You may have missed it, but Margaret Thatcher died yesterday. Yeah sorry, spoiler alert. I think it was mentioned in an obscure obituary somewhere on page 70.
OK OK, enough of the flippancy. What’s your point, Laura? Well here it is…
Was I the only one who was slightly worried about the massive outpouring of glee over her death? Don’t get me wrong – I was absolutely not a fan. Friend of brutal dictators, suppressor of the Irish (amongst others), homophobic, racist, shatter-on of the poor, anti-feminist, utterly lacking in compassion and with dodgy links to extremely dodgy people. She was a bitch and you’ll find no mourning here.* So what is my problem with the street parties and cheering over the death of such a woman?
I’ve certainly heard people say you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead. Bullshit. If someone was an arsehole in life, they don’t suddenly become a saint in death. This is an argument I have seen in my own family before, and the tug between blinkered affection and truth can be a tough one. I, however, come down firmly on the side of truth. Eulogising over someone who doesn’t deserve it is hypocritical nonsense.
I don’t agree with the idea that when someone has died it isn’t fair to attack them either. I remember when the first allegations of the Jimmy Savile thing came out, and people were actually saying that it was unfair to say stuff because he’s dead. Really? REALLY?! The man was a predatory paedophile and deserves no kind words. On the contrary, by dying he has basically gotten away with it. Horrible people do horrible stuff and then they die. That shouldn’t absolve them of their sins during life.
I also think jokes about the dead are OK too. Death is a process of life, and I don’t think it’s something that should be discussed in hushed tones and with sombre faces. I saw some side-splittingly hilarious jokes about Margaret Thatcher yesterday. I retweeted some, and shamelessly squirreled away others for me to trot out at the pub at a future date.
I also don’t think that people who don’t remember much about the 80s have no right to comment. I was born in 1985, making me an unlikely participant in the Poll Tax riots. However, I wasn’t around in 60AD either but I think I’m entitled to say that Nero was a dick. So what IS my problem?
My problem is the gloating and the glee. It’s a response I understand seeing as she fucked over so many, and if that’s your genuine reaction rather than jumping on a bandwagon then fine. It does make me feel uncomfortable however to see people I like and respect crowing over the death of anyone. The argument is of course that she hardly showed compassion to those that needed it during her time in political office. True, but that doesn’t mean you have to do the same. She’d dead, you’re not – that’s all there is to it. I see nothing to mourn, but also nothing to celebrate. Celebration of death always strikes me as somewhat dehumanising, and that’s the last thing I want to see people doing. There is a place for feeling relief, that justice has been done, perhaps even grim contentment. However, I do feel that JOY over the death of ANYONE is beneath you. This is just my opinion on the matter of course and it doesn’t make it right. However, seeing as I lost several followers yesterday who assumed I was crying into my G+T over her death because I called for a little temperance, I thought I should explain myself.
*Footnote added for my Conservative friends. Yes, I know she was a very strong woman who took difficult decisions and helped the country economically. Fiscal sense is not the be all and end all of a good leader, and her social policies were appalling. You know it, I know it – we’ll no doubt discuss it later.