South Yorks Thatcher funeral party ‘repulsive’

Effigy burning in Goldthorpe.
Effigy burning in Goldthorpe.
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A party held in a former pit village on the day of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral has been criticised by an organisation trying to attract investors to South Yorkshire.

The South Yorkshire branch of the Federation of Small Businesses said it is ‘deeply dissatisfied’ with protests in Goldthorpe on Wednesday to celebrate the death of the former Prime Minister.

Thousands gathered in the village to watch a mock coffin being carried through the street before an effigy of Baroness Thatcher was burned on a funeral pyre.

But Andrew Flower, chairman of the South Yorkshire Branch of the FSB, said: “I understand that people in the former coal-mining areas of South Yorkshire may have strong views about the Thatcher era and how their communities were affected by pit closures, but do they seriously believe that such outward displays of hatred will do anything to further their cause?

“As the landlady of the local pub in Goldthorpe remarked in a press interview, the village has died since the pit closure in 1994. The only way prosperity and jobs can be returned is by attracting businesses.

“What right-minded potential investor would risk setting up in an area whose inhabitants are so beset with rage as to demean themselves and their community with such repulsive acts of contempt? Burning effigies on bonfires is the stuff of religious fanaticism in intolerant dictator-led tyrannies.”