhelming 7,000 tenants who are being forced to seek smaller homes. Of course, some might say that the mass selling-off of local authority property and the chipping-away effect of the right-to-buy scheme are at least partly responsible for this lack in the first place. They’d be right, too.

At 49p a pint, you could buy 20,408,163 pints of milk from any leading supermarket. That’s a lot of milk.

Thatcher was a working class girl done good, rising above humble (but not as humble as Tory mythology would have us believe) roots to attend Oxford. At £9,000 a year, university fees discourage poor young people from applying, stopping their education short and keeping them from challenging the status quo. £10million could pay for 370 3-year degree courses.

Dying as she did in a bed at The Ritz, with access to the best private health care available, Thatcher didn’t have to rely on the NHS (and that’s probably for the best, seeing as she hated it). But what about stroke survivors who do rely on NHS treatment? It can cost the taxpayer £30,000 to support and rehabilitate a stroke survivor for five years. £10million could support 333 survivors.

Though Thatcher’s thoughts on feminism were hardly favourable, surely she didn’t just completely hate women? £10.5million was given to Rape Crisis last year to spend over a period of three years. The government spends approximately £7million a year on helping victims of domestic violence. Feminism might have been “poison” to Thatcher, but surely even she could have seen how spending more on one day for her than in a whole year for countless abused women, is far more toxic?

Thatcher’s funeral will be lavish and bombastic, and in sharp contrast to Aneurin Bevan’s quiet, family-and-friends funeral in the 60s. Bevan built the NHS, a building block of our society. Thatcher didn’t believe in society, and yet here it is, paying for her funeral to be the most lavish since Churchill’s. She sought to dismantle the state, and the state is paying to celebrate her while her legacy continues to kill the poor and fill the coffers of the wealthy.

With £10million burning a hole in your pocket, you could certainly throw one hell of a tasteless, themed Thatcher death party. Why, you could hire military troops to march about firing weapons in a public place. You could pay a bunch of policemen to harass and intimidate anyone who dares raise a voice of dissent. You could probably hire Thatcher’s “proudest achievement” Tony Blair to come along and say something fatuous for a few bob, after all he only charged a toilet roll conference £50,000 for a speech back in 2010. You could top the whole thing off in style by giving it a snazzy Falklands War theme, if you were truly heartless.

Of course, that’s what’s actually happening today. Big Ben will be controversially silent as Margaret Thatcher is eulogised. Protestors will be arrested and likely beaten by police for disrespecting the memory of one person just as a funeral themed after the Falklands disrespects the memory of the 649 Argentinian dead. People will be arrested for celebrating the death of a person who exhorted the press to “rejoice” when the Belgrano sank. Revisionists will continue to push their hagiographies of Thatcher on whoever will listen, and the Coalition will push forward with yet more horrifying cuts and sanctions while we’re all sitting around fuming at the injustice of it all.

And it’s costing us £10million. Bargain.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Executive

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading and innovative con...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Alan Titchmarsh MP?  

Alan Titchmarsh MP? His independent manifesto gets my vote

Jane Merrick

I’ll support England’s women, but it’s not like men’s football – and that’s a good thing

Matthew Norman
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue