Thursday, April 18, 2013

Maggie's Dignified Send Off

It was pleasing to see that today's ceremonial funeral for Margaret Thatcher passed off without any significant incident. Much was made of the threats to use the event for anti-Thatcher / Tory political demonstrations. But all attempts to barrack and disrupt proceedings were drowned out by a genuine outpouring of support by the many spectators that lined the procession's route.

The Bishop of London's words were spot on regarding the Maggie behind the mythological figure. It was right that we look to her as the person she was rather than the caricature her fans and detractors have in their minds. His words regarding the common and deliberate misrepresentation of her words "There's no such thing as society" were also very welcome. It is one of the mainstay myths that the Left use to try to portray Thatcherism as a creed of greed and individualism. In fact, she was saying the opposite. She was saying that society is made up of individuals, families and neighbours but it is not synonymous with the state.

Typical misrepresentation of
Margaret Thatcher's words
The suggestion that people's needs, ambitions and desires are not wholly determined and delivered by the state goes against a central tenant of Left wing thinking. The idea that people should demonstrate personal responsibility for their families, friends and neighbours and shouldn't always look to the state to provide, without some effort themselves, is an anathema to many on the Left. As we've seen with Labour's opposition to recent welfare reform, and their record of expanding the client state exponentially during their time in power.

But today wasn't about politics, it was about marking the passing of the 20th centuries longest serving and first ever woman prime minister, who came to power at a time of decline and unrest and changed our country. Many think for the better, some for the worse. But either way, today was not the time, and her funeral not the place, for political demonstrations. So it's good to see the attempts to make it so, fail.

You win again. RIP Mrs T.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Sickening as it is to see people celebrate the death of Margaret Thatcher, I was not one of those calling for a ban on the playing of Ding Dong The Witch is Dead. I'm pleased to see no ban was introduced. I say that, but it seems it depends on your definition if the word "ban".

The BBC had taken an editorial decision to play a short clip of the track today, with an explanation, rather than the whole thing. This decision was a compromise, allowing the chart placing of the track to be marked but recognising that the track is only there due to a campaign directing personal hatred at someone who has only just died, and is therefore distasteful by any normal person's standards.

It has not been banned. The government has not told anyone they can't play it. In a free country media organisations have the right to choose whether content they carry is suitable for their audience or not. As a public funded organisation, the BBC has to take a particularly sensitive view on the content of prime time programmes such as the top 40 chart show.

Arguably, the BBC's decision is the worst of all worlds. On the one hand they are not playing in full a track that is legitimately in the Top 40 (albeit it only as a result of social media driven manipulation of the charts). On the other hand they are drawing attention to the pathetic hate driven rationale behind the track charting when, if they'd just played it with no explanation, many listeners would just be bemused as to why it was there at all. I understand that, in the event, the DJ chose not to mention the title of the alternative, Thatcher fans backed "I'm In Love With Margaret Thatcher" when she played it. So, all in all not that balanced a decision after all.

But still, this is a free country and the BBC has every right to take whatever editorial decision they want. And people are free to criticise it. But some interpret the Beeb's editorial decision as an outright ban. The most ridiculous commentary I've read comes from, unsurprisingly, The Guardian and Nick Cohen. Where he equates the situation to censorship in Communist China.

It's a surprise as the left is not known for exaggerated and offensive comparisons is it?