Margaret Thatcher is dead and her funeral took place today.
Should it have been in St Paul’s? Why not? She was a public figure and two thousand people had to sit somewhere.
Should there have been gun carriages and a military escort? No. Should the funeral have been at public expense? No; but that was the appalling judgement of living politicians, not dead ones.
Should people have been free to protest along the funeral route? Yes. Should people have exercised their freedom to protest along the funeral route? No. The idea of picketing a dead person about events that happened thirty years ago is both distasteful and irrational. Protests about the raid on the public purse should be directed against the raiders.
When I am dead, is it better that men should ask why there is a statue of me in the public square or that they should ask why there is none?
Should people in former mining communities have held celebrations, let off fireworks and burned effigies? Should people allow themselves to be so consumed with hatred that they become trapped in the past?
Could the energy spent on these ugly and meaningless demonstrations about increasingly distant events have been put into writing a new chapter in the history of post-industrial Britain?
Could the money spent on the funeral of a wealthy stateswoman have been used instead to give the children and grandchildren of former mining communities the same kind of opportunities that once existed for the girl from Grantham? And wouldn’t that be a better memorial than any statue?
Quotation: Cato the Elder, Roman statesman (234 BC – 149 BC)