People die. Every single day. Western tradition dictates that the dead be buried. It's a cultural thing that has been practiced by various civilizations for thousands of years. Other cultures have had or have developed their own, different ways of dealing with the dead - and I pass no judgement on those traditions. What a People does with its dead is up to the prior-expressed wishes of the deceased, their family, and their cultural traditions. For instance, cremation has become more popular in western cultures than it had been 100 years or more ago. Even when cremation is the chosen option, there is almost always a funeral.
Westerners have funerals. It's what we do most of the time. Most other cultures have some form of funeral service.
So when you have a little old lady on your hands who has passed away - how much should it cost for a funeral? For this particular little old lady, the price tag is going to be in the range of $15,300,000. Yes, you read that right - more than $15 Million bucks!
Let us take a closer look at this in the "Extended" portion of this diary which follows the Great Orange Satan's version of a spaghetti noodle.
You think I'm kidding, don't you? You think that there is no way that a funeral could possibly cost over $15 million dollars, don't you? Well, that's the way it is.
It seems that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher passed away a week ago and the Conservative government of England has thrown open its checkbook to provide a LAVISH funeral for her. And I certainly DO mean LAVISH!
If you read the entire piece I linked as "lavish" in the previous paragraph, you will find that the funeral service scheduled to be held in St. Paul's Cathedral will have an Official Guest List of some 2,300 people. Scheduled to appear are:
The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie
Former President of South Africa, FW de Klerk
And a veritable Who's Who of the neocon world in England and beyond. Nancy Reagan received an official invitation, but is unable to attend. Some of the finer details - including the color-coding of invitations for VIPs and the Lesser Important Persons (LImPs) are available at the Number 10 Downing Street web page dedicated to this high-profile event.
In addition to the military bands, dress-uniform military escort, and the gun carriage to transport the Baroness to St. Paul's, the Honourable Artillery Company will fire a gun every minute from Tower Wharf at the Tower of London while the procession is taking place.
There's more, but you should visit the BBC link (the "lavish" one) to read about it all - including the Dress Code. The expected price tag for all of this has been estimated at £10 million. At today's closing price of $1.53 to the Pound, you get $15,300,000.00 when converted.
So why do I give a damn about another country's decision to blow $15 million bux on an old lady's funeral? Because it shows once again how the conservative mindset works.
You see, England is sparing absolutely no expense on this one funeral while they're cutting social programs to the bone and beyond because the financial crisis has hit Europe, too, and the Austerity programs being put in place to deal with that is hitting the common Briton pretty hard. To the point that indigent retirees are being denied a state-funded funeral at an ever-increasing rate.
The math in that link is just a bit off. The author claims that £10 million would bury almost 1,000 indigent British retirees, but I took the expected expense of Thatcher's funeral and divided it by the cited "average cost" of a funeral there (£3,091) and came up with 3,235 ordinary citizens who could be provided the dignity of a funeral (without gun salute) at that price. But the government isn't even providing the full £3,091 for a funeral. No! On average, the British government is providing only £1,217. Run THAT through the calculator, and the cost of this one woman's funeral would provide a minimal state financial assistance for the funerals of 8,217 people who have "died alone without money left to pay for their own burial."
Even one of England's religious leaders the Bishop of Grantham has come out publicly against this spectacle of "spare no expense" for a multi-millionaire baroness who died in her bed at the Ritz Hotel while the poor are provided nothing.
But this is Margaret Thatcher, folks! For those of you too young to have lived through the Reagan-Thatcher Reign of Terror, these two arch-conservatives attacked the average working man and woman mercilessly and put in place policies and philosophies that live to haunt the average citizen to this very day. The British conservatives can't spend enough on her send-off, but they can't spend a dime on the average citizen. The general idea behind these Reagan-Thatcher policies is to lavish (can't get enough of that word, sorry) the rich with more and more money and do so on the backs of the poor and the working class.
So it seems that the answer to this diary's title is, "It costs 8,217 other people their funeral."
I've had it with this shit.
Your comments are welcome below.