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Whatever happened to courtesy? 11 April 2013

Posted by uggclogs in Argentina, Life.
Tags: , , , ,

I am astonished with the vitriolic outpouring that I have seen in the news and on the streets regarding the late Margaret Thatcher.

What I do understand is that she was a polarising person. Many people hated her and what she stood for. Many people felt that their lives were ruined and that she would not budge on issues, no matter what. She was a strong, determined woman (first female Prime Minister, nicknamed the Iron Lady by the Russians, etc.) who at times was hard-nosed and unrelenting.
Yet enough people agreed with her views to vote her into office. Several times. So love her or loathe her, she was in power because the majority of the people who voted in the UK at that time put her there.

From a neutral stand-point, I can see why someone would dislike her. She made decisions that weren’t popular, and she stood her ground against the mining unions. And the Argentinians. And others who disagreed with her.

But to sum it up, she served her people. She did what she thought was right for Britain. And you are perfectly entitled to disagree with all of that, and feel like she made Britain into a worse place. But I do not believe that anyone who becomes Prime Minister of Britain and is voted back on several occasions believes they are doing the wrong thing. They make the decisions they make because they believe they are right.

And honestly, all of this can be eulogised respectfully, fiercely, and powerfully, without resorting to pettiness. Resorting to chanting ‘Ding dong, the witch is dead’ and celebrating in the streets upon the news that she had passed away is low-brow and detestible. Bob Carr, the Foreign Minister of Australia, decided that her death was the perfect time to point out that she was also racist.

So I return to my headline – whatever happened to courtesy?

And no, I don’t want anyone to start waxing lyrical about the virtues of Margret Thatcher if they fundamentally and visciously disagreed with her throughout her life. If everything she stood for was repugnant to you, there is no need for crocodile tears.

I am not claiming that no bad things should be said about the dead or that ‘if you don’t have anything good to say, say nothing at all’.

What I am saying is twofold. Firstly, the dead can no longer defend themselves, so your perfect opportunity to speak has come and gone.

Secondly, say what you want to say about the woman, say that you were (and still are, and always will be) opposed to her politics and who/what she represented. Say that you think the world would have been a better place if she had not come to power. But don’t dismiss that she had a profound impact on the world, on Britain, on Europe.

Don’t lower your opportunity to change the world into a better place by resorting to petty children songs. If you don’t agree with it, change it. Make your views heard. Talk with people. Listen to people. Get into politics to implement policy if you believe strongly enough.

At least she did.


1. Hielke - 11 April 2013

I agree completely. Lizeth and I were wondering whether we still lived in a civilised country! You simply don’t light a cigar or open a bottle just because you want to show you are happy someone you hated died!

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