In the week between her death and her funeral, Britons are having an awkward time coming to terms with the legacy of Margaret Thatcher, a prime minister who last held office 23 years ago — meaning no one under 40 could have voted for her, yet the mix of anger and admiration is spread across the generations.
The emotional outpouring in this famously undemonstrative nation is matched in recent memory only by the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, when flowers piled up outside royal palaces and Elton John’s mawkish “Candle in the Wind” surged to the top of the charts. But while Diana was mourned in unity by millions as the “people’s princess,” Thatcher’s death is being marked in widely different and unpredictable ways.
It has become an overused adjective in the media that Thatcher was “divisive.” Some countries might put aside political differences and unite to respect the passing of a leader — especially the first and only female PM, who won three successive general elections. But in the UK debate about Thatcher is raging almost as fiercely as it did in the 1980s over issues like the privatization of industries, the Falklands War, tax and social policy, her close relationship with American President Ronald Reagan and combative stance against the European Union.
- UK PM leads Thatcher tributes (bigpondnews.com)
- Margaret Thatcher’s funeral: an act of coercion | Jacqueline Rose (guardian.co.uk)