Lady Thatcher – Farewell and Thanks

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By Canon Kenyon Wright
 
So we say farewell to the Iron Lady.
 
We never met, but I once – I think on “Any Questions”, – said I felt I would have liked her.  Not, I hasten to say because of her views and policies, both of which I believe to have been fundamentally flawed, but because she had a conviction and consistency that put her head and shoulders above many politicians.

By Canon Kenyon Wright
 
So we say farewell to the Iron Lady.
 
We never met, but I once – I think on “Any Questions”, – said I felt I would have liked her.  Not, I hasten to say because of her views and policies, both of which I believe to have been fundamentally flawed, but because she had a conviction and consistency that put her head and shoulders above many politicians.

In one important respect, we owe her a kind of perverse thanks.  But for her, we might well not have had a Scottish Parliament today.  I often called her “the Mother of the Scottish Parliament” until some in the press started to call me its Father.

How?  Her use of the powers of her office to impose on Scotland, not just policies rejected by the great majority of Scots and their MPs, but essentially an alien ideology, had one crucial unintended consequence.  It forced us to see clearly that the problem of Scotland’s governance was not just political but constitutional; not just who happened to govern, but how we were governed.

Speaking of Westminster’s claim to have the last word and to absolute sovereignty, the Church of Scotland Assembly of 1989 said “that which was always unacceptable in principle, has now become intolerable in practice”.

That was the conviction that led to the Claim of Right for Scotland, and empowered the Convention to succeed in reaching consensus on a Scottish government.  Margaret Thatcher said “No” to Scotland, but the way she did so, was a major factor in enabling us to say “Yes”.