The death of Baroness Thatcher caused such diverse reactions that it was a given that there’d be just as many polarising reactions to her funeral plans.
The death of Baroness Thatcher caused such diverse reactions that it was a given that there’d be just as many polarising reactions to her funeral plans. When Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow announced on Tuesday that the bells of Big Ben and the great clock of Westminster were to be silenced as a mark of respect, it again caused a lot of controversy.
It’s believed that Winston Churchill’s funeral in 1965 also included the silencing of the bells so Baroness Thatcher wasn’t the first Prime Minister to receive this tribute. However, the decision to silence the bells only served to add to growing controversy surrounding the size and scale of Baroness Thatcher’s ceremonial funeral.
The arguments for and against the silencing of the bells both have merit. While I do agree that silencing the bells is a nice tribute to her memory, I do have to also agree that it all seems to getting a bit over the top. But, I now must ask if the silencing of the bells is really needed on top of everything else?
The very fact that she was given a ceremonial funeral angered a lot of people. It is simply adding more tributes on top of a very expensive and grand funeral, so is it really for the best? In my opinion, it is not. While I doubt it made any substantial difference to the already costly funeral, it is a nice sentiment, but isn’t really a necessary sentiment.
Baroness Thatcher was a very marmite person. Many people either loved or hated her. There was no real middle ground. The aftermath of her death showed that many people still held very strong feelings about her and the fact that The Wizard of Oz song “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead” entered number 2 in the UK single charts thanks to campaigns on social media networks prove that many people still held a deep resentment towards her.
The decision to silence the bells just seems like it was going to create more controversy purely for the sake of it. Since Baroness Thatcher was already going to be given a ceremonial funeral it just seems unnecessary to add to the spectacle of it all.
The fact that she was given a ceremonial funeral at all was controversial enough. The Daily Mail even launched a campaign to upgrade it to a State Funeral which would have undoubtedly resulted in a backlash from a lot of people.
I’m not saying the bells shouldn’t have been silenced because some people didn’t like Baroness Thatcher. I don’t want them to be because many people did like and admire her and rightly so these people should have the opportunity to mourn her.
But because she is such a polarising figure, care should have been taken to not anger those people who didn’t like her. Besides, isn’t a ceremonial funeral estimated to cost £10 million already enough of tribute to Baroness Thatcher without silencing the bells on Big Ben as well?