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Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead: a win for the right.

Your reaction to Margret Thatcher's death says more about you than it does her. As I write the song "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead" is climbing the iTunes chart and looks set to be number one for the UK countdown on Sunday. Street parties are being planned and "edgy" BBC comedians are posting delighted tweets:

Reaction to her death by people who classify themselves as “left wing”, reveals an awful lot about the so-called ideology they claim to represent. Knowing this the “right wing” press has covered it with obvious glee. There is even an article here (links to Media UK) which shows how The Daily Mail are clearly trying to ham up the disrespectful reactions. The reason is obvious, snotty kids dancing on an elderly woman's grave will not play well with most people and whatever causes those who behave so smugly in the face of death claim to support are tarnished by association.
The terms "left" and "right" work as forms of control which hinder political thinking. They are obviously divisive but what’s interesting to me is how predictable they make people's behaviour. Broadly speaking the “left wing” mindset is inspired by love and the “right wing” by fear. The left like to think of themselves as being on the side of good:

"To be good you had to be on the left [...] the Thatcher administration [...] appeared to reaffirm the Left's monopoly of goodness".

"What's Left?" - Nick Cohen 
At first it seems obvious that love is better than fear and if it's an either/or choice the majority first tend towards the left moving to the right over time as old age sets in and fear becomes a bigger factor:

"If you're not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative at forty you have no brain".
Winston Churchill
However the left's issues can be easily understood by anyone who has had to deal with the unwanted affection of a would-be lover, it's an emotion which can easily turn to hate. Furthermore if you genuinely believe you’re acting in a kind, caring and loving manner, your opponents surely cannot be on the side of good, they must necessarily be evil. This is how many of Thatcher’s “left wing” opponents saw her and in this context her decisions become deliberate acts of malicious cruelty, instead of mistakes. In short she was seen as a manifestation of evil who was hated by many of those whose ideas she spurned.

Recently I had a conversation with a friend about Thatcher and he told me that she'd been on his "machine gun list" throughout the 80's. In his eyes the damage she did to The North of England had ruined the lives of many people. I asked him if he was disappointed when the IRA failed to murder her in 1984. He looked shocked and genuinely horrified, despite having only moments ago been talking about doing pretty much the same thing.



The terms "left" and "right" have their origin in the French revolution. Like any good superhero (or villain) from a comic book, this origin story carries the seeds of its identity. In their parliament those on the left hand side of, The King Of France, the side most vulnerable to the sword arm, were those who opposed him. Nowadays it is accepted that the French revolution required brutality and its advocates have had to see violence as a necessary means justified by their noble and loving ends. It's a period of European history which is very revealing as regards understanding the mindset of “the left” and their cheery acceptance of cruelty in the name of “the cause”.

Make no mistake about it, laughing over a dead old lady is cruel. Even the most infamous of anti-Maggie tweeters implicitly accepts this with his "two wrongs make a right" argument which was posted a few hours later:
However it was the orgiastic levels of violence in France which was used at the time by the emerging British media to put people off going down the same route again here. Actual cruelty and violence does not have mass appeal and the chaos it implies is not a welcome guest for most households. The right wing know that the hateful nature of their opponents is a weakness in terms of the mainstream and they are clearly exploiting it.

So the “left” are doing exactly what their opponents will have expected and appear to have prepared for, celebrating the death of an old (and in their eyes evil) woman. The “right” has anticipated this move on the chessboard and are now using it to stoke up fear as a response so that the so called silent majority are presented with an implied choice between the two. No matter which way you slice it, from a distance laughing and gloating over the death of an old woman is never going to have mass appeal, so every time someone decides to join the Maggie-Bashing-Bandwagon it’s a win for the right. They must be praying that song is still at number one by Sunday and civil disturbances on the streets on Wednesday during the funeral would be nothing short of a PR Godsend.

2 comments:

Paul langley said...

What amazes me is the amount of young people who have a vociferous hatred of her even though they were not even alive when she resigned.

I believe that whatever you believe of her, you should keep it quiet for a short period and just pay a quiet respect to someone who did lead the country for eleven years.

If the left were smart they would do that. The right are ready to hit out at people and call them unpatriotic/malicious for having a party of a 87 year old woman who died in bed through a stroke.

Most people who are commenting on this though social media were not around at the time, nor have they have any concept of the political system. Nor how, rightly or wrongly, it's changed though her administration.

Jackie said...

Well it all turned out to be a bit of a damp squib in the end.
The song didn't get to Number 1, a handful of people turned their backs but the tv cameras zoomed in on the cortege, so they were barely seen and some people in Yorkshire had procession.
Katherine Jenkins' cleavage caused more outrage than most of the protests put together.
First point - Mrs T's death wasn't really about a frail old lady, she symbolised an era and a philosophy and it the death of the symbol that was being lamented/celebrated.
Secondly, and more importantly, in a world where in many countries, a similar event of national interest would bring crowds onto the streets sounding their car horns and firing guns into the air, we Brits chose to mark the occasion by reviving a 75 year old piece of musical doggerel.
Deeds like these make Britain great.

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