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Monday, 4 February, 2002, 17:44 GMT
Where should Margaret Thatcher's statue go?
An eight foot tall marble statue of the former British Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher is homeless.
Under current rules, a statue cannot be erected in the House of Commons until its subject has died.
The sculpture, which comes complete with a handbag, could be displayed temporarily in London or in Arizona - where Lake Havasu City has offered to look after it.
However, Conservative MPs are calling for the rules to be changed to allow the statue to be installed in Westminster for the 20th anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands.
Where would you put the Iron Lady's statue? Do you think it should be displayed in Westminster?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
The statue should be placed in her home town of Grantham, Lincolnshire, pride of place next to Sir Issac Newton. I think she had more guts than the sycophantic, playing to the gallery politicians that we have today.
She did get a bit to big for her boots near the end though.
I suspect that the reason that death is required before the statue can be entered into the house is to ensure that only the genuine greats are admitted. Lets wait a few more years to see if history's verdict on Mrs T is the same as her sycophants. I doubt it.
In the meantime there must be a basement somewhere where it can be put away so that it doesn't scare the children
Thatcher was one of the greatest PMs this country has ever known. In the face of major change in the global economy (including the onset of globalisation), she took a pragmatic view which included making tough and unpopular decisions and policies because she knew they would be in the interest of the nation. Just look at the way that London Docklands exemplifies the widespread regeneration of our inner cities through enhancing, rather than opposing, market forces. Maggie brought us into the modern age, making us the world's 4th largest economy as we are today. Wherever the statue goes, it should help those doubtful of her positive influence that the Iron Lady had all the resolve that this nickname suggests.
Margaret Thatcher did irreparable harm to the UK. She made greed not only acceptable but fashionable. It had been neither before. She turned people against one another and she created a culture where value of community and family were superseded by a love of money, power and status. Most of my suggestions as to where to put the statue are far too rude to write. I don't want to remember her and I am sure that when she finally turns up her toes the pubs and clubs of Great Britain will be as full as they were when England beat Germany 5-1.
Here, though, is one suggestion for the statue: melt it down, sell the metal and give the proceeds to the poor!
The statue should be taken to Athens, Greece and permanently displayed in Acropolis in the same place Athena's statue once stood.
Since the British Museum and Tony's government is not willing to send back what was stolen from Athens, they should at least send Maggie's statue. The Greeks can use a good laugh in these most difficult of times.
John, UK, in USA
You foolish Brits who can't appreciate a great PM don't deserve her statue. Send her over here to the States where she is loved!
Might I ask, why make a statute then you don't know what to do with it? To me doesn't sound like the reputedly forward planning British society.
I am not a Conservative but I have to agree with Ralph Cook (below). Thatcher brilliantly masterminded the recovery of the British economy and Britain's sense of self-worth in Europe in an era when we had been wallowing in gloom and self pity as a third rate European nation. She did much to lessen the class divide by facilitating private enterprise among the poor and unemployed.
Few would doubt the impact she had in ending Britain's growing isolation from America, or undermine her lack of dithering or compromise in a crisis. She took to heart the truism that in a man's world women have to be at least twice as good to gain the same approval. Let's do unto her what she has done for the nation: reverse the rules and give her pride of place at Westminster.
I found an ideal location for the statue beside the M275 Motorway heading out of Portsmouth. The statue can stand on a plinth, next to a collection of warships that have served this country as much as she did, so as to inspire passing motorists with that Falklands spirit. The name of this location? John Pounds scrapyard.
The State of Britain today is an expression of English culture. The reason London, Manchester and Birmingham look so run down and third worldish is the lack of ambition of the people who live in the UK. Margaret Thatcher attempted to drag this country into the 20th century. She wasted her efforts. Anybody with any ambition should emigrate to Canada, Australia or the US. Perhaps in 20 years when European culture prevails this grey 2nd world country may deserve Margaret Thatcher's Statue. Of course, most of the present residents will be dead from lack of decent healthcare, killed in a rail crash, or murdered for their mobile phone or car.
break it up into little pieces with various parts going to each shareholder, proceeds go to the crumbled rail system and the NHS
The first woman P.M. and one of the best since 1944. She has a place in history, her statue should be displayed prominently until it can obtain its place in Westminster. She was a little controversial, the Poll Tax, this though, although it could never become popular; applied correctly would be a fairer form of taxation than the current rating system.
Love or hate her, she spoke her mind, so the perfect location the Statue just has to be Speakers Corner.
It is a crying shame that there is so much opposition to putting up the statue of Margaret Thatcher in Westminster. She is a unique leader, and one of the greatest, a modern-day Joan of Arc. Imagine if the American People cried out against putting up the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Failing all else, I'll be glad to take in Margaret Thatcher's statue and put it up in my backyard.
I am 30, and so was relatively young when Maggie was at the helm of the UK. She did seem to get people working for themselves... the only thing I didn¿t like towards the end of that Conservative run was that they seemed to be moving further to the right with legislation like the Criminal Justice Bill, and I think that summed them up by that time - they had gone too far for the average person on the street.
Chris, UK (in Australia)
What about the Natural History Museum, amongst the other dinosaurs?
Personally I loathe the cult of greed and selfishness she epitomises. However one cannot deny her influence. As a testimony to our British sense of humour I suggest that a similar sized statue of Ken Livingstone is produced and the two displayed opposite one another in some central London location.
Reading some of the comments about Lady Thatcher here it strikes me that she can incite some very passionate responses, both negative and positive! She had a resounding effect, then, on the British political awareness? Some memorial to anyone with or without a statue!
Travis, Lake Havasu City, Arizona, USA
I wasn't really a big fan of the woman but you must admit she knew how to control the house. Plus she was an excellent wartime leader (Blair could learn a few things about coping with war AND home issues). I think the statue should be displayed. She deserves to be remembered.
Why not put it in Tony Blair¿s' back garden? After all he seems to adore the woman enough to carry on her work through his policies!
I agree with some of your readers that this statue should be placed in the chamber of horrors and that someone should start to work on one of Princess Diana, to be erected on the Mall, directly facing Buckingham Palace. Now that would be a noteworthy shrine to a beloved person and be a constant reminder to those occupants in the palace that this lady isn¿t going anywhere!!
What a waste of a lovely piece of marble. There must be more worthy people who could have been sculpted!
Westminster is the ideal place for a remarkable woman of Great Britain who was Prime Minister for no less than three consecutive terms from 1979 to 1990 and was robbed of her position by her MPs and not the people of Britain.
Created a society based on self importance and greed rather than community which we are still living with today. The cellar of the Commons would be a great and fitting place where it can stand alone and therefore a mirror of the society she helped to create.
Marc Atkinson, USA
Lady Thatcher's statue deserves to be displayed in a prominent place until it can be moved into the House of Commons. She is the greatest leader since Winston Churchill. It amazes me how the leftist-socialist try to rewrite history in Great Britain. I wonder where the UK would be today without her 12 years in office.
A great PM. I doubt it. Her big ideas
were to reduce
the role of the state
in peoples lives and reduce the tax burden.
Govt spending as % GDP
Thatcher may not have been the best Prime Minister in British history, but has anyone since been half as charismatic, or more inclined to speak their mind, no matter that their opinion is not "PC"? As for where to put her statue, somewhere near Parliament as a tourist attraction seems appropriate, at least until it can reside in the Commons. Perhaps her statue can be placed against one wall, with her "Spitting Image" puppet on the opposite wall?
I'm sure that the Natural History Museum would be delighted to have such a representation of this, soon to be extinct, breed.
As one of, if not the greatest Prime Minister we've ever had, this Statue should take pride of place in Trafalgar Square along with our other national heroes. Thatcher turned this once lazy, work-shy, state-dependent country into a model of a modern state.
It is only right that the longest serving Prime Minister of the last century should be celebrated. After all, if she was so unpopular why did she win three elections? She was, and still is a national treasure and it's a pity she can't step in and sort out the mess that 5 years of New Labour has created.
It should be put somewhere out of reach. Otherwise I fear it would get the same treatment that the Churchill statue did only rather more rapidly
Perhaps Gerry Adams has a space in his new office?
The greatest Tory ever to live! The only Prime Minister that actually made policy decision that had some effect. We would be a Banana Republic now, if it wasn¿t for her.
The statue should go outside the main entrance to the Palace of Westminster. Maggie was a wonderful and strong PM, and should be visible to Tony Blair every day, to remind him what a good PM should be like.
In true Thatcherite spirit it should be sold off to the highest bidder to do with as they please. Proceeds could go to the NHS.
We Americans appreciate a 'love me or hate me" personality, who shakes things up. From here is seems she said farewell to the welfare state, with all its inevitable proliferation and dumbing down of standards. Arizona may not be everyone's idea of America, but out west, we know what a "real" man with guts is - and she has 'em. The Arizona climate would probably be very good for the marble, preserving it until the English can come to terms with the '80s and 90's.
Her statue should be given a prominent home at the new Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh as her governments policies were a large factor in encouraging the Scots to vote to bring about the creation of the Parliament.
Ralph Cook., UK
The Chamber of Horrors
I vote for its inclusion in the Chamber of Horrors, but failing that, if Arizona want it they can have it. Will they take the real thing as well?
The public spaces of this country are so full of masculine heroes, its about that female achievements were celebrated... even if Thatcher's policies were appalling.
A homeless Thatcher? Dump it in a shop doorway with a few copies of 'The Big Issue' and wait for the £20,000 Turner Prize.
I would put it on top of her.
Why not put in Grantham, where she was the constituency MP for so many years?
I could think of plenty of places. Sadly none of them printable.
Lady Thatcher remains one of the most significant figures, and certainly leaders in British 20th century history. It is time for these rules to change and for the Thatcher statue to take its place in the House of Commons.
Why does a statue of Margaret Thatcher even exist? I think it's an insult to have this standing anywhere, as it represents someone with extremist views towards isolation and intolerance, which have no place in today's society.
Why change the rules?
Jenny Radcliffe, Durham, UK
I would answer but I'm afraid my response would be too rude!
It would make a great companion for the angel of the north, in an area where her policies had the most profound lasting effects. I can't say it would last long though.
Paint it to be life like and place it on the English side of the Channel tunnel . Anyone trying to get through illegally will decide that they'd rather go back than face the iron lady herself.
In my honest opinion, this statue should never go into the house of commons based on her disastrous government. I believe in judging someone by his/her merits, and the simple fact that she was our first female prime minister does not mean that she did a good enough job to warrant a statue in her honour, before or after her death. The only other people with statues in the house of commons are Lloyd George and Winston Churchill, both of which gave an excellent contribution to our country. Margaret Thatcher, with her "no such thing as society" ethos, did not so as such does not deserve the huge honour that several (I would imagine almost all conservative) MPs want.
I wouldn't mind seeing it in the Commons right away. However, that's a dangerous precedent to set given the current PM - there'd be wall-to-wall Tonies in a heartbeat - Tony bringing Peace to the World, Tony slaying the Dragon of Terrorism, Tony Walking the Waters of the Channel (euro in hand), Tony Healing the Sick...
The thing to do is to put it either where she's best regarded, or where it would annoy the most people. So that's either Port Stanley or Brussels. Votes, anyone?
Mark Blackburn, Essex, UK
Its at moments like this that I would dearly love to be a pigeon.
Mrs Thatcher's statue should go in the 'vacant' plinth in Trafalgar Square. She is the most memorable - if not the most loved - of all our Prime Ministers of the post-war period. (Notwithstanding Sir Winston Churchill, who is really regarded as a wartime PM).
Why not put it somewhere on the Falkland Islands - with her back to Argentina. The islanders would appreciate her statue the most. Then by the time she dies, all these people that didn't appreciate her back home, might have grown up!
This statue should have been commissioned following her death - why has it been finished so early when everyone was aware of the rules?
Britain is a traditional society, respect it. Sculptures are needed when the subject is no more but the subject is.
We'll make do with the sculpture at Westminster when the Iron lady is no more.
I would put it down one of the coal mines her government closed down.
I don't know whether there is a place reserved for tributes to those who responsible for destroying much that was good about the nation. Perhaps the Imperial War Museum?
Thatcher's statue should first be positioned outside every closed down coal mine, then outside every dole office, every inner city housing estate, every comprehensive school that was once a grammar school, every Tax office, every old people's home and finally outside every under funded hospital in the land as a testament to a Prime Minister whose only concern was to look after the rich at the expense of the less well off under the pretence of making people stand on their own two feet.
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