Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Celebrating an ex-PM's death? Really?

So the big story in the UK media today, it seems, is not Andy Murray winning the US Open (congratulations to him, btw) but the printing of T-shirts - for sale at the TUC conference - celebrating Lady Margaret Thatcher's anticipated demise. The messages on the T shirts include "Hey ho the witch is dead".

The story was most read on the BBC website for a while, and attracted over a 1000 comments in a few hours on the Telegraph website. But there's little more to say. It does, I suppose, look like more nastiness from the Left - the self-professed nice people in politics.

But what are we to make of the level of hatred and the standards of behaviour? Do we want to live in a country where it is acceptable to celebrate the death of another? It was bad enough when the tabloids crowed over Myra Hindley's passing - it is a hundred times worse in this case, to say this about someone who devoted her life to serving her country. Yes someone who made some mistakes - unlike the rest of us no doubt...

It is a sign of civilization to maintain the best standards of behaviour you can during political debate - the most divisive, passionate area of discussion there is. Those of us debating can get angry precisely because we become so involved in the issues. But the point is that we're arguing so we can attain a more civilized society (aren't we?) So if we can't behave like compassionate human beings then I would like to know what the point is of listening to fine words spoken by politicians, or indeed debating anything.

I imagine TUC leaders may get quite pompous over the course of the conference (will they condemn these Tshirts? Have the Labour party done so?) But I don't know what these fools, or any other bunch of fools, can do with a country full of people who think it's acceptable to celebrate the long, undignified death of another human being.

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