All my lefty mailing lists are full of abuse for old Lady Margaret. I suppose it’s understandable, in a way, since everybody who is anybody, from the God-Emperor on down, is hastening to lay posies on her grave, even before she’s in it. The impulse to set the record straight is elevated and correct.
And yeah, sure, she was a bad person, no doubt about it; as bad as you like. Lay on the untiring minions of Tartarus, with their incandescent whips, to the top of your bent; she deserved it all, and more than your punitive imagination can begin to frame.
But really — doesn’t all this posthumous vindictiveness make us Lefties seem a little … small?
Surely here if ever was a foe worthy of our steel — worthy, and then some, since she whupped us six ways from Sunday. She, and Richard Nixon, seem like the only halfway interesting political figures to bestride the world stage in my lifetime. Come on. Credit where it’s due.
This is not about being nice, or respecting the dead, or any such Pecksniffery as that. There are graves on which I would cheerfully dance — though I seldom dance, and don’t do it well.
But somehow, Tricky Dick’s and Lady Margaret’s graves are not among the ones I would dance on, though they themselves, in life, were the worst of the worst. They were so bad that they attained a kind of diabolical dignity, which it’s simply vulgar not to acknowledge.
It’s as if one were sent as ambassador to the court of Beelzebub. Who wouldn’t want to meet the old arch-reprobate? And who wouldn’t be polite to him, once met?