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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.




© Copyright David Selzer
1 Response
  • Howard Gardener
    July 24, 2013

    I remember once reading in a newspaper that somebody or other had declared a particular incident as being as unlikely as Margaret Thatcher saying, “Okay – if you say so”.

    Great stuff, David. The very thought of Thatcher and Dawkins at the same table is enough to induce nightmares. What’s the collective noun for fanatics, I wonder?

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