I always thought that come today, two words would do: "ding" and "dong".
Like everything else, though, it isn't that simple, crude or crass. So here, Baroness Margaret Thatcher, is what I have to say to you:
1 As a Human Being: may you rest in peace; may those whom you wronged forgive you and those whom you delighted thrive and be gracious in their fortune.
2 As a Matriarch: my condolences to your family; may those who loved you cherish your memory.
3 As a Woman: respect. You made your way in a deeply chauvinist world and prevailed.
4 As a Politician: I shared almost none of your views but I knew where I stood with you. You had a mind and spoke it, you had convictions and acted by them. You had a spine. For that alone I salute you. It is more than can be said of a Blair, with his illegal war, or a Clegg with his betrayals.
5 As a Prime Minister: I never experienced a Britain-Before-You first hand. I only arrived here in 1985, when you were well into your second term. I’m happy to accept that something needed to be done and that you believed that what you did was for the good of the country. Was it for the good of the country? Was the method by which you went about it the right one, the best? Was a brutalist breaking up of communities and the wholesale dismantling of entire social structures and the almost wanton destruction of national institutions that were a source of cohesion and pride really the only way forward? Was it right to prop up a Pinochet while branding a Mandela “terrorist”? Was it right to force through a Poll Tax, under which millionaires paid the same as their cleaners? And what about legislating against me and my whole part of the population with Section 28, calling gay relationships and families “pretend” and making their “promotion” illegal?
6 As a Free Marketeer: we still have one of the worst railway services in the world, even though the infrastructure has since been renationalised (privately owned it failed completely), the bankers practically drove the economy to the ground and had to be rescued by the state; the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer; the disenfranchised are as far from reaping the benefits of capitalism as they have ever been: unchecked, untempered and unregulated, your ideology is ruinous.
7 As a Corpse: obviously, the most fitting tribute to your legacy would be for your funeral to be tendered to the private sector. Let sponsors’ logos adorn your hearse and advertising line the route. Let corporate guests take the front pews at St Paul’s and pay steep sums for the privilege. Let there be commercial breaks. “There is,” you professed “no such thing as society”. So let not “society” pick up the tab, it wouldn't be your way. And take with you, please, as you go, that spectre that has haunted us so long: take Thatcherism with you to your grave, and let us breathe again...