That bloody box

Charles 2 Comments

“This was a funeral that celebrated unity. Like all other funerals. That bloody box: the awful finality: the dreadful unduckable certainty that life has to come to an end.

So of course it was the same today. We knew she was dead, and all of us, no matter how little interest we take in politics, have been talking about her life — and how some people thought she was great and some people thought she wasn’t and how some people thought a state funeral was great and how others thought it brought back the divisions of the 1980s. 

But in the end it was the usual infinitely solemn, infinitely banal parading of a box with the usual unspeakable contents. The flag and gun-carriage and the marching bands and the statuesque airmen with reversed arms outside the church of St Clement Danes in the Strand didn’t try to conceal the fact it contained death. 

Miners and policemen, tycoons and street-sleepers, liberals and authoritarians, winners and losers, wets and drys, warmongers and pacifists, the cruel and the compassionate, the bullies and the gentle: every funeral you ever go to reminds you that in the end there are no divisions between us. Death is the ultimate unity. 

Why should the funeral of Baroness Thatcher be any different?”

Simon Barnes in The Times


  1. Charles

    Simon Barnes wound up by saying……”Why should the funeral of Baroness Thatcher be any different?” I have a lot of time for Simon’s work (fwiw)

    ……my only disagreement with the whole proceedings was the involvement of the armed forces/the gun carriage from St Clement Danes to St Pauls and then out of the Cathedral, it adds to an aloofness from ‘the common person’……. far better for Leverton’s to have gone the whole distance and for Clive L plus the b, that when Queenie and the D of E attend these events (sporadically however), the conclusion is, is that Funeral Directors and their staff are invisible………it’s a sense of the opposite of realism etc etc. They’re not in the real world, but of course

    on the other side, a terrific move imo to delay the service at Mortlake until 1630 when the day’s general business will have been concluded…………there would have been other funerals during the day and those wouldn’t have wished for their service(s) to have been blighted by the necessary security involvement, so that was an excellent move


  2. Charles

    In my own experience, Mortlake are used to dealing with high profile cremations with dignity and sensitivity. I’m not surprised they were chosen for Mrs T.

    It’s the place to go for an early in the day low-cost cremation too!

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