Thatcher death parties – an embarrassment to Britain in the eyes of the world

In the Kent town where my parents live there lie still the remains of three Germans who, having been shot down in the Blitz, were buried with full honours by the people they were trying to kill. Long after the war the townspeople continued to care for their graves and tend to them.

Those Germans were the townspeople’s enemies. They were trying to kill them. In contrast Margaret Thatcher, to those now celebrating her death, was an opponent. There is a crucial difference, one that seems to be lost on many people, which is what makes the planned street parties disturbing, as well as saddening and embarrassing.

It’s one of the easiest things in the world for politicians or journalists to say a single, even freak event, represents some new societal change, but the celebrating over Thatcher’s death is fairly unprecedented.

It’s one thing the hateful pseudo-anarchists who always turn up to smash things; many are essentially people with severe personality disorders who have latched on to some political idea as a means of expressing violent hate towards something. What’s really sad is the sight of smiling teenagers coming along for a laugh who don’t hate Thatcher, who may not even know who she is, but don’t question why celebrating a woman’s death is a fundamental white line we do not cross.

These parties have not gone unnoticed abroad; I’m sure many of you will have received emails from friends and acquaintances expressing surprise at how unrestrained the British are. Like the 2011 riots, it has jolted people overseas who still think Britain is a country comprised of stiff, uptight, repressed types who never make a scene but can apply some cutting put-downs and social snubs.

For a long time the British have thought this image very uncool without appreciating how much the rest of the world still liked old Britannia. Even while Tony Blair was wittering on about how young Britain was, millions of people were buying books about a young wizard at a boarding school in a make-believe sort of British society untouched by Roy Jenkins.

That British quietness and sense of restraint and embarrassment was, in most people’s minds, tied up with their skill in creating a fundamentally gentle and orderly society, something totally against the norm of most human history, and indeed of English history. Life is a lot easier for everyone when we show restraint, and in societies where people celebrate the deaths of political opponents things tend to get nasty very quickly.

How much has changed in so little time. An Irish friend said of his countrymen but it applies here too; without Christianity the British are essentially barbarians and when that faith dies to barbarism they will revert.

This article was published at Telegraph Blogs

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