Tuesday, 9 April 2013

On the death of Margaret Thatcher

Some responses by artists and performers to Margaret Thatcher, who died yesterday.

I don’t agree, by the way, with partying in the street, or attempting to disrupt the funeral. This might satisfy the grievances of a minority of left-wingers, but must seem distasteful to most Britons, despite everything Thatcher did in her war against the working class. The enemy is not one old woman with dementia who had no direct influence on politics any more: it is Thatcherism as the ideology of right-wing reaction against the advances of the left from 1945-79.

John Cullagh: I’ll Dance On Your Grave Mrs Thatcher




Morrissey: Margaret on the Guillotine


The kind people
Have a wonderful dream
Margaret On The Guillotine
Cause people like you
Make me feel so tired
When will you die?
When will you die?
When will you die?
When will you die?
When will you die?

And people like you
Make me feel so old inside
Please die

And kind people
Do not shelter this dream
Make it real
Make the dream real
Make the dream real
Make it real
Make the dream real


Hefner: The Day That Thatcher Dies


We will laugh the day that Thatcher dies,
Even though we know it’s not right,
We will dance and sing all night.

I was blind in 1979, by ’82 I had clues,
By 1986 I was mad as hell.

The teachers at school, they took us for fools,
They never taught us what to do,
But Christ we were strong, we knew all along,
We taught ourselves the right from wrong.

And the punk rock kids, and the techno kids,
No, it’s not their fault.
And the hip hop boys and heavy metal girls,
No, it’s not their fault.

It was love, but Tories don’t know what that means,
She was Michelle Cox from the lower stream,
She wore high-heeled shoes while the rest wore flat soles.

And the playground taught her how to be cruel,
I talked politics and she called me a fool,
She wrapped her ankle chain round my left wing heart.

Ding dong, the witch is dead, which old witch?
The wicked witch.
Ding dong, the wicked witch is dead.


Danny’s speech from the movie Brassed Off (1996).



Elvis Costello: Tramp the Dirt Down


Well I hope I don’t die too soon
I pray the lord my soul to save
Oh I’ll be a good boy, I’m trying so hard to behave
Because there’s one thing I know, I’d like to live
Long enough to savour
That’s when they finally put you in the ground
I’ll stand on your grave and tramp the dirt down


Pete Wylie: The Day That Margaret Thatcher Dies!



But the final word belongs to Gerry Adams, leader of the most advanced political current in these islands. The working class suffered across Britain, but nowhere so intensely as in the occupied counties of Ireland, where the armed struggle meant a risk of death:

Margaret Thatcher did great hurt to the Irish and British people during her time as British Prime Minister.

Working class communities were devastated in Britain because of her policies.

Her role in international affairs was equally belligerent whether in support of the Chilean dictator Pinochet, her opposition to sanctions against apartheid South Africa; and her support for the Khmer Rouge.

Here in Ireland her espousal of old draconian militaristic policies prolonged the war and caused great suffering. She embraced censorship, collusion and the killing of citizens by covert operations, including the targeting of solicitors like Pat Finucane, alongside more open military operations and refused to recognise the rights of citizens to vote for parties of their choice.

Her failed efforts to criminalise the republican struggle and the political prisoners is part of her legacy.

It should be noted that in complete contradiction of her public posturing, she authorised a back channel of communications with the Sinn Féin leadership but failed to act on the logic of this.

Unfortunately she was faced with weak Irish governments who failed to oppose her securocrat agenda or to enlist international support in defence of citizens in the north.

Margaret Thatcher will be especially remembered for her shameful role during the epic hunger strikes of 1980 and ’81.

Her Irish policy failed miserably.


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