Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Here comes the Sun and I say...

...Really? Is that he best you can do?

I went to Waitrose  yesterday and glanced at the newspaper stand. The Sun's headline caught my eye: Maggie dead in bed at Ritz.
It's only my own words I make up.
As a factual statement, I guess you can't fault it, but I was under the impression that the Sun has bulging files of potential headlines, just waiting for the right news story. If that is true, is that really the best they could manage? Perhaps they were caught on the hop and simply weren't expecting it, but I'm not sure how that could be; Margaret Thatcher has been I'll and frail for some time. I don't think it was a state secret.

I was half expecting other papers to follow with:

 'Maggie not immortal after all,' say Sun. 'Who knew?'

I'm just saying, from the paper that brought us this, I was expecting more; I was expecting better:

Speaking of Margaret Thatcher, I remember the day she was elected, with the same kind of clarity my parents generation refer to when asking, 'Where were you when Kennedy died?' Born in 1971, I grew up in Thatcher's Britain. I was eight when she became prime minister and I was at a friend's house, playing with their Play-doh Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop TM set (Google with care), when my dad arrived to take me home.

Just so you know, I didn't make up that, either.

'Margaret Thatcher's prime minister!' he declared, as he arrived in the kitchen/Play-doh salon.

'Oh no!' I replied. 'Not that awful woman!'

I clearly remember the brief silence that followed, and the stunned look on my dad's face. You can't blame him - I wasn't a precocious child and neither was I politically aware. I'd seen her on Newsround, explaining, in that way of hers (head tilted to one side, breathy voice that bore a slight hint of patronage) to some disgruntled school children, why they no longer had school milk. 

'What have you got against her?' asked Dad.

'She's got that awful voice! I can't stand the thought of having to listen to her go on and on!'

Privately, I also lamented the fact that the information I'd pencilled into my Brownie Pocket Book was now incorrect. Under, 'Who is the prime minister of the United Kingdom?' I'd carefully written, 'Jim Callaghan', and I'd had to ask people for the answer, too. All that effort and research, for him to be replaced by, 'that awful voice'.

I do vaguely remember the explanation of British politics that followed my outburst, but I'd pretty much gone back to sculpting the perfect bouffant from yellow Play-doh.

We are a play-doh likeness.