Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dead and buried

They buried Margaret Thatcher last night, and hundreds turned their backs and jeered her coffin as it went past. Meanwhile, in the South Yorkshire mining village of Goldthorpe, they had their own memorial:

Hanged, paraded, punched and spat on before finally being set alight – cheered on by the jeering crowd.

These were the final moments of an effigy of Baroness Thatcher yesterday as three decades of anger and hurt spilled over during a mock funeral in the heart of the former coalfield communities for whom she will forever be a reviled figure.

Up to 1,000 former miners and locals marched behind the image of the late Tory leader as she was taken in a procession behind a horse-drawn carriage in the former South Yorkshire pit village of Goldthorpe.

Rob Shaw, 53, spent a year and a day on strike. A veteran of the Battle of Orgreave, he conceded outsiders might find it hard to understand what was happening here. “She was horrid. If you are from down South you won’t understand the feeling in the community at what she has done to us,” he said, as the mannequin was taken to derelict land behind a pub and ceremonially torched.

It is unclear whether they threw the ashes in the mine pit afterwards, but it would have been entirely appropriate.

As for those wanting to paint Thatcher as a Great Leader, people tend not to memorialise great leaders in this way. No-one burned Edmund Hilary in effigy. No-one strung up David Lange. The reaction of the ordinary people of the UK to Thatcher's death is the real verdict of history, and its quite different from the Tories' deification of her.