IS THATCHER DEAD?

Words: THOMAS CLARKE
April 9, 2013

THE IRON LADY DIES AGED 87: A nation mourns/ celebrates/ admits to knowing little of the politics surrounding the debate, but condemns celebration of the death of an elderly lady from a stroke via social media anyway. Margaret Thatcher left office some four months before I was born, yet the changes that she inflicted upon […]


THE IRON LADY DIES AGED 87:

A nation mourns/ celebrates/ admits to knowing little of the politics surrounding the debate, but condemns celebration of the death of an elderly lady from a stroke via social media anyway.

Margaret Thatcher left office some four months before I was born, yet the changes that she inflicted upon society remain – like it or not, my generation are Thatcher’s children. For many (White, Middle Class, Southern, Straight, not the victims of South American Totalitarian Regimes) Thatcher stands as an icon of liberty and personal liberty, as well as serving as an example of female empowerment, remaining Britain’s only woman PM to date. The rest view her as a force of destruction, a person who tore apart communities and created the culture of greed that laid the foundations for the economic problems of today. She also called Nelson Mandela a terrorist.

At any rate, these arguments are nothing new and there are already a range of obituaries available to cater for a number of political stand points, from The Daily Mail’s “THE WOMAN WHO SAVED BRITAIN” to the Morning Star’s “THE WOMAN WHO TORE BRITAIN APART.” Perhaps my favourite headline though, has to be that of locally beloved publication, The Sun, which casts politically charged comment aside, favouring to opt for a combination of words that rhyme (sort of) running with the headline: “MAGGIE DEAD IN BED AT RITZ” what more could you need to know?

Perhaps the most interesting debate to have been sparked by the former MP’s death is that of whether it is ok to say nasty things about someone when they are gone, even if they were a bit of a bastard when they were alive. Again the mainstream papers have covered this quite well with the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald writing an excellent piece on why it is ok to criticise a dead person if they were in fact a bit of a bastard. I also imagine that the Times or Telegraph did an equally good piece on why it is not ok, but I do not read those papers. Because they are shit.

In my opinion however, by far the best debate on the matter (or at least the most entertaining) has come via the medium of social networking:

Member of One Direction, Harry Styles, created utter confusion in the massed ranks of his followers by posting the simple yet understated tweet:

“R.I.P’ Baroness Thatcher .x”

This tweet not only resulted in a storm of fans enquiring as to who she was, but also exposed their lack of understanding as to which gender the title of Baroness is usually bestowed.

Other important figures followed suit in showing their respect with James Argent, of popular scripted reality show ‘The Only Way is Essex’ tweeting:

“Just heard Margaret Thatcher has died… Very sad news! RIP x.”

Some were more schizoid in their reactions though, Gerri Halliwell initially praised the Iron Lady, sighting her as a key influence of her former band ‘The Spice Girls’ in a tweet that read:

“Thinking of our 1st Lady of girl power, Margaret Thatcher, a grocer’s daughter who taught me anything is possible…x”

but quickly retracted this comment replacing it with:

“I’m sorry if I offended u. X”

This in turn created a furore amongst the readership of the Daily Mail’s website, best known for their hatred of immigrants and love of celebs in bikinis. Cordie from Berkshire perhaps summed up the public mood best in her post:

“Unfortunately Geri is nowhere near as good a role model for women as Margaret Thatcher was.”

Well put Cordie.

Similarly even my own Facebook feed, normally mostly made up of weird girls I went to school with posting about their dogs, or pictures of people who I have not seen for four years cavorting on a beach in Thailand, became home to a raging debate about the etiquette as to how one should behave on social media in the wake of a divisive statesperson’s death. One of the aforementioned people who I would perhaps class as ‘facebook-detritus’ really seemed to hit the nail on the head in making an observation on the matter that I had not seen anyone raise before. She posted:

“Don’t know much about politics. But celebrating someone’s death from a stroke is completely vile and I think people should be ashamed. We aren’t in Afghanistan.”

Finally someone talking some real sense.


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