Should she be given a state funeral? Was she the greatest post-war prime minister? Should there have been a minute’s silence before the Manchester derby match? Should the BBC chart show play Ding Dong The Witch is Dead?
The list goes on and there has been no shortage of pundits, politicians and public phone-ins telling us exactly what they think. And the one phrase they all have started or finished with has been: ‘In my opinion…’
But never have I known such diametrically opposite opinions – it is as if they are talking about two different people, one a near messiah and the other the prophesied anti-Christ.
And it seems that everyone you meet really does have an opinion on the subject. It’s as if the silent majority is in a minority for once and for me this is perhaps the point of Thatcher’s life – she embodied political, social, monetary and industrial policies that completely polarised public opinion.
The pie chart on the right from the Guardian’s ICM poll on her policies illustrates the point. About the only policy with a plus score is the sale of council houses – even if it is the root cause of the current housing crisis.
So, in my opinion, she shouldn’t be given a state funeral because there simply isn’t a precedent for it and setting one is not necessarily a good thing.
If it is because she was successful and won three elections, then Tony Blair should get the same treatment when he pops his clogs, and somehow I can’t see Daily Mail editorials clamouring for that.
Was she our greatest post-war prime minister? In my opinion, no she wasn’t. Great prime minister unite the country and clearly she didn’t. History might treat her better, but even after twenty years there is an incredible rawness.
Should there have been a minute’s silence before the United/City match? In my opinion, definitely not. There wouldn’t have been a cat in hell’s chance of it being observed and the boos of the crowd for Thatcher would have demeaned both.
Should the BBC play Ding Dong The Witch is Dead? In my opinion, probably not but mostly for the BBC’s sake since it is already accused of being institutionally bolshie, plus it wouldn’t be good for the blood pressure of Daily Mail readers.
Sadly the BBC will be damned if it does and damned if it doesn’t with the response from listeners and viewers being split down the middle which ironically reflects the Thatcher years perfectly.
Stop Press: The BBC has fudged the issue by deciding to play just a five second clip on the chart show, but as a news item to explain why they don’t think it would be in good taste to inflict the whole 58 second track on the listening public.