Margaret Thatcher’s funeral unites the political class

17 April 2013

3:05 PM

17 April 2013

3:05 PM

Where there has been discord, Mrs Thatcher’s funeral brought harmony. From my seat in the gods at St. Paul’s, I watched as Westminster’s lesser mortals gathered in front of the altar to shoot the breeze in the hour before Lady Thatcher’s coffin arrived.

Gordon and Sarah Brown were first to arrive. They plonked themselves down, but soon jumped up to chat to a passer-by. Quick as a flash, Ed Miliband and his wife Justine pinched the Browns’ vacated chairs. Time rolled by, and Miliband found it impossible to shake the shadow of his old master as he walked around the nave. How’s that for art imitating life?


The pews soon filled up with cabinet ministers. Some debonair souls had donned full tails, while the class warriors, like Ken Clarke and Chris Grayling, wore suits and dodgy shirt tie combinations. Mrs Miliband chatted politely to Miriam Clegg and Gordon, while Mr Miliband braved Cherie Blair. Tony was not to be seen at this point; presumably he was handing out business cards in the area reserved for foreign dignitaries.

The closer you are to power, the higher your real-estate value: so Lord Ashcroft broke his talk with William Hague to pursue Ed Miliband. The Labour leader was shy; but Ashcroft, the billionaire politico, knows a likely future prime minister when he sees one, and he didn’t give up easily.

Then the Prime Minister and his wife Samantha pitched up, and the circus diverted its attention to them. John Major and Cherie Blair offered salutations, and out popped a hot hand from Tony. Cameron gave a friendly nod to Miliband, Clegg and the rest of the gang. Then his eyes met Gordon’s. There was a pause. We happy few in the balcony drew our breath. After a period in which all those bitter memories were doubtless relived in Gordon’s enormous mind, his great clunking fist was extended for a cold and heavy reunion with his successor.

In death, Maggie can hardly be called divisive.

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Show comments
  • Britindian

    What is the point of warbling about the deep Christian morality of a person like Thatcher who went out of her way to be a friend to Augusto Pinochet, a military tyrant who overthrew a democracy and slaughtered and tortured thousands of innocents? It is idle indeed and an obscene insult to speak of the profound spirituality of such a ruler as Thatcher, who also made life far grimmer for the poorest in Britain.
    The fact that so much of our press is indulging in this adulation of a callous politico proves how degraded the politics of our time have become.

    • terregles2

      The fact that some of the ex inmates of Pentonville were at her funeral speaks volumes about her. The fact that they had the title of ” Lord” speaks volumes about shabby Britain and the discredited “class” system

      • Simon Morgan

        More Carping.

  • Jambo25

    The disconnect between the political class in London (and much else besides) and us plebs, up here, was shown up by yesterday’s funeral. Apart from a few (A very few.) Scottish believers in that ‘Old time Tory religion’, the general view of Thatcher and the funeral varied between open dislike to utter indifference.

    • Joshaw

      Your far from insignificant contribution to the “political class in London” hasn’t set a very good example, has it?

      • Jambo25

        I wouldn’t disagree with that. As an SNP voter you wouldn’t expect me to.

        • Joshaw

          Fair enough.

          • Jambo25

            I think there is a bit more that should be said. ScotNats don’t really have any argument with English people. We have an argument with a grossly dysfunctional Westminster system and yes, you are right, that involved Scottish pols as much as English ones.

            English people, especially the ones living remote from London, should be our allies in taking the Westminster political class on. One thing that that should mean is an English Parliament or something else to answer the West Lothian Question.

  • A. S.

    Did anyone hear Nick Robinson’s dramatic pause, at the end of his piece on the funeral (10 o’clock News, 17th)?

    He left a dramatic pause in his final sentence, to the camera; words to the effect of “…she has been burnt…into our memories” [or something like that]. It was almost as if it was an attempt to counter any criticism of his too-public service report: see, I said she been burned, ‘cos she’s been cremated, you see; see, I’m on your side; I hated her, too.

    • Aaron D Highside

      Beeboid bias? Surely not.

    • terregles2

      Maybe he paused dramatically because he just spotted some of the people attending the funeral. Most people watching must have been speechless.

  • Daedalus

    Have a look at the footage at the end of the funeral when the Queen has left; And there is Tony Blair, glad handing people as they come out of St Pauls front door, as if he had arranged the whole thing, as if it was his whole idea to arrange it.

    Disgusting, the man should be a total pariah.

    • terregles2

      Have a look at the footage at the end of the funeral. No thanks.

      • Simon Morgan


    • splotchy

      I noticed that – around the time HMQ was leaving and the Thatcher family were lined up on the steps, TB was doing his own ‘receiving line’ at the doors of the cathedral, as though he owned the place. Neither the time or the place.

    • Ringstone

      Just goes to show how special Maggie was.
      Normally it’s the Minister who shakes your hand as you leave the church, for her it was God’s chosen representative on Earth 😉

  • David Lindsay

    Whereas a whole generation was either for or against Thatcher, a whole generation is either against Blair in one way or against Blair in another. But the entire generation is against Blair. The only differences are about tactics.

    • terregles2

      Blair is an appalling man. A disgrace to politics. Not surprised that Mrs Thatcher praised him.

      • Simon Morgan

        LOL. You just can’t stop yourself, can you? Hyenas show as much compassion as you do (if not more – they only scavenge to survive). Whatever happened to that old adage that ‘one should never speak ill of the dead’? If you’ve got nothing good to say about her, why don’t you just shut up? You’ve already lost the battle and the war (her funeral was a great success despite your efforts, and she won the war against the leftards decades ago). Let it go, you only embarass yourself by this endless carping.

        • terregles2

          You are happy to have ex jailbirds at an ex PM’s funeral. Some of us have higher standards and think it is unacceptable..

          I suppose we should not be surprised at your outburst as you never present a coherent argument. You merely throw insults around.

          What were my efforts on her funeral? I abhor all celebrations of anyone’s death and I would certainly not demonstrate in public at any death. To do that is distasteful in the extreme. I was critical of her policies when she was alive and will certainly not applaud them because she has died. Your insults are becoming hysterical but then you do have rather a record youself of wishing ill on politicians that you dislike.

  • judyk113

    Why go through a funeral being gracious, respectful in the face of a person’s farewell to the living, when with just a little effort, Mr Steerpike, you can be thoroughly snide and cynical about those who’ve held responsibities that will never come your way?

  • terregles2

    Party Leadership…….They do say that the higher the monkey climbs the more it reveals.

    • Simon Morgan

      Yet more Carping -yawn.

  • Gold Bug

    “Lady Thatcher’s funeral unites the criminal class” is surely more accurate.

    Maggie was by far the best of them but she was still one of them.