This morning’s papers all featured a giant picture of a giant of a woman – Baroness Thatcher, who died of a stroke yesterday, aged 87.
The reaction to her passing has been highly vocal and also hugely polarised, a perhaps understandable reaction given the significant and often controversial role she played in the late 20th century history of Great Britain, and indeed the world.
What has been interesting to observe over the last 24 hours has been the sheer level of emotions her death has unleashed.
For many, there has been great sadness and heartfelt tributes for the impact that ‘The Iron Lady’ has had on British society.
For them, she was a true leader at a time when we really needed leadership. Someone who helped to change modern Britain and give it a new relevance on the world stage.
She took on the Trade Unions and ultimately helped to reshape the industrial agenda in this country.
I still remember as a child growing up in the UK against a backdrop of endless strikes, frequent power cuts and the introduction of the three day week – all common features of British society before she arrived on the scene.
I also remember the positive effect her policies had on encouraging my father as an entrepreneurial business owner to make a go of it, giving him the incentive to do so.
But I also recognise that her government caused a lot of hardship for many and I understand how people thus affected would hold a poor opinion of her to this day.
For them, there is little to be sad about today, more a sense of closure.
I have friends on both side of the Maggie debate and think that both sets of views are valid and worthy of respect.
Ed Milliband, Labour’s current leader got it just about perfect when he said that whilst he disagreed with a lot of her policies, he was still able to acknowledge her achievements and pay his respects at the time of her passing.
What I find less palatable though is the vitriolic minority who are probably way too young to have any memory of what life was like in Britain during Maggie’s term in office (or indeed, beforehand)
To see these arriviste Maggie haters burning pictures of her at ‘funeral parties’ or else abusing anyone on Twitter who has the temerity to express a positive opinion is a sad reflection of modern society.
I read earlier that the Football Association have decided against holding a minute’s silence before upcoming games as a mark of respect – a gesture they frequently hold for far less prominent figures.
I can’t help feeling that this is less of a political statement and more of a fear of the inevitability that the silence will be marred by the aforementioned vocal hate-mob.
This is not a political blog, but it is a blog about Britain so I think it is wholly appropriate to mark the passing of Maggie Thatcher on a day like this.
I personally didn’t agree with everything she did, but on balance, I think she will rightly be remembered as one of the most important figures in Britain’s modern day history.
Farewell Maggie, RIP.