I’m sorry. I’m going to get shot here for not showing the proper respect for a “great leader” aren’t I. By one of those shouty right wing columnists who can’t seem to conceive of the fact that not everyone agrees that Lady Thatcher should be immediately lionised.
The sort of people who, on the one hand, eulogise about how she “fought for democracy” while at the same time attempting to shut down a rather important part of it - the right to free speech.
Which I’m now going to exercise: What I saw on the BBC’s coverage of her funeral, for the limited time I could stand to watch it, was mawkish, it was pompous, it was faintly ridiculous.
I saw on the live feed that David Cameron had remarked that other world leaders would have thought that it odd had we not done something like this. Other leaders from where exactly? He didn’t specify. Interesting that. There are parts of the world that do indeed go in for similar displays. Places where they’ll shoot you for writing pieces like this.
Look, I’ve no objection to a respectful funeral. Even one with a bit of ceremony, if that’s your thing. But not one that shuts off half of London and treats the Lady as a Churchillian figure when instead of defeating fascism she actually defeated the manufacturing industries North of the Watford Gap which we surely could do with right now.
Over the last few days, while we’ve all been wallowing in the past, the problems of the present haven’t gone away. Problems that need attention now. The economy is stuttering, now. The IMF has downgraded our growth prospects for the second time, now (well yesterday). We have a millions Neets, young people Not in Employment, Education or Training, an army of wasted potential, now. That’s what I’m concerned about. That’s what bothers me. That’s why this grandiose distraction has me seething.
Instead, the funeral accompanied by a debate about her legacy that has been going on for years and has utterly dominated the political discourse for days, is all I can see on the news channels.
And don’t even get me started on the way it is being covered. Did the Beeb’s hierarchy decree that weird sort of half-whisper that David Dimbleby adopted in an attempt to buy off the “show respect” brigade or something?
To me it sounded not so much respectful as it did silly. And then grating. And that was just the sound of it.
Look, I know providing a live unscripted commentary is not an easy thing to do. But Dimbleby is (in theory) supposed to be good at it. That’s why he’s paid squillions of pounds of licence fee payers money to do these things.
But when he started wittering on about the horses being frightened by flowers being strewn, that’s when I’d had enough. I spent a lot of money on my MacBook, and I was in danger of smashing it, or losing a tooth or two from the cavities produced by grinding them.
I’m sorry. I know this is a rant. But the whole thing had me seething and I don’t think I’m alone, by any means.
I know she was an important figure, a historical figure. By all means pay your respects. But, well, blah blah bah. This is just too much. It reeks of emotional incontinence and it needs to be over. Enough already. Move on.