As I write this, Judy Garland's Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead is listing at number two in the UK singles chart. On Amazon, three versions of the song have made the current top 20 bestsellers list, while Elvis Costello's Tramp the Dirt Down is at number 13. While supporters of the late Margaret Thatcher will dismiss this as a mean-spirited school boy prank, I see it as a creative way for Brits to correct the national narrative being constructed by BBC and Cameron's Tory government.
The Baroness was hated by at least as many in Britain as admired her. After two days of revision and lionizing by the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the BBC, and praise from politicians the world over, the most recent poll finds still only 50% of the population think she was good for Britain. This will not stop the government from providing state funding for a 'ceremonial funeral', irony being lost on Tories. And most importantly, it won't stop the revision.
That's why I support the campaign to see Ding Dong make number one. It's important to counter the revision of Thatcher's legacy by making it clear we do not agree with it. That the whole of Britain did not support Maggie or her policies and most importantly, we still don't. That is important because her policies are still decimating the UK, and Cameron's policies wouldn't have been possible without her. The 'bedroom tax' is identical to the 'poll tax' in effect - taxing the poor to make up for giveaways to the rich. He will use her death as propaganda and in this small cheeky way, we can fight that.
And let's be clear on what Thatcher's legacy is: She supported brutal regimes around the world, from the Khmer Rouge to Pinochet; she opposed sanctions on South Africa's apartheid regime while referring to Nelson Mandela and the ANC as "typical terrorists". She lengthened the war in Ireland by possibly decades.
Her assault on the lower and working classes was never ending. She cut milk for school children, lowered the top tax rate while raising the bottom one, doubled VAT, and privatised pretty much everything she could without creating competition. She crushed the unions and then industry, especially mining, and finally launched the 'Big Bang', pushing high risk financial deregulation of the financial industry that directly led to the global recession, bailouts, and cuts we're facing today.
The Baroness is the reason for today's housing crisis, the welfare crisis, the financial crisis, and finally, she advised Tony Blair on how to turn the Labour party into the new Tories while the Conservatives turn into the American Republican Party.
She spent her post Downing Street years as a consultant for Phillip Morris. In short, she was a vile human being whose 'bravery' can be attributed to just not giving a shit about people.
Making Ding Dong number one in the UK charts may seem childish, sure. But it also helps combat the revisionist narrative played across UK media. And it follows in proper punk tradition. It's a small, creative way to force the media to acknowledge Britons dislike for policies that have crushed the country. It is a far cry from what needs to be done. We need to organize effectively to stop and reverse this government's continued attack on the working and middle class. We need to stop operation of the machine. But right now - in your office cubicle, or dorm room, it's a simple way to say no to the propaganda, and remind the world that most of us are not sad to see Thatcher go, and we'll celebrate properly when Thatcherism is gone.
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