As the small, flag-draped coffin approached on its gun carriage to the sound of Mendelssohn’s Funeral March, a ripple of applause broke out amongst the onlookers. Whether the applause was for the Lady whose passing we were marking, or for the exemplary conduct of the Armed Forces along the route, or both, was not entirely clear. There was a sense of finality, of gratitude for what she had done and who she had been, and hope that this country would not waste the legacy which she has left us.
Margaret Thatcher was the dominant public figure of my formative years. I joined the Conservative Party because of her, because I had seen between 1979 and 1989 (when I joined the party) the difference which her policies had made to the once drab and decrepit country which I described in my last post on this blog. I worked as a volunteer for the party, became an association chairman, successfully sought election as a councillor, and have been a parliamentary candidate (and hope to be so again) in order to put into effect the principles which she defended, in whatever position to which I might find myself elected or appointed.
The whole ceremony, and particularly the sermon from the Bishop of London, was a fitting tribute to a towering figure in the lives of so many of her countrymen. It is now time to move on from mourning her death to celebrating the fact that she lived and the service that she gave. Although the Baroness may be no more, Thatcherism is alive and well, and I am proud to call myself a Conservatve, and a Thatcherite.
May she rest in peace and rise in glory.