Why I won’t smile that Thatcher died

I’m no fan of Tory politics or beliefs, but when I hear that an 87-year-old lady has died suffering from dementia, I can’t celebrate that. It’s a complex situation and yet utterly simplistic.

I can see why so many are waving little flags of triumph as though they went out and killed her themselves. Particularly in the North of England a lot of bitterness toward her still exists. She did a lot of harm here once upon a time, some of which still hasn’t recovered. Once upon a time, a long time ago.

But. And this is a very big but. Margaret Thatcher was the strongest leader Britain had seen since Churchill. She was not only the first woman Prime Minister but she changed the face of British politics on both the national and international stages. Mrs Thatcher truly believed that Britain was still Great Britain and did not need to rely on its former glory for respect. She went out there and she took on the world, standing tall next to leaders that have dwarfed each one of ours since.

Few people can claim to have the courage of their convictions to the extent that Thatcher did and she stuck to her principles no matter what. One does not have to agree with her beliefs or actions to recognise the sheer strength of the lady and for that alone she is to be admired.

Her eleven year tenure of Number 10 made its mark in so many ways that people are quick to forget about. I read in the Guardian the words of President Obama that echo my own sentiments:

Here in America, many of us will never forget her standing shoulder to shoulder with President Reagan, reminding the world that we are not simply carried along by the currents of history—we can shape them with moral conviction, unyielding courage and iron will.”

He added that her premiership was “an example to our daughters that there is no glass ceiling that can’t be shattered”.
The Guardian

Women of Britain, whatever their political beliefs, should be celebrating the life of someone who opened so many doors for us by her very existence.

At the end of her life, what I saw was a lady shattered by the loss of her husband. Without him she rapidly declined and that tells me that whatever else she might have been, she was a human being who in her own way knew great love. There can be no celebrating the loss of such a person. Today, 8th April 2013, she was a frail old lady suffering dementia and having had numerous strokes finally succumbed to one. She was a wife, mother and grandmother.

I can’t celebrate that someone passed, no matter what they did in life. I definitely can’t celebrate the passing of a frail old lady who once held the world in her thrall. No, I will gladly say that to me this is a sad day because such a remarkable woman has gone from our midst. It makes nothing better that she has gone, repairs none of the hurt that she did, augments none of the good.

I will not smile that Thatcher died.


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About julietmchugh

Fiction writer from the North East of England with a taste for the gruesome and macabre.

8 responses to “Why I won’t smile that Thatcher died”

  1. J.D.Hughes says :

    An excellent post, Juliet. My feelings almost exactly. She was the last of the conviction politicians, whether one agreed with her politics or not. Now we have lots of shirts stuffed with career politicians – the Campbells and the Millibands, presiding over the bonfire. If we ever get into a war again, they’ll barter our freedom for a lecture tour.

    I tell a lie, Dennis Skinner is the last conviction politician. Sadly, although he’s from my home county, I can no longer understand what he’s saying.

    • julietmchugh says :

      It’s all about rhetoric and looking good now. Mrs Thatcher had more balls than all of them put together. I don’t have to agree with what she said or did to see that. It’s not her politics or beliefs I mourn but her strength of spirit and mind. She was a force of nature in her time and it can never be a good thing when those die.

      • J.D.Hughes says :

        I have to be honest, as a paid up ex male chauvinist ( okay, almost…) I thought she would last five minutes before they stuck the knife in. Thatcher dismissed the Tory hierarchy as if they were wet schoolboys. As indeed, they were.

      • julietmchugh says :

        She had the command that many a matron and school mistress once had. It’s a power that only a woman can have but no-one used it as well as she did. Very few use it at all anymore. My post could have been so very much longer because there is a lot to say about her, especially from a woman’s point of view. She has a lot to teach us all even now.

      • J.D.Hughes says :

        I wonder how many biographies are being thrashed out as we speak…

      • julietmchugh says :

        Oh hundreds, no doubt, all of them exclusive.

  2. Kate Gilmore says :

    Excellent piece. The kind of celebratory behavior you refer to is ugly and unworthy of the fortunate living.

    • julietmchugh says :

      It’s a very divisive topic in the north right now and those with any respect at all are in the minority. I couldn’t voice my thoughts in the local pub for instance. But the fact that even in death she can polarise public opinion shows just how enormous her political footprint still is. I can only say “Wow” at anyone who, against the odds, achieves that kind of impact. I have no love for her, but a lot of respect. People forget that the two are not synonymous.

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