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Commentators react to Margaret Thatcher's funeral

6pm: Here are extracts from some of the blog-posts and articles written this afternoon. Click on the links, of course, to read the full versions...

Channel 4's Gary Gibbon describes the view from inside:

“As Elgar’s Nimrod played on the organ and the coffin departed from inside the cathedral you could hear ‘hip-hip-hooray’ cheers and clapping from outside, a spontaneous moment at the end of a minutely planned and polished ceremony.

Without a word or acknowledgement the Blairs and Browns, who’d been sitting next to each other through the service, got up and left through different doors.”

The Spectator's James Forsyth says that Margaret Thatcher's funeral was the right funeral:

“Watching the coffin move down to St Paul’s and the service itself, I was struck by how right it was that it was a ceremonial funeral. A private affair would not have done justice to the legacy of our first, and only, female Prime Minister...

...Margaret Thatcher now passes into history. I suspect that her name will live on in the way that Gladstone or Disraeli has.”

The Guardian's Jonathan Freedland says that this was a funeral designed to elevate Margaret Thatcher above politics:

“…future generations will gaze on this archive footage much the way we look at pictures from the 1965 funeral of Winston Churchill now: they will assume this was an uncomplicated tribute to a woman who had served as little short of a national saviour.

Which is why an all-but-state funeral was controversial, why some opposed granting such a rare, once-a-century honour to the former prime minister. For they knew, and feared, the power of such a ceremony – how it can transform and elevate a onetime partisan politician into something larger, a figure that towers above politics, apparently uniting a nation.”

The Telegraph's Janet Daley notes that, in the end, the protestors faded away:

“Maybe the protesters had second thoughts – or were simply cowed by the ignominy that their early efforts had attracted, but we must offer thanks that they did not emerge to embarrass the country while the world watched.”

And Con Coughlin, also of the Telegraph, pays tribute to the military:

“From the carefully selected members of all three Services who were selected to act as pall-bearers, to the guard of honour outside St Paul's Cathedral, the sense of pageantry they have brought to an otherwise solemn event provides a fitting and uplifting tribute to one of our greatest prime ministers.”

2.30pm: A selection of comments made during and after the funeral service:

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Tweet 1 Tweet 2
Tweet 3Tweet 4 Tweet 5 Tweet 6 Tweet 7

11am: As with our post collecting reaction from Conservative parliamentarians, we shall update this post throughout the day. Here's a selection of tweets made before the funeral service started:

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Tweet 5 Tweet 4 Tweet 3 Tweet 2
Tweet 1


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