So Grandma in Cyprus not in Cyprus is once more Grandma in Cyprus. She returned yesterday, just as the sun has come out. It was lovely to see her, and it's a sadness to me that she's far enough away that seeing her more regularly is not really possible.
I went to see the funeral procession for Margaret Thatcher yesterday...it passed not too far away from my office, so it was an easy decision to make. I was drawn as much as anything by the thought this was a national event of some significance, and the sort of thing that it is a good thing to attend....not just the pomp and circumstance, but as an historical moment I was not alone...the streets were fuller than I've ever seen before. The roads were empty as traffic had been halted all around the route. The city has an eerie feel to it when it's like this...and the silence was appropriate given the circumstances. It would be easy to say that the watchers were all city-boys who have prospered under Thatcher's monetarist policies, but the truth is you could see that the audience was made up of people from all walks of life. I had expected the silence to continue as the cortège went past, but instead there was respectful clapping. people had come to pay their respects. Blink and you missed it, but I was glad I went along.
I was going to write a long post about Thatcher, but that seems needless. The only thing I will say is that what is missing most from so much of the debate, discussion and commentary is context. When she arrived Britain was the sickman of Europe, and perhaps her actions should best be measured against that. Because of the ignorant commentary, it seems I've become a Thatcher apologist....it doesn't feel good: many... most ...of today's problems in society and the economy are the direct result of her actions. She is to blame. She did many things in her 11 years as Prime Minister and many have turned out to be bad. If you look at the greed, excess, selfishness, arrogance and lack of any sense of responsibility, the lack of humanity in society, these are all a direct result of her actions. Her decisions. Her responsibility.
But, I don't think she was a bad person. She was like Pandora, and opened a box without understanding the consequences of what she had done. I'm not sure it has been re-opened so that 'hope' could escape to, although interestingly one of the BBC commentators made a passing reference that suggested with her passing, there may be hope for change in the future.
Anyway, I took some photos in the crowds of the people watching the event: