La dame de fer (the iron lady) has left the building; departing with her coat buttoned and her dignity intact, as my mother would say.
A few days ago, the mob demonstrated their hatred of her.
The antagonism the Iron Lady Prime Minister provoked was astonishing.
Glenda Jackson’s speech was venemous, and the mob anger was intense, anger not seen since the poll tax days.
Unbridled hatred from men and women of all rungs along the rickety social ladder, united by intense, and longstanding grudges against MT.
Well thought out bile from the well-educated middle classes, and venomous outpourings from the usual gentlemen with the scary teeth, ascene Dickens would have captured exquisitely.
With cameras watching every step, the coffin made its way along the route, shouts were drowned with applause.
The Iron Lady Prime Minister was wrong in some of her key judgements, but whether or not she was the evil witch portrayed is another matter.
Her limitations and prejudices were on show, yes, indeed they were; never hidden, and to her credit, she never flinched from criticism. Her ambition was obvious; Margaret Thatcher owned up to and expressed her ideas to the hilt; she was often unbearable.
Yet she was a lioness, and a rare, decisive leader. My ancestors in Ireland would surely spin in their graves upon hearing me utter such plaudits to one they may well have regarded as the devil. Margaret didn’t spare much of a thought for those who stumbled outside of her ideology; people such as the Irish, or those whom she regarded as ‘terrorists’ , people like Nelson Mandela. Probably, she hadn’t much time for the Scots. (Was the Baroness of Kilmarnock present today I wonder?).
This is what I am supposed to think, that she was a heartless harridan stealing the milk from the mouths of babes, no sort of woman, much less mother. This is the legend, and we base our hatred on her ‘cruel and callous’ personality.
But how much of this anti-Thatcherism is exaggerated, the story from an equally vicious branch of seething ‘socialism’, stripped of its innate power and dignity, reduced to mere rabble rousing, showing hatred of her individuality, a hatred as untenable as her individuality may appear in their eyes. Did Margaret Thatcher destroy wonderful socialism and the excellence of the welfare state?
Or was socialism already in decline by the time she put the final nail in the coffin.
In Brighton, was her stance against the bombers brave, foolhardy, or a stunt? I believe she was right in facing down the IRA, in her show of strength against the extortionists of fear.
Her political reign was filled with conflict and social change. Yet, when the dust settles we may remember her differently, or not.
If nothing else, we need to understand this lady, what made her tick, what were her true greatnesses, and flaws. Can we learn from her in a balanced, detached, and yes, scientific way, as cold as that seems.
Adopting political hate slogans is not the answer; it’s a strategy of the hopeless. Why not acknowledge the artfulness of a distinctive mind. Whatever else she was, Margaret Thatcher was one of the most remarkable people on the planet, at least during the latter half of the 20th Century.
That may well be her legacy.