That was the week [*] that was,
It’s over so let it go.
[*] Actually it’s been ten days — or an aching void of tooth-grinding boredom for anyone not committed to an asylum, the Daily Mail, the Times world-view, or the Tory Party. Though those four possibilities may merely be variations on a theme.
Anyway, let’s relish the unpaid viewing:
No need to stick around beyond the first two minutes, unless one is a media-archaeologist. Just relish the delights of Millicent Martin at her devastating best.
Two final Malcolmian thoughts:
1. Pity the Goldthorpe counter-event didn’t get more coverage:
Britain mourned, the old banners were hoisted up in Goldthorpe and the miners went on the march.
At 2pm today, after waiting for a separate funeral in the South Yorkshire town to come to an end, an estimated 1000 former pit workers started a procession through the streets in protest at Baroness Thatcher.
An effigy of the former Prime Minister was placed in a coffin with the word ‘SCAB’ written in flowers on the side. It was then placed on a cart and towed by two horses towards the site of the former Goldthorpe colliary, which closed in 1994. A bagpiper led the way and the miners marched behind, some holding placards, most clutching cans of beer.
The entire town appeared to have turned out to join in the protest and chanted ”ere we go’ and ‘Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, down, down, down’ as they walked. Banners from the original miners’ strike were waved on proud display.
“We have waited 28 years for this,” said David Fallon, a former hydraulics fitter at Goldthorpe colliery, who worked at the site for fifteen years and was wearing his former pit tie – complete with the white rose of Yorkshire.
All credit to the Daily Telegraph for that: a good deed in a naughty world. The intent was, presumably, to shock Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.
What Disgusted will have missed is the whole event is not pure anger — though that would be well justified across the South Yorks coalfields. It’s more a first-class example of South (formerly West — don’t fret on it) Yorkshire humour. Just remember to wear a respectable association tie, with a white rose. Since Dear Old Dad originated just down the road from Goldthorpe, Malcolm knows the mood well. It was likely a bloke from Goldthorpe or environs who addressed the Great Len Hutton, having scored a double century, with “Ah hopes ta see thee do better in t’ second innings.” Such a type is one who looks out of the window on 23rd June and observes how the evenings are drawing in.
2. Malcolm was touched by the dignitaries from the United States who made it all the way to St Paul’s:
Tennessee Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn will lead a House delegation to Britain to attend the funeral of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on Wednesday.
Announced by House Speaker John Boehner’s office Monday, the trip marks a culmination of Republican accolades for Thatcher following her death last week. Thatcher’s conservative policies and close relationship with President Reagan won her widespread support within the GOP.
“Margaret Thatcher was one of the greatest champions freedom has ever known, and her funeral gives Americans and friends around the world an opportunity to pay final respects,” Boehner said in a statement.
The delegation also includes Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and George Holding (R-N.C.).
Yes: that truly is Michele Bachmann, [t]he only person dumber than Sarah Palin. As for Marsha Wedgeworth Blackburn, she is doubly distinguished —
- four times awarded 100% rating by the American Conservative Union: i.e. off the normal political spectrum, and impervious to reason. To be fair, she is now down to 87½% , and only the 40th most conservative member of the House as rated bt the National Journal.
- because her election accounting is less than transparent, one of the Most Corrupt Members of Congress identified by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Malcolm explains his concern with such trivia because it gives cause for recalling Simon Hoggart’s Sketch of the occasion in today’s Guardian. It is juicily headed:
Politicians reassure themselves of their importance at Lady Thatcher’s funeral
No wonder Gordon Brown looked happy as the great and the good gathered to say farewell
It concludes with the pungent:
A scattering of celebrities, just on the right side of “who on Earth?” Jeremy Clarkson, Joan Collins, Jeffrey Archer, even Michael Fabricant MP, his lustrous hair-style topping for once dimmed by the dazzling lights of St Paul’s. And Alex Salmond, who acknowledges his gratitude; her decision to start the loathed poll tax in Scotland was a huge impetus towards the notion of national independence.
A disappointing turnout from abroad, good in numbers if low in fame. But then this was about British politics rather than international diplomacy. From America, Henry Kissinger, Newt Gingrich – surely she would have found him deeply distasteful? – and former vice-president Dick Cheney, whose poor health over eight years meant, in Garry Trudeau’s words, that George W was “only a heartbeat from the presidency”. But neither Bush nor Clinton and no Carter. It was hard to ignore the niggle that she was, perhaps, more world famous in Britain than she was in the rest of the world.