COMPARE and contrast the deaths of Princess Diana and Margaret Thatcher, as told by Alastair Campbell, Tony’s Blair’s older spin doctor. He writes on his blog:
…Cameron decided to…tear up his own travel plans, and head back to London effectively to demand a recall of Parliament…
So we are left with the question – why? What was so urgent that these tributes could not wait until Parliament was back? And it is hard to escape the conclusion that as a politician, not as a national leader, Mr Cameron and his team saw some advantage. Perhaps, as has been suggested to me by a civil servant, he was worried that the many Thatcher worshippers on the Murdoch papers, the Mail, the Telegraph and the Express would turn their ire further upon him if he did not bow down in worship with them. Perhaps he felt some potential benefit in associating himself closely with a strong leader who, in death, was likely to have greater focus on achievements than failings. Perhaps he felt that this association would help him with his right wing which fears he is not a strong leader, and that his brand of Conservatism is shipping support to UKIP. Perhaps he thinks her presence back at the heart of national debate will help him with the difficult decisions ahead, on welfare for example.
Some of his readers write in response:
Cameron is doing what he always does, i.e. making it up as he goes along and not missing an opportunity to bathe in what he probably sees as reflected glory. He’s an opportunistic media savvy, snake oil salesman.
Yep, you’re right. This is a seedy attempt by the Conservatives to promote themselves…
Readers may well recall the words of Campbell’s boss Tony Blair when Diana’s died:
“I feel like everyone else in this country today, utterly devastated. She was the people’s princess, and that’s how she will stay, how she will remain, in our hearts and in our memories forever.”
Campbell wrote in his Diaries:
Such are the facts.
Photo 1:Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron delivers a reading next to the coffin of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during her funeral service in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s Iron Lady, was laid to rest Wednesday with a level of pomp and protest reflecting her status as a commanding, polarizing political figure.
HOW did the local newspapers respond to the death of Margaret Thatcher? Did Nottingham and Dorset have a shared view of the thrice-elected Prime Minister? What about Wales and Scotland? Is she lamented in Derry as she might be in Oxford?
A few of the juxtapositions between Thatcher’s image and the other fornt-page news jar and amuse: The Daily Echo (Bournemouth) has news of hospital bugs; the Hull Daily Mail has news of a “benefit cheat mum” and the Yorkshire Evening Post says “Heart Ops Get The Go AHead”. Maggie died from a stroke.
REBECCA Lush Blum has created the Facebook page Turn Your Back On Thatcher: police sanctioned protest about this grotesque state funded funeral.
WHAT did we learn for the Margreat Thatcher death parties? Personally, I learned nothing. I knew she was divisive. I knew the BBC was idiotic (they banned the Ding-Dong The Witch Is Dead song). I knew anyone who wears a jester’s hat in public shouldn’t and that anyone over 12 who sees juggling a mode of self-expression has issues. And that was it.
Writing in the Daily Express, Peter Hill learnet more:
Thatcher’s dead ‘parties’ have shown the political Left to be utterly unworthy of government. They have shown the political Left to be utterly unworthy of government, motivated as they are by spite, envy and pettiness and, as Mr Blair has pointed out, devoid of any purpose other than protest.
Labour’s leaders have affected to distance themselves from the shameful, graceless mob but that’s where their support comes from. Let’s hope voters remember.
Read the rest of this entry »
HOW do you get voters to pick your party? In Austria, the Citizens’ Forum Austriam, aka FRITZ (led by Fritz Dinkhauser) seem to be offering sex with every ‘X’. Yeah. Vote FRITZ and get f***ed. There’s a kind of honesty in the message…
ANDREW Mitchell, the Tory MP for Sutton Coldfield who lost his job as the Party’s Chief Whip when he was accused of calling Downing Street police “fu**ing plebs” has a new job. Mitchell, who denies using the p-word, has been hired by Montrose Associates.
What do they do, then?
In an increasingly complex and unpredictable world, the threats and the opportunities multiply and take on new forms… They face new challenges arising from corporate relationships and partnerships, political and reputational threats, and regulatory and security concerns. Handled correctly, these different dimensions of international business represent opportunities to stand out and grow more successfully.
THE pathetic BBC made the drive to make a Judy Garland Wizard of Oz No.1 in the hit parade a meaningful political act by banning it. Others who wanted to celebrate Baroness Margaret Thatcher death have been drinking in Brixton and meeting in Trafalgar Square. There, a man held aloft a pig’s head. It was not his own. “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie – dead, dead, dead,” came the chant. A few Millwall fans arrived and tried to tear down a banner. And it was, all said and done, a bit pathetic.
“If people could print off … sheets of Ecstasy tablets at the party they’re at at that time, that just completely takes away our border protection role in its known sense… In the near future we will need to protect a digital border instead of just locating physical objects as we do now. If it’s made of atoms, you’ll be able to print it… [it] will change the very existence of mankind beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations”
DING! DONG! This was the day the newspapers decided to be more like The Onion. It is what Margaret Thatcher would have wanted. She was always sticking up for the little people.
THE idiotic BBC has decided not to play the Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead, the tune from the Wizard of Oz reinvigorated by the anti-Margaret Thatcher. It will not feature on the Official Chart Show. All 51-seconds of it have been censored.
Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper tells the BBC:
”The decision I have made is I am not going to play it in full but that I will play a clip of it in a news environment. When I say a news environment, that is a newsreader telling you about the fact that this record has reached a certain place in the chart and here is a clip of that track.
“It is a compromise and it is a difficult compromise to come to. You have very difficult and emotional arguments on both sides of the fence.
“Let’s not forget you also have a family that is grieving for a loved one who is yet to be buried.”
THE Daily Mail has campaigned for press freedom. It says “no” to Leveson. The same Mail wants the BBC to ban Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead, the ditty from the soundtrack of the 1939 film The Wizard Of Oz and sung by Judy Garland.
It’s in the Top Ten following Margaret Thatcher’s death.
Maybe Mail/Telegraph could campaign for some kind of state regulation of the media to prevent Wizard of Oz songs being broadcast?
Party! Booze? Fags? Pop? The students…
… asked for the a screening of Ken Loach’s documentary film Which side are you on? to ‘continue the celebration’.
HYON Hak Bong is North Korea’s ambassador to the Britain. The embassy is a seven bedroom house in Ealing, west London. Is it the most humdrum, average embassy in the country?
Signs are that Bong had left the house. The North Korean leaders have written:
The situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to a thermonuclear war … North Korea does not want to see foreigners in South Korea fall victim to the war. All foreign institutions and enterprises and foreigners, including tourists, are requested to take measures for shelter and evacuation in advance for their safety.
Where is Mr Bong?
MARGARET Thatcher: cats or dogs? Lady Carla Powell of Bayswater settles the debate:
“Lady Thatcher adored animals. I have a dachshund puppy called Maggie that she loved. I name all my animals after friends and distinguished people. I have two black sheep called Barack Obama and Colin Powell.”
Photo: Sir Charles Powell, fromer private secretary to Margaret Thatcher, and his wife Carla outside Buckingham Palace in London after he receives his Knighthood form HM Queen Elizabeth II. Date: 16/07/1991
OWEN Jones is turning into a troll. Writing in the Independent, he looks at Margaret Thatcher’s legacy:
In the coming days, some on the right will attempt to snuff out criticism of her legacy… Those who grew up in the Britain that Thatcher built will be patronised: you were still learning how to walk at the height of her power. And that is why it is crucial to separate Thatcherism from the woman who spearheaded it.
Eh? What about the Labour Party, who waged at least one of its wars on a lie? The Labour Party that gave us an undemocratically elected Prime Minister? The Labour Party that caused the current recession? The illiberal Labour Party that sought to control our eating, drinking, smoking and thinking?
THE best thing you can say about Margaret Thatcher’s attitude to football was that she rarely used it to coin easy popularity. To her, football was a thing that needed controlling. Football to Thatcher was a threat to the social order. The Sunday Times said football was a “slum sport watched by slum people in slum stadiums”.
So. Football will not mark her passing in any special way. There was no minute’s silence for the former Prime Minister at Old Trafford last night as Manchester United took on Manchester City. Good. The minute’s silence has become the most overused tribute going.
Photo above: Margaret Thatcher sharing a joke with England footballers, left to right, Kevin Keegan, Terry McDermott, Phil Thompson and Emlyn Hughes and other members of the international squad outside 10 Downing Street when they were leaving after attending a reception given by Mrs Thatcher. Date: 05/06/1980
This was not snub. Maggie Thatcher (once an honorary vice-president of Blackburn Rovers) was the Prime Minister when English football was in the mire.
Photo: Screen shot from ITN News showing the fire that swept through the main stand at Bradford City’s football ground. The club were playing Lincoln City in the last match of the season. 56 people died and 265 were injured as a fire swept the packed stand just before half-time.
On May 11 1985, 15-year-old Ian Hambridge left his Northampton home to see his first football match. Birmingham City Football Club were playing Leeds United. A riot saw 80 fans and 96 police officers injured. Ian was stood by a 12 ft high wall, which collapsed. You might have read about him. But it’ unlikely. Because on that every day a fire took hold at Bradford City’s ground killing 56 people.
A short time later, on May 29, Liverpool played Juventus in the European Cup Final at Belgium’s Heysel stadium. Another riot. Another wall collapsed. 39 Italian fans died in the mayhem. English clubs were banned from European competitions.
In a era of lows, the infamous footage of Millwall fans rioting at Luton Town stands out.
Thatcher’s Government assed the The Football Spectators Act of 1989. It made ID cards compulsory. To be a football fan you needed to carry ID. You were no longer a citizen of a free democracy. You were a pariah the State wanted to control. Margaret Thatcher, regarded football fans as the “enemy within”.
Thatcher ordered Justice Oliver Popplewell to investigate football. He suggested fences to keep the fans from the pitch.
Bradford City FC chairman Stafford Heginbotham (left) with Mr Justice Popplewell, in front of the stand which was burnt at Bradford’s Valley Parade ground. The 57-year old judge spent more than half-an-hour touring the ground. He headed the inquiry into the blaze.
Chelsea chairman Ken Bates suggested electrifying it. If it was good enough for his cattle, it was good enough for football fans. (The GLC prevented Bates from plugging it in.)
1985: Chelsea chairman, Ken Bates, indicating the controversial anti-hooligan 12-volt electric wire on top of the 12ft high fence screening spectators from the pitch at Stamford Bridge football ground when it went on public show for the first time.
Then came the horror of Hillsborough, in which 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death. The police refused to open the fences at Sheffield Wednesday’s ground. The dying and uninjured were not instantly recognised as victims. They were a public order matter.
The police lied, saying that hooliganism was to blame. How much did Thatcher’s Government know?
So. Does Baroness Thatcher get a minute’s silence at sport she was no fan of? The Daily Mail’s Jeff Powell thinks she should, writing beneath the headline:
No Old Trafford tribute for Baroness Thatcher… Shame on football for snubbing the lady who rescued our game from tribal hooligans
A snub? Who in their right mind would want to remember football’s dark days?
As they took their comfortable seats on Monday night, feeling safe and secure as they enjoyed the match, in many cases savouring the hospitality of their boxes, how might they have reflected on the lady without whom such glittering stadiums would never have been built? And where might English football be now, had Thatcher allowed football to wither on the vine of feral violence and tribal hooliganism?
She wanted to bring in those aforementioned ID cards. And what of Hillsborough?
Did she save the national game? Without question.
On Monday night, that contribution to the beautiful game went unrecognised.
What about Hillsborough, then?
The long haul towards all-seat grounds, monitored by closed-circuit television cameras, began. It was a battle which would not be won until, by a terrible irony, the people of Liverpool became entrapped in an even greater disaster of their own, at Hillsborough four years later.
Trapped in disaster, literally and metaphorically as the State, media and police colluded to wrongly blame the victims for their own deaths.
Of course, watching football has improved massively. Matt Dickinson writes in the Times:
Taylor’s report in 1990 rejected Thatcher’s ID cards and heralded the era of all-seat stadiums. Indeed, it was as Thatcher tearfully departed in late 1990 that the conditions were coming together for football’s boom. The growth might well have been called Thatcherite given its reliance on club flotations (Manchester United became a plc in 1991), free-market economics, the arrival of Rupert Murdoch’s BSkyB paying its first £300 million for a TV deal and the elitism of the new Premier League.
We now have minute’s silence for economic policy? Please, no. Football and politics… never!
Update: Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan and Reading’s Sir John Madejski want a minute’s silence for Maggie.
Whelan: “We owe Mrs Thatcher a minute’s silence. It is not my decision, it is for the FA to decide, but I would be in favour of wearing an armband out of respect to Mrs Thatcher. We have to say thank you very much for the services the former PM has given us.”
Madejski: “We have got to appreciate that Margaret Thatcher was a world leader who did so much for this country. So much that she deserves a minute’s silence. The funeral’s going to take place at St Paul’s attended by the Queen and Prince Philip so I think it would be a fitting tribute from the world of football to Margaret Thatcher, one of our greatest leaders.”
WHEN Margaret Thatcher died, Twitter went into overdrive. All over the place tweeters wer asking”Who’s Margaret Thatcher”? The hashtag #nowthatchersdead was read by many as “Now That Cher’s Dead”. Many just wanted to know who the Iron Lady was. They could have looked it up. But better to just shout out.
MARGARET Thatcher’s funeral will enjoy the same status as they of Princess Diana and the Queen Mother. It will either be a global event steeped in mawkish emotion and teddies, or largely ignored. Voices on the Left react:
Sunny Hundal in The Guardian:
“Let me be clear: it’s isn’t nice to wish death on most people, and I’m not doing that here for Thatcher. She deserves a degree of respect like other people, in my view, despite what she did as prime minister. Surely Thatcher herself would agree that poor taxpayers should not be further burdened in these times of austerity.”
HOW do you report on the death of Margaret Thatcher? The newspapers’ front pages show us how. The pick is The Times’ cover, which opts for simplicity over opinion:
DOESN’T it warm the cockles to see men in Brixton, London, holding up a sign declaring “THE BITCH IS DEAD”? The ‘Bitch’ was Margaret Thatcher, the only woman to lead one of three main political parties and become Prime Minister. When a woman is successful and powerful she is a ‘bitch’. Others who disliked her have been wondering if Baroness Thatcher was even a woman. Loathe her for her policies, if you must, but don’t hate her for being a woman. You only end up looking like a misogynist and a p**ck.
IN May 1988, Polly Tonybee wrote about Margaret Thatcher in the Washington Monthly. The diatribe was entitled “Is Margaret Thatcher A Woman?”.
Yes, she was. And a mother. But Tonybee wants to present Thatcher as a man, her Spitting Image puppet made flesh.
True enough, Thatcher never gave another women a job at her Cabinet table. But, then, it was her simply being there, Britain’s first female Prime Minister, that makes her a symbol of female emancipation and power. Like her or loathe her, Margaret Thatcher believed she could be Prime Minister. And she made it happen.
THE BBC tells its readers:
LIVE Baroness Thatcher Dies
WORDS on Margaret Thatcher’s passing will run into the millions. But only STV has the apparent scoop that her son Mark Thatcher has also died.
In other news, over 300 people massed in Glasgow to celebrate the former Prime Minister’s death.