Lib Dem diary: Our trouble with Thatcher

Charlotte Henry: 'I'm not sure the Lib Dems have really known how to play the situation'
Charlotte Henry: 'I'm not sure the Lib Dems have really known how to play the situation'

Although parliament has returned from its Easter recess, this week has hardly been a normal one in politics, with the funeral of Baroness Thatcher dominating in characteristic fashion.

I'm not sure the Lib Dems have really known how to play the situation since Lady Thatcher's passing.

While Labour could be clear in their opposition and so respectful and dignified like Ed Miliband, or angry like Glenda Jackson, the Lib Dems appeared to be paralysed by fear of 'being too close to the Tories' or endorsing Thatcherite politics in some way.

As a result we had a few snarky comments about Thatcher helping MPs become liberals, and a surprisingly weak Commons performance by Nick Clegg, with only Lord Ashdown really paying appropriate tribute.


I saw yesterday's procession from Fleet Street, where I stood with an ever-growing crowd who watched solders and white-gloved police offers lining the streets before the gun carriage passed.

Plenty of people took time out of work to come and be part of the proceedings, similar to how they had done months earlier for the Olympic flame. As well as genuine support, there was a sense of wanting to be part of an historic occasion.

While I am no Thatcherite, it felt right to be part of saying goodbye to this country's longest serving and only female prime minister.

There were some protests as the coffin passed, but the boos and chants were quickly drowned out but cheers and claps.  The 'Tory Scum' posters were balanced out by a women in a Tory blue rosette and a gentleman on a balcony wearing a t-shirt with Lady Thatcher on it.

On the side of the road I was standing on there was a lone, weirdy-beardy protestor who decided to stagger around booing. He informed those around him that his taxes "had paid for this" and he was "entitled to get involved too". Few seemed convinced by either statement.

As with all grand occasions, we got some grand outfits in St Paul's yesterday. While much of the fashion coverage inevitably focuses on Samantha Cameron's tribute act, there was only one winner in the funeral fashion stakes.

Alan Duncan turned up in full Privy Council levee, including bringing the ostrich feather adorned hat.  He was the only one though, as even lord president of the council Nick Clegg decided not don the uniform.

One can only hope that the rest of Privy Council assured the minister for international development that they too would turn up in full regalia, only for the elaborate practical joke to go too far, with Duncan realising too late, like the person who is assured by their mates that the party really is fancy dress.

In other, non-Thatcher related news….oh who am I kidding?

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