Raising an ironic glass to Maggie
for Eurostar farewell
When it was announced that the government (a "Labour" government) was considering staging a state funeral for former prime minister Margaret Thatcher when she dies, the Guardian newspaper was inundated with letters of protest. A Guardian poll showed that 87% of its readers were opposed to the idea. (Probably a similar poll in the Daily Mail would show 87% of its readers in favour.)
The Guardian published a letter from me in which I offered to book a Eurostar train to Brussels in order that readers could toast the passing of Mrs Thatcher in good Belgian beer. I suggested the famous Brussels bar Morte Subite (Sudden Death) would be a good starting point for a crawl.
I was stunned by the reaction. I received a flood of emails in support of the idea. One reader wanted to send me money now in order to book two seats. I said we should wait until Mrs T passes away.
One writer to the paper said it would be better to stay in Britain and say our farewells to the former PM with good local ale. Another criticised me for being sour as well as bitter -- a feeling shared, no doubt, by the thousands of miners and steelworkers who lost their jobs in the 1980s.
Beer writer Alastair Gilmour wrote to the Guardian to point out that Jarrow Brewery in North-east England had already produced a special commemorative brew to celebrate a 2007 play called Maggie's End, " a dark comedy which opens with the death of Margaret Thatcher...the 5% beer is a pale golden wheat beer with a citrus and spice flavour and a complex grass-fresh hop aroma".
I suspect Mrs T will be quite unmoved by the passion the idea of a state fuenral has aroused and will pour herself another large whisky.