Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

And Serve Them Right

A statue of Mrs Thatcher has been in the news. It's the one that had its block knocked off. The owners got it repaired and put it into storage at the House of Commons. According to a story that made the media last week it had been offered to the town of Grantham and Grantham had turned it down. Later it was announced- from Grantham- that none of this had ever actually happened and the guy who leaked the story has been suspended from office- so who knows?

Once upon a time PMs got public statues as a matter of course. If Maggie had been a Victorian there'd be likenesses of her all over the place. In fact you didn't have to be anything as special as a PM or a member of the cabinet for your borough to see to it that you were remembered for ever. All you had to do was get yourself elected. Our local park has two statues of Victorian politicians- grandiose affairs on high plinths. One of them is a chap called Platt and the other- no- I forget- I'd have to go and look. They used to stand in the town itself but presumably got in the way of traffic. Neither of the great originals was ever anything more than a footnote to a footnote.

These days, forget it. You may have bestrid the world like a colossus in life but are most unlikely to do so in death.  I did a little research to see who among our post-war PMs merits a public statue and the answer seems to be Churchill (of course- but not because his administration in the 50s is fondly remembered) Clem Atlee, Harold Wilson and nobody else. Winnie is everywhere, Clem in Tower Hamlets, Harold (vigorously striding away from the Town Hall) in Huddersfield. I can imagine some brave soul somewhere may eventually put up a statue to Mrs T (on a very high plinth with spiked railings round it to protect its coiffeured bonce) but I don't suppose any of the other candidates stands a chance. Who among them- if not hated and despised- is anything more than a figure of fun?  Who is going to work up the enthusiasm for a Harold Macmillan in bronze or a Ted Heath in everlasting marble?  Who even remembers Alec Douglas-Home? And who in their right mind is going to suggest that a grateful nation should memorialize Tony Blair?
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