I have been struck by the strength (and divergence) of response to the death of Margaret Thatcher. Some of the furore will no doubt settle with her funeral but what has been really apparent to me is that once again the passing of the years has polarised opinion even more about a political figure. You could be forgiven for thinking that commentators were actually talking about two different people. Some would have you believe that we have witnessed the death of a great leader, others of some kind of tyrant. The truth as always is somewhere between the two, but I cannot think of any recent historical figure who would be capable of creating so different, yet so fiercely held opinions in others.
As someone who grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s, I have tried to explain to those who do not remember those times, quite how significant a figure she was and, equally, why what she did resulted in the reactions we have seen. The political landscape now seems hugely removed from the polar opposites we witnessed in those days and I have come to the conclusion, therefore, that you needed to have experienced those times yourself to understand why feelings run so high, even now.
One final point, I think the BBC should have played the song. I am with those who take the view that the Iron Lady would have been against this kind of self-censorship. If we self-censor ourselves in these circumstances we run the risk of tying ourselves in knots in the future.