Concerning the death of Baroness Margaret Thatcher last week, I have kept quiet on the opinion front, which is rather unlike me. As I wasn’t even alive when she was in power, and I don’t know about any of her political decisions from first-hand experience, I don’t really feel like I have the right to comment on it. Anything I say would just be misinformed and probably make me sound like an idiot. Disregarding anyone’s political viewpoint, someone has died and people are grieving for her. She was a mother and a daughter and her family has the right to time alone, as any other family in the UK would be given.
Furthermore, something I didn’t understand was the bizarre reaction of some of the general public. Why on earth anyone would start a campaign to get as many people to download ‘Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead’ as possible is totally beyond me. What point were they trying to make? That some people disagreed with Thatcher’s policies? If she’s no longer alive, it could hardly be called a rebellion against her policies – nothing can be changed and there is no particular aim. It makes the British public looked misinformed and petty. No matter my personal political views, I am ashamed to be associated with this kind of triviality.
However, this is what brings on the entire point of my blog post, and something which I do feel like I am entitled to an opinion on. It has been revealed that Baroness Thatcher’s funeral is to cost an estimated £10 million, with her family contributing roughly half of the costs. The government will pay the rest – with the assumption then, that £5 million of the cost is having to be funded by the taxpayer.
I disagree with this for a multitude of reasons. Firstly, with all of the controversy surrounding the campaign and the amount of people (famous or not) who have felt the need to make disrespectful comments, surely the government is simply fanning the flames? Those who are totally anti-Thatcher would certainly not agree with their money being put towards her funeral, and although I am neutral towards her policies myself, I don’t think it’s fair to indirectly make people pay if they didn’t agree with the things she did whilst in power.
Many people, in particular members of the general public, who wanted to go to the funeral and pay their respects now feel as if it is too dangerous to do so in case there’s some kind of rebellion against it, which there likely will be at this rate. If her family can afford £5 million for a funeral, surely that would be enough for her to have something fairly big and extravagant (I’m not denying her that; she was a prime minister after all)? Then those who would be particularly unhappy about their taxes going towards her funeral would have nothing to complain about.
Maybe if this country was in a better state economically too, I wouldn’t be quite so against it. But when so many cuts are being made to health, communities and education – something which is very important to me, considering I have fallen victim to the first set of £9,000 per year tuition fees – I don’t really think £5 million on a funeral is justifiable. I know it isn’t a massive amount in the general scheme of things, but still, since the recession, every little helps. Even if the government contributed £1 million to show their respect and gratitude to someone who served them, it would cause far less of a stir.
However, maybe all my worries will be proved futile in two days’ time, when Thatcher’s funeral takes place. I hope that everything goes well and there is no upset for the sake of her family, but I won’t be watching – not only because I have no opinion as I wasn’t alive to know her as prime minister, but also because I disagree with the amount of money being spent on it.