Everything Must Go: The People who Relegated QPR

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It’s not Arry’s fault. Honest guv.

Incompetence. Greed. Laziness. PR disasters. And thats just Jose Bosingwa. In a mere two seasons, QPR have stunk the Premier League out good and proper. Tony Fernandes has been left hanging from a branch like a bloated, beaten piñata, gleefully smashed by agents, managers and players. Today, Frankly Vulgar delivers it’s damning personal judgment on some of the people have contributed to this sorry, sorry mess. 

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These two are probably less full of mirth right now.

Park Ji-sung

Park is what I imagine Europe’s capital cities were like in April 1945 – a fucking wreck. He isn’t so much a footballer as he is the remains of one. Gone is the big game gyro, Fergie’s go-to-hustler, his oxymoronically offensive shield. I remember watching Manchester United rout AC Milan 4-0 at Old Trafford. Park was the best player on the pitch. He smothered Andrea Pirlo, suffocated him, running him down into the pitch to the point where the Italian was entirely anonymous. It was a masterclass.

Watching Ji trot hopelessly around Loftus Road, misplacing five yard passes, having to make every second touch a tackle because he can no longer trap a ball, well, it would be sad – if he hadn’t cost the best part of £5 million. The only optimism to be found in watching Park these days is that he actually proves the existence of the afterlife – he has become a ghost.

Verdict: Due a trip to the glue factory.

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As Esteban looked into Mark’s eyes, he realised he had only one question: What the fuck am I doing here.

Esteban Granero

Since Euro 2008 football has had a distinctly Spanish flavour. Tiki-taka has become a layman’s term. Fat, balding men with wheezy voices across Britain have had arguments in pubs about whether the Spanish style, the Barcelona piquancy of pressing and passing, is ‘boring’ or not. Well, regardless of its robotic bloodlessness, its a style that has until very recently been dominant.

I imagine Mark Hughes thought Esteban Granero would bring some of this confidence, this metronomic ability to terminate the opposition through a sheer tonnage of sideways passing, to QPR. In defeat against Manchester City and a draw to Chelsea, Granero made a positive impression: here was a player with pedigree, technique and awareness; an aristocratic footballer. Unfortunately what Granero lacked was balls. The man is a eunuch. As soon as things went sour at QPR this season Granero downed his tools. He started to mope around the pitch, unable to pass the ball without a sort of restless, tempo-sapping vacillation about the way he did it. He’s a wallflower.

Verdict: If Blanche DuBois was a Spanish footballer.

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I’m actually amazed the good people at Soccer Starz thought Hoilett was good enough to justify being turned into one of these.

Junior Hoilett

David ‘Junior’ Hoilett is what some of my friends would refer to as a ‘sideman’. A wasteman. A dick. Last summer most QPR fans would have had young Junior at the apex of their transfer wish lists. We were giddy when he actually did sign – pacy, tricky , a provider of goals with an eye for the spectacular and he was young. Under 30. Not a big name but with the right management he could be.

We should have been questioning why he came to QPR when he could have played in front of 50,000 at St. James’ or played Champions League football in Germany with Monchengladbach. The player who turned up at QPR was pathetic – fat, slow, lazy and uninterested. Another player treating the club as a kind of money teat to suck on. You can see it on the pitch. It means fuck all to him. The biggest insult I can pay him is that Shaun Wright-Philips is a better footballer than him.

Verdict: Chubby Little Loser.

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The Loftus Road turf wasn’t very receptive to Rob Green’s overtures.

Rob Green

Temporary unconsciousness, extreme agitation, lethargy, functional blindness or paralysis, completely unrealistic responses to the challenge of events, strange reversals of life-long patterns of behaviour – these are the symptoms of Rob Green Syndrome (RGS). Those who suffer with RGS should avoid situations that involve high stress or pressure. If you think you are suffering from RGS call 999 without hesitation. Even if the symptoms of RGS disappear whilst you are waiting for an ambulance, medical professionals advise that you should still go to hospital for treatment.

A friend of mine supports West Ham and insists that ‘Greeno’ is a very capable keeper. Well if thats the case I would like to know where on earth he has been hiding for the last 9 months.

Verdict: Shell Shocked.

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Chris tries to work out what the biggest animal he could kill without a weapon is. Experts at Frankly Vulgar have calculated that it could be as large as a Polar Bear.

Chris Samba

Chris Samba has all the attributes of a player that an idiot (Robbie Savage) thinks would make a good centre back. He’s just a pretty big guy. He’s also pretty slow, pretty cumbersome and pretty mediocre. Journalists still attribute ridiculous adjectives to Samba – I’ve seen him described this season as monstrous, commanding and imperious. The only thing ‘monstrous’ about Samba is his weekly wage – the joke doing the rounds on Sunday was the he missed that days dire derby suicide pact game against Reading because he dropped his wallet on his foot.

Verdict: Big Man Big Money Big Mistakes

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Stéphane Mbia

Awwwwhh! Bless Stéphane Mbia! Look at him giving his shirt away after the game! To a little kid as well! Look how cute he is on Twitter!

Call me a cynic but if Mbia was anywhere near as good as his tooth-achingly saccharine PR then QPR wouldn’t be looking forward to trips to Bournemouth, Barnsley and Burnley next season. Mbia was an excellent (if Wikipedia is to be believed) defender at Marseille. He has been a palpably below average midfielder for QPR. When Mbia signed from Marseille, Joey Barton was packed off the other way on loan. If you’d told me at the time that Marseille would get the better end of the deal I would have ridiculed you. Shows how much I know.

Verdict: His head is the same shape as a  really big baked potato. Creepy.

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The Samba philosophy.

Samba Diakité

Samba is that kid in your class at school. The quiet one who head-butted the door when he got angry. The one who stuck pencils in his nose until it bled and he started crying. Ralph Wiggum with a dash of the old ultra-violence. That kid.

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Samba terminates another opposition midfielder. With EXTREME prejudice.

Samba Diakité’s QPR debut against Fulham last season was utterly extraordinary. He was on the pitch for about 30 minutes and in that time he made thirteen fouls. You could have made a case for each one of them being a red card. Samba has rarely featured this season and when he has he is just as inanely violent as he always is. Most of his time has been spent taking a few sabbaticals in a attempt to make peace with his (incredibly destructive) inner-self.

Verdict: A Chickenless Head

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Bobby’s one man remake of ‘The Karate Kid’ wasn’t universally popular at Loftus Road.

Bobby Zamora

QPR got seriously fleeced when they paid £6 million for this wanker. Bobby is better at moaning about shit than he is at playing football. He makes fancy dress enthusiast Julio Cesar look like a good PR guru.

QPR faced Reading at Loftus Road in November for what was already a relegation six-pointer. This is what Bobby had to say before the game. How clueless can you get? Also for most of the season Bobby has had a very sore hip. He shows this during games by puffing his cheeks out and rubbing it – just in case we didn’t realise. It was impossible not to know about Bobby’s mythical hip this season – Harry Redknapp never stopped going on about the bloody thing. ‘If only’ Bobby could be fit alongside Remy, then we would have a chance said ‘Arry. No. ‘If only’ we had a manager sensible enough not to rely on a hypochondriac like Bobby. ‘If only’ we hadn’t packed off the superb Heidar Helguson to Cardiff for a pittance. Bobby is half the man.

Verdict: The Walking Dead.

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Jose was delighted to hear from his agent about the contract offer QPR made him.

Jose Bosingwa

Some questions:

1. You’re a multi-millionaire. You have a mono-brow. Why persist with it? Why?

2. How did a player this useless win the Champions League twice?

3. Why did Harry Redknapp keep playing him in the second half of the season? Nedum Onuoha and Fabio are better players and are also, importantly, not Jose Bosingwa.

4. Dear Jose why do you move like a really awkward crab when you shuffle up the touchline?

Verdict: BOOOO-singwa

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Phil Beard in a situation that would make David Brent proud.

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This is exactly how I imagine Tony Fernandes sits in the boardroom.

The Board

It is very fashionable to blame QPR’s predicament on Mark Hughes. He signed the players. He failed to motivate and prepare them properly. He was an awful manager. Nobody seems to blame Harry Redknapp. He ought to get some of the blame as well. With more games and as much money as Hughes he ended up presiding over just as much of a shambles. What both men have in common is the ability to blame anyone, anything, other than themselves. That and not being as good as their buddies in the media make them out to be.

I would call both of them incompetent. Then again, I would say that the board is incompetent for appointing them. Tony Fernandes is an embarrassment, his tweeting is an embarrassment  his comparison of QPR to his shit Formula1 team was an embarrassment and his damaging, destabilising little meltdown was an embarrassment. He might actually be a decent man, a good bloke and all the other things his sycophantic legions of followers say he is. That wouldn’t change the fact that his near two years in charge of QPR have resembled a forced death march towards the Football League.

Verdict: Fresh Meat in a Piranha Tank.

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Losing Suarez Would Gnaw at Liverpool’s Ambitions

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“Thats the only taste of the champions league he’s had this season” – HAHA STOP IT YOU’RE KILLING ME.

Luis Suarez bit somebody yesterday. Whilst playing in a football match. Unfortunately for him this time there is no Uruguayan cultural precedent he can fall back on, no ancient tradition of biting opponents forearms that goes back four generations that he can use to shield himself from the shrill and hysterical opprobrium of the football classes. Racism is one thing apparently. But biting somebody, going full on fucking Dracula? Woah. Thats a whole other case entirely.

Reading online forums and listening to phone-in shows yesterday you’d think that Suarez had ripped Ivanovic’s arm off and beaten the poor bloke into chunks of bloody Serbian meat in front of the Kop, such was the level of anger, the simmering rage that was out there last night. The calls were like this: ‘Suarez should be banned for six months.’ ‘Suarez should never play for Liverpool or in this country again.’ ‘Listen Alan, I’m as nice a guy as any of your callers, but I want to see Suarez’ head on a pike somewhere prominent on the Anfield Road, so we set an example to all the young kids out there.’ The level of hysteria was somewhere between the arrival of bubonic plague in Western Europe in the fourteenth century and that time when everybody saw Janet Jackson’s nipple during the Super Bowl half-time show.

Imagine if Eric Cantona’s kung-fu kick happened in this environment. There would be an emergency session of Parliament. Spontaneous rioting would break out. In scenes akin to the final act of The Wicker Man, poor Eric would be dragged by his heels by a braying pagan mob to a giant effigy of Sir Alex Ferguson in the middle of the Old Trafford pitch and burnt alive. Only then would our public bloodlust be satiated.

Away from my sarcasm for a moment and it is possible to see why Suarez’ bite has made such a mark. England is a country of meadows, lanes, sloping green hills and cricket squares. It’s the county of Milton, Orwell and Auden. Notions of fair play, of sportsmanship are ingrained into us from an early age. One sportsman biting another one on the field of play is completely at odds with these ideals.

I’ve been told by Liverpool fans that Suarez fits into another bracket, another part of our sporting culture, apparently he is a ‘maverick entertainer’. Personally I never conflated ‘maverick entertainer’ with being a racist, biting, diving scumbag. It is very hard to feel sympathy for those Liverpool fans who are only now angered and offended by Suarez. Anybody with an internet connection could see that he was hardly the sharpest crayon in the box, that he wasn’t so much a loose cannon but one that is hurtling down a steep hill at an alarming velocity.

This is even before he moved to Liverpool. In the years since Suarez has played some sublime football, racially abused a fellow professional and spent as much time rolling around on the floor looking for a penalty as he has slaloming through opposition defences with his trademark dribble. The only people who should really panic about this incident are the management of Liverpool FC. Suarez has only been there for two full seasons and he is not only the best player at Liverpool, but on the evidence of this season, the best player in the league. He will find another club. When Liverpool have to sink their teeth in to the transfer market to replace him they will do well to find a player with footballing skills as delicious as the ones Suarez has.

The Kind People have a Wonderful Dream – Thatcher’s Funeral

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Mastur-weeping: how the Chancellor rolls. (Photo from the Mirror.)

Yesterday was Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. You could almost hear Paul Dacre weeping as he masturbated. You could actually see George Osborne doing the very same thing during the service, live on national television.

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Guns. Lots of guns. Nothing says funeral as much as a shit load of guns.

London felt cold and hermetic yesterday. The sun dutifully refusing to break through the slate sky that Maggie made her final journey under. The usual modes of governance seemed to cease for the day, no PMQs, no toiling of Big Ben – instead the hawkish buzz of news copters and the sallow blue uniforms of the police and military lit by up by gunmetal. The minutes before and during the procession were a ten million pound suspension, a time machine, old Maggie allowed to hold office one last time. For a couple of hours Britain was a necrocracy, a mausolocracy.

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Spot the odd one out.

A old P.E. teacher of mine, a former marine, had a story about Maggie coming to their base and inspecting the troops – “My back has never been straighter” he would say proudly. According to him she was the strongest, the toughest Prime Minister we ever had, strength being the only quality he seemed to really appreciate. Yesterday I wondered whether he was near me somewhere on Fleet Street, ready to straighten that back again in respect and admiration for a final inspection.

Those who lined the route yesterday were called Thatcher’s ‘supporters’ by the media. This was partly true. There was a fat man in a dark suit sitting atop a red telephone box, legs outstretched like a parachutist, shouting and yelling and clapping “GO ON MAGGIE”. What a patriot. As if her passage to St. Pauls and then to be cremated was some necrotic team sport. Cheering the little box as it went by seemed inappropriate to me regardless of any political opinions.

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Everyone is a historian on days like this.

I wasn’t there as a ‘supporter’, like most others I came simply to observe the spectacle, to pay homage not to Thatcher but to the death of the kind of politician she represented. In a world of suits, deference and consensus her species has ceased to exist, the politician with conviction who allows it to drive decision making. The number of pictures taken and films made yesterday along the barrier at Fleet Street is a testament to this feeling.

In the last week we have been told countless times that we are ‘Thatcher’s Children’, but she was a matriarch not a mother. The applause as she rolled past yesterday was scattered – the applause given to one who is respected, not loved. How very British it was  to depart the world in such a way, to such strained and muted politeness.

I won’t be bowing down for our new Queen: Beyoncé

I for one welcome our ubiquitous new overlady.

I for one welcome our ubiquitous new overlady.

 

“Nothing bothers me more than when groups like Pearl Jam and Nirvana whine and moan and complain about life and being famous. Let me tell you, being famous is great! If you hate your job so much, why don’t you fuckin’ go work at a car wash or McDonald’s or something?” – Noel Gallagher

Remember when you actually liked Beyoncé? Me neither. However I never really disliked her, she was just there (or everywhere actually) in the same way that Nando’s or traffic lights are. The tipping point from passive disinterest to actual dislike came when her astonishingly misguided HBO documentary ‘Life is but a Dream’ was shown a few weeks ago on the BBC. This came complete with a fawning introduction from Alan Yentob that was more than a little embarrassing in its ‘get down with the kids’ hand-wavium about what a paradigm defining artiste Beyoncé’ really is.

The film is a skewed, boring and hagiographic 90 minute attempt to get people to like Beyoncé. It instead ends up revealing her to be a classic study in God-fearing American narcism. We are compelled to empathise with the loneliness of superstellar stardom, the kind of celebrity that eradicates the ability of the star to live a normal life. Yet her attempts at introspection – obviously scripted, filming herself with full hair and make-up at 3am complaining about how her life has changed – are too fatuous to take seriously. I found myself muttering ‘give me a break darling’ at the TV, rolling my eyes and saying it like Jeremy Kyle when he is mining a serious vein of prickishnness.

Beyoncé’s life does seem like a dream, perhaps because nothing about it feels real.  It seems as if she lacks the intelligence to realise that she has lost touch with what it means to be a bag of perspiring, respiring carbon like the rest of us down here below the Mount Olympus where the likes of her and Jay-Z live.  She lacks the ability to turn what her life has become – being an outsider due to wealth and notoriety – into great art. Think of Bowie, looking down at his audience in the 80’s wondering how many of them owned a Velvet Underground record. Think of Eminem’s lyrics in the song White AmericaWhat has Beyoncé contributed to this rich seam of artistic introspection? This:

Way to make your fans feel appreciated Bey.

Thats whats most grinding about Beyoncé, her enormous, all-conquering sense of entitlement. She genuinely believes the guff her record label executive spouts about one of her albums being ‘totally original’. Beyoncé talks about songs, mostly written by other people, songs that Alexandra Burke could sing just as well, as if they re-shaped the surface of the planet. This leads to two problems: firstly her nauseatingly transparent humility, which manifests itself in constant referrals to the role God has had in her success feels insincere. Secondly because she  is told be those around her (and by Alan fucking Yentob) that her music is original, that it is groundbreakingprofound and all the other shit, she actually seems to believe it. In the realm of Queen Bey its not familiarity that breeds contempt it is insularity that breeds it.

Bey looks unhappy to be wearing Halle Berry's costume from 2004's 'Catwoman' movie.

Bey looks unhappy to be wearing Halle Berry’s costume from 2004’s ‘Catwoman’ movie.

The success of ‘Single Ladies’ (a song co-written by three men) has led to Beyoncé being lauded as some kind of modern day icon of the feminist fourth wave. In fairness much of what she says is admirable:

– women and men should be payed the same

– men shouldn’t alone in defining whats sexy and what is feminine

Why then are her actions at odds with her words? Beyoncé espoused the above in the pages of GQ (spoiler alert: she comes across badly) . Consider that the cover shoot was orchestrated by Terry Richardson, a man so misogynistic he may as well have the word tattoo’d to his fucking forehead for the rest of his days so that nobody mistakes him for being anything else. Our Queen appears in the shoot half-naked, playfully posing in male sportswear, complete with ‘the gap’. Whoops looks like you’re playing a role in classic male sexual fantasy Bey! As long you sell some Pepsi I’m sure its worth it though.

Slightly better looking than Emmeline Pankhurst tbf.

Slightly better looking than Emmeline Pankhurst tbf.

Beyoncé has been called “the most important and compelling popular musician of the twenty-first century … the result, the logical end point, of a century-plus of pop.”  She is a phenomenal performer, arguably the best in the world today; but when her shows are broken down they are around 60% lights and effects, 30% shaking of her famed ‘booty’ and about 10% singing.   It’s gospel burlesque shot through the prism of 21st century technology at a thousand miles an hour. It’s not important. I’m not compelled. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the logical end point of a century of pop:

“In 2009, both Beyoncé and Kelly Clarkson had hits (Beyoncé’s “Halo,” which charted in April, and Clarkson’s “Already Gone,” which charted in August) that were created from the same track, by Ryan Tedder. Clarkson wrote her own top line, while Beyoncé shared a credit with Evan Bogart. Tedder had neglected to tell the artists that he was double-dipping, and when Clarkson heard “Halo” and realized what had happened she tried to stop “Already Gone” from being released as a single, because she feared the public would think she had copied Beyoncé’s hit. But nobody cared, or perhaps even noticed; “Already Gone” became just as big a hit.” (From this article in The New Yorker.)

This probably is though. Perhaps Beyoncé is the perfect 21st century pop idol, an iconic pop vacuum. She has very little to say, her life is about as different from you and me as Henry VII’s (they were both desperate for an heir) was and her twitter account is about as enjoyable to read through as the first time you used Microsoft Excel without knowing what the fuck was going on. The worst thing is that we don’t expect better, the market has made us dull, paralysed and stupefied us into expecting nothing more than an attractive woman writhing in front of some neat graphics.

Bow down bitches!

Maggie, Morrissey and Legacy

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Mozza and Margaret (Getty, AP)

‘Great’ people tend to be those who can ignite profound change and inspire blind devotion in equal measure. They are those rarities amongst us who can ‘set the weather’ by shaping it with their very will. Above all they never compromise, they can’t be bought or sold: they lead and others simply follow, shellshocked in their wake.

People like this don’t actually exist of course. Great people merely make waves in the tides of history, they don’t direct the process itself. Yet with the death of Margaret Thatcher this week, an inevitable operation of mythologising and beatification, led by Downing Street and in the rightwing press has begun in earnest. View with trepidation the front pages of the Mail and Telegraph on Tuesday: a backlit photo of ‘our Maggie’ at her ‘Rule Britannia’  peak, smiling benignly, the light warming the famously unmoving hair into a halo, a visual representation of a calculated attempt to rewrite the history of our country. This is Thatcher rebranded – above the swill of old hatreds, joining the pantheon of British political leaders who are now apolitical symbols of national unity.

Who stands against this?

Certainly not the Labour Party – their last Prime Minister spent £100,000 renaming a room in Downing Street after her. The BBC has been cowed into showing vapid commemorative programming that, deliciously enough, has been beaten in the ratings by Coronation Street. The really despicable moments of Thatcher’s reign, for instance discrimatory legislation like Section 28 has barely been mentioned this week. When the discord and disharmony sown by Thatcher has been shown on the news this week it has dwelt far too much simply on the fact that many people despised her and not why they despised her. Similar to the way the 2011 film ‘The Iron Lady’ showed a horde of screaming protestors battering the great ladies car without explaining their motives at all. Terrifyingly that film and the sycophantic press coverage this week will probably shape the way a vast majority of under-35’s remember Thatcher.

That leaves us with Morrissey.

An 80’s icon who divides opinion in a way that is startlingly similar to Thatcher, Morrissey’s song ‘Margaret On The Guillotine’ was probably the first protest song that I ever heard and actually understood. Ironically the artlessness of Thatcher the person (her interests didn’t stretch very far beyond watching the occasional episode of ‘Songs of Praise’ and an encyclopaedic knowledge of Tennyson) and her government created an atmosphere of opposition that created great art – everyone from Billy Bragg to Sue Townsend owes a strange kind of debt to Thatcherism.

Through his music and interviews (in one he famously wished the Brighton Bombing had claimed her life) Morrissey represented a slice of culture and a section of society that vehemently loathed Thatcher. This week his chance to dance on her grave finally arrived. He didn’t hold back.  Much of the truly vehement appraisals of Thatcher this week have come from similar figures from the period.

Yet by displaying such naked, reckless hate for Thatcher, Morrissey reveals a character remarkably like that of the Iron Lady. In fact there are many similarities between the two; their aforementioned divisiveness, their intransigence and their proclivity towards hubris. They are both magnets for hatred from the press and the public. Thatcher’s slide to irrelevance began as she was tearfully ushered out of Downing Street, Morrissey’s as The Smiths fell apart around him in 1987. For Thatcher’s remark about the ‘enemy within’ trade Mozza labelling the Chinese a ‘sub-species’. Was it Mozza or Maggie who said this:

“If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time and you would achieve nothing”

It ends there though. Morrissey is merely one of the great songwriters of the last 30 years. Mrs. Thatcher was a politician who changed Britain in a revolutionary way. What transpired under her leadership may have been better than the alternative; a managed decline of a former great power, Michael Foot creating a Warsaw-upon-Thames land full of nationalised pubs, intermittent electricity and unbreakably powerful unions. This does not however excuse the unblinkingly one-eyed coverage of Thatcher that has occurred since her death, nor does it mean the public should contribute to what is already being called an “all but a” state funeral. Churchill – a leader who united the country in a remarkable way deserves such an honour but Thatcher, who has left us with a legacy of profound divisions especially between rich and poor and between the celtic fringes of these islands and England, simply does not deserve the accolade. Nor would she want it.

She blazed a trail, with the caveat that it was for herself and for people like her. All opposition was either wrong or the enemy. To consider her a symbol of national unity is to be sadly misguided. Equally to assess her legacy as she assessed her opponents: in extreme terms that border on hatred, is to poison the discourse to come: the sight of smug Brixton hipsters who probably wouldn’t even know what a ‘pit’ is celebrating her death was almost as irritating as the tearfully masturbatory tone of the right-wing press this week.