I do not agree with a lot of the tweets that are flying about Margaret Thatcher The Guardian published an article about Thatcher being a remarkable woman, but an awful Politician, which kind of give me a framework to begin to understand this week. Unfortunately the two are merging.
The BBC’s decision to play five seconds of the ‘Ding Dong the Witch is Dead’ – a song from a 1939 musical starring gay icon Judy Garland – is made in the light that the song has gained a cult status as a protest against the legacy of Thatcherism. I appreciate the sentiment of the song as a protest, as a child I was taught the slogan ‘Maggie Thatcher milk snatcher’ it was part of growing up. She was called a lot of things during her time as Prime Minister due to the misery she inflicted. Whilst I do not wish her personal ill (nor her family)I do appreciate the sentiment.
There are better songs to be honest ‘Ghost Town’ by ‘The Specials’ could almost be the anthem of Sheffield:
This town, is coming like a ghost town
Why must the youth fight against themselves? Government leaving the youth on the shelf
This place, is coming like a ghost town
No job to be found in this country
Can’t go on no more
The people getting angry
But the mood has been ‘ Ding Dong The Witch is Dead’ is the chosen song of protest, and whilst I do see the reasoning behind it I can see why celebrating the death of anyone is macabre, it shows the hatred in our hearts, and more than a lack of compassion, and even though compassion is something that Thatcher lacked for the North, but still my calmer voices says the song is wrong.
The decision has been made not play the song, even though it is in the ‘Top Ten’ – instead of impartiality and playing it as ‘another record’ it has made a political decision to censor a record because of pressure from the Conservatives who feel it is disrespectful - which it is probably is.
Any decision we make, or do not make, is political. The decision, whether right or nor, was a political decision by the BBC and its impartiality has been seriously called into question. .
George Orwell said
“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
The record may be wrong, but the decision not to play is also wrong
I can say a lot about Thatcher, but she was about ‘freedom of choice and speech’ and the power of the market place, and this record being in the Top Ten is a result of market forces, and the Government cannot predict or control the market. I see a deep irony in that a woman who was for deregulation and that we cannot stomach today the results of the outcome, after all we had to stomach the ravages of Thatcherism.