BARONESS THATCHER RIP
By Howard Wheeldon, FRAeS, Wheeldon Strategic Advisory Ltd.
17 Apr 13. The ceremonial funeral with full military honours awarded to Baroness Thatcher is to me a correct and very fitting act of remembrance and celebration of her political life and work. Remember her as you will be it the Falkland’s, the Poll-Tax or whatever – provided of course that you are the right age to so do and that you lived through most if not all of the process of change that she led.
Not only did Britain’s first woman Prime Minister change our attitudes to competition and subsidy in an attempt to kill mistaken beliefs that the world still owed us a living but she opened the door of opportunity for so many. She is responsible for changing the attitude and approach to so many aspects of our lives as she woke us all up to the new realities that we needed to face in the world outside. She will be sadly missed by many and as the last British Prime Minister to be born before the start of World War 2 her death to me may also be said to mark the end of yet another fascinating era in our history. I am greatly honoured to have been able to meet and talk with Baroness Thatcher during her later years and my respect for her is as great today as it was during her period as the nations Prime Minister.
Margaret Thatcher’s election to Parliament as the member for Finchley in 1959 coincided with last election that the Rt. Hon Sir Winston Churchill was elected as the member for the constituency of Woodford. Quite how often the young and bright eyed member for Finchley might have seen the great man take his seat in the House during his last period as an elected member is not known by me but given that Sir Winston was already a very frail man by then I doubt that it would have been that many. Still, one likes to think that prior to her election as an MP and in pursuance of her future political ambitions Margaret Thatcher may well have been able to witness the debate during the great mans final tenure in office as Prime Minister between 1951 and 1955. My point here is that while there have been many great Conservative and Labour politicians since the end of WW2 it was Winston Churchill alone who created the inspiration in so many that would aspire to enter Palace of Westminster during the post war years.
Just as I had watched the state funeral afforded the late Sir Winston Churchill on that cold winters days on BBC television back in January 1965 so it is that I will watch on BBC television the ceremonial funeral with honours awarded to Baroness Thatcher today. From the very lovely Royal Air Force Church of St. Clement Danes in the Strand to St. Pauls Cathedral is not far and I may hope that service of commemoration for the life of Baroness Thatcher that follows at St Pauls will be as fitting an occasion as is surely justified.
Slightly less than fifty years have gone by since Sir Winston Churchill was honoured with a full state funeral and that, just as the funeral of Margaret Thatcher will today, was honoured by the presence of the Head of State. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has seen a great many Prime Ministers during her sixty-one year reign but there has so far only been one woman Prime Minister. It is fitting that Her Majesty should be in attendance just as it was surely very fitting almost fifty years ago to see the long line of dockyard workers cranes that then existed along the River Thames bowed in salute as the survey vessel MV Havengore sailed past on its way from Tower Pier to Festival Pier. From there to Waterloo Station and a train headed by a steam locomotive that bore his name carried the great wartime leader to his final resting place in Bladon, Oxfordshire.
There will be no cranes bowing along the river today because there are no cranes left to bow. Neither will Baroness Thatcher be taken to her final resting place by a steam locomotive bearing her name as she had little time for the railways. There were no di