TONY GILLAN: An official ‘Margaret Thatcher Day’ would be plain silly

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Proposals have been made in the Commons to create a Margaret Thatcher Day, to celebrate Britain’s first female Prime Minister.

The suggestion was made by backbencher Sheryll Murray to Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch, who approves. If it happens it will see the entire nation united in a joyous and appreciative knees-up. Or something.

Few people who remember Mrs Thatcher who would be put down as a “don’t know” when asked for an opinion on the woman.

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A while ago some of the less subtle pro-leave MPs, in their gloating, wanted a national celebration of Brexit. But the Government quietly ignored the idea. Perhaps wisely, given the divide on the issue. There would have been punch-ups from Caithness to Cornwall.

Hands up, who wants a Margaret Thatcher Day? Getty Images.Hands up, who wants a Margaret Thatcher Day? Getty Images.
Hands up, who wants a Margaret Thatcher Day? Getty Images.

In contrast, the Thatcher Day idea seems to be heartfelt rather than antagonistic. But surely they haven’t thought it through. Mmes Murray and Badenoch probably don’t want to see the great lady commemorated by burning effigies, as would surely happen.

When Thatcher died in 2013 there were suggestions that football crowds should observe a minute’s silence. Nine years on it sounds no less bonkers.

It was left at the time to one of her former ministers, David Mellor, to introduce some sanity into the discussion.

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He said: “I think it would make a dismal spectacle and we should not try and do it.

“It doesn’t matter if she was the greatest peacetime Prime Minister, there is no point in asking football to have a minute’s silence that lots of people will not observe.”

That response surely applies now to Mrs Murray’s wheeze.

There is also the issue of who and what else to commemorate. Even VE Day is only widely marked on special anniversaries.

There is no Churchill Day. If there was there would be demands to balance it with an Attlee Day, or a Lloyd George Day (an Oliver Cromwell Day?); although the Thatcher Day proposal is based on the fact that she was a woman.

Let those who want to organise a binge do so privately. Thatcher’s hundredth birthday is in 2025. But an attempt to foist such a shindig on everyone would be plain silly.