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Opinion: Baroness Thatcher’s Funeral – Sad Day, But Legacy Will Be An Inspiration

Published on: 17 Apr, 2013
Updated on: 18 Apr, 2013

The deputy chairman (political) of the Guildford Conservative Association and borough councillor for Burpham, Christian Holliday, travelled to London to pay his respects to Baroness Margaret Thatcher on Wednesday, April 16, the day of her funeral. Here he gives his thoughts on her as a politician.

Boarding the 7.34am train out of Guildford, I had to ask myself why I had felt motivated to take the day off work and travel to London so early, to see the funeral procession of a former prime minister who left office when I was just 10 years old.


Baroness Margaret Thatcher’s coffin carried on a gun carriage nears St Paul’s Cathedral.

The amount of debate that had taken place in the days since her death was striking when compared to that following the deaths of other former prime ministers.

As Churchill said: “I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents.”

The death of Baroness Thatcher has reminded us of the struggles that took place during her time in office as if they were very recent, despite her being out of power for 23 years.

The level of ‘excitement’ from all quarters we have seen this past week or so is clearly a mark of how radical she was. Bluntly put, her ideas and leadership changed Britain out of all recognition and, in my opinion, for the better.


Service personnel leave, played out by the Band of the Royal Marines.

Listening to those people in the crowd today who were old enough to have lived through Britain’s decline, it sounds bizarre to hear how things used to be: waiting months for state-owned BT to install a phone line for you, electricity supplies being switched off to ration power supplies, waiting lists for household appliances. It sounds almost Victorian now.

Opinion Logo 2By the time Lady Thatcher left office, Britain had more confidence, economic power and standing in the world than it had had for many decades. Many would disagree with this assertion, particularly those who were employed in state controlled or subsidised industries. But the fact is you cannot run an economy on subsidies in the long term. Margaret Thatcher made the reforms we needed to allow Britain to earn a living again, especially by taking on grandees and the vested interests of the unions, and allowing people from all walks of life to make a success of it, free from unnecessary regulation.

I was fortunate enough to meet Margaret Thatcher on three occasions over the last eight years. Each time I met her it was clear her sharp mental powers had declined a little more than the previous time I had met her.

Yet, the crowds she could attract at any event – even when she was not speaking publicly, merely present in the room – still dwarfed the pull of other past politicians on the circuit, and this was evident again from the wide range of people who lined the streets of London for her today, and the very dignified way in which people behaved.

Her lesson, that Britain’s fortunes can be turned around regardless of the odds, is relevant again. She was a stateswoman with tremendous foresight, being one of the few politicians to raise questions early on over the future of a Europe dominated by a reunited Germany and a single currency that she always said was ‘bound to fail.’

She saw the dangers of the EU reimposing regulations at a pan-European level that she had already removed at the national level.


City workers take to the rooftops for the best view.

Following the funeral, a function was held close to St Paul’s Cathedral hosted by the Freedom Association, which included an array of guest speakers. What struck me most about this gathering was the young age of people in attendance, many of whom had not even been alive when she left office in 1990.

This bodes well for the future. Lady Thatcher’s coat of arms carry the official motto ‘cherish freedom’. This, and her legacy of powerful yet simple ideas (individual responsibility, small state; free enterprise) still resonate today and will live on in future generations on the right of centre of British politics.

The day’s events were sad because of the passing of great leader, but they were also inspiring for many, including me. I’m glad I made the journey to St Paul’s.

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Responses to Opinion: Baroness Thatcher’s Funeral – Sad Day, But Legacy Will Be An Inspiration

  1. Dennis Paul Reply

    April 18, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    I had the pleasure of fighting for these values as a student, inspired by her values and ideals.

    I too attended the funeral yesterday, and was also inspired by the quiet and dignified respect those people shared in remembering a truly great leader.

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