Margret Thatcher was a important leader. She won three general elections and completely changed the political, industrial, financial and, some may say the social, landscape of the country. She also had a big influence within international affairs too. Whether all that was for the good or otherwise depends entirely on what colour tint the spectacles you’re currently wearing have – rose or shit.
Because of this, I don’t really begrudge her a big flashy funeral. For the right or wrong reasons, she was important. For some reason though, this little nugget from The Speaker, John Bercow, has irked me. It’s trivial, doesn’t cost anything but is a step too far… for some unfathomable reason.
The Speaker told MPs: “I have received a number of representations, direct and indirect, formal and informal, concerning how the house and parliament as an institution might best mark this occasion. I have considered all of these, but concluded that the most appropriate means of indicating our sentiments would be for the chimes of Big Ben and for the chimes of the Great Clock to be silent for the duration of the funeral proceedings.
“I have therefore made the necessary arrangements to achieve this. I believe that there can be a profound dignity and deep respect expressed in and through silence and I’m sure that the house will agree.”
I think the house is showing profound enough dignity and respect by spending fuck-loads of cash on a ceremonial funeral, one step down from the state funeral the Queen will get, in a time when people with bugger all are being told they’re on their own because the state has no cash.
Which brings me on to this little turd of a man, Francis Maude…
Maude told Radio 4’s Any Questions programme on Friday that reports that the funeral will cost £10m had mistakenly included the costs of police and soldiers who would be working anyway. “There are costs which are people doing their ordinary jobs which are costs which are being borne in any event. We have not hired more soldiers, we haven’t hired more police. There is no one who has been hired who would not be doing their ordinary jobs which they would not be doing in any event. We are not hiring more police.”
Maude wouldn’t let on how much the funeral is costing as he didn’t know. Apparently nobody knew, which is unusual as there would’ve been at least a rough plan, and so cost, prepared before Mrs Thatchers death. y’know, just in case.
To say that the soldiers and police costs shouldn’t be included in the final figure is ridiculous. It is weasly words to try and not admit the full cost. And it’s a pretty shitty attempt to minimise the shock if I can spot it.
Of course there won’t be anymore police or military hired for the event. You can’t draft in and train coppers and soldiers to a proper standard to be able to call them coppers and soldiers in about a week, like you could for private security firms.
In the statement above is Maude saying that all the coppers that will be policing the route the coffin will take will only be policed by coppers that would be on duty that day anyway? OK, cancel a few copper’s leave and there may be enough police to do the job, but there’ll be sod all police anywhere else in London. Is Maude saying that there will be no overtime paid? And if they are policing Thatchers’ funeral they are not doing their ‘ordinary’ job, which is a cost. The cost of policing of this funeral is not going to be covered in the bill for an ordinary days policing. That’s just fantasy.
As usual, it’s not the event itself that’s starting to piss me off, it’s all the shit that people come out with.