Christmas open thread

No polls over Christmas of course, but here’s an open thread for those of you seeking to escape from Christmas preparations. Reflections on the year just gone? Predictions for next year? No need to stay on topic, but please do try and remain civil and rise above “Brilliant year for party I support and I predict that next year things which I would really like to happen will happen” ;)


162 Responses to “Christmas open thread”

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  1. Chouenlai, Old Nat, et al,

    Being “nice” should be worth very little when a leader. I’d too rather have competence, vision, etc than affability. I agree with Neil A earlier, I have no ill-feeling towards Ed Miliband, he seems to be a perfectly nice chap. He may be a nicer chap than Cameron. It just seems that his problem is that on the list of qualities Old Nat put forward, he still lags behind at the moment in the eyes of the electorate. It would not be a “likeability” contest Cameron wins if the Tories were elected in the future. It would be a (relative) credibility contest…..

  2. Robert Newark,

    Love the cow post :-)

  3. HOODED MAN

    I put “competence” first in that list (the others are in no particular order) because the Scottish Election Study is very clear that judgement of that was the single biggest factor in the SNP’s winning of the last two elections.

    It was, also, Alex Salmond’s strategy to demonstrate that a Scottish Government could/would be more competent than Westminster. (Of course, he has been lucky that “events, dear boy, events” haven’t obstructed that strategy).

  4. Talking of competence –

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/virginia-politics/post/perry-disqualified-from-va-primary-ballot/2011/12/23/gIQA3BZNEP_blog.html#pagebreak

    “Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry failed to submit enough valid signatures to qualify for the Virginia primary ballot, state GOP officials said”

  5. SOCIALISM
    You have 2 cows.
    You give one to your neighbor.

    Surely that’s charity, not socialism?

  6. “SOCIALISM
    You have 2 cows.
    You give one to your neighbor.

    Surely that’s charity, not socialism?

    No, Charity is when you have 2 cows and give your neighbour a pint of milk — once a year- at Christmas.

    Seasons greetings to everyone — From a Lurker.

  7. TSITSIKAMMA

    :-) Nice to see you delurk.

  8. I thought Socialism was when all of the cows are pooled together and shared out equally. I think sell my share, then all the cows are pooled together and shared out equally. Then I sell my share. Then all the cows (etc)….

  9. Syndicalism

    We have 2 cows. We enter into a joint trading agreement with a syndicate which has a bull.

    We all prosper. The state can sod off.

  10. Ok, I’m going out on a limb here for some wilder stabs at the future. Dusting off my crystal ball as we speak. Predictions;

    Clegg will face a (poorly managed) leadership challenge and will win, though it won’t be by a huge majority. This will be used to demonstrate LD faith in the coalition. Polls continue to sink.

    EdM won’t face a leadership challenge as Lab will be pushing the coalition divided line, and they will start picking up again in the polls as the year goes on. However, not enough to satisfy many.

    Cameron will continue to make huge mistakes, but be allowed to get away with it without too much bother for most of the year, but towards the end public opinion will finally have shifted against Government economic policy, and the Government will no longer get away without criticism. Polls dip accordingly.

    Cows become a regular reference point in the UKpollingreport boards.

    Euro crashes, though EZ survives. EU suffers massive recession.

    UK enters a recession, though not as bad compared to most other EU countries. Only UK and Germany keep AAA out of the bigger economies (just). Gov. blames American instability due to election (Obama wins against Romney) and Euro crash.

    Sarkozy gets kicked out of Government, Merkel alone at the helm when Euro collapses. (can’t remember if it’s 2012 or not but if it is; Germany one of the main contributors to rescuing the failed Euro states, ECB becomes LoLR, issues EBs etc, Merkel subsequently loses her next election)

    UK will become engaged in one other military conflict (either Somalia, Argentina or another Arab state – Syria perhaps?).

    Either; Thatcher passes prior to final decisions being made on a state funeral. She gets one anyway. Philip dies later. Receives state funeral.
    Or; Philip dies and gets a state funeral, Thatcher does not, expense cited as main cause.

    Gay marriage legalised in Scotland.

    UKIP will begin to poll above LDs, though infrequently.

    University reforms haunt LDs again as problems are revealed. Particularly; a significant drop in University applications (3-5%) coupled with revelations about inaccessibility for other students, probably in the form of medical second degree students (who have to pay £9,000 up-front every year, and don’t have access to loans). BMA will apply pressure, others will follow.

    The combination of factors will result in final polls of;

    Con:31%
    Lab:43%
    LD:5%
    UKIP:6%

  11. Old Nat,

    Yes, rightly it is important, whilst, sadly, rarely a pre-requisite. Perhaps there has never been a situation of “whose competence do you wish for”……
    Of course, Salmond to a degree since 07 and exclusively since May 11 has been able to luxuriate in a position where “Scotland’s successes are down to us, Scotland’s problems are down to those useless feckers in Westminster”.
    Not criticising that stance, I’d do the same myself, it’s just the way it is……

  12. OldNat

    The gap between public perception of Salmond on the one hand and the other leaders is like night and day.

    He is running at something like + 30 in satisfaction. The best of the rest is about – 20!

    The real difference is that Salmond is the exception. The others are the rule.

  13. Tsitsikamma,

    I would recommend reviewing your philanthropic activities.

  14. @Smukesh

    Ironically, I’m not on the right, but I can’t stand the sight of Tony Blair.

    @Chouenlai

    I disagree that Ed Miliband looks stupid at PMQs, he usually seems to have a good grasp of the issues and scores some reasonable political points. His problem is he lacks Cameron’s verbal acuity, which usually results in Cameron being able to “win” with witty but vacuous insults, if that sort of thing impresses you.

    On Europe, my ability to form an informed opinion on the proposed agreements is hampered by the fact that the sum total of my knowledge on economics is what I’ve been able to glean from reading Paul Krugman’s blog, but I can see that a situation in which our leaders are now only able to sit and watch, whilst foreign leaders with whom he has no credibility, make decisions which affect us, is not ideal. Also, ironically, I’m pretty Eurosceptic, if nothing else the Euro crisis shows the folly of the European integration project, but DC ultimately didn’t achieve anything with his veto and his red lines were for the benefit of the City, not most of the country. Unfortunately, all people see is that he stuck it to the French. On a broader level I think that part of the key to electoral success, for Labour, is going to have to be articulating an intelligent Euroscepticism (and social conservatism, generally)- I think it’s the Greens and Caroline Lucas who’ve had the most sensible things to say on Europe, recently.

  15. Best wishes for the New Year – now the predictions

    Eurozone survives and does well – after all despite their fiscal crisis the Eurozone economy is still growing at an annual rate of 1.4% (quarter 3 figures) – thus proving the value of working together for the common good.

    BRIC economies pull the world out of recession, and boost Eurozone exports. UK fails to benefit from this as we do not understand anymore how to make friends overseas and sell them our stuff.

    UK economy continues to nose dive, but gets small boost from Eurozone growth.

    LibDems move away from Tories, and thus pick up support lost to Labour. Anti EU moves in Tories drive left leaning Tories back to Lib Dems – So Lib Dem support rises at expense of both.

    However all offset by economic crisis in UK, rising unemployment being the main issue – leading to coalition split and early GE in 2013/14

    Remember it is not opposition who win elections – it is Governments who lose them – so Ed Milliband’s perceived poor performance is not important

  16. @Neil A,

    A cynic might say a socialist only offers to distribute someone else’s cows. :-)

    Merry Christmas everyone.

  17. @ Old Nat

    “I agree about not supporting vile people. You would have to assume that the qualities excluding such people are included in my “etc etc”.”

    I think the bigger question is this: what do you do when you have a candidate for office who’s on your side and who largely agrees with you on the issues but you know them to be an absolutely vile and awful person? Do you still vote for them? Or do you make a principled decision to say no because you know how bad they are?

    @ Robert Newark

    “AN AMERICAN CORPORATION
    You have two cows.
    You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
    Later, you hire a consultant to analyze why the cow has dropped dead.”

    LOL.

    You also missed

    LIBERALISM:
    You have two cows.

    You successfully incentivize the cows to produce the amount of milk that five cows would produce. You tax some of the excess profit and reinvest it into milk production and you allow a tax write off for excess milk that’s given to those who don’t have milk.

    Then you sit around and complain that your two cows only gave you the milk of five cows and not that of ten cows, blame your elected officials for the problem, discuss why you’re disillusioned with politics as a result, talk about how you voted for the wrong guy in the Primary, whine that you would have gotten the milk of ten cows if only you had voted for the other guy (or gal) in the primary, and then threaten to move to Canada. :)

  18. @ Old Nat

    “Talking of competence –

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/virginia-politics/post/perry-disqualified-from-va-primary-ballot/2011/12/23/gIQA3BZNEP_blog.html#pagebreak

    “Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry failed to submit enough valid signatures to qualify for the Virginia primary ballot, state GOP officials said””

    Yeah, that is pretty damn incompetent. I mean, you should be able to scrounge up the signatures to get on the ballot. Especially in a state you need to win.

    I’m wondering if there’s a way he can get qualified a write-in candidate and Virginia Republicans can write in. I don’t know Virginia election law as well as I should but that seems plausible.

    I heard his campaign was desperately attempting to gather enough signatures that they were paying signature gatherers for each signature. I was considering going out and seeing if I could do this just to help Gingrich get on the ballot and see if I could make a little money in the process. But then I decided against it….it’s just bad karma (plus it might be a reason, albeit a faulty one, to not hire me to work on future Democratic campaigns).

  19. @ Scotswaehae

    “Either; Thatcher passes prior to final decisions being made on a state funeral. She gets one anyway. Philip dies later. Receives state funeral.
    Or; Philip dies and gets a state funeral, Thatcher does not, expense cited as main cause.”

    I think she should get a state funeral. No matter how much you hate an office holder, they should receive what everyone else does. It’s the only way to keep government offices above politics. Not having a state funeral for a former Prime Minister would be an insult. I’m going to be consistent on this too. When Dubya goes, he should get a state funeral that all Presidents receive (or actually I don’t know what presidents get when they die but whatever it is, he should get it). Cost shouldn’t be an issue either.

    “Gay marriage legalised in Scotland.”

    I think your prediction here will come true.

  20. Predictions; China crashes and burns. This turns into the big one, as Europe failed to sort out it’s problems and can’t support themselves, let alone the global economy. The US is engaged in a presidential election and with the Republican obsessions they also cannot act appropriately. Debt returns to haunt the world economy, nations revolt, leaders look impotent.

    Looks like another weekend in Scarborough for my summer holidays.

  21. SocalLiberal

    I do believe that the only British PM’s to be honoured with a state funeral have been Sir Winston Churchill and William Gladstone. It’s not standard treatment. Merry Christmas!

  22. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!

    Socialliberal;

    The problem here is that not everyone gets the same honour;

    The only other non-royal person to get one this century I believe was Winston Churchill, and that’s because despite his flaws, the nation loved him and saw him as such a huge part of the war effort he was considered a national hero.

    State funerals are for Royalty, or those who are nationally unifying figures. Margaret Thatcher was a divisive figure, whether you agreed with her policies or not.

    She spent her career aiming to end the state intervention, and promote privatisation, surely it’s most befitting of her memory to honour the policies she spent her life trying to impose?

    Personally (as I’m sure you can tell) I’m opposed. You can bet that when the time comes for Major, Blair, Brown or Cameron, they won’t be getting state funerals.

    On the marriage front; I’m hoping so! I want to marry my boyfriend as soon as possible! Your silly country has stolen him for a year to work with a University there, but he’s back for Christmas. :)

  23. SoCalLiberal

    Loved your (American) Liberalism cow version.

    As to UK (non-Royal) State funerals, it isn’t normal to have these for Prime Ministers.

    Have a look at

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_funerals_in_the_United_Kingdom

    I rather like the irreverent addition of “The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith (1999)” at the end of the list! That will be removed very soon. Someone is extracting the urine.

    Prior to Churchill, the previous recipient of a non-royal UK state funeral was Edward Carson in 1935, whose main claim to fame was creating the first Ulster paramilitary force (and importing arms from Germany for it) in order to overthrow democratic decisions.

    Strange people, the Brits.

  24. Scottish Nationaism

    Your cows are organically fed on grass, and the high welfare rose veal calves are traditionally butchered and the veal is sold at Eat Bute weekend at Mount Stuart in September and at farmers markets throughout the year.

    Bute resturants feature it with other local produce, such as the langoustines and smoked salmon I’ll be eating tomorrow, and the organic produce from the community garden.

    Alec considers decides that Rothesay is preferable to Scarborough.

  25. John B Dick

    Other superb sources of Scottish produced food and drink are also available outwith the Isle of Bute!

    Indeed they are available world wide to those who appreciate premium quality products.

    “HMRC exports figures 2011:

    Direct whisky exports to China for the year to date (Jan-Sept 2011) are £46.8 million
    Direct whisky exports to Hong Kong for the year to date (Jan-Sept 2011) are £16.1 million
    Figures for Jan to Sept 2010 were China – 45.6 million pounds and Hong Kong – £10.7 million
    The value of direct exports of fresh Scottish salmon to China increased from nil in January 2011 to £16.8 million in September”

    Oh! I’m sorry, I quite forgot that this site wasn’t to be used to demonstrate Scotland’s strength in the export market. :-)

  26. John B Dick

    A Xmas pressie for you. If you hadn’t heard it before here’s Ian McWhirter’s take on the “Sermon on the Mound”.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/the_westminster_hour/7383399.stm

    His take on how we might have responded 20 years later is quite intriguing. to paraphrase Marshal McLuhan “the voice is the message”.

  27. @ The Lorax

    “I do believe that the only British PM’s to be honoured with a state funeral have been Sir Winston Churchill and William Gladstone. It’s not standard treatment. Merry Christmas!”

    Well a merry Christmas to you too. I did not know that. You would assume that a state funeral is standard treatment but I guess if it’s not, it kinda makes sense from a cultural perspective.

  28. THE LORAX

    Also Wellington and Palmerston.

  29. @ Scotswaehae

    “On the marriage front; I’m hoping so! I want to marry my boyfriend as soon as possible! Your silly country has stolen him for a year to work with a University there, but he’s back for Christmas.”

    You are super enthusiastic aren’t you! Long-distance relationships are tough (I don’t know how I would fare in that kind of situation). How long have you guys been together? I’m glad you two are together for Christmas and getting to enjoy the time together. Depending on where his university is, you could always marry him here (though I don’t know that that marriage would be recognized in Scotland or that you’d want to go through the expense of having two weddings). I’m sure that when it does happen, you’ll have a beautiful wedding. Sometimes the wait is worth it. If you need some inspiration, just check out these two.

    http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/us/2011/06/19/kosik.richard.and.john.cnn#/video/us/2011/06/19/kosik.richard.and.john.cnn

    “The problem here is that not everyone gets the same honour;

    The only other non-royal person to get one this century I believe was Winston Churchill, and that’s because despite his flaws, the nation loved him and saw him as such a huge part of the war effort he was considered a national hero.

    State funerals are for Royalty, or those who are nationally unifying figures. Margaret Thatcher was a divisive figure, whether you agreed with her policies or not.

    She spent her career aiming to end the state intervention, and promote privatisation, surely it’s most befitting of her memory to honour the policies she spent her life trying to impose?

    Personally (as I’m sure you can tell) I’m opposed. You can bet that when the time comes for Major, Blair, Brown or Cameron, they won’t be getting state funerals.”

    Well I didn’t know all this. I think if you’ve been the Prime Minister, you’ve served your country and deserve to have a state funeral. But that’s just me and it’s not up to me. If not everyone gets one, then I can see why you oppose Thatcher getting one.

  30. SoCalLiberal

    I suspect that the English wish to give state funerals to some of their PMs relates to their stance against their ancient enemy (no, not us, France)

    Wellington was commander of part of the force that defeated Bonaparte (though the Prussian forces were more important in that).

    Palmerston forced the Chinese to buy British opium through bombarding their ports. (The Chinese were foreigners – hence they were French).

    Gladstone collected “fallen women” and tried to reform them (and gave himself a thorough whipping for doing so). Sex is obviously a French deviation, so whipping himself was standing up for English values.

    Churchill almost blotted his copybook by suggesting a single nationality for Brits and French, but in the end he defeated the Germans (who are next door to the French, therefore also French).

    Thatcher is entitled to a state funeral because (while signing up to European Union) made lots of noisy accusations against Europeans (who are on the same land mass as France, and who must, therefore, by definition, be French as well).

    It’s actually quite easy to comprehend.

  31. @ Old Nat

    “As to UK (non-Royal) State funerals, it isn’t normal to have these for Prime Ministers.

    Have a look at

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_funerals_in_the_United_Kingdom

    I rather like the irreverent addition of “The British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith (1999)” at the end of the list! That will be removed very soon. Someone is extracting the urine.

    Prior to Churchill, the previous recipient of a non-royal UK state funeral was Edward Carson in 1935, whose main claim to fame was creating the first Ulster paramilitary force (and importing arms from Germany for it) in order to overthrow democratic decisions.

    Strange people, the Brits.”

    It is kinda bizarre to me. I could understand if you guys were like the Italians and went through a Prime Minister every week or were like the Belgians and sometimes went without Prime Ministers. But there aren’t that many of them that you elect and you typically have them around for a few years before they get forced out of office. If I don’t care for a political leader, I don’t watch their state funeral on tv (though with Reagan, I had to watch some of the coverage because I was getting my teeth whitened and there was a tv on for my “enjoyment”….ugh). This conversation makes me realize that I will one day come to the time when Dubya has his state funeral. It will be covered on tv with glowing news coverage and flags will be lowered to half mast. I won’t watch but he’s entitled.

    I’ve never heard of Edward Carson. This only adds to my confusion about this tradition of not honoring your leaders. Then again, I realize how much you guys hate your politicians. They’re no more than employees of the Royal Family. I wonder what Canadians and Australians do for their Prime Ministers. Since your “head of state” is theirs as well.

    What about First Ministers? Do they get state funerals? Has this ever been suggested?

  32. Socaliberal;

    Ahahaha, I am indeed, we had to pull out all the stops to get enough signatures for the SSM consultation in Scotland, and even then, a petition afterwards stole half the names on our lists (including mine) to oppose marriage. It’s been a bit of a nightmare! Hopefully we’ll be getting the good news in the spring though.

    We’ve been together for a good few years now, he’s in NC, so the way the wind has been blowing there of late I doubt it, but I’d prefer to do it in Scotland anyway. Men look better in kilts. ;-)

    Yes, we differ with our Prime Ministers than your Presidents, you still call them the President after they’ve left office, right? Once a PM dies, they usually get a private funeral, it’s in very rare cases people are awarded state funerals (Churchill, Gladstone, Wellington, Palmerston… I think that the number of non-royals in the last two hundred years could literally be counted on one hand? No doubt I’ll be swiftly corrected if not!).

    They’re incredibly rare, and represent a nation in mourning. It sounds cruel, but when Margaret Thatcher dies, the south of England will grieve whilst the rest of the UK celebrates. She did some good things in Government, but a hell of a lot of bad things, and she inflicted the most pain upon areas that never traditionally voted Tory (hence the current state of affairs with regional voting). She was incredibly divisive, and is still used in anti-Tory campaign posters.

    She was an impressive figure, but I sincerely hope she doesn’t get a state funeral.

  33. A Thatcher state funeral would turn a lose-lose situation for Labour (Thatcher’s death) into a potential PR disaster. Obviously, Ed can’t dance on her grave like many of his supporters (including in the newly marginal area of Scotland) want, because that would lose the middle ground voters. On the other hand, Labour’s competitors on the left would just love to hear him eulogise the Iron Lady.

    If he’s smart, he’ll be wargaming damage control scenarios right now (and preferably earlier). It was easier for Tory leaders with the deaths of Foot and Callaghan, because while the right was often cruel to both they were never objects of intergenerational loathing.

  34. SoCalLiberal

    Since 1999, we’ve had a few First Ministers, but only one has actually died (as in no longer being alive). While Donald Dewar was sometimes given the soubriquet of “Father of the Nation”, I can’t imagine that anyone suggested that he should have got a state funeral.

    When Alex snuffs it, I equally hope that he has a quiet family funeral. If he has actually led us to independence, however, I suspect that the machinery of state will, as usual, have distastefully ruled otherwise.

  35. Here are two examples of the anti-Tory posters I mentioned. The Hague one was hysterical at the time of the GE.

    http://nationalpostcomment.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/thatcher1.jpg?w=620

    http://dailyelection.files.wordpress.com/2008/12/dc-as-thatcher.jpg?w=300&h=500

    Even Hague mentioning recently that both he and David Cameron were “Thatcher’s children” in a phone call was enough to spark up some controversy.

    She is as feared and hated by many as she is loved by others, in complete opposite ends of the country, both geographically and financially.

  36. BILL PATRICK

    ” the newly marginal area of Scotland”

    Come on! Dumfriesshire isn’t “newly” marginal!

  37. @ Old Nat

    “Loved your (American) Liberalism cow version.”

    Well I try. I can occassionally have a sense of humor when I work at it. I think it could fit other versions

    I think Canadian Liberals simply blame whoever their party leader is, demand their party leader be changed, bemoan the fact that they can never get a good enough leader, and then get depressed over the fact that Trudeau can’t come back.

    British Liberals blame Nick Clegg, spend the rest of the time arguing over whether the failure of the cows to produce the desired amount of milk is due to the party being a left wing party or a right wing party, and then find a way to blame the perceived failure on Labour for being “socialist” and the Conservatives for being “wicked.”

  38. It seems a little morbid here tonight. Have I missed the demise of the Baroness? I reckon she’ll see out twenty twelve. Not prepared to say the same about Phil the Greek however. Lizzy of course looks like clocking up more years than her mother. Charlie will curse his lot every day that passes……

  39. Actually, while I agree with many of her political positions (more than most on here, I’d wager) I don’t want to see Thatcher get a state funeral. Such occasions should be periods of national unity; national unity requires a common emotion going into the event; such unanimity doesn’t exist with Thatcher, ergo a state funeral would be inappropriate. It would be a divisive rather than a uniting occasion.

    Apart from hateful republicans (a minority of republicans, let alone the public at large) we can all share in celebrations/mourning viz. the royals. That’s part of their role in our constitution: they are non-partisan leaders, such that you can be loyal to the Queen without taking up any sort of political position (except hardline non-republicanism) whereas you cannot have the same loyalty to a partisan figure like an elected president.

    Except for some select figures (like Churchill) politicians just don’t have that quality of transcending party boundaries. Churchill, for instance, served in two parties in his time, under about 3 labels, and served in cabinet with Labour’s most beatified team.

    Love her or hate her, Thatcher does not have that quality and will never have that quality. Her ability to be comfortable in the face of controversy was her greatest strength, but it has consequences and you cannot be both someone who fundamentally changes a country AND an uncontroversial figure. Just as Attlee changed Britain and didn’t get a state funeral, Thatcher changed Britain and shouldn’t get a state funeral, for much the same reasons (though even moreso, since Attlee’s image on the right as a person is far better than Thatcher’s image on the left).

  40. SoCal,

    Who do Southern Californian Liberals blame then? ;-)

  41. Oldnat,

    What is true of the whole may not be true of the part.

    Hooded Man,

    To quote Spitting Image: “I will survive, I will survive, as long as Charles is next in line I’ve got to stay alive…”

  42. @ Old Nat

    “I suspect that the English wish to give state funerals to some of their PMs relates to their stance against their ancient enemy (no, not us, France). It’s actually quite easy to comprehend.”

    Well then, Tony Blair should definitely get one since he sent British troops into battle more times than any other Prime Minister in UK history. Or do those wars not count because they weren’t against the French or people who could be like the French?

    Or maybe there’s a fear of having French style state funerals. At Mitterand’s funeral, his wife and his mistress sat together. I thought was classy but I think it’s something that would be a turnoff to most Brits.

    @ Bill Patrick

    “A Thatcher state funeral would turn a lose-lose situation for Labour (Thatcher’s death) into a potential PR disaster. Obviously, Ed can’t dance on her grave like many of his supporters (including in the newly marginal area of Scotland) want, because that would lose the middle ground voters. On the other hand, Labour’s competitors on the left would just love to hear him eulogise the Iron Lady.

    If he’s smart, he’ll be wargaming damage control scenarios right now (and preferably earlier). It was easier for Tory leaders with the deaths of Foot and Callaghan, because while the right was often cruel to both they were never objects of intergenerational loathing.”

    Why can’t they just propose that state funerals be given for all former Prime Ministers instead of just one?

  43. Bill P,

    Good shout…..remember it like it was yesterday…….

    With a small correction, t’was “One will survive” ;-)

  44. Hooded Man

    As an oldie myself, I don’t see the death of an old person as “morbid”.

    I’d like a few more years (in good health, of course) but death is quite normal – indeed often a blessing.

    What we are discussing is the response of those still living. In the 19th century (when early death was common, but wealth quite common) death was successfully marketed as a commodity to be profited from.

    The response to Diana’s death was rather repulsive – largely due to celebrity being equally marketed as a commodity.

    No doubt the right wing press will equally see Thatcher’s death as a marketable commodity. Quite why anyone outside her family should see her death as being a matter of grief is difficult to see.

    Obviously, when her time comes, her record will be examined – probably in nauseatingly positive terms. However, at the end of the day it comes down to a rather nasty little political calculation by the UK Government of the day. Do they get more electoral benefit from us paying for her funeral, or not.

  45. @Hoodedman

    I don’t know about MT, I think she’s on her way out, but big Phil I think you’re on the money with. Same with the Queen; to the point where I doubt that Charles will ever get the throne… She’s glued to that chair.

    As Bill Patrick said, we can usually come together to support or mourn our royals, but Charles’ support is thin on the ground at best. If the Queen does clock up as much time as her mum, and he’s as deeply unpopular as he is now (lets face it, even without his numerous PR disasters, with Camilla in tow, nobody will warm up to him), with a very popular royal couple in line after him, surely he must have at least considered abdicating?

  46. Hooded Man,

    You’re right. I had to fight every instinct in my fingers in order to not type “I shall survive…”

    SoCalLiberal,

    I’d rather they ruled that no prime ministers have state funerals. They’re not our heads of state, so having state funerals for all of them would be very odd and needlessly costly. Did the Viscount Melbourne REALLY need a state funeral? Is the world a lesser place because George Canning died without a procession?

  47. Hooded Man

    “t’was “One will survive””

    Wasn’t that “Highlander”? A good example of international co-operation where an American-born French actor plays a Scot, and a Scot plays a Spaniard who is immortal (OK Sean is actually immortal! :-) )

  48. @ Scotswaehae

    “Ahahaha, I am indeed, we had to pull out all the stops to get enough signatures for the SSM consultation in Scotland, and even then, a petition afterwards stole half the names on our lists (including mine) to oppose marriage. It’s been a bit of a nightmare! Hopefully we’ll be getting the good news in the spring though.”

    That’s terrible. Winning this kind of struggle is never going to be easy and it’s going to come with a great deal of ups and downs.

    “We’ve been together for a good few years now, he’s in NC, so the way the wind has been blowing there of late I doubt it, but I’d prefer to do it in Scotland anyway. Men look better in kilts.”

    Yeah, the timing of the election down there isn’t good either. It’s going to be in May, not November. Low turnout always benefits the fundamentalists and bigots on these things. Selfishly I wish it was in November because even though it would still pass, the turnout against it would help Obama (obviously I’d rather not have it on the ballot). NC isn’t a far drive from DC though and you can get married there (that’s what Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving did….before being arrested for doing so in Virginia).

    It’s because of NC that I wish some in states like California (and now Hawaii) weren’t busy challenging marriage statutes in court.

    If you’ve got the legs, you might as well show em’ off and in what other wedding situation could you do that besides a traditional Scottish wedding?

    “It sounds cruel, but when Margaret Thatcher dies, the south of England will grieve whilst the rest of the UK celebrates. She did some good things in Government, but a hell of a lot of bad things, and she inflicted the most pain upon areas that never traditionally voted Tory (hence the current state of affairs with regional voting). She was incredibly divisive, and is still used in anti-Tory campaign posters.

    She was an impressive figure, but I sincerely hope she doesn’t get a state funeral.”

    Fair enough. I think politicians who purposely work to divide the electorate in order to benefit themselves electorally are trash and should be remembered as such. Although if those politicians get elected President (and a number have), they should get the same treatment as other Presidents.

  49. Old Nat,

    Merry Xmas…..

    Was but an observation that the thread had sunk into state funerals when all around us the “magic of Xmas” has descended (you couldn’t make this stuff up…… ;-) )

    The ridiculous outpourings for Diana will not be seen again…..I hope. Mrs T deserves some respect when the time comes, and I would hope she is accorded that…..even all those who despise her (which includes the rest of my family) must see that she was a force for good in some areas……

    State funeral? No, in my view. But then I wouldn’t give Lizzy one either, so that’s a rubbish sample……

  50. HOODED MAN

    Bah! Humbug!

    Not a single ghost has appeared to change my mind! :-)

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