|Thatcher at Chequers 1993 (BBC Radio 4, via Flickr)|
Margaret Thatcher is a frail old woman and it seems fairly likely that she’ll die quite soon. I couldn’t really care less whether she does or not, but I’m beginning to dread the day she finally packs her handbag for the last time and shuffles off.
Perhaps I should have begun this post with a disclaimer: This is not about politics.
It isn’t. And I’m not going to discuss the what she did between 1979 and 1990. I was 12 when she became Prime Minister and 23 when she left office. I grew up through those years so she’s just as much a part of my story as Duran Duran and my first boyfriend.
But just as I hardly think of either the boyfriend or the New Romantics, Thatcher doesn’t trouble my mind very much.
Except that, these days, every time I look at Twitter or sometimes in other places on the internet I’m shocked by what I find written.
Perfectly normal, compassionate people appear to be poised to celebrate her demise. And not just go “oh, I’m glad she’s dead,” as they put the kettle on and reach for the HobNobs, but to vow to dance on her corpse, party like they were Hell’s Angels and take to the streets in a lawless frenzy of celebration.
We’re not talking about a current despot or evil dictator, it’s someone who has had no relevance to our democratic public life for decades.
The dripping poison that spews out at the mention of her name astounds me. Reason and humanity seem not to apply in her case. (Here’s where I leave a gap for the rants of “but she wasn’t reasonable or humane”.)
It doesn’t really matter. Surely we are better than this hysteria. Where’s the part in a civilised society for the blood-thirsty and vengeful? What kind of an example is this for our children? Obviously no one is expecting crocodile tears, just a little restraint and some respect for human life, whoever it belongs to.