Sometimes one does not know whether to laugh or cry at the advanced state of cluelessness displayed by those populating the bear pit that is Telegraph blogs. The assembled rogues’ gallery has outdone itself today with its reaction to the passing of Margaret Thatcher, which I posted on earlier. Some of the comment is sensible; too much, however, as the Python sketch would suggest, is silly.
Tony Gallagher, editor, Daily Telegraph
Tim Stanley, who you can tell as he’s a doctor, is on this occasion batting for the sensible party. “Whatever their politics, everyone owes her respect” he declared, and makes one more telling observation. “She overcame the hurdles of misogyny and class prejudice to become leader of the Tory Party”. Dead right she did: her Lincolnshire dialect had to be excised to allow her to progress.
But the silly party is not far behind: poor Dan Hodges, getting a break from whingeing at Mil The Younger’s continued and coldly calculating journey from North London to 10 Downing Street, opines “we on the Left must find the dignity to set aside our political differences”. The only differences you face, Dan, are between you and those who really are on the left.
What Hodges is getting at is the idea that those not of a right leaning disposition would use the occasion of Mrs T’s passing to gloat or otherwise pass cruel and unpleasant comments about her. But these have been few and far between: mostly, what he calls “the left” have maintained a dignified stance of the kind not afforded by the right not so long ago to Michael Foot. Or Hugo Chávez.
But that has not deterred the loathsome Toby Young, who has told of “The trendy, Left-wing gadflies celebrating Margaret Thatcher's death would probably be rotting in the Gulag if it wasn't for the Iron Lady”. Going into Jon Stewart mode, two things here. One, Tobes can’t find anyone beyond a comedian and a retired miner to back up his proposition. And the latter has good reason for his resentment towards her.
Second, the idea that the then Soviet Union was bent on westward expansion is total crap. That their sphere of influence would extend across a number of buffer states in Eastern Europe, thus preventing yet another invasion, was all Stalin sought from Winshton and FDR. This assurance he secured. Winshton later feigned horror, the old fraud. He knew what would happen. He nodded it through.
Never mind, though, the entertainment’s here in the shape of James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole, who tells “In 1940 we had Winston Churchill. In 1979 we had Margaret Thatcher”. It’s a statesman thing for Del Boy. The thought that she signed the Single European Act and foresaw the effects of man-made climate change are selectively edited out of his perfect memory.
Margaret Thatcher was a more complex individual that any of them realise.