Yes, the hot topic all over Britain- The Iron Lady is dead.
Her legacy is being debated in the Houses- Commons and Lords- in a tribute act. Parliament has been called from recess to gather. It has been going on since 14:30pm BST, 6 hours at the time of writing and it is not expected to end until 22:00 BST tonight. Unfortunately, not many Labour MPs have turned up. With 80 MPs wishing to share their view, it is clear that, whichever way you look at it, Lady Thatcher has had an enormous impact.
It is possible to shun Thatcherism yet respect the woman behind it. Many Conservatives who met her and knew her personally has said that she was a kind woman, compassionate and caring. I’m sure she was, but she will not be remembered that way. By most, she will be remembered as a tyrant, with some going as far as celebrating her death. To celebrate the death of a fellow human being, I agree, is sick and distasteful.
The case against her is stacked up high though. Lady Thatcher closed the coal mines, affecting the North East. Many people are embittered and will not forgive her easily. Jimmy Nail embodied the spirit in his song ‘Big River’, about the Tyne and how her actions affected his father, who was working at the time (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_g4hfmi0OgM) (Not the actual music video but gives you a better insight into how the removal of the coal industry affected Newcastle-upon-Tyne).
Labour MP David Anderson , formerly a miner in the North East, has launched a blistering attack on her, striking a chord with those on Twitter, many of whom agree with him. Glenda Jackson, formerly an Oscar-winning actress, now a Labour MP, also slated Lady Thatcher (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDtClJYJBj8), despite jeers and boos from the Tories. She introduced the controversial poll tax, stood firm against the miners despite a year-long protest, raised unemployment rather than reducing it as one of the advertising posters for the 1979 general election seemed to promise and we are still feeling the effects of Thatcherism today.
It is now 21:04 BST. David Cameron and Ed Miliband, leaders of the Conservatives and Labour respectively, are still there, having not left like some of their party members.
21:05- The BBC has reported that the Labour benches are now completely deserted. Whether that means Miliband has left or not, I’m not sure. There has not been a Labour speaker now for 90 minutes.
21:25 BST- Just noticed there is no longer a live feed for the House of Lords but the House of Commons is still going strong. MP for Harrow East speaking as I type.
I find it odd that more MPs want to say something about Margaret Thatcher than they did Winston Churchill. When he died, Parliament did one of these tribute debates. However, it only lasted for 50 minutes or so.
Churchill lead us through a war. A full-blown World War, where we fought facism and Hitler. History dictates that, with a little help from our friends the USA, the Allies won. He is regarded as a great. A Prime Minister that we can be proud of. Unlike the blustering, spineless one we have today.
Lady Thatcher didn’t really do any of that. Sure, she led us through a war (and, actually, the Falklanders are in a better position for it). Sure, she certainly made her mark (first female Prime Minister, for a start, come on!) and will live in history for the wrong reasons, but she gets 7+ hours.
Is it just me, or is there an injustice in that?
21:37 BST- 20 minutes or so until the finishing time. I suspect it may even have to carry through to tomorrow if every MP doesn’t get to say what they want to say. Eek!
I’m afraid that is all for today- I simply cannot hold out any longer. If needed, I shall write a sequel.