Margaret Thatcher and her legacy in Grantham has always been a difficult topic to broach.
Since her return to the spotlight due to Grantham Museum’s controversy with a Thatcher statue the issue has heated up again.
There are those who point to her role as a world figure, something that Grantham should attach itself to in order to promote the town and its history. As with Sir Isaac Newton, Baroness Thatcher is an integral part of Grantham history.
However there is not so much divided opinion with the 17th century scientist. We can all agree that Newton is a popular figure that Grantham has since used to promote itself - just see last year’s Gravity Fields Festival.
The issue with using Baroness Thatcher in the same role is that she doesn’t have close to same popularity. This is what the argument narrows down to for me.
Thatcher may or may not have done a great job on the whole as Prime Minister, but at the moment her actions are still too fresh with many who disagreed with her domestic policy.
There has been an argument made that attractions based on the Iron Lady can benefit Grantham by bringing in tourists. I wonder just how many of them would be actually be interested in more than a plaque and perhaps a section of the museum detailing her life. There’s surely a limited boost that a simple statue can provide.
To bring in a statue does not show vision beyond looking backwards. We definitely need to improve the amount of information available to interested tourists and locals however.
True vision would be to address her time in Grantham and as Prime Minister in a restrained fashion and move on to progressing into the future.