2013年4月18日 星期四

With Pomp, U.K. Bids Farewell to Thatcher / Margaret Thatcher's legacy was not one nation, but two

With Pomp, U.K. Bids Farewell to Thatcher

LONDON—Britain's public and senior political leaders, joined by foreign dignitaries, gathered here Wednesday to pay final respects to Margaret Thatcher, modern Britain's longest-serving prime minister, in a day marked by big crowds, grand British ceremony and little of the disruption that had threatened the divisive former leader's funeral.
Despite some protests in the streets, Margaret Thatcher’s ceremonial funeral at St. Paul’s Cathedral passed without major incident. Here is a view on the atmosphere inside and outside the cathedral from WSJ’s Cassell Bryan-Low.
Thousands of people lined the streets to watch Mrs. Thatcher's flag-draped coffin, set on a horse-drawn gun carriage, make its way to 300-year old St. Paul's Cathedral, where her funeral service was held. While the crowds were mostly respectful, there were hints of deep divides in opinion over her legacy for the country. A small number of people booed, chanted and brandished signs with anti-Thatcher slogans.

Photos: Thatcher's Funeral

Michael Regan/Getty Images
Office workers looked on as the cortege passed along Fleet Street toward St Paul's Cathedral.
The funeral procession for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher drew crowds of protesters opposed to Thatcher's policies and the public expense of the funeral. Video by WSJ's Dipti Kapadia via #WorldStream.
Mrs. Thatcher, who served as prime minister from 1979 to 1990, died on April 8 at age 87 following a stroke.
At the service, the Bishop of London Richard Chartres opened his sermon with a reference to the conflicting views she inspired. "After the storm of a life lived in the heat of political controversy, there is a great calm," he said. "Lying here, she is one of us, subject to the common destiny of all human beings."
He was addressing some 2,300 guests gathered for the service, including Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister David Cameron and senior leaders from around the world including prime ministers, foreign ministers, heads of state and other dignitaries from 170 countries.
The concentration of senior political figures, plus concerns about the potential of disruptive protests, led to a heavy security presence, with some 4,000 additional police officers, large crowd-control barriers and roads closed to traffic. Concerns were compounded by Monday's deadly blasts at the Boston Marathon, with London hosting its own race Sunday.
One man was arrested for entering a restricted area and being abusive, London's Metropolitan Police said Wednesday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, the coffin carrying Mrs. Thatcher's body made its way to the cathedral from the Houses of Parliament in Westminster first by hearse and then by the gun carriage, drawn by six horses from the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery. Members of the army, navy and air force lined the procession route. Soldiers fired guns stationed at Tower Bridge during the procession and a Royal Marines band played funeral marches by Beethoven, Chopin and Mendelssohn. Some 700 military personnel took part. The chimes of Big Ben were silenced during the funeral.
The funeral prompted debate in the U.K. about the cost to the public of such a big event.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip arrive at St. Paul's Cathedral in London for Margaret Thatcher's funeral.A
Mrs. Thatcher's ceremony was one step short of a state funeral, which is usually reserved for the monarch but was provided for Winston Churchill, Britain's prime minister during World War II. Still, the proceedings contained much of the pomp that goes with such affairs.

Mrs. Thatcher requested that she not lie in state and that there be no military flyby. Her body was cremated in a private ceremony after the funeral service.

The government hasn't disclosed the cost of the event but has said it will do so.

Enlarge Image Getty Images
The coffin of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher arrives at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday ahead of her funeral in London on Wednesday.
Underlying the debate is the fact that divisions over Mrs. Thatcher's policies remain stark more than two decades after she left office. Supporters of Mrs. Thatcher, Britain's first and only female prime minister, say she transformed Britain into a free-market economy and restored a sense of British pride. But her bitter battles against unions and the tough economic measures she imposed won her many enemies.
Those views were reflected by members of the crowd lining the streets. Amanda Nanhoo-Robinson said she "grew up thinking, 'If Maggie Thatcher can run the country, I could be a barrister.' " Added Ms. Nanhoo-Robinson, who is now a barrister: "She did a lot for the country, for women, for the world."
"She was a pretty unique prime minister who achieved a great deal—she brought back the self-esteem and confidence of the United Kingdom," said Keith Batt, a 75-year-old retired Royal Air Force captain, who was strolling up and down Fleet Street, wearing a bowler hat and toting a large black umbrella, as he looked for a place to glimpse the procession.
But at a street corner near the cathedral, spectators tried to use cheers and applause to drown out protesters' chants of "Maggie, Maggie, Maggie! Dead, Dead Dead!"
Wayne Linskey, 47 years old, wore a Lucifer mask and carried a sign criticizing Mrs. Thatcher's treatment of miners. Mr. Linskey, the nephew of two coal miners, said he blamed Mrs. Thatcher for the economic problems in his hometown of Barnsley in Yorkshire, including for those who have been unemployed since the mines closed.
The roughly hourlong funeral service included two readings—delivered by Mr. Cameron and Mrs. Thatcher's granddaughter—both from the King James Bible, whose prose Mrs. Thatcher found poetic. Music included several British composers including Edward Elgar, hymns such as the patriotic "I Vow to Thee My Country."
There was no eulogy, as Mrs. Thatcher had requested. But during his sermon, the bishop of London recalled Mrs. Thatcher's Methodist upbringing, her struggles entering politics at a time when few politicians were women, her time in office and the loss of her husband. He described her as someone with a strong work ethic, who reflected on how faith and politics related.
There was never any doubt that Margaret Thatcher’s death would attract a lot of attention. Her funeral went off without any major incidents but the last nine days have shown how controversial her life was. Nick Hastings looks back at the reaction to her death.
The service prompted tears from some guests, including from Britain's Treasury chief George Osborne—a member of the Conservative Party that Mrs. Thatcher had long led—who later tweeted it had been "a moving, almost overwhelming day."
But the bishop also drew laughter when he recalled her direct manner. He recalled that once, as he sat next to Mrs. Thatcher at a function, she grabbed his wrist and "said very emphatically, 'Don't touch the duck pâté, Bishop—it's very fattening.' "
—David Enrich, Justin Scheck, Dipti Kapadia, Charles Forelle and Shirley Wang contributed to this article.
  • Bishop praised for Thatcher address

    Margaret Thatcher funeral
    Tory MPs commend Richard Chartres for 'well-judged' speech that emphasised former PM's humanity and faith

    Thatcher funeral: goodbye to all that

    The mourners and protesters at Margaret Thatcher's funeral illustrated that her legacy was not one nation, but two
    The distinction between a ceremonial and a state funeral is a subtle one, certainly hard to grasp yesterday as the flag-draped coffin of Margaret Thatcher was drawn on a gun carriage to the steps of St Paul's, where the military pallbearers stood in wait for a prime minister for the first time since Winston Churchill nearly 50 years ago. The Queen was there then, and now. This was not the only lingering echo of the war, for gathered inside Wren's glorious cathedral were the last of the generation that grew up during it and, in a few cases, bore arms in it. Outside, the streets were thickly lined with the respectful, the curious and a few of the critical.

    The pomp and circumstance, like the unplanned recall of parliament last week, might have been intended to embed Lady Thatcher's place in history as a national hero beyond dispute. But the biographies of the mourners were an unmistakable reminder of her capacity to divide: there were the men who fought her, who were sacked by her, who resigned from her governments. Rows of almost forgotten faces, a little as if Spitting Image had been commissioned to reprise its best jokes: the ex-SDP leader David Owen and his political partner, the Liberal leader David Steel, together, but apart; the successor she condemned, John Major, her chancellor, Nigel Lawson, who walked away from her cabinet a year before her fall, and her first foreign secretary, a frail Lord Carrington, who first took his seat in the Lords in 1940 and resigned from her government over the Falklands invasion in 1982. There were the conspicuous loyalists, among them her eternally faithful press secretary, Bernard Ingham, but not far from him Michael Heseltine, the man whose challenge triggered her final defeat. From abroad came Republicans and conservatives, shades from the past: Henry Kissinger and George Shultz; and admirers from the present such as Israel's Binyamin Netanyahu and the former Australian prime minister John Howard.

    By chance, the funeral was 34 years to the day since, in a storming campaign speech in Cardiff before her first election victory, the young and controversial opposition leader Margaret Thatcher, in the words of the Guardian's headline, abandoned the middle way. In a truly iconoclastic passage that must have struck terror in the hearts of those of her mourners who heard it at the time, she declared herself the true heir to the moral ambition of the traditional socialist movement. It was striking that yesterday the bishop of London, Richard Chartres, invoked with an equally startling boldness the radical Methodism of the leaders of the Tolpuddle Martyrs as a part of her spiritual identity.

    "We are all Thatcherites now," David Cameron told the BBC's Today programme, as if it defined her legacy. Certainly, if only because their politics was formed in her era, she has shaped the current Tory party, as she shaped many of today's political debates. It is also true that to many of the mourners lining the route, she was, as she is in sections of the press, the saviour of the nation. What yesterday's funeral illustrated again was that her legacy was not one nation but two. It was not just the glimpse of the SNP leader Alex Salmond in the congregation, or the back-turning protesters at Ludgate Circus, that served as a reminder of the gulf that separates the Thatcher heartlands in the prosperous south from the rest of Britain. As the doors at the west end of St Paul's were flung open to the sunshine at the end of the service, pictures popped up on Twitter of the damp centre of Leeds, where in front of a giant screen just two solitary individuals had paused to watch the service. Later, in the Dearne Valley village of Goldthorpe, not far to the south, a large crowd gathered around a celebratory bonfire in front of boarded-up homes, a brutal reminder that there are many communities where the scars of the miners' strike are yet to heal. Yesterday marks the end of an extraordinary nine days. But now we are back in the present, where history's verdict will not only be written by the victors.
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