|Picture from the Margaret Thatcher Foundation|
The death of Baroness Thatcher, former UK prime minister from 1979-1990, has polarised public opinion across the nation.
Her funeral, to be carried out at St Paul’s Cathedral and attended by HM the Queen and the current PM David Cameron, will be watched by millions around the world.
Many have already heralded the legacy of the so-called Iron Lady, pulling the overweening unions into order in the late 1970s, creating the Right to Buy scheme that saw millions of Britons become homeowners for the first time and proving that a woman could succeed in the male-dominated political sphere.
Mr Cameron called her ‘an extraordinary leader and an extraordinary woman who defined and overcame the great challenges of her age’.
Committed Christian Harvey Thomas, former communications chief for the Conservative Party, said, ‘She had the vision to make Britain great again, and the guts to carry through her principles and beliefs.
‘Of course people will both agree and disagree with her, which she always welcomed, but where are vision, conviction and guts in today’s generation of so-called political leaders?
‘The Bible observes in Proverbs 29:18 that, “Where there is no vision, the people perish”’.
According to the BBC, unofficial figures for the cost of the funeral, which will partly be covered by the family, are as high as £10m.
However, while many will mourn at the state funeral, macabre celebrations were held across the country.
When news broke of her death, unions organised drinks to celebrate and boozy street parties were set up by people who had despised her politics – and attended largely by young people who had not even been born until after Lady Thatcher resigned.
Many of the areas where parties got out of hand, including Brixton in London and Liverpool, had experienced the most intense social and political upheaval during the early years of Lady Thatcher’s tenure.
Her unpopular poll tax, nationalisation of British Gas and other companies, closure of the mines and stern anti-Europe stance made her many political enemies.
However, regardless of one’s political opinion of the so-called Iron Lady, the grim spectacle of thousands of people rejoicing in the death of another human being brought international censure and covered the UK in shame.
One cannot help but consider Proverbs 24:17, ‘Do not rejoice when your enemy has fallen, and do not let your heart be glad when he is overthrown’.
Senators on both sides of the house in the US criticised the vitriol that surrounded news of her death, while praising her tenacity.
The speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, was reported in the Economist as saying, ‘She was the grocer’s daughter who stared down elites, union bosses, and communists to win three consecutive elections, establish conservative principles in Western Europe, and bring down the Iron Curtain’.
Lady Thatcher was prime minister from 1979 to 1990, winning three successive general elections. She died after suffering a stroke while staying at the Ritz hotel in central London.