April 18th, 2013


We Cannot Restore Old Policies Or Follow An Antique Drum

I was expecting more passion. There was some, of course- in and around the Cathedral (Osborne in tears) and in former pit villages where they burned her effigy and danced and got plastered- but mostly the responses felt like play-acting; as if the funeral were an '80s fancy-dress party and people had come as the crusties and yuppies they used to be or felt they'd like to have been. The Daily Mail tried to get us all wound up- and back into fighting mode- but mostly we couldn't be bothered.

Bishop Chartres- in his well-judged sermon- called her a Methodist radical in the tradition of the Tolpuddle Martyrs (which offended the Daily Mail though it couldn't quite say why)- thereby assigning her a place in a narrative rather longer and more cadenced than that defined by the squabbles of the last thirty or forty years. She belongs to the past now- as every hero and heroic cause eventually must- and the deeper she dwindles into it the quainter she becomes and the less she can enthuse or hurt us.