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.