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The Funeral of Margaret Thatcher - My perspective from outside St Paul's

Tom Winnifrith
Wednesday 17 April 2013

I report back merely on my experiences standing about 100 yards from St Paul’s. The doors closed after the coffin entered the Cathedral and I wandered back to Real Man Pizza to drink English Champagne with Lucian Miers, to record a joint video and to toast our greatest ever Prime Minister.

I was standing by St Pauls for around five hours to ensure that I had an almost front row perch. By 6.45 there was already a good enough crowd. But it was clear that it was going to be much larger. But still the reporters persisted in asking anyone they could find if they were disappointed with the turnout or how they felt about those who had celebrated Lady Thatcher’s death. That was the narrative of, at least some of the fourth estate.

Among the early birds were a group from the Falklands showing their flag proudly, there was a Canadian flag, union flags and even a Scottish Saltire. Behind me were a group of Americans come to pay their respects.

But by ten thirty when the Coffin left St Clement Danes the entire route was packed as you can see from the photo below.

The narrative of the reporters then changed. They carried on interviewing folks in the crowd but swarmed like bees around honey when they managed to find the odd individual protester such as the gentleman below.

I asked this fellow what he did. He was a retired teacher. So after a lifetime of poisoning impressionable minds with lefty filth he has now living on the sort of final salary pension scheme we in the private sector can only dream of. His sort of pension scheme costs a multiple of the cost of a funeral which was approved and costed by the last Labour Government. But facts do not matter to hate filled bigots like him. 

He was a minority. The crowd was just a mixture of folk. I was next to a couple of scousers (very right wing chaps from the Freedom Association), but there people of all ages, all colours, all classes there. Thatcher gave them opportunity to progress in a way that stuffy paternalist old school Tories like Howe and Heseltine (who stabbed her in the back in the end) or David Cameron will never do or understand. They were just there to say thank you.

As the coffin approached your feelings were mixed. Some people cried. Others clapped. Others stood in silence. I did not really know what to do. I sort of half clapped but could not really work out how it was best to show total respect and to say thank you.

And then the coffin passed into the church. Five and a half hours waiting, standing on my feet for just a few minutes. Was it worth it? Of course. I had to show my respect. I would not have forgiven myself had I not done so.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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