Sunday, April 21, 2013

Margaret Thatcher’s final call

Media coverage of the death of the former British leader has mirrored the divisions which marked her political life.

 'As divisive in death as she was in office’ is a phrase that has frequently been repeated in the British media since former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's death on April 8. And nowhere was that more true than in their own coverage.

Depending on where Britons get their news, Thatcher was either an 'Iron Lady' who rescued the UK and modernised its economy, or an elitist who looked down at the working classes and crippled British industry.

Britain’s right-leaning press, many of which are owned by key Thatcher ally Rupert Murdoch, stood in her favour while the liberal press seized on the opportunity to criticise her policies and blame her for some of Britain’s current problems.

It is said that one should not speak ill of the dead. But that did not stop liberal papers from passing harsh judgment on a prime minister whose policies, they say, have not grown better with time.

It was inevitable then, fitting even, that Thatcher’s death would prove to be as polarising an event as her 11 years in office. It gave Britain's opinionated press one last chance to argue over her record, her place in history, and the way she was eulogised, at a ceremony that looked suspiciously like the state funeral that the Cameron government insisted it was not.



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