Sunday, March 3, 2024

Blog-post: A word in your ear from Mr Perrin..Was Maggie Thatcher’s funeral OTT?

Mr Perrin’s “A Word in Your Ear”.

Mrs Thatcher’s funeral, was it an OTT (over the top) spectacle?

With inevitable predictability Mrs Thatcher’s “military” funeral divides the Nation. Is it appropriate for a person with no military connections to be accorded a funeral with “Full Military Honours” and is the expense justified? In my opinion the answer is no on both counts. To those who say it is an opportunity for “ordinary” people to take part in the ceremony by lining the streets, I say such participation bears no comparison to that accorded to the so called “great and the good” who paraded in St Paul’s Cathedral. The comparison that occurred to me had more to do with “the rich man in his castle, the poor man at the gates”.

It is argued that Mrs Thatcher earned the right to such a ceremony on the grounds that she had devoted her life to the service of the Country. That said, it could be reasonably argued that members of the armed services who pay the ultimate price by giving their lives in service to the Country are equally entitled, more so in my opinion, to a funeral with full military honours.

There are those who further justify Mrs Thatcher’s entitlement to a “military” funeral on the grounds that she won the Falklands war and liberated the Falkland islanders. I do not recall Mrs Thatcher being on the “Sir Galahad” or “yomping” across the island fighting her way to Port Stanley nor do I recall her being directly involved in any of the hostilities and attendant dangers. I do recall her riding triumphantly in a tank like Queen Boadicea in her chariot.

State funerals should be reserved for Kings and Queens and funerals with full military honours should be reserved for persons who have given their lives in combat or served with distinction and bravery such as holders of the “Victoria Cross”.

Funerals for Prime Ministers or past Prime Ministers should be a family affair and private. If it is considered that a public ceremony is appropriate it should be a Memorial Service without the pomp of a State/Military funeral.


  1. Another good blog from Mr Perrin.

    This will not come as a shock to most but I definately think Maggie deserved the send off that she was given. She wasn’t just merely another PM but a woman who dragged this country, kicking and screaming, into a new era. No matter how bad things are now things could have been a great deal worse without her ‘medicine’ all those years ago.

    Personally I do not think that any of her successors deserve a ceremonial burial as none of them have done anything to warrant one.

  2. Take the politics out of it for a moment. She was the first female PM and the longest serving for a century and a half. That at a time when politics (and almost everything else) was a male dominated environment. For that alone, she should deserve some recognition over and above what would be expected for any other modern PM (Churchill being the exeption for obvious reasons). Should it have been a full on military affair? If the news reports are true, then the format for the funeral was decided by the last Government so what we got was what was also agreed upon by the Labour party, even if they were in power now, the funeral would have been the same.

  3. grays64, I do not believe my blog was political, if that is how you perceived it then I failed to make the point I was trying to make. A funeral with “Full Military Honours” by inference implies that the receipiant has served in the Armed Services. Despite her “Boadicia” tendencies Mrs Thatcher never served in any of the Armed Services and, apart from the Brighton bomb incident, never faced real danger.
    Maybe there is a case to be made for the introduction of a new form of ceremonial funeral for civilian citizens deemed worthy of special recognition i.e. a funeral with “Full Civic Honours”?
    My comments were intended to apply to worthy persons of all political parties and even to those who have no political affiliations whatsoever.

  4. Mr Perrin, apologies. I did not mean to imply that your post was political, I was attempting to say that my post was apolitical, as indeed, what I said after that, hopefully, was. I too am not entirely convinced that a funeral with military honours was in order although Parliament must have thought otherwise. Like her, or loathe her, one thing you couldn’t do was ignore her and there have been very few PM’s like that. I think decisions as to who get’s, or doesn’t get a grand funeral should rest with the Government/Parliament of the day. Once you start introducing qualifying criteria you will end up with a squalid argument everytime somebody of note passes.

  5. Mr Perrin I totally agree with you, as for Margaret Thatcher winning the Falklands war I have some issues with people’s comments the Falklands lasted a total of 74 days and my comments here bear no disrespect to those brave soldiers who lost their lives or who were terribly injured, I think a better way of describing it would have been a naval and military action or even a military coup on the behalf of Argentina, Mark Thatcher could explain it better with he’s vast experience in coups or another way of explaining the duration of the conflict was that Denis Thatcher started drinking on the first day of hostilities and by the time it was over he still wasn’t drunk.
    What really annoys me Mr Perrin is the constant comparisons people are trying to assert between Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill
    Mr Churchill in my belief was the greatest politician the world has ever seen to try and compare Margaret Thatcher with him I believe is a complete insult, the difference with Mr Churchill’s state funeral was that everybody no matter what party they was align with came together to celebrate this great man’s life and achievements, that was certainly not the case with Margaret Thatcher I believe she earned the right to be celebrated in death and if members of the party she represented had wished to go over the top, I’m sure they could have done it by Private dividend and could have appeased a vast percentage of the population and saved a huge amount of money
    She wasn’t just merely another PM but a woman who dragged this country, kicking and screaming, into a new era. No matter how bad things are now things could have been a great deal worse without her ‘medicine’ all those years ago. Kind of contradicts itself I think,, and very argumentative but of course you are entitled to your opinion
    As a footnote I wonder if the vast majority of Tories and Tory voters had to swallow that same medicine

  6. Forget if Margaret Thatcher was a brilliant or terrible Prime minister, everyone has there own views on that! But I agree, she was no Winston Churchill – he was someone who was very special to this country, a great Wartime leader, Margaret Thatcher wasn’t!!!!! I just don’t understand why she had full military honours????? Also, does this open the door to future Prime Ministers having the same kind of funeral? Like Thatcher, Blair also won three General Elections, will he get the same?

  7. An interesting post from Mr Perrin as usual but, I think everyone needs to be aware that there are subtle differences between the types of funeral.

    Mrs T did NOT receive a funeral with “full military honours”, she received a ceremonial funeral. There are subtle differences between all of the types of funeral however, a ceremonial funeral can only be given at the consent of the head of state (The Queen) and, the coffin is carried on a gun carriage pulled by horses.

    A state funeral which is what will happen when our current queen passes, is exactly the same as the funeral Mrs T received but, the gun carriage is pulled by ratings of the Royal Navy.

    A funeral with “full military honours” has the pall bearers of the same regiment that the soldier was in and, there are no carriages for the coffin to be carried on, only the shoulders of the pall bearers. Also, when the coffin is laid to rest, there is a 3 shot gun volley, again carried out by members of the same regiment.

    Having been involved in both ceremonial and military honours funerals, there are subtle differences between them all and, no matter which type, it is always very, very emotional for those involved.

    One final word, whether you loved her or, loathed her, she was still a daughter, wife, mother and grandmother to someone. How would you feel if people started rejoicing that your mother/father/daughter had died? I think it is totally dis-respectful.

  8. Truth not lies
    I think we can say she got better then she deserved as for your comment she was still somebody’s daughter, mother or grandmother to someone
    Just remember the very great burdens and hardships of the people she ruined the communities she ruined
    All those people they’ll have daughters mothers and grandmothers

  9. Albert

    Why is it so difficult for you to attribute some goodness to Margaret Thatcher. It was the type of politics you follow which caused the demise of the UK in the 1970s. Would you rather she left things exactly as they were with nationalised industries failing to make a profit and over zealous unions ?

    You go about Thatcher ruining communities and to be fair, she did in many places. Her government failed to retrain people, regenerate huge swathes of old industrial land, sold off too much of the nations silver (not the gold however, we left Brown to do that – at a discount) and seemed at times too engrossed in London and the South East, as are all governments no matter what party.

    However I would state that Labour have done more to ruin the country than any other party in the UK over the past 100 years. Do not even get me started on immigration and the electoral advantage that Labour have achieved, especially in Thurrock.

    That said, I’d be silly not to admit that Clement Atlee was also a great PM whose policies changed Britain for the better. I don’t hear people blaming him for creating a welfare state which is now grossly inflated and abused. It would be stupid to do so as his government done what they thought was right to do at the time. Likewise, as much as I cannot stand Blair he enforced a minimum wage which has been a good thing for the country.

    While I am in agreement with you about the damage that closing the mines/large factories/heavy industry caused during the 1980s Labour governments since 1997 have done very little to put right what she did wrong. Instead they left people in a far worse state by plying whole communities with even more welfare.

    Without Maggie this country wouldn’t of had ten pence let alone ten million and we have a great deal to thank her for.

    “I’m sure they could have done it by Private dividend and could have appeased a vast percentage of the population and saved a huge amount of money”

    This line made me chuckle. Left wing folk are only bothered about saving government money when it suits them. Brown and Balir were giving it away not that long ago while Miliband and Co have opposed every ‘cut’ going.

  10. Bernard87
    I acknowledge and take on board your comments and would like to say that I do not disagree with them, the one place we differ is when Margaret Thatcher destroyed swathes of industry surely she should have replaced them with more modern and streamline companies or nationalise industries, and then people could have been retrained and realigned without the massive unemployment that resulted mostly in the North of this country, I do realise sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind , but on the percentages it always seemed that the lower working class above everybody got the worst of it

  11. “Margaret Thatcher destroyed swathes of industry surely she should have replaced them with more modern and streamline companies or nationalise industries, and then people could have been retrained and realigned without the massive unemployment that resulted mostly in the North”

    The problem is that these industries were destroying themselves and had been on a huge spiral downwards for decades before Thatcher came to power. Without money they would have folded anyway. I do agree that streamlining some of these businesses would have been better than closing them altogether but hindsight is a wonderful thing. No matter who is in power the lower working class are always going to lose out more than the rest of the population. A sad but true fact.

  12. Albert and Bernard87, you may be interested in this piece from the London Loves Business website.
    “On the eve of the strikes in 1984 energy minister Peter Walker put together a deal offering miners another job or a voluntary redundancy package, plus £800m investment in mining. He told Thatcher: “I think this meets every emotional issue the miners have. And it’s expensive, but not as expensive as a coal strike”. Thatcher replied “You know, I agree with you”.

    Scargill turned down the offer, vetoed the expected ballot of miners to decide whether to strike, and, called a strike (Scargill later wrote about his decision in the Guardian).”

    As ever, there are always things going on that the publice are not made aware of at the time.

  13. And, further to my previous post, here’s an excerpt from the article that Scargill wrote in the Guardian on 7th March 2009.

    “A full account of the strike of 1984/85 is still to be written. However, we have learned more and more about the then Labour party leader, Neil Kinnock’s treachery, the betrayals by the TUC and the class collaboration of union leaders such as Eric Hammond (the electricians’ EETPU) and John Lyons (Engineers and Managers Association), who instructed their members to cross picket lines and did all they could to defeat the miners.”

    That should mnake you think, eh Albert?

  14. Thanks for that Gray64.

    If only information like this was made more public. The Tory party should be shouting this from the rooftops. This is yet more evidence that the unions caused much more damage to the prosperity of these communities than Thatcher ever did.


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