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Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)

The Iron Lady managed to remain divisive in her death as well, just as she was in her prime during her primeministership when her privatisation policy, leading to confrontation with striking miners, and free-market politics transformed Britain in the 1980s. While tributes poured in from various quarters, including from heads of states and even British Labour party members, there were enough voices of dissent too on Twitter:

09 Apr 2013, 07:54:53 PM | Buzz

And, of course, there is Christopher Hitchens describing how he was spanked by Maggi once:

At once we were in an argument. Of Joshua Nkomo I remember her saying: ‘I think Joshua is absolutely sweet.’ That was the least of our disagreements. On one point of fact, too abstruse to detail here, I was right (as it happens) and she was wrong. But she would not concede this and so, rather than be a bore, I gave her the point and made a slight bow of acknowledgment. She pierced me with a glance. ‘Bow lower,’ she commanded. With what I thought was an insouciant look, I bowed a little lower. ‘No, no – much lower!’ A silence had fallen over our group. I stooped lower, with an odd sense of having lost all independent volition. Having arranged matters to her entire satisfaction, she produced from behind her back a rolled-up Parliamentary order-paper and struck – no, she thwacked – me on the behind. I reattained the perpendicular with some difficulty. ‘Naughty boy,’ she sang out over her shoulder as she flounced away. Nothing that happened to the country in the next dozen years surprised me in the least.

Actually, I was surprised by a few things. (After all, within a year or so of being elected she had steered Zimbabwe to independence under an elected majority government, something that no Labour government had summoned the nerve to do in more than a decade of dithering and funk.) But whenever I read of the humiliation of some over-mighty cabinet colleague – Geoffrey Howe, say, or Jim Prior or John Moore or Francis Pym – I could picture the scene only too well

09 Apr 2013, 11:40:46 PM | Buzz

And, of course, there was Elvis Costello (not a boy, but a man at 35) saying the unsayable: 'Tramp The Dirt Down' in a BBC2 Live Performance:


Here's Costello, talking about the song, some 25 years back:

“And some people no doubt might find that extreme. But it’s meant to be. I make no apology for that song. It’s an honest emotional response to events, and writing it was like casting out demons or something. And the song itself is the result of a form of madness, because when you get to that point of thinking these thoughts, actually wishing somebody dead, it really does become a form of madness. It’s a psychopathic thought. And it’s fucking disturbing to find it in your own head. But it would be cowardly not to express it. Because once it’s there, if you don’t get it out, it’s only going to come back and haunt you some more.

“I also think you have to remember that it’s not only her that the song is aimed at. It’s what she represents. The way she’s changed the way people value things. It’s like some kind of mass hypnosis she’s achieved. People are afraid to speak out. You know, one thing I thought I’d be asked when people heard it was whether I was saying it might’ve been a good thing if she’d died in the Brighton bombings. I don’t think so. It would have made things 10 times worse, because then she would have been a martyr. We would have had a dead queen. So really, in a profound sense, the song is hopeless. It’s a hopeless argument. Because I think it’s a hopeless situation. So, no, it’s not in a large, historical sense, going to change anything.

“But I think it does have maybe an individual effect. There’s always a chance it’ll sneak through somehow. Like, I sang it at a folk festival in the Shetlands, at one place that was very brightly lit and I could see the audience quite clearly. And all the way through, there was one guy nodding away, applauding every line obviously getting into it. And on the other side, there was another guy being physically restrained from getting up on the stage and hitting me. He just fused, he really went. You could see it in his face. And I thought, ‘Well, I’ve really got a winner now.’ To the extent, you know, that it had succeeded in being at least provocative.”

09 Apr 2013, 11:35:49 PM | Buzz

With David Frost:

09 Apr 2013, 11:22:05 PM | Buzz

Maggi moments 2/2

09 Apr 2013, 11:21:28 PM | Buzz

Maggi moments: 1/2

09 Apr 2013, 11:19:55 PM | Buzz

Take a bow, Monty Python:

09 Apr 2013, 11:17:24 PM | Buzz

Getting roasted over Falklands:

09 Apr 2013, 11:15:08 PM | Buzz

09 Apr 2013, 11:13:40 PM | Buzz

Bowing out:

09 Apr 2013, 11:12:22 PM | Buzz

U-Turn if you want to, the lady's not for turning:

09 Apr 2013, 11:11:54 PM | Buzz

On socialism:

09 Apr 2013, 11:09:23 PM | Buzz

No! No! No!

09 Apr 2013, 11:06:19 PM | Buzz

And of course, Pink Floyd's, more like Roger Waters', Final Cut:

09 Apr 2013, 11:03:45 PM | Buzz

Her way:

09 Apr 2013, 08:28:47 PM | Buzz

Ian McEwan in the Guardian: Margaret Thatcher: we disliked her and we loved it

"Maggie! Maggie! Maggie! Out! Out! Out!" That chanted demand of the left has been fully and finally met. At countless demonstrations throughout the 80s, it expressed a curious ambivalence – a first name intimacy as well as a furious rejection of all she stood for. "Maggie Thatcher" – two fierce trochees set against the gentler iambic pulse of Britain's postwar welfare state. For those of us who were dismayed by her brisk distaste for that cosy state-dominated world, it was never enough to dislike her. We liked disliking her. She forced us to decide what was truly important...

When the late Christopher Hitchens was a political reporter for the New Statesman, he corrected the prime minister on a point of fact, and she was quick to correct Hitchens in turn. She was right, he was wrong. In front of his journalist colleagues he was told to stand right in front of her so that she could hit him lightly with her order papers. Over the years, and through much re-telling, the story had it that Thatcher told Hitchens to bend over, and that she spanked him with her order papers.

09 Apr 2013, 08:00:06 PM | Buzz

The only safe place in Downing Street? Her handbag, of course.

09 Apr 2013, 07:55:55 PM | Buzz

Margaret Thatcher May Have Helped Invent Soft-Serve Ice Cream. Before she became the "Milk Snatcher," Thatcher found another way to work with dairy.

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