This demand for respectful silence in the wake of a public figure\’s death is not just misguided but dangerous. That one should not speak ill of the dead is arguably appropriate when a private person dies, but it is wildly inappropriate for the death of a controversial public figure, particularly one who wielded significant influence and political power. \”Respecting the grief\” of Thatcher family\’s members is appropriate if one is friends with them or attends a wake they organize, but the protocols are fundamentally different when it comes to public discourse about the person\’s life and political acts.
The point is not that you must not slag off the dead. Nor is it that politicos must only have nice things said about them.
The injunction is only that we should let the body cool and the body be placed in the grave before we start pissing on it.
It\’s a little interregnum between death and going back to the usual hatreds and politics as usual.
This is only a matter of manners of course, it\’s not actually a vital injunction about life as it must be lived nor as death must be treated. But given that it is about manners then why the fuck did the Guardian get an American to write about it? What they hell do they know?