The spinning of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral just keeps on going: after the revelation of the desperate efforts to fill St Paul’s Cathedral, and the right-leaning press assuring its readers of the supposedly huge numbers that had journeyed to London to line the route of the ceremonial procession, has now come the suggestion that the whole exercise cost a lot less than the £10 million figure previously pitched.
Obligingly trotting out the story, and claiming an exclusive, was the Sun’s non-bullying political editor Tom Newton-Dunn, proclaiming “Thatcher funeral cost just £3.6m – a THIRD of reported figure”. Yes, “The actual price of the Iron Lady’s ceremonial send-off has come in at a THIRD of the £10million figure bandied around by her left wing enemies” [my emphasis].
He goes on “Several left leaning national newspapers plastered the erroneous £10m sum over their front pages 48 hours after Lady T’s death on April 8”. And how many “left leaning national newspapers” are there? Just because the Guardian and Independent don’t subscribe to the Sun’s rabid right agenda does not make them “left leaning”. Fact is, there is only one such title – the Mirror.
And the Mirror did indeed put the £10 million figure on its front page. But Newton-Dunn and his political soulmates are being disingenuous here: what about the multiple gun salute? What about the whole area being swept by the security forces before the big day? What about Young Dave’s premature recall of Parliament? And did any of those attending have any travel and hotel costs paid?
There are other costs associated with the funeral, too, such as all the road closures and barriers, as well as the ceremony the previous evening in Parliament. So, although it suits the Sun to get in first with its £3.6m figure, this will not be the final cost. But what of these “left-wing enemies” who have been putting the £10 million figure out there?
Well, one article told that it would be “extraordinary” not to spend that amount, and cited 10 Downing Street as a source. This was in the well-known hotbed of socialist realism called the Telegraph. Maybe this is an isolated occurrence? Maybe not: “a reported figure of £10 million” was bandied about by another less than obviously leftist media outlet, the Daily Mail, not once but twice.
And the paper going for “the reported £10 million cost of the ceremonial funeral” and then quoting someone saying “David Cameron has decided to spend £10 million on a funeral” without countering either assertion is none other than, er, the Sun. Yes, Newton-Dunn’s own paper allied itself with Mrs T’s “left wing enemies”. That’s one clueless political editor standing in a very draughty glasshouse.
The Super Soaraway Currant Bun, where hypocrisy comes as standard.