Margaret Thatcher – teacher of Compassion

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Margaret Thatcher is dead.

The resulting vitriol that has welcomed and celebrated her death is jaw dropping, and even for me, unexpected. The ‘Ding dong, the witch is dead’ song from the Wizard of Oz is at number three in the UK music charts and there are parties, and some say riots, planned for this Wednesday when the biggest funeral in UK history takes place. Even Princess Di didn’t get such state attention but Princess Di was loved by most unlike Thatcher who has been called the ‘marmite politician’ by a member of the church but like Diana she has also left behind children. Children that are having to witness the hatred directed towards their mum from what seems like half of England and most of Wales and Scotland.

I wasn’t a fan, I never voted for her but that’s the point –  the people of the UK did vote for her, in our established democracy, and three times! She wasn’t a dictator, she was elected and probably by one or two members of each family burning her effigy. So why are the people of the UK now in such a hateful frame of mind directed at a dead woman who their fellow country folk voted for on three occasions?  Apart from how she was at the forefront of policies, supported by parliament mind, I think there was lot of people who just couldn’t stand the pursed lips, the terrible hair and the fact that she reminded just about everybody of their mother-in-law.

Margaret Thatcher's death divides opinion across the UK

One of the best life lessons I’ve ever been given was, whenever possible,  to see every person, depending on their age and sex, as if they are your mum or your dad or brother, sister, son or daughter or grandkids or maybe the weird uncle or the batty aunt or your best mate. If people, when walking past a Big Issue seller spared this thought – that the person stood there in all weathers, could easily be, with a change of circumstances, one of your relatives – it could of course even be you (and it’s only conceited thinking that banishes that possibility – especially as our economies teeter) then maybe not so many would walk past that Big Issue seller.

The same goes for Thatcher. She may once have been a leader with an iron will that the rich applauded and the workers threw eggs at but for a vast amount of years she’s been an old lady, a grandma who became frail and died. It was someone’s mum. One didn’t have to like her but to dance in the streets? Even Bin Laden wasn’t given so much attention.

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Surely we need to understand, and with teeth gritted if need be, to be able at least to attempt to practice compassion and it seems to me that the British public have never been give such a national opportunity to do both.

Compassion is our friend.

The opposite of compassion is cruelty and to a lesser degree, pity. Pity being when we’re sorry for someone whereas compassion is to be sorry with someone. It’s feeling the suffering as if you are that person. Of course I’m not  referring to Thatcher herself as she’s gone but I am referring to those she left behind – her children and grandchildren.

We can, albeit at the risk of heart wrenching brevity, become the grandchild who has not only lost it’s grandma but then witnesses the folk of this country that she governed morphing into over-sized munchkins, spitting malevolence as if that’s to be applauded and respected, although possibly feared and therefore ignored.

To be able to shape shift into each mind and body of those affected in a quantum leap sort of way will likely and involuntarily ignite our compassion immediately and if it doesn’t at least you’ll be blessed with the shocking knowledge, if you say that Thatcher had no compassion herself, of what that feels like.

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16 thoughts on “Margaret Thatcher – teacher of Compassion

  1. I never liked the woman, but admired her strength and conviction, even when I thought she was wrong. I come from a family that had a whole branch of it devastated when the mines closed.

    But love her or hate her, agree or not with her policies as a politician, she was a fellow human being. One, moreover, who had the courage of her convictions and was not afraid to take the flack for what she did.

    I agree with you entirely on this one, Kev.

    First and foremost, she was a woman, someone’s mother, daughter, wife, grandmother and friend. My heart and thoughts are with those who mourn her.

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  2. Along with her contemporaries and cronies, Reagan et al, she did contribute to change the world. East Germany collapsed, the Eastern empires came down, and freedom from oppression was bestowed upon hundreds of millions of people. Whether the people of the U.K. know or appreciate that, Thatcher contributed to those developments.

    And as for her descendants being hurt: I am sure they are used to it. Anyone running for high office in politics trades in their freedom and privacy with the first ballot forms. That’s how we play the game.

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  3. I grew up, albeit, Across The Pond, during the Thatcher era. And, from this distance, I admired her — not necessarily her politics, but, for that time, to be a woman, and be that powerful, was a thing to behold. We here in the Ol’ US of A still haven’t let a woman be in charge — though, I’m hopeful that next time, we will have a woman president. Anyway… I think it’s perfectly fine for people to dislike her, to hate her, even , but, I agree — such jubilation, especially at a death, is not good. Whatever she may have been, whatever her politics were, she is, and was, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend — there are people who are truly grief stricken by her loss. Let them grieve — save the celebrations until after the funeral at least.

    Nice post!

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      1. I wouldn’t complain if it were her… though, I think it might just be Hillary. I don’t know if Michelle has political ambitions — and, I’m sorry to say, I think the crazies who are already nearly at the breaking point because we’ve elected a black president twice now, well, I think if the first woman president were black, they would just be over the deep end…. I think their poor little narrow minds would just explode.

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  4. I too have found the outpouring of hatred most disturbing, although I never voted for her. The young people in my family who are all in their early 20s and born in the 90s were really shocked by it. I thought Russell Brand’s article for the Guardian was so articulate and brilliant in which he says ‘it is difficult to get joy from any death if one values love.’ Namaste.

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  5. I too was shocked by the celebrations of this human being’s death. It troubles me deeply to see people smiling and laughing at the death of someone – whoever they may be. I see such darkness in our world today BUT I am also wondering if all the events right now – not just Lady Thatcher’s passing – are actually uncovering the truth in order to heal it. I have always been an optimist so I hope that the reason for all this outer hatred will become clear in time. After all, we cannot change the hidden – only what we can see.

    As for Former Prime Minister Thatcher – the women had more balls than all the politicians put together – may she find her peace wherever she may be.

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  6. What a fine and courteous (aside from the comments about pursed lips) tribute to someone you didn’t agree with. Here I was snarkily enjoying the naughty pop radio protest, but you’re right of course. Thatcher changed the way Britain did business, in more ways than one, and as with all powerful people, her legacy is mixed. Her passing falls in the shadow of one of the worst economic thrashings in history, brought about in part, if you think like I do, by the conservative reformers. There is, yes, bitterness.

    Thatcher was no unidimensional dummy though. She recognized that when you raise expenses, you raise taxes to pay for them, unlike her contemporary on this side of the Atlantic, who by the way, is still in line for sainthood. Woe to those who dare to question the legacy of Holy Ronnie. There was no public glee when he died. Does that make us more civilized? Or more naive?

    Degenerate and childish as the Ding Dongers may be, they balance the paeans and accolades. She was a woman to admire and hate. Nothing sacred here, just a great venting at the passing of a lion of a woman, and I don’t mean her hair. Pretty funny though, you pointing out the hair.

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  7. I celebrated the passing of Margaret Thatcher’s politics, when she left office, and then when the Tories left office, but to celebrate the death of a human seems very sad to me. I feel that part of the problem is that people seem to be losing the difference between genuine satire and political humour, and just making unkind comments about people who hold opinions that you don’t like.

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