With as much division in death as in life, Margaret Thatcher has been laid to rest. The funeral was all that one expected from it, though I missed the wished for presence of the Obamas to give the event a bit of pizzazz. The images of the great and good arriving did little to inspire me and really only served to confirm that modern Britain is not just let down by ‘feckless lefties’. The image to the left doesn’t show Sir Mark Thatcher with the Queen, though you could be forgiven for thinking that Lady Thatcher had had some kind of ‘makeover done before death just to fool the almighty into thinking that he had summoned the wrong one by mistake. One is not amused!
Sir Bernard Ingham arrived, though I am mindful that many young people reading this will be unaware who he is: so I will tell you that he was Margaret Thatcher’s press secretary, a curmudgeonly-looking old fellow who has eyebrows that look like two snow-blown hawthorn bushes. His wife Nancy wasn’t with him, so I can only assume that she was at home sharpening the secateurs ready for another attempt at hacking back the overgrowth upon his return.
David Dimbleby’s commentary on the funeral, which included his comment about Sir Bernard arriving as “the man with the red face”, was subdued and respectful, save one gaffe where he introduced the next part of the service as one of Lady Thatcher’s favourite films and it briefly crossed my mind that we might be shown a clip from Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘The Dictator’ but sadly that was not to be. The point where I blinked the most was when Mr. Dimbleby commented on the Lord Mayor of London showing Her Majesty into St. Pauls, by announcing “Roger Gifford takes her up the nave.” Dear oh dear, such an unfortunate way to describe the monarch’s passage, but the sadness of the event seemed to render that faux pas unheard by those who I observed listening.
What I could not understand was why the Middletons weren’t invited? Can the circus be called complete without that class-climbing clique? They could have set up a ‘Thatcher dispatched’ gifte shoppe in one of the transepts, perhaps selling blue-edged hankies with a ‘shroud of Turin-like image of Maggie on them. I am sure George Osborne would have snapped up a box, but was he crying about Thatcher at all? Or was it simply the wise words of the Bishop on the fate of individual human destiny that reminded him that he has even less chance of being Prime Minister than Gordon Brown had when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer? Or maybe he was shedding tears at the multi-million cost of the funeral at the Exchequers expense?
Now Francis Maude is telling us that almost every Prime Minister could get a state funeral. I wonder if the Thatcherites will flock to show Tony their respect? How will we cope with Nigel Farage’s ascent up the steps of St. Pauls when it’s his turn?