Even in Death, Margaret Thatcher Divides Britain as Hundreds Celebrate

Not everyone is mourning the Iron Lady's passing.

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Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images

A portrait of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is left next to floral tributes outside her residence in Chester Square on April 8, 2013 in London, England.

On April 17, Britain will honor Margaret Thatcher with full military honors, in a ceremonial funeral service attended by the Queen and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh. But within hours of the news that the former Prime Minister had passed away from a stroke on April 8, parts of the country began celebrations that for many had been years, if not decades, in the making.

As one of the most divisive and polarizing leaders in British political history – from her controversial closure of coal mines to the introduction of a poll tax and the push for privatization – it is no surprise that even in death she continues to divide the country.

(MOREFarewell to the Iron Lady: Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013))

Take, for exmample, an infamous single-serving website which asked “Is Thatcher Dead Yet?” On Monday, after nearly three years of telling visitors “Not Yet,” the site featured the word “YES” in big, bold capital letters, adding, “The lady’s not returning”. The sites creators Antonio Lulic and Jared Earle also asked readers: “How are you celebrating?”

Mainly it appears, with champagne and cake. Several impromptu street parties popped up around the U.K. as people cheered and handed out ‘Maggie death cake’. In Brixton in South London, the site of 1981 race riots that were among the worst of Thatcher’s term in office, hundreds gathered shouting: “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, dead, dead, dead!” The Daily Mirror reports that others shouted: “Free milk for all,” in reference to her policy of ending milk subsidies for school children.

(MORE: Margaret Thatcher’s Foreign Policy: Was the Iron Lady on the Wrong Side of History?  )

The level of vitriol against Thatcher is especially strong in northern parts of the U.K., where many working-class people remember her as the politician who destroyed the British manufacturing industry. An estimated 300 people gathered in George Square in Glasgow, Scotland, where crowds were reportedly singing “so long, the witch is dead.”  A Facebook campaign has even been set up in the wake of her death to make the song ‘Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead’ from the Wizard of Oz soundtrack number one on the U.K. charts. Marc Almond, one of the people behind the campaign, responded to criticisms of inappropriateness on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/MarcAlmond/status/321279531266740227

Many prominent political figures have called for Thatcher’s opponents to show some respect in the wake of her death. British Labour MP Tom Watson tweeted: “I hope that people on the left of politics respect a family in grief today.” Self-declared Thatcherites such as former Conservative MP Louise Mensch hit out at the many celebrating her death on Twitter: “Pygmies of the left so predictably embarrassing yourselves, know this: not a one of your leaders will ever be globally mourned like her.”

(MORE:  WikiLeaks: U.S. Cable Calls Margaret Thatcher ‘Frightfully English,’ ‘A Trifle Patronizing’)

For many of those angered by Thatcher’s more controversial policies, however, the Iron Lady can never be forgiven. Writing in the Daily Beast, the singer Morrissey of the band The Smiths described her as a figure “without an atom of humanity.” (The author of the song “Margaret on the Guillotine” was never much of a fan.) Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone, another dissenting voice, said, “Every real problem we face today is the legacy of the fact she was fundamentally wrong.”

Though some politicians are campaigning to have the late prime minister granted a full state funeral, Thatcher reportedly vetoed the possibility over fears it would provoke a divisive debate in parliament. As both her supporters and detractors have noted, the Iron Lady was a politician who never cared much about being popular.

MOREFondness in Finchley: Margaret Thatcher’s Constituency Reflects on Her Legacy

18 comments
paulgeorges
paulgeorges

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing".Edmund_Burke' Now after the 2008 bank scandal and central bank funding without limit of a lot money we are again in 1929 .Or perhaps worst .All this because of deregulation and ultraliberalism.Do we really want again a new  collapse and Hitler after ?. The witch is dead but her charm is alive.Who can deliver us of it, please? We need a new Robin Hood, a new Paul Revere,a new Roosevelt to get wealthy people to pay a fair bill,and not  let them to escape it and drop the burden to weakers one.

telephoneman1248
telephoneman1248

Now that both Reagan and Thatcher–two demi-gods in the conservative pantheon–are dead, it is time to destroy the myths of their so-called “greatness.” We must set to the task of exposing them as the Class Warfare warriors that they really were: they fired the first salvoes in their War Against the Working Class! It doesn’t take a degree in sociology or economics to realize that today’s inequality (stagnant wages for the 99% …and record profits and wealth for the 1%) had its genesis in Reagan and Thatcher. Ron and Maggie’s hidden agenda, their true mandate was a perverse and callous Reverse Robin Hood politics: steal from the poor and give it to the rich. The Gipper and the Iron Lady’s lasting legacy, the measure by which history will judge them, is a failed and discredited theory of TRICKLE-DOWN VOODOO ECONOMICS….aka… AUSTERITY!!!

JennyMark89
JennyMark89

upto I looked at the draft of $4440, I accept ...that...my best friend was like trully bringing home money parttime from there computar.. there moms best frend had bean doing this for less than six months and resantly took care of the morgage on there place and purchased a gorgeous Ford Mustang. I went here,Great60.comCHECK IT OUT

MichaelSwede
MichaelSwede

An evil woman has died, there is good cause for celebration for all the misery for which she is responsible.

HawgWyld
HawgWyld

Good grief. More of the same from the extreme left. The logic here seems simple enough -- respect everyone (except for those with whom we disagree because they are presumptively evil).

SuhailShafi
SuhailShafi

The spectacle of people celebrating Mrs Thatcher's death is beyond repulsive.

MerleGuzman
MerleGuzman

Please pray for the repose of her soul.  And please have some respect for the dead.  She may be wrong, she may be right, but she is still a human being who is now laying in rest, after all she was the Prime Minister

PceThruStrength
PceThruStrength

Time is celebrating too - "As one of the most divisive and polarizing leaders in British political history". A woman who took Britain from being a 1975 version of  Greece today into a vibrant economy almost single-handed, elected to 3 terms, and this is the best Time Magazine can write. No wonder Time Magazine is irrelevant.

AminSan
AminSan

She was nothing more than white trash!

GoOg
GoOg

Yep the left that is so good at blaming others for their own faults.  Never ceases to amaze me how self involved they are and oblivious to their own failed ideology.  

Ed6972
Ed6972

The extreme, repulsive bigotry of the left knows no bounds.

ex5thavemonster
ex5thavemonster

@telephoneman1248  Sir, you are correct . Stop  the political image lie and it's ability to manipulate the ignorant to defend their selfish, self serving and very counter productive policies for the masses, then when they die, we're suppose to morn those who worked against our livelihoods so their Elite friends can prosper royally.

Ovalle2016
Ovalle2016

@HawgWyld Good. You differentiated the "extreme left" from the "left." We should try to remember that there are extreme elements in every sphere of politics.

I wasn't particularly a fan of Thatcher or Reagan. I didn't consider either of them particularly brilliant, but I didn't consider them "evil," either.

RenaFahy
RenaFahy

@SuhailShafi couldn't agree more!