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Paper Monitor

15:08 UK time, Wednesday, 10 April 2013

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Margaret Thatcher's ability to kick off what Mrs Merton used to call a heated debate, is apparent on today's front pages.

The Sun has commissioned a poll of Britain's favourite prime ministers. "Maggie wins again!" it cries. Margaret Thatcher pushes Churchill into second place, and Clement Attlee can only manage 5%, behind Tony Blair and Harold Wilson.

In the YouGov poll of 1,893 adults, poor old Ted Heath and David Cameron finish with nil points. Pitt the younger doesn't get a look in either although that's because the poll confines itself to post-war leaders.

The Times strikes a conciliatory note. "Royal respect as Queen leads Thatcher mourners." The paper says that whatever misgivings the Queen may have had about Thatcherism have been put to one side. "The conjecture that the Queen was fundamentally opposed to much of what her longest-serving prime minister stood for will be forgotten in the significance of the moment."

"Operation True Blue: Thatcher funeral in security clampdown," warns the Guardian about fears that the funeral service may foment civic unrest and terrorist attacks.

The ipaper risks not only spreading alarm and confusion but enraging pedants. "Britain at war over Thatcher funeral". Erm, tanks on the streets, pitched battles? Oh, not literally.

The Daily Mirror goes in hard but with better grammar. "The £10m goodbye. Why is Britain's most divisive Prime Minister getting a ceremonial funeral fit for a Queen?"

It may not come as a total surprise to find that the Daily Mail is angry. Very angry. "The flames of hatred: 30 years of Left wing loathing for Lady T explodes in sick celebrations of her death." (There's also a medium range ballistic missile launched from page 10 at the good people of this parish...)

The Daily Telegraph tries to calm things down. "No gushing hysteria, just quiet, dignified respect" is the headline over Michael Deacon's report from Finchley, the Iron Lady's constituency for 33 years. A local recalls how she had a soft spot for a bar called Cheers.

"She would pop in and have a drink. Denis would have gin and tonic and I think she would have a glass of wine...She was very approachable and friendly." It's cosy and sepia tinted, like the credits of Coronation Street relocated to prosperous middle class suburbia.

But amidst all the gentle colour, the writer can't resist one pot shot at those celebrating Thatcher's death. "For those who insist that Left-wing ideology is motivated above all by compassion for others, this must be a difficult week." Ouch!

Which leaves one paper not doing Thatcher on its front page. Come in Daily Express, your taste for bathos knows no bounds. (Yes, even the Daily Star splashes on the funeral costs). "Gel to wipe out arthritic pain" runs the headline.

And on that bombshell...

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