1. We may not be as ‘divided’ as we think.
Since her death last week, the one thing people defending Margaret Thatcher’s legacy and those determined to rejoice in her death have been able to agree on is this: 23 years after she left office, the Iron Lady remains as divisive as ever.
In a sense, this anti-Thatcher protester stood a few feet from St. Paul’s cathedral proved them correct: he was shouted down and supported in equal measure, as the right and the left argued in the street.
And yet, as he handed his loudspeaker to a lady who couldn’t have disagreed with him more, it dawned on me that the funeral was uniting people in a different way: in the spirit of free speech and debate. Strangers in London were talking to each for once – if only to tell each other they were wrong.
This man was walking around holding a sombre, Tory-blue rose. He was a Thatcher admirer, and was happy to talk about why he supported the day’s events.
By contrast, this man was shouting slogans accusing Thatcher of being homophobic in reference to her 1998 Section 28 Act banning ‘promotion’ of homosexuality in schools. Here he describes her as ‘Britain’s worst ever Prime Minister’.
But both men stressed the right of the other to agree, disagree and be present.
2. Maggie supporters know how to dress up.
Like this lady.
And this guy.
3. For some, any public event is a chance to make money.
The entrepreneurial spirit Thatcher so admired was present at her death: this man was selling copies of The Iron Lady on DVD.
4. Or at least to advertise your brand.
The Telegraph, meanwhile, were giving out free copies of their paper and Union Jack flags – another act Maggie would have approved of.
5. The police did a good job.
Throughout the day, the police were a calming and positive presence, allowing debate to take place without interfering unless things got heated. So far there have been no reports of violence or serious unrest.
6. Though there are still lessons to learn.
Prior to the funeral the Metropolitan Police were unprepared to state exactly what would constitute a criminal offence to those planning to protest, leading to some confusion.
The man calmly holding up this banner was issued with a caution.
7. Maggie protesters know how to party.
Like this man, handing out party hats.
And these ladies, who came with party poppers.
9. Some people are out doing this every day.
While London was briefly united in telling each other how they felt about Thatcher, others were doing what they do day in day out – like this man spreading the word.
Or these people, concerned about their local hospital.
Or this lady, worried about homeless children.
Maybe one positive to come from Thatcher’s death is a reminder that sometimes, it’s good to stop and listen to each other.