Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Tramp the Dirt Down

A sense of relief was felt in Scotland on Monday as the hated former dictator, Margaret Thatcher, finally succumbed to Satan's advances. Spontaneous street parties broke out in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Thatcher, who never came close to winning a mandate to legitimately govern Scotland at any of her three Westminster election "victories", governed Scotland with an iron fist for over a decade, crushing internal dissent, and steadfastly refusing to implement the devolution Scotland had voted for in a referendum. Her rule in Scotland was the extremist regime of a leader who knew that Scotland couldn't respond by voting her out (we had done so already, to no avail), and that she would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Labour and the Liberals to deny a further referendum, on independence.

Today, Thatcher is dead and gone. Her pernicious and divisive ideology lives on. Should a future Thatcher arise, or should the previous one come back in some class of awful respawning event from the loins of the devil, the anti-Scotland "Better Together" campaign - an alliance of the Labour Party, the British regime and the British National Party - are campaigning for her right to rule Scotland as she desires, even with not a single MP in this country. 

But that's an argument for another day. 

I was quickly struck by the tone of the fawning, obsequious tone of the news coverage of the celebrated event. Had I been a visitor from Mars tuning into BBC News, I should have quite reasonably concluded that I had witnessed the death of a much-loved elder stateswoman, rather than the hated, divisive figure she actually was. 

Right-wing unionist followed right-wing unionist on our screens, extolling her virtues as a politician, and celebrating her "achievements". Those who objected to her politics, on the other hand, were told not to act in "bad taste", and to recognise that it wasn't a dictator who had gone to the big fire, but we should mourn her loss, for her children. 

Which one? The one sacked for being a racist, or the one who tried to mount a coup d'├ętat in an African republic?

It's the crazy idea that we should somehow put her actions as dictator to one side that baffles me. She's not getting a "ceremonial" funeral because she was a loyal wife. She's not having a service in St Paul's because she was a sensitive and generous lover. She's not having a gun carriage pull her coffin because she was a wonderful mother. 

We're paying £10.000.000 for her funeral precisely because of her behaviour in power - not because of who she was, but what she did. 

So we can take from this that if you are pro-Thatcher (hi, Johann! Hi Alistair!), you can discuss her death in the context of her politics and actions; but if you are anti-Thatcher, you can only discuss it in the context of her personage. Which seems a pretty liberal interpretation of the "don't speak ill of the dead" guideline which in any case was only ever supposed to apply to private individuals. 

It got me thinking, if we're only allowed to say positive things of the dead, what would the Daily Mail obituary column have looked like on May 1st, 1945?

The artist and writer, Adolf Keith Hitler, died yesterday in a shooting accident at his home in Berlin.
Although not himself a father, Mr Hitler was keen on children, and often involved them in local activities, often organising youth groups, particularly towards the end of his life in Berlin.
He was born in 1889 in a pretty market town in Austria, to his father Alois, a civil servant, and Klara, a housekeeper. He was a keen singer, and took part in the church choir. 
While Mr Hitler wanted to become an artist, his father wanted him to become a customs officer, and schooled him accordingly, leading to some tension between the pair. On his father's death, he left school and moved to Vienna, where he sold his art. 
He left for Munich in 1913 in order not to have to serve in the Austrohungarian army. On the outbreak of the Great War, he served in the Bavarian Army and was decorated for bravery. He was disappointed by the outcome of the war and joined the German Workers' Party, where he designed its logo.
With an engaging social life, including many visits to beer halls, he soon went into politics. After being imprisoned for a scuffle in Munich, he used his time in gaol to write his memoirs, which were a best-seller.
After going into politics, he was soon appointed as administrator of his state's delegation to the national parliament, and ran for President, coming second to Hindenburg.
He became an MP in 1932, and Prime Minister in 1933, a position he held until his death. 
He enjoyed travelling extensively through Europe, and particularly enjoyed camps. He survived a terrorist bomb attack at a party conference in 1944.
He is survived by his loving wife, Eva, briefly, and his sister Paula.

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