It was all going so well and then someone said we should celebrate Thatcher

April 20, 2013

Lovely dinner party on Saturday night – 16 of us to toast a special birthday of a man I have known nearly all my adult life having known his wife since we were children. Her Mum and my Mum were at Cambridge together and then shared a flat as young teachers in Chester. And they were lifelong friends. Both of them great letter writers so that even when they lived at opposite ends of the country they still kept in touch. It is so much easier nowadays, but then it relied on letters and an occasional phonecall. But even phonecalls weren’t ubiquitous like they are now. We had a party line. It meant you shared your phoneline with someone else so if they were using it, you couldn’t. You’d pick up the phone and could hear them talking so you knew you had to wait. And if you wanted to call abroad you had to book a call in advance with the operator. How times have changed and everyone is in constant contact with everyone else. Not a minute of reflective contemplation on one’s own.
But I digress.
Saturday night was filled with chatter with lots of people I didn’t really know and was all going well until late in the evening someone said it was what the country needed; – the funeral of Maggie to celebrate her achievements. I’d drunk too much to just let it go. I should have known better. I was too pissed to be coherent, but she was astounded when I disagreed that she was the best Prime Minister we had ever had, a great female role model who transformed Britain for the better and of course the State should pay for her funeral.

I tried to move on to ‘agree to disagree’ but she wouldn’t let it lie and her uncritical adoration seemed to send me spiralling in to a red mist where I was unable to dig out any facts to throw at her. Just saying “Maggie Thatcher was a cunt ” doesn’t really hack it as a reasoned argument likely to persuade anyone of anything except what a complete twat I am. And of course I am not so blinkered not to realise that she had strengths, intelligence and a fearlessness and that something needed to be done. But the cost some people and communities had to pay was too much.
However, I had struck a lighter note earlier on by reading an Ode I’d written to the birthday boy.

Ode of the Occasion of Richard’s Birthday

I’d like to raise a glass or two,
To the birthday boy.
One Richard Drew.

I’ve known him all my adult life
From well before Ros was his wife.
He lost his heart to this young girl,
They were married down in Kent,
Thank God it still beats strong and hard
(More thanks go to the stent).

He’s always been so lovely,
Sophistication, charm unending,
And patience of an utter saint
When Ros goes full-on spending….

He’s always such a perfect gent
To his family loyal and true
I give you one of our Top Blokes,
The wonderful Richard Drew!


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