Posted by Vale
When is a state funeral not a state funeral?
Back in 2008 there was speculation in the press about plans for a state funeral honouring the life and achievements of Lady Thatcher.
The rumours were denied at the time but have never gone away or stopped being controversial. Look at the reactions to the recent film The Iron Lady. It’s clear that the memory of Lady Thatcher still has the power to stir people up. One conservative commentator has has even argued that she should forego the honour – not because she doesn’t deserve one, but because celebrating her life so publicly would divide rather than unite the nation.
Here at GFG we have no political views. We are aloof. We rise above.
We do recall though that the last PM honoured in this way was Sir Winston Churchill – a great man who was himself not universally loved. And we were intrigued by the epetition that appeared recently on the Direct Government site here. It simply states that ‘we the undersigned believe that’:
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.
We do not comment on the merits or not of the idea. We do, though, wonder what a privatised ‘state’ funeral might look like?
State funerals are rare. They involve lying in state and a funeral procession in which the coffin is drawn on a gun carriage by sailors from the Royal Navy. Royal Ceremonial Funerals (as for State but minus gun carriage and sailors) happen more frequently. Princess Diana’s and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s funerals’ were Royal Ceremonials.
So what might a ‘private’ state funeral look like? Fewer sailors, but more cars? The cavalcade that took Diana to Althorp would be an example. What could the industry do for Lady Thatcher?