ANDY MOFFATT: Dignity isn’t optional

Every now and then something can happen that shocks you even though you knew it was going to happen.

The reaction among some on the left of British politics to the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is a case in point.

I’m no fan of Mrs Thatcher’s politics or her views on how society should best organise itself.

Critics of Britain’s first female PM are right to brand her government as at times callous and uncaring. They should add ineffectual and counterproductive to the list as well.

Strange then that many of those same critics have behaved in such an unspeakably callous and uncaring (and counterproductive) manner themselves when their bête noire passed away last week.

It’s one thing to see simmering swathes of unwashed anarchists dancing around the streets.

But it’s quite another to witness some of the ill-tempered remarks made by actual grown-ups.

Take Durham Miners Association president Dave Hopper, who gleefully described her death as a “great day” for miners and “the best birthday present I’ve ever had”.

I understand absolutely the anger felt by former mining communities but what is a presumably mature adult (old Dave had just turned 70) thinking when he says something like that?

How, precisely, does the death of an elderly woman who had had no direct influence on affairs of state for more than two decades help the communities who are yet to recover from the collapse of the mining industry.

What is going to stop happening now she is no longer with us that will improve the lot of hard-pressed former miners?

Clearly, the answer to that question is nothing at all, which makes Mr Hopper’s statements look like nothing short of vengeance.

If that’s what it is then he should just have the courage to say so but I doubt so many people would find that quite as palatable as his vanquished but valiant class warrior routine.

A collective of old Tory foes have done their bit this past week to sully the name of progressive politics by crowing over the death of the former PM. Is that really what they wanted?