Last Goodbye to the “Iron Lady”

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4月8日に87歳で亡くなったマーガレット・サッチャー元首相の葬儀が、本日セントポール大聖堂で行われた。1965年のウィンストン・チャーチル元首相以来、約半世紀ぶりに政治家の葬儀に参列したエリザベス女王夫妻や、キャメロン首相をはじめとする歴代政治家、約170カ国からの招待客など、2300人以上が元首相の死を悼んだ。元首相の棺がウェストミンスター国会議事堂からからセントポール大聖堂に運ばれる間も、沿道にはたくさんの市民が集まり、最後の別れを惜しんだ。→写真:Daily Mail

「鉄の女」と呼ばれた「Baroness Thatcher(イギリス人は称号をつけてこう呼ぶ)」は在任中、ご存知のように弱者切り捨てとみなされた「サッチャリズム」を断行。「sick man of Europe(ヨーロッパの病人)」と言われたイギリス経済を見事立て直した反面、その強硬な態度で敵も多く作った。サッチャー元首相が亡くなった日や今日の葬儀の際、抗議行動をする人たちもいたが、元首相の死を喜ぶパーティをしたり、元首相をかたどった首つり人形を吊るしたり、ひどいコメントを書いたプラカードを掲げたりと、死者の尊厳を無視するヒステリックなやり方には、ちょっと首を傾げたくなる(Guardian / Examiner)。相手は、まだまだ男尊女卑の強かった時代、しかも上流階級出身者の多い保守党の党首として(サッチャーは中流階級出身)イギリス初の女性元首となり、男性以上の強いリーダーシップをもって20世紀イギリスで最も長期間となる3期11年を務めあげた超人である。在任中、彼女に投票・支持した数多くの有権者、そして今日彼女の死を悼む大多数の人たち(ちなみに抗議する人たちは少数派)に対して失礼千万だ。「切り捨てられた」人には同情するし(それでも社会保障は他国に比べて恵まれていると思う)、その時代を生きた世代の人が抗議するならまだわかるが、抗議者の多くは、サッチャーが首相を務めていた頃はまだ生まれてもいない、流行の洋服に身を包んだ貧乏とも思えない若者たち。全く説得力がない。どんなに素晴らしいリーダーでも、全ての人を幸せにすることはできないし、サッチャー元首相は疲弊していた国の経済を立て直し、多くの人々の人生を豊かにした立役者なのだ。今日の繁栄を享受しているかのように見える彼らだけれど、サッチャー以前の停滞状態に戻りたいのか??

話は変わるが、今日この葬儀の場で、新しい「スター」が誕生した。それは、サッチャー元首相の19歳の孫娘・Amanda Thatcher。凛とした美少女で、祖母の葬儀で見事な弔辞を読み上げ、注目を浴びた(Telegraph / Guardian / Evening Standard / Mirror / Daily Mail)。現在アメリカの大学に通っている彼女の一挙手一投足に、今後注目が集まりそう。

Today is a grieving day for many British (and a joyful day for few unforgiving people to what “Iron Lady” did) – the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who passed away on April 8th, was taken place at St. Paul’s Cathedral, attended by more than 2,300 guests including the Queen, who joined the politician’s funeral service for the first time since Winston Churchill’s funeral in 1965, as well as generation of British politicians and foreign dignitaries from 170 countries (guest list: ABC news). Also thousands of mourners gave a farewell while her casket had been carried from the Westminster to St Paul’s Cathedral (and few protesters without respect). →photos: Daily Mail

Baroness Thatcher (British call her like this with title) was a controversial political figure and created many enemies as well as admirers. But we should admit that she was a pioneer of female politician who was the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century with 11 years in the office, during the time when still sexism was strong. Her strong leadership and determination made UK revived from the “sick man of Europe” to one of the most powerful countries in the world again. To my eyes, some protestors to Thatcher went too far, and it is a bit sickening to see; partying & celebrating her death, hanging “Thatcher” doll, or putting up placards with derogatory remarks (ex. Guardian / Examiner). No respect to the deceased former prime minister first of all, and voters who democratically elected her for three times in 11 years, and mourners in much bigger numbers than the protesters. I feel sorry for the people who were affected by her tough policies (though still British social welfare system is much better than many other countries), and at least I understand the older generation or people in mining towns are still upset, but many protesters were ‘hip’ young students who were not even born yet while she was in power – how can they be so angry?! No leader can make everyone happy, but Thatcher at least made many better off, though not everyone, and they should respect that. Or those young people who apparently enjoy today’s UK’s prosperity want to go back the time when the nation was in bad condition before Thatcher??

By the way, today a new ‘star’ emerged from the funeral – Amanda Thatcher, 19-year old beautiful granddaughter of Baroness Thatcher, who made a awesome reading in the service. Lots of people are talking about her now! →TelegraphGuardian / Evening StandardMirror / Daily Mail

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