Far be it from me to hold myself up as a model of anything. It’s just that, when looking for an illustration to a point made or about to be made, it takes less time to look up one’s own piece than someone else’s.
So on 16 December, 2011, a couple of days after Christopher Hitchens died, I wrote, without naming him, about his views on religion, which, along with his views on just about anything else, I find morally repulsive and intellectually feeble. However, I withheld such adjectives. This is what I wrote towards the end:
‘And yet, I’ve been unable to mention Hitchens by name throughout this article. I can’t claim that I’ve suddenly acquired respect for him or his thoughts. I haven’t. But I do respect death, and the scathing remarks that would have rolled off my pen two days ago are refusing to come out. Instead, I’d like to offer my sympathy to the family of the deceased.’
Most civilised people, which group, properly defined, includes few who’d agree with Hitchens on anything, would have written something along those lines. For death has its own dignity, which it confers on the deceased, regardless of how one feels about the life just ended.
That’s why I don’t recall any jubilation within conservative ranks upon the death of, say, Harold Wilson, Aneurin ‘Nye’ Bevan or Anthony Crosland, men for whom not many conservatives felt any excessive warmth.
Compare this to the response to Margaret Thatcher’s death publicly expressed by both leftwing celebrities and also the rank-and-file.
‘Tramp the dirt down,’ tweeted MP George Galloway, who a few days ago refused to share a debating platform with a Jew. And a couple of hours later, ‘May she burn in the hellfires.’
The first sentiment was actually a quotation from a most gentlemanly song by Elvis Costello, which included lyrics like ‘When England was the whore of the world, Margaret was her madam.’ And, even better, ‘Cos when they finally put you in the ground, they’ll stand there laughing and tramp the dirt down.
‘She did make war on a lot of people in Britain, and I don’t think it helped our society,’ commented Tony Benn, former Labour minister, who was unable to contain himself.
‘After the disservice she did to the country, I won’t be shedding any tears,’ added Chris Kitchen, secretary for the National Union of Mineworkers.
Her tenure, according to former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, ‘was an unmitigated disaster’.
Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone opined that Lady Thatcher was responsible for ‘every real problem’ we face today.
Rather than attempting to emulate such penetrating analysis, Derek Hatton, a Liverpool Labour councillor, spoke from the heart: ‘The issue isn’t about whether she is now dead. I regret for the sake of millions of people that she was ever born.’
Lindsey German, of the Stop The War Coalition, approached Maggie’s career from the geopolitical angle: ‘Margaret Thatcher laid the basis for policies which wrecked the lives of millions in Britain. But she should also be remembered as a warmonger. She led alongside Ronald Reagan the escalation of the Cold War.’
A Marxist posted a tweet, saying ‘Margaret Thatcher is (finally) dead. Good f—ing riddance too… That horrible old witch was 87. May she rot in hell.’
The mob is braying all over the Internet: ‘This lady’s not returning,’ ‘How are you celebrating?’
Well, most enthusiastically, is the answer to that one. ‘Thatcher death parties’ were held late into the night all across the country. The festivities featured all the usual accoutrements: smashed shop windows, paint bombs, attacks on police.
In Liverpool, flares and fireworks were set off; in Bristol, seven police officers were injured – one seriously – after being pelted with bottles and rubbish bins by a street party.
A massive rally in Glasgow had hundreds of champagne drinkers out in the street, shouting, ‘Rejoice, Thatcher is dead!’ A rabble-rouser was screaming through a megaphone, ‘Maggie! Maggie! Maggie’, and the ghoulish crowd rejoiced, as ordered: ‘Dead! Dead! Dead!’
As I always say, the Left aren’t just misguided – they are barbaric and evil. And they aren’t even clever enough to conceal that. Whether or not you are weeping for Margaret Thatcher, you should cry for our country. And our civilisation.