As predictable as night follows day, the news of Margaret Thatcher's death was followed by an imperial sh*t-tonne of abuse on social networking sites. The balance to this was our televisions being filled with the sycophants canonizing Thatcher as if she still held power in death (like how Soviets kept Stalin's name revered for a few years after his death until they realized that he wasn't actually able to send them to Siberian labour camps any more). Then the rest of the discussion was people telling other people how naughty it was to celebrate an old lady snuffing it.
People who also didn't love Britain's former headmistress bellowed "YOU HAVE TO RESPECT THE DEAD". But do you? And who's being disrespected if I put on a party hat and listen to Fiesta by The Pogues?
When people say they're happy that Thatcher is dead or that they're going to celebrate, they're not celebrating the fact that an 87 year old woman had a stroke and slumped from her mortal coil. The fact is that the woman who died this week was simply an a priori icon in British culture throughout a decade of turmoil. That turmoil, the poll tax, the miners' strike, and the rest of it, are all intangible concepts - they don't physically exist. You can't touch or feel the idea of a trade union. Nor can you touch or feel the Thatcher that inhabits most peoples' psyches.
"Thatcher" in 99.9% of peoples' heads is some intangible transcendental figure associated to those other wishy-washy things that can't be seen. Maggie's a state of mind, maaaaan. Neo-liberalism is a concept, a set of ideas, not a thing that you can keep in a box under your bed to keep the lefties away while you sleep.
Thatcher's existential status is crucial in this debate. The real woman who died, Margaret Hilda Thatcher, simply doesn't exist in most peoples' minds. She's not a thing that they can interact with. But the fact that people know she does exist as a concrete entity in a tiny minority of peoples' lives means that they can take all of the ethereal sh*t that they hated about Conservative policies of the 1980s and make it real and tangible by placing it all onto a woman who happened to die this week. There's a difference between a person thinking a public figure like David Cameron is sub-human scum and going up to him and telling him that to his face. Even if somebody were to do that, they're only really referring to the ethereal Cameron who is known by most to be scum, but talking to the tangible Cameron.
Labour politicians are avoiding joining in with the celebrations because to them she was an actual woman who existed in their world.
People aren't celebrating the fact that an old woman that they never met died this week. People are celebrating because they feel that there is closure on a sh*tty decade during which rich people got rich and poor people got bummed with anti-lube.
An old woman whose job used to be in government died this week, and people are celebrating. However, to celebrate Maggie's death is not disrespecting a dead woman who actually existed. That's not the person whose death is being celebrated. The person whose death is being celebrated is the ethereal, intangible, ideal woman who has only ever existed in peoples' minds. The irony, of course, is that these types of people are immortal. People are celebrating the death of the wrong Thatcher.