I was not a great fan of Margaret Thatcher. I never voted for her. I thought some of the things she did were just too divisive. But I can see two sides to most arguments - a great weakness, I know. And I wonder - without Thatch, would today's Britain be much different? We would still have shed our old manufacturing industries - the world would still have globalised. Coal would still have been inefficient to extract - and the Left would today be arguing it causes global warming. She was no more unpleasant than others on the stage of the 80s - than Ken Livingstone, or Arthur Scargill. And she exuded competence - in a way that her main opponents across the Commons, Foot and Kinnock, never did.
But some hated her, and I can understand that. Personally I hope that, now she's gone, we may get some more news on the Hillsborough disaster - maybe stuff that's been kept quiet until she's no longer around.
Now, a lot of the Social Media, and at least one newspaper, have been gloating in her death. And I think that's wrong. A death - whoever's death - is a solemn moment, a transition from this tangible world to an uncertain future. To gloat at anyone's death is a terrible thing. To be relieved at a death is maybe another, where the one dying is currently responsible for a bad state of affairs, which may now become better if we're really lucky. But to me that's relief, not gladness. Nobody gains if an old woman dies.
And if Christians gloat in a death, we're really losing it. Death is a terribly serious business for Christians. It is, after all, the thing Jesus died dealing with. Death is the gateway to two possible final destinations. If the departed one is heading - as it were - down, then that might be God's righteous judgement, but we would be wrong to cheer that. If they are heading upwards, then if we make that journey ourselves later we're gonna look right idiots if the one we laughed about is in the arrivals lounge, as part of our own reception party. Especially if she then forgives us for our gloating.
As my old mum would say, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything,