THE BLOG

The Death of Margaret Thatcher Shows the Ugly, Tribal Face of Politics

10/04/2013 09:52 BST | Updated 09/06/2013 10:12 BST

So, the fires of cognitive dissonance are well alight. We certainly do not need further encouragement to fan the flames. Across Twitter there has been an outpouring, of some sincere tributes, but also downright nastiness.

It made me feel ashamed to be British. I myself grew up in Scotland, and if you think Baroness Thatcher was hated here, North of the Border, the hatred is off the Richter scale.

But I think we are missing something from this discourse. Margaret Thatcher is probably the most polarising Prime Minister in living memory. Much like Marmite, you either loved her, or hated her.

For many on the Right of the political spectrum she is a hero and has almost cult like status. For others through, the name Margaret Thatcher alone is enough to provoke them into a rage.

I grew up as Thatcher's child. I remember her nickname, Margaret Thatcher milk snatcher. As a young child, for some reason I was transfixed by endless fury from Arthur Scargill on the television.

I remember imagery of riots. I remember a country in turmoil. Turmoil that which makes the riots of summer 2012 seem like small beer.

I also have the maturity to know that she enjoyed two general election victories. The British electoral system is bound and founded on principles of democracy, not autocracy.

Now I am no Thatcherite and I do not have a portrait of her hanging aloft in my bedroom. However, neither do I speak ill of the dead.

When the former leader of the Labour Party John Smith died, the then Prime Minister John Major said of him;

"Political differences are not the be-all and end-all of relationships for Members of the House. When I think of John Smith, I think of an opponent, not an enemy."

This is a statesmanlike and graceful quote. In my eyes, it is a tragedy when political opposition and differences transform into genuine hatred. And Major is right. Political differences are indeed not the be all and end all.

As much as the acidic, barbed clashes in the House of Commons would encourage you to believe otherwise, political parties do share some common goals. Also, the Prime Minister meets regularly with opposition parties to discuss confidential matters.

One brilliant piece of Conservative reform was the 1981 Education Act. This came about as a consequence of the Warnock report, trailblazing a move out of segregated education for those with disabilities. It heralded a new dawn of integration for those like me, who were disabled, but with suitable mental capacity. I flourished and thrived, went to College, and went to University, and here I am now.

Being honest, I was highly alarmed at the levels of celebration going on upon the announcement of her death. It even seems like an oxymoron to write celebration and death in the same sentence.

My friend Tara Hewitt who is a Conservative campaigner and is Deputy Chairman of Wirral Conservative Future amongst other accolades had vile, misogynistic abuse directed at her last night.

The only reason for this was that she was tweeting in response to the death of Baroness Thatcher, a lady whom she loved and admired.

She wasn't tweeting high flown self aggrandising polemic monologues. She merely paid her respects and stated her wish to send a card of condolence to the Thatcher family. It is a normal response to the death of someone you know and admire, hardly fratricide.

The clever thing she did though was retweet the abuse for all to see. It was a real cacophony of disgusting proportions.

There were jibes around her weight, her appearance and even her sexuality. She was even called a scumbag.

Those heaping vituperation upon Thatcher should also know that she was not just a politician but a wife, a grandmother and a mother. How are her family supposed to grieve with mob like disgusting behaviour going on?

People should be allowed to support the political party of their choosing. We do, shock horror, live in a democratic society, and people are free to exercise that right. But hurling insults and holding celebrations is not good behaviour, and it makes me ashamed to be politically active almost.

A lady has died here, and her life in her last days has been blighted by the cruellest of conditions dementia.

Now is the time for politics to end, and the process of mourning and grieving to begin for family and friends. I hope that can now happen, and Baroness Thatcher can be afforded dignity in death. You would, I feel sure, want the same for your own family?