In case for some reason you don’t know who this is (and apparently there were a lot of young people on the internet who didn’t), this is Margaret Thatcher, aka Maggie Fatcha, former British prime minister who died recently, prompting some long-awaited celebrations across the UK. The most divisive PM in history, large areas of Britain are still reeling from the policies of her government. Even now, bingo callers all along the seaside refer to the number 10 as Maggie’s Den, I presume. But she was also a very popular Spitting Image puppet, lest people forget, and indeed our own dog Lady (aka ‘Soppydog’) had a squeeky toy Maggie which she carried everywhere with her. It was her Baby. “Where’s Maggie?” we’d ask her, and she’d go and get her from behind the sofa, wagging her tail, peeing on the carpet. Maggie would be all chewed up, and the squeak was gone out of her after a while, but Soppydog loved that little Maggie and would cry for hours if she couldn’t find her.
Given the spontaneous outpouring of non-grief, in a kind of reverse-Diana situation, it was quite funny to see the accompanying call of “don’t speak ill of the dead” and “show some respect” and “it’s too soon”. The not speaking ill of the dead thing amused me enormously, because it’s like, oh it’s fine if she’s not dead yet. That sort of thing may be true if you’re at her funeral among her family, or if this was just a neighbour who ran over your flowers once, but I think it’s ok to speak up about a national leader whose policies tore your community apart at a time when that person is being brought into the spotlight again, such as at the time when she dies and everyone is trying to re-evaluate her legacy. I think it’s absolutely essential to speak ill of the dead, lest the ills be overlooked. Do you think Maggie herself would have held back ill words? But after all the dust has settled, one outcome of all this is that I can no longer watch the Wizard of Oz without thinking, ooh those Munchkins, what heartless little bastards. Don’t they know it’s too soon? That Wicked Witch of the East is still there, under the house, and you’re coming up with whole song and dance numbers? Spontaneously? Think of how her poor family must feel! No wonder her green sister was so angry. And then Dorothy comes along and snatches her shoes. “Oh I didn’t mean to,” she says, but come on Dorothy. Too soon, too soon.
There’s one other thing I noticed. It’s well known that Maggie was not popular in the city of Liverpool, and with very good reason. However, Liverpool FC, once the undisputed kings of European football, have not won a single League Title since Thatcher went bawling out of Number 10. While she was in office, Liverpool were English champions a whopping EIGHT times. Manchester United didn’t win any Leagues, weren’t even close. Post-Mrs-Thatch, United have been champions thirteen times, Liverpool zero. Makes you think, doesn’t it. The curse of Maggie Thatcher, league title snatcher.