Privatize that funeral. British Socialist film director Ken Loach thinks former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died yesterday following a stroke, would have wanted it this way. “How should we honour her? Let’s privatise her funeral,” Loach said. “Put it out to competitive tender and accept the cheapest bid. It’s what she would have wanted.”
Thatcher’s funeral is going to cost up to £8 million, and take place at St Paul’s Cathedral. Ms. Thatcher pushed relentlessly for deregulation and privatization, yet her lavish funeral is going to rival Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral. “Lady Thatcher will be honoured with a funeral of a scale not accorded to a former prime minister since the lavish spectacle of Winston Churchill’s state funeral half a century ago – and much of the cost is expected to be borne by the taxpayer.”
Loach called it as he sees it, naming Thatcher “(T)he most divisive and destructive Prime Minister of modern times.” He blamed her for “Mass Unemployment, factory closures, communities destroyed – this is her legacy. She was a fighter and her enemy was the British working class.
“Her victories were aided by the politically corrupt leaders of the Labour Party and of many Trades Unions. It is because of policies begun by her that we are in this mess today. Other prime ministers have followed her path, notably Tony Blair. She was the organ grinder, he was the monkey.Remember she called Mandela a terrorist and took tea with the torturer and murderer Pinochet.
How should we honour her? Let’s privatise her funeral. Put it out to competitive tender and accept the cheapest bid. It’s what she would have wanted.”
In December of 2011, Scott Morgan launched an e-petition to privatize Thatcher’s funeral:
“In keeping with the great lady’s legacy, Margaret Thatcher’s state funeral should be funded and managed by the private sector to offer the best value and choice for end users and other stakeholders. The undersigned believe that the legacy of the former PM deserves nothing less and that offering this unique opportunity is an ideal way to cut government expense and further prove the merits of liberalised economics Baroness Thatcher spearheaded.”
The Guardian reports that the costs to the public will be published after the event (always helpful), “Costs are to be borne by the government and Thatcher’s estate, with Downing Street declining to reveal at this stage the proportion to be met by the nation. A No 10 spokesman said the payments from the public purse would be published after the event. They will undoubtedly include the costs of the planned military procession, involving hundreds of members of the armed services, and of the major policing and security operation expected to be mounted.”
Austerity for thee, lavish ceremonials for me.
Among many, Loach directed “The Navigators” (Five Yorkshiremen try to survive after the British Rail is bought out by a private company), “The Wind that Shakes the Barley” (A sympathetic look at Republicans in early 20th century Ireland, and two brothers who are torn apart by anti-Brit rebellion) and “Bread & Roses” (Two Latina sisters work as cleaners in a downtown office building, and fight for the right to unionize). He was quoted once warning, “I think our TV news editors are still sometimes using the language of government propaganda. We still hear the term ‘war on terror’ for an illegal war. We’re still hearing the words reform and modernization when what we really mean is privatization and public greed.”
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.