In a move that is eerily reminiscent of one of her own policy initiatives in her 1980’s heyday, the rights to run the funeral of Margaret Thatcher have been put out to tender, with the winning bid going to the lowest cash offer.
Westminster Council are said to be furious - having already submitted a £2 million bid for the rights, with a blueprint - already approved by the former three-time Prime Minister - for a similar state funeral to Winston Churchill, with a ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral and topped off with a concert orchestra playing some of Iron Lady’s favourites - like Land Of Hope And Glory and the Rolf Harris’ Two Little Boys.
To save costs during the recession, the former 87-year-old had said that she did not want the public to see her lying in state or a military fly-past at her funeral. She has also turned down Elton John’s perennial offer of reworking one of his old songs to raise money for charity on the A-side, whilst - in a tribute to traditional Thatcherite values - cannily keeping the money from the B-side.
Sir Elton is believed to be disappointed, but understands Lady Thatcher’s family were concerned that a rousing version of ‘I’m Still Standing’ may reduce the funeral to ‘a cheap and tawdry spectacle.’
However, with the funeral subject to a furious bidding war, all bets are now off as to how the ceremony will be conducted, with at least NINE confirmed new proposals said to be on the table as we went to press, the first one being a tentative ‘olive branch’ bid from the National Union of Mineworkers, whose life president Arthur Scargill is offering to light her funeral pyre in Hyde Park 'for free'.
Other propositions are said to be more controversial, and variously include suggestions for a Himalayan sky burial, Bin Laden-type burial at sea, paramilitary ‘shots over the coffin’ from balaclava-wearing men, and even a Mousetrap style ‘flipped into a bath’ ending. Harrods boss Mohammed Al-Fayed is believed to be financing a Pharaoh-style mass burial, where several right wing sacred cows such as Norman Tebbit, Michael Portillo and her son Mark will be killed and interred alongside their heroine. Part of that package may include right wing polemicists like Peter Hitchins or Richard Littlejohn having his internal organs removed through the, nose using a special long spoon.
Meanwhile, German anatomist Gunther von Hagens has offered ‘full plastination’ for free, whilst ex-Smiths singer Morrissey has suggested a guillotine.
One of the most contentious ideas - suggested by Guardian writer Polly Toynbee is for the former Tory leader to be given a traditional ‘Gadaffi-style’ send off, complete with grainy mobile phone footage and dubious duty of care.
Latest betting odds:
Scargill lights funeral pyre 7-1
Osama sea burial 50-1
Himalayan Sky burial 5-2
Pharaoh mass burial with killing of several right wing sacred cows 12-1
IRA paramilitary rifle shots 66-1
Gaddafi-style removal 1000-1
Gunther von Hagens plastination 12-1
Mousetrap style end 15-1
Morrissey / guillotine 50-1
Traditional Churchill style state funeral 20-1