Some readers will know that my partner is a Funeral Officiant.
This morning I was listening to him dictate a "eulogy" and heard a reference to Margaret Thatcher. After he finished, I asked him about it, as it seemed a strange thing to have in a funeral service. He told me that Mrs Thatcher is mentioned in around one in ten eulogies, 50% in a positive way and 50% negatively.
I asked him for more details. Apparently people say "we bought out first home after Mrs Thatcher allowed people to buy their council house, and we never looked back." Or, "He was so proud after Maggie broke the power of the unions and put the country back on its feet." Or, "He was a Conservative all his life but never forgave them after they knifed Maggie in the back."
There are unfavorable mentions, too. "He lost his job after Maggie sold off the (insert nationalised industry here) and he never got over it. And, "he never forgave Maggie Thatcher for what she did to the shipyards."
I found this fascinating and truly remarkable, though I shouldn't.
I am one of Maggie's Children; she gave a poor lad from a single parent family growing-up in a council estate in Merseyside the hope, ambition and confidence to move on. Her vision for Britain not only informed my politics but shaped my life. Her portrait is the only one in my office. I still look back to the 1980s when she and President Reagan dominated the world stage as our true halcyon days. And I still have not forgiven those pygmies who brought her down, though even I will admit that her time was probably up.
And twenty six years (a quarter of a century) after she left office, one in ten people still want her mentioned at their funeral. With the exception of Winston Churchill, I can think of no leader before nor since who commanded the country as she did.
Steve said the only other Prime Minister ever mentioned at funerals is Tony Blair, and that sadly is usually along the lines, "she never got over the death of her grandson in Iraq".