Belfast Telegraph

Maggie would enjoy the irony

By Lindy McDowell

The wife of the Speaker is among those not attending today's funeral of Margaret Thatcher, the UK's first female prime minister and the UK's first prime minister to lead her party to three consecutive election victories.

Would the Iron Lady have been all that bothered that the wife of the Speaker chose to stay away? It's hard to imagine she would (a point which, in fairness, the wife of the Speaker herself concedes).

Anyway, what sort of a farce would it be if people felt forced to attend the funerals of those whose passing they did not mourn?

Again old Maggie, I imagine, would not have been in favour of that. Always personally frugal with taxpayers' cash, she might even have had some sympathy with those (including the bishop) who have been arguing this week that too much money was being spent on her send-off.

But she would surely have been pleased with the scale of the response to her death.

Even with those grave-dancing protests which ironically have helped to underline her impact on history. Ironic too, of course, that such "celebrations" at the death of a woman derided as nasty should themselves be so very, very nasty.

Grown men kicking a coffin, football supporters in Belfast chanting sexist abuse about the woman as they too hoist a coffin, sick placards sneering at the manner of the 87-year-old's death – "a stroke of luck" – and of course, that tune from the Wizard of Oz downloaded by all those middle-class Munchkins as a pathetic last swipe at her ...

By contrast the decision of the wife of the Speaker to merely stay away from the funeral looks reasonably dignified.

And the wife of the Speaker (most famous for teaming up with Paddy what'shisname for an episode of My Big Fat Self-Promotion) is hardly, let's face it, an Amazon of our age.

Maggie would not have missed her.

Maggie never was all that impressed by those who fell into the category Wives Of ... .

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