What’s in a name

I feared that Wednesday’s funeral of Thatcher, aka the wicked witch of Finchley would turn into an episode of Jerry Springer. In which some ex-miner would run out with the intention of dancing on her coffin, only for some yuppie to intercept him & deck him (with his 80’s style cell phone) while yelling “you pleb”, with the army caught in the middle pulling them off each other. Fortunately for me, unlike many Tories, I so many of us who pay the taxes they resent paying, work for a living and couldn’t watch the funeral (again I thought it was odd they picked a weekday, surely they’d have gotten a better turn out on a weekend?).

As I discussed in a prior post, my fear is that Thatcher’s cult of personality will, like their contemporaries in America, try and rename everything after Thatcher. This would be completely out of keeping with protocol. Consider how few things are named after Winston Churchill (well there is that dog that sells insurance! 😉 then again, he was only PM during the war, what’s that next to a miners strike!). The other side of the Atlantic, there are more things named after Reagan (an average at best president) than Franklin D. Roosevelt (who “only” brought the US out of depression, founded the welfare state and the Bretton Woods system, won more elections with bigger majorities than any other president, oh! and won World War 2).

This is because the traditional protocol has been to name stuff after people who have a direct connection to it. In Ireland for example, very little is named after De Valera or Michael Collins, as it was generally taboo for quite some time post-independence to name anything after a mere “politician” (as opposed to a real hero). There are exceptions of course, JFK airport in NY for example (but then again he was assassinated) or others who died in tragic circumstances.

So if for example, we were going to rename a London airport after anybody, why pick Thatcher? I would propose instead to name Heathrow or Gatwick after Sir Keith Park. Who’s he? The leader of RAF 11th squadron, who protected London from the bombing raids during the battle of Britain. While he helped save London from being bombed into rumble, Thatcher succeeded in reducing to rumble more of Britain’s mining, factories and council housing that Herman Goering and the Luftwaffe could have ever dreamed off!

Looking for another name? (perhaps we want to rename both of them), how about Frank Whittle. Who is he? The engineer who invented the Jet engine. We wouldn’t be jetting off to the sun this summer if it weren’t for this guy and his colleagues in the RAE. As for Stansted, I think that’s a tossup between Stelios and Micheal O’Leary!

As for Port Stanley (what about poor old lord Stanley?) I’d rather see it named after someone local to the Falklands or someone with a more direct connection to the Islands. How about Ian McKay? He died during the battle of Mt Longdon above Port Stanley during the last desperate battles to capture the high ground surrounding the capital, earning the VC for his bravery.

Equally, the idea that she should get pride of place in Trafalgar square would not be appropriate. Ken Livingstone let slip the other week that the fourth plinth there is actually reserved for the Queen. Then again, Thatcher always did act as if she was the head of state, so perhaps fitting. Although I suspect such a move might present a problem, as it would no longer be Pigeon doo that the council have to worry about but the human kind being slung at her statue. Consider that a more well-guarded statue of her, in a gallery, was attacked and decapitated a few years back.

And of course I would also note, the precedence the Tory’s would be setting. If they go against protocol and start renaming everything after Thatcher, then next time labour is in power, which the way Cameron’s going mightn’t be that far away, they’ll reciprocate. Big Ben will become Big Benn (after Tony Benn), they’ll be a statue of Arthur Scargill next to Thatcher’s (no doubt a mechanical one that lobs a lump of coal at her statue’s head every hour on the and drops its pants and moons her every half hour) in Trafalgar sq….sorry Ken Livingstone Place! The Mall will become Jarrow Parade, Great Ormond Street becomes Atlee Hospital etc. What goes around comes around!


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