PARIS -- As dignitaries gather in London to pay their respects to one of modern history's greatest leaders, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died last week at the age of 87, the riff-raff of Great Britain have emerged, subsidized by either the state or by mummy and daddy, to rejoice in her death.
Case in point: Britain's Daily Mail reports that the architect of plans to disrupt Thatcher's funeral on Wednesday is a 25-year old Oxford student whose parents live in a $1 million house. Photographs in various British newspapers indicate that many have invested time in building elaborate effigies of the Iron Lady to parade through the streets. These people, quite frankly, are the biggest losers on Earth.
And that's really saying something, because there's considerable competition for that title. But none of the other contenders are just sitting around at home constructing scapegoat balloon animals to dishonor the death of a politician who left office nearly 23 years ago. As an adult, I barely have time to stop and buy shampoo at the end of the workday, let alone find the supplies needed to make something worthy of a third-grade art fair entry.
Productive working Britain was mostly too busy to fritter away their precious time commiserating over how Thatcher's policies destroyed their lot in life. Yet some apparently have the time and energy to spend days partying over her death.
Exceptions to the "working people have better things to do" premise include the Durham Miners Association, which, according to the British press, had planned to join in the classy and logical act of protesting against someone who's now wholly incapable of caring. Presumably the miners are still sore from Thatcher's schoolmarm smackdown in reaction to the mining industry constantly holding the British economy and government hostage via strike actions. Before Thatcher became prime minister at the end of the 1970s, British coal miners had managed to score themselves (and everyone else in England) a three-day workweek due to the energy rationing their strikes necessitated.
But why even work a three-day week when you should be able to do precisely zero work and still live comfortably? Actually, that has now become a reality. The unspoken truth about Thatcherism is that it didn't go far enough in reforming Britain. It couldn't go far enough, because there was never any appetite for a decrease in welfare-state public spending. But the real uniqueness of Thatcher and her American contemporary, Ronald Reagan, was that they had the ability to inspire people to lives of achievement, ambition and productivity in exchange for reward.