‘Ding Dong! the Witch is Dead’: BBC Responds as Anti-Thatcher Campaign Pushes Song Up the Charts

The bitter row over Margaret Thatcher's legacy continues — and this time it's spilling onto the BBC's Top 40 radio program.

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The Wicked Witch of the West, left, played by Margaret Hamilton, confronts Dorothy, played by Judy Garland, and Glinda, the Witch of the North, played by Billie Burke, right, in this scene from The Wizard of Oz

Updated: Apr. 15, 2013 at 4:00 a.m. EST

Following her death on April 8, the bitter row over Margaret Thatcher’s legacy continues – with a campaign to get the song “Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead”, from the movie The Wizard of Ozto number 1 on the U.K. music charts. The song ended up reaching number two on Sunday after selling 52,605 copies. This was more than 5,700 copies behind Duke Dumont and A*M*E with “Need U (100%),” which stayed at the top for a second week. Meanwhile, a rival campaign song, “I’m In Love With Margaret Thatcher” entered at number 35 after a late push from Lady Thatcher supporters.

The former Prime Minister, whose time in office was marked by battles with workers’ unions and the privatization of key industries, continues to be a divisive figure in Britain. On the day of her death a number of street parties were held throughout the U.K., some of which turned violent.

(MORE: Rage Against Simon Cowell? A British Pop Charts Upset)

Encouraged by an anti-Thatcher Facebook campaign, people are now downloading the 1939 song, sung by Judy Garland and the cast of the movie, in an attempt to make it the top-selling track of the week.

(MORE: Fondness in Finchley: Margaret Thatcher’s Constituency Reflects on Her Legacy)

The activist Adam Jung, writing for the Huffington Post, called it “a creative way for Brits to correct the national narrative” of Thatcher’s time in office.

But the music journalist Neil McCormick, writing in the Daily Telegraph, said that the campaign would make the song “the most inappropriate and gratuitously offensive number one hit single ever.” And  former Conservative Member of Parliament Jonathan Aitken told a British TV show: ‘People who have respect for Lady Thatcher and her views will not find this anything other than a distasteful affair,” adding that it was “a pretty feeble form of protest.”

(MORE: Margaret Thatcher’s Funeral: Who Will Be Attending)

But distasteful and feeble as it may be, the campaign is causing a significant headache for the BBC. By Friday, “Ding Dong! The Witch is Dea had hit number 1 in the U.K. iTunes store, and number 3 on the Official U.K. Chart. BBC Radio 1 ordinarily does a Top 40 countdown on Sunday afternoons, in which every song from number 40 down to number 1 is played in its entirety. But on Friday the broadcaster announced that the song won’t be played in full. Instead, a short clip of will be played as part of a news bulletin explaining that the track has reached that place in the chart. It called the decision “a difficult compromise.”

Meanwhile, a large anti-Thatcher protest in London’s Trafalgar Square was organized this past weekend by a coalition of activists, anarchists and former coal miners, reports the Guardian. And the Sun reports that a London police officer resigned from his post after it was revealed that he had made a number of offensive tweets celebrating Thatcher’s death.

MORE: Praise for the Baroness: Political Tributes for Thatcher

15 comments
Aspblom
Aspblom

I guess that this illustrate the high levels of joy that  hate hate brings forth in the UK. Reading about the high levels of violence during the famous coal miners' strikes and about the union leader, Scargill, who endorsed the killer, Stalin, and who sought funds from the USSR and Gaddafi in Lybia, it appears that this joy in hate and destruction  is a real value on the part of Britain's left.

fuzzybat
fuzzybat like.author.displayName 1 Like

@JohnLammi She was a racist bigot who hated Britain's poor and fought for the wealthy at everyone else's expense. The woman lacked even an ounce of compassion and here you are attacking and demonizing her victims merely because they feel the elation that a person feels when one's attacker can no longer do them any harm. That is what the song is about, after all... a bunch of the little people singing because a cruel, tyrannical witch can no longer hurt them. 

Aspblom
Aspblom like.author.displayName 1 Like

@fuzzybat @JohnLammi Well, I'm sure that she was the one person with absolutely no compassion and that she was harming people  and mouthing vicious hatred toward all the poor right up to the moment of her death ... What I wrote demonized no one but rather described the obvious delight in the experience of hate so evident in these eruptions of hate. What I wrote also simply described the attitudes of her arch opponents such as Scargill, who endorsed actual mass murders such as Stalin. Perhaps this obvious  glorying in hatred is a characteristic of the UK. I don't know, but perhaps it is.

A5h1ey
A5h1ey

Just to let you all know, The Exploited sang a song about Thatcher back in the 70's, I would repeat the title here but wont because the words are extremely vulgar and yet so fitting and true!!! But the name of the song is Maggie......

hummingbird
hummingbird like.author.displayName 1 Like

Her policies benefitted some but to others they were detrimental. No leader's history should ever be whitewashed as some might want it to be so they can pretend that the person was all-good.  Thatcher's racist views were apparent in the way she supported apartheid in South Africa and warned an Australian politician about Asian immigration.

charleyhorse
charleyhorse like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Something for all of you haters to ponder. When Lady Thatcher took office in 1979, the unemployment rate in Great Britai n was %13.5 .  By the time she left office in 1989, the rate had dropped to just alittle over 5%  ,   guess you people on the Left hate it when people actually go to work, and do not have to rely oin the Government to live. The Unions where getting to much power, and needed to be reeled in. As they  say "power corrupts, and absolute power absolutely corrupts".  . Even when someone dies, the Left continues to hate. The Left just loves to hate.

Chosun1
Chosun1 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@charleyhorse - The Left has always had difficulty with basic concepts like reality and responsibility.  Hate is their way of life.  Sad.  Truly sad.

gwuqlqrx
gwuqlqrx like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

What happened to proper journalism? So much nonsense is being spouted and then printed. Is anyone checking any of the facts or doing any thinking?

The author is pretty far off when they write "But distasteful and feeble as it may be..." because the purchasing of this song is not a feeble act and it is not distasteful.

What is distasteful is the use of the death of an old woman by an establishment loosing its grip.

Thatcher should have been given a respectful family funeral in private. Instead the UK government are planning to spend 10 million pounds on a media spectacular.

One after another members of the political class will line up to explain what a great woman Thatcher was and how she set the UK on the right path.

In contrast millions and millions of UK people will be expected to sit at home with their views unrepresented.

Well the Social Media revolution have provided people who suffered under Mrs T to make their view heard in a small way.

I don't buy the notion that the people buying this song are unemployed, young or extremist.

I also don't believe that most of them are Tory hating left wing militants.

I expect many of them looking back dislike Blair as much as they disliked Thatcher. 

My theory is that these are normal, hardworking, middle aged people who don't have the time to protest but want to have their voices heard in a small way.

What is this such an offensive thing?

tweetSP0RT
tweetSP0RT like.author.displayName 1 Like

Might be worth pointing out Aitken is of course a convicted perjurer for which he served 7 months (or an 18 months sentence).  Just another Tory crook like Archer who's also been spouting off this week.

Sooner this evil woman has been cremated the better so we can get back to stopping her poisonous legacy in the guise of our current Tory (and indeed previous new-Labour) government from destroying this country any more.  

MaxStone
MaxStone like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

Mr Aitken, distastefulness is a personal opinion - I personally considering people registering their protest about Thatcher's ideologies much less distasteful then the government using tens of millions of pounds of public money on a funeral over overblown pomp and ceremony during a  time of massive cutbacks and tax hikes for everyone else.

JohnOtfDrumonandon
JohnOtfDrumonandon like.author.displayName 1 Like

Morrissey along with Annie lenox's have made public profound and astute realistic analysis and observation on UK Politics following the expected government backed propagandist views on that politician's  death!   

I'm now inspired that the awakening around the world is slowly becoming more apparent, and visible. I fully believe at some point in the near future, people might come out of the proverbial closet and publicly announce that they have lost faith in this current, corrupt, unjust, inhuman, greedy, narcissistic & evil paradigm. 

Considering we are supposed to live in an intelligent civilized society, why is it that our leaders appear to be the least intelligent, least noble, the least visionary, the least informed, most selfishly greedy & dangerous of all the citizens in our nations.

The sooner we as humanity have our awakening tsunami of the mind, and become aware, then we can look to where the human race is headed.   

We are in a fork, right now, today.   We go one way, and we have WW3, Death, Destruction, poverty, hunger, suffering, all whilst those behind it, are kept safe.   The oil, the money, oligarchs, the "elite" the politicians, the media, the tiny 0.1% of the world they stay still control the game.  Us the players, we are the losers.

Our children could be given an opportunity to live in a world where they are not bombarded with propaganda programming to keep them in fear & to accept the enforced scarcity, illegal and inhumane wars death & destruction of "INNOCENT" children, women & men around the world in OUR NAME so that a few can get richer and have even more power and money, whilst our children are expected to die in their games!

We lose our future, our hope, our dignity.  We then succumb to their system again.  This time, think 1984 George Orwell's dystopian    yet prophetic novel.  Add some futuristic element of the psychological neutering from equilibrium you get the picture, it stinks like sulphur!

Alternatively, we withdraw consent as a world.  We down tools, walk away from all payments, stop contracting / transacting and giving our implied consent on that version of the future.

Like lions, we roar and like ants we come together and remove this broken system, "bit by bit"  We work together, we never allow interest groups, corporate funded political parties, lobbyists, money or leverage to rule over us again.  We work for the better of the whole, rather that at the expense of the whole.

That future, would usher in peace, happiness, health, freedom, we could thrive, never again have to live in fear or enforced scarcity.  

Could that be a future, to use as a starting template, and build upon it?

I have high hopes for 2013, being the year, we all follow the yellow brick road, and see that behind the curtain, that booming voice, it's just a sad old network, that is ruling by fear.  Walk away from the fear it has no power.   <3

remymarco
remymarco like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

Margaret Thatcher was an idiot, the perfect compliment to her American counterpart, Reagan.

DanJohanson
DanJohanson like.author.displayName 1 Like

@remymarco We are all still paying for their " steal from the poor and give to the rich " economic policies.

cstopp
cstopp

Really? She stole from the poor? You seem to forget about privatizing the banking sector which brought Great Britain into the 20th century. You also seem to forget that she brought unemployment to 5% when it was almost 14% when she was elected. Are you seriously going to try and tell a thinking, rational person that the economy under her leadership didn't thrive? You might not like her policies, but they absolutely worked. Check the facts before sounding like a blind ideologue.

Buck88720490
Buck88720490 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

I hope someone has the good sense to play the song on loudspeaker at her funeral. We will never forget the harm you did to us, Thatcher, nor the families you destroyed.

I hope it's as hot as burning coal where you are now.