The day after Thatcher was turned to ashes,
I crossed the channel by easyJet, noted
the busy shipping lanes, then saw England’s coast –
Dungeness and Romney Marsh, Dover’s cliffs –
and the North Downs towards Canterbury
becoming obscured by rain as we banked
for Gatwick. Once home, I caught up on the news.
She was fêted in Chelsea, reviled
in Barnsley. Her official biography
was due to be broadcast as the BBC’s
Book at Bedtime. And her policies,
as always, dividing and divisive.
At the High Table, New College, Oxford,
dining with Dawkins and his acolytes,
the Iron Lady with lips of Monroe
and the Emperor Caligula’s eyes –
an erstwhile chemist who once worked for
J. Lyons & Co on ice cream preservatives –
misunderstood the talk of the selfish gene,
the immortal gene, and thought she had learned
there is no such thing as society –
her version of Caligula’s horse –
from her intellectual, though, of course, not
her socially aspirational betters.
So undigested science was used
to justify greed and social mayhem.
How could a democracy be traduced
by an obsessed, bitter causer of havoc,
determined to redeem feudalism?
Her methods were Hitler’s – challenge the foe
with extremism and await concessions.
I remember the young sleeping in doorways,
students sharing textbooks, roads unmended,
civic dereliction; the overthrowing
of unelected union barons
for unaccountable press barons;
and always the scoundrel’s final refuge
Little England’s patriotism.
Her history will be written as
both tragedy and farce.