Thatcher deserves to be remembered, not necessarily fondly, but as the historical figure she was, says Colin Brazier

Colin Brazier
Colin Brazier

Thatcher was gloriously complicated and controversial and full of contradictions

Published

There’s a type of old-Lefty who can’t hear the words Margaret Thatcher without throwing a wobbly – or at least, an egg.

So it was yesterday. No sooner had a statue to the former Prime Minister been dropped onto its plinth in her home-town of Grantham, than it was hit by an egg thrown by a protester.

As gesture politics go, this was pretty limp. Public disorder for the Saga generation. Nobody was attempting to topple the bronze, or drag it into the nearest harbour. Just a little light egging. It was almost genteel.

But it’s worth reflecting again on why some people refuse to let their hatred of Mrs Thatcher go, long after her death.

I remember talking to demonstrators who gathered close to St Paul’s Cathedral, where her funeral was held in 2013.

One man, in his fifties, had modified that favourite rallying cry of Thatcher-baiting: Maggie Maggie Maggie, Out Out Out… to Maggie, Maggie, Maggie….dead, dead, dead.

What on earth possessed him to do that? It was utterly pathetic, puerile and, I have to say, predictable. Virtue signalling of the crassest kind.

And he wasn’t alone. Britain was full of otherwise sensible people who celebrated the death of a woman, whose twilight years had been spent wandering through the fog of dementia, as if we’d just seen the demise of a notorious child-killer.

And, almost ten years later, it’s obvious this bizarre reflexive Thatcher-bashing still has its adherents. It says nothing about her, and everything about them.

Hating Thatcher is part of their identity. It makes them feel like better people, and maintaining their hatred makes them feel dedicated.

It does nothing of the kind. It just reminds anyone who can be bothered to notice, that these demi-demonstrators can’t get over that they lost the argument.

Thatcher was very far from perfect. As a Yorkshireman, I wish she hadn’t crushed the mineworkers in the way she did. But she won three elections. You can disagree with her methods, but you could never question her mandate.

She was also a trailblazer of the most profound kind. Not just the first female prime minister, but a working class woman who faced snobbery and disdain throughout her life. She was unusual for another reason.

During covid, we grew used to the idea of politicians listening to the science. Well, Thatcher was a scientist. And a good one, with serious research to her name.

It says something very unflattering to an army of greying Trots and their fellow travellers, that hating Thatcher seems to possess no sell-by date.

These are people who feel no embarrassment about talking approvingly of communism, or even Stalinism. A vile creed which condemned millions to servitude, torture and death.

Churchill said a fanatic is someone who won’t change the subject and can’t change his mind. And that’s what the self-appointed keepers of the flame of Thatcher-hating are. Fanatics. And bores.

Their opposition to Thatcher shouldn’t be taken seriously, but it has been for decades. Which is why it’s taken so long for the former Prime Minister to be recognised in the town where she grew up.

So fair play to those who finally made it happen. In life, Thatcher was gloriously complicated and controversial and full of contradictions.

But she loved her country and sought to do right by it. In death, she deserves to be remembered – not necessarily fondly – but as the towering historical figure she undoubtedly was.