Should there be a Thatcher silence?

Maggie In Hard Hat

Former Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher’s death on Monday, aged 87, has thrown up a conundrum for football.

Ordinarily, the death of high profile icon and politician would be mourned appropriately by the nation and their contribution honored by a one-minute silence, not just in football, but across the board.

The problem is, and it’s a controversial subject whichever way you approach it, is that the nation tends to disagree on what she is an icon of and what her contribution to this country was.

On the right, there are those who would ardently argue that she was national treasure – ‘The Iron Lady’ – and that she dedicated much of her life to serving the country and its people admirably.

On the other hand, the left and probably across the spectrum in between, there are those who would argue that she presided over some of the most horrendous times in modern British history and left a legacy of suffering that took many many years to heal.

This is a football blog and, as such, I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of eighties politics – especially seeing as I wasn’t born for most of that decade.

I am however, aware of the policies that the Conservative government brought in under Thatcher between 1979 and 1990 and I have to say, personally, I don’t think there should be one-minute silence observed.

My personal politics, however, are irrelevant to this discussion; this is about football and, more importantly, fans of football. Football is, in many ways, a microcosm of society and fans are people from all walks of life, they represent ‘us’.

As such, if ‘we’ are not in unison with regard to ‘our’ collective remembrance of Baroness Thatcher – if memory serves us a perspective of ambiguity as a whole, then football fans, the people, should not be encouraged to nor discouraged from observing a silence.

Those who wish to do so may take from that what they will. There is still hurt and there is still anger and it is not silent and it cannot be contained. Ironically, the refusal by many to observe a silence speaks bounds.

image: © Matthew Rutledge

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