Margaret Thatcher haters had an official card

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY,  |  April 8, 2013 at 3:54 PM
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In the 1970s and 1980s, as the late Margaret Thatcher ruled as the "Iron Lady" Prime Minister, her nation was often rocked by disasters: confrontation with the Irish Republican Army, the Lockerbie bombing, and others.

Thatcher, whose Conservative policies on the economy and foreign affairs made her as many enemies as admirers, often visited the injured and sick on hospital tours.

Some people started carrying a "Thatch-Card," preemptively declining a sympathetic visit from the prime minister.

"In the even of an accident, the holder of this card wishes it to be known that he/she does not wish to be visited by Mrs. Thatcher under any circumstances whatsoever," the card read.

As the Guardian described in 1999, Thatcher's detractors weren't just protesting her leadership, but her stiff bedside manner:

She was not the most convincing of humanitarians. Instead of hugging, nestling or squatting, eye-to-eye, beside the sufferer of the moment, claiming to feel their pain, Mrs Thatcher preferred to pay tribute to the emergency services, then offer individual patients some bracing, can-do encouragement. After the Clapham crash, for example, she assured one survivor, 'I am sure if the doctors say it will be all right, it will be all right'. Still, Mrs Thatcher spoke from experience. She had survived the Brighton bombing. The jeering which followed her hospital tours may have had less to do with her stiffness, than the feeling that Mrs Thatcher was, as per usual, trespassing on royal territory. It was for the Queen, not this partisan harridan, to lead the country in a united expression of horror or sympathy.

In the hours following her death, Britons dug out their Thatch-Cards, many posting them online, accompanied by essays wrestling with the complicated emotions they might feel for her death.

Many aren't comfortable openly celebrating the death of a person whose policies they detested.

"These days, with the passing of time, the fading of memory, and the spirit of de mortuis nil nisi bonum [speak no ill of the dead], I feel guilty about all that hate," wrote Slate editor June Thomas, who said she carried a Thatch-Card from the 1970s. "This morning when I heard the news, after decades of dutifully shifting the darned thing from wallet to wallet, I finally retired the Thatchcard."

The Thatch-Cards came from Private Eye, the satirical current affairs magazine.

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