Lavishness of Thatcher funeral was personal gift from David Cameron

We had a successful revolution against Thatcher’s rule – as we did against Tony Blair’s- and she was forced to step down. That’s what revolutions in democracies look like. But today 10 million [update: the BBC just reported that the amount spent is “a state secret”] was spent on glorifying her name. This must surely seem ludicrous to people in other countries who have ousted their dictator. Once you’re out, you’re out. You aren’t supposed to let a disgraced, fallen leader back into the hearts of the people.

Playing Favourites: how David Cameron secured a luxury funeral for his hero and the Queen honoured her friend

Thatcher’s Royal status funeral was most lavish ever, beat Churchill’s

Last time Big Ben was silenced was for Churchill’s funeral. The mourning sword presented to the Queen by the Lord Mayor of London was last used for Churchill’s funeral. If these honours weren’t given for any other Prime Minister’s funeral, why is Thatcher The Chosen One? Churchill was exceptional; whether you think of him as a lucky fear-mongering maverick or a great British hero, he led Britain through the Second World War and many challenges and changes. By contrast Thatcher was an unremarkable leader, noted only for her gender and the controversy surrounding her leadership. She is not the heir of Churchill and neither is anyone else.

Flowers were strewn, like at Princess Diana’s funeral.

And here’s why and how:

David Cameron obviously likes her politics. He’s carried on her legacy and flew back to Britain as soon as he heard she was dead. He has also claimed to be inspired by her and said she “saved this country”. So did he play favourites and give her this lavish funeral at the taxpayers’ expense?

When asked this in the studio during the BBC’s coverage of the funeral, David Cameron gave evasive answers. He said there had been plans for Thatcher’s funeral for years but he didn’t name who had created those plans. Why not? Don’t we have a right to know who threw away 10 million pounds on a corpse? This is one of the biggest mysteries of the decade. The Mystery of Who Decided Thatcher Should Be Honoured Above All Other Prime Ministers. Or perhaps David Cameron couldn’t name names because he was the one who had given such honours out of personal admiration?

David Cameron did admit that the Thatcher family had been involved in planning the funeral. So, a wealthy family got to control the way the state honoured their mother. Thatcher would have been alive at this time, of course. So did she dictate the way her own funeral would go? We know that she chose all of the music for her funeral.

Under further questioning, David Cameron tried to justify the lavishness of the funeral by saying Thatcher was the first woman Prime Minister and that she’d achieved a lot and so deserved this favourable treatment. But honouring female prime ministers over male ones is just reverse sexism – as well as a pretty flimsy defence. And as for achievements, how is that to be calculated? If all prime ministers receive glorious or ordinary funerals based on their achievements, there’s going to be a lot of jobs for philosophers, accountants and historians. Good news for the economy, perhaps. But we’re going to need a whole committee to work out exactly how lavish or not David Cameron’s funeral should be.

Thatcher fans’ attempts to get anti-Thatcher piss-take I’m in Love With Margaret Thatcher to number 1 in the charts may be misguided, but it appears to be a true reflection of our Prime Minister’s feelings.

The Queen went to Margaret Thatcher’s 80th birthday party and now she’s chosen to attend Thatcher’s funeral. It’s wrong of the Queen to favour one former politician over another just because they’re personal friends. Her presence at anyone’s funeral is a form of honouring the dead person, because she’s the Queen.

There’s nothing wrong with having heroes, role models or inspirations. I’ve had several since I was a child and I still do. But throwing millions of public money away on your mates or role models is betraying your country and the public. If every Prime Minister did this for their role models or random famous people they like, it would be mayhem. Actors, singers and authors getting luxury send-offs because they’re friends with royals or top politicians.

It wasn’t Thatcher’s achievements which got her this glorious funeral. It was personal favouritism from the powerful figures in Britain.

I feel bad for the families of past and future Prime Ministers who didn’t and won’t get a funeral fit for a queen. This is very, very unfair to them. Even Lloyd George who gave us the beginnings of the welfare state wasn’t buried like a king.

The funeral

Even in death, Thatcher wishes us to remember her most violent qualities. There was a lot of emphasis on the Falklands war – something even the Thatcher-loving BBC did not shrink from commenting upon. A cruel irony was that soldiers who’d had their lives put in danger by Thatcher in the Falklands walked beside her coffin.

Guards were forced to stand unmoving for twenty minutes with their heads down, which the BBC commentator claimed leads to dizziness. I’m not familiar enough with human rights case law to comment upon the legality of this, but it does raise interesting questions.

Journaling my tweets

Like Roberta in The Cleveland Show, I started “journaling my tweets” as I watched the funeral. I was making notes for this post. I include a few of the more interesting ones below:

VIPs inside, Thatcher fans outside in the rain. Symbolic really.

Coffin covered in Union Jack, like she’s a Royal

Flag at half-mast – is she royalty now?

Things being thrown at the horses in Ludgate. Not filmed but horses were frightened and are tossing their heads.

Commentator said someone said how wrong it is to think of Thatcher as “being against apartheid” – she was just against sanctions against apartheid”. A slip of the tongue – did he mean to say the person said she WAS against apartheid? Or is it true, that this person was criticizing her and the BBC is reporting this criticism during the funeral?!

On that note, very little diversity in the ceremony so far.

No protests. Is BBC not showing us, given their coverage on her deathday was so biased in her favour? [update: there were massive protests]

Roads are closed at exact moment people need to commute to work. Vast disruptions. This is wrong.

So Carol Thatcher has a partner not a husband. Conservatives have to stop criticizing single mothers if their hero’s daughter is into premarital sex like the rest of the country.

It’s a little surreal to watch a black man bearing on his shoulders the weight of the woman who called Mandela a “terrorist” and opposed economic sanctions on South Africa to encourage the end of apartheid.

19 year old Amanda Thatcher [speaking at the service]- looks a bit like Margaret. Confident. I almost see her as the future, making her debut as the past passes away from us.

I thought they would burn her in the coffin on-screen. I hoarded all this chocolate for nothing? So anticlimax, BBC.

Slutocrat’s view on the funeral:

Margaret Thatcher received a (massive) salary for what she did. It was just a job. Many people who have succeeded in business, made discoveries or done lots of campaigning or charity work deserve this Royal-status funeral much more than Thatcher. And it’s an insult to all the other deceased politicians

Conclusion

I think one of my last notes is a fitting conclusion for this piece:

The service is a Christian one. Perhaps people of colour had the last laugh today – Margaret Hilda Thatcher departs this world amid worship of a brown man whom she called her Lord.

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One thought on “Lavishness of Thatcher funeral was personal gift from David Cameron

  1. Graham Smith May 22, 2013 at 6:18 pm Reply

    I think it’s now become clear that the late Margaret Thatcher’s funeral was planned in some detail during the early years of this century, under Tony Blair’s premiership. It was then reviewed and agreed without change by Gordon Brown and, latterly, David Cameron.

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