Celebrating the Death of Margaret Thatcher in London
Cheers “Maggie Maggie Maggie, dead dead dead”
Several hundred people gathered in south London on Monday evening to celebrate Margaret Thatcher’s death with cans of beer, pints of milk and an impromptu street disco playing the soundtrack to her years in power. Young and old descended on Brixton, a suburb which weathered two outbreaks of rioting during the Thatcher years. Many expressed jubilation that the leader they loved to hate was no more; others spoke of frustration that her legacy lived on.
To cheers of “Maggie Maggie Maggie, dead dead dead,” posters of Thatcher were held aloft as reggae basslines pounded. Clive Barger, a 62-year-old adult education tutor, said he had turned out to mark the passing of “one of the vilest abominations of social and economic history”. He said: “It is a moment to remember. She embodied everything that was so elitist in terms of repressing people who had nothing. She presided over a class war.”
Builder Phil Lewis, 47, a veteran of the 1990 poll tax riots, said he had turned out to recall the political struggles the Thatcher years had embroiled him in. “She ripped the arsehole out of this country and we are still suffering the consequences.” Not all those attending were old enough to remember Thatcher’s time in power. Jed Miller, 21, clutching a bottle of cider, said: “She was a bit before my time, but family never had anything good to say about her.”
Not all were there to celebrate. Student Ray Thornton, 28, said he was there to commemorate “victims” of Thatcherism. “It is a solemn day. It is important to remember that Thatcherism isn’t dead and it is important that people get out on the street and not allow the government to whitewash what she did,” he said. Unemployed Kiki Madden scrawled “you snatched my milk and our hope” on a fence and said she felt slightly guilty taking delight in Thatcher’s death, “but in the end I can’t deny the fact that Thatcher made me so unhappy when I was a kid. I grew up in Liverpool and all my friends’ dads lost their jobs on the docks under Thatcher. It was an awful time.”
Alex Bigham, a local Labour councillor, condemned the event, taking to Twitter to brand it disgraceful. In Glasgow, more than 300 people gathered in the city centre for an impromptu party, organised on Twitter. Members of organisations including the Anti-Bedroom Tax Federation, the Communist party, the Socialist party, the Socialist Workers party and the International Socialist Group, were joined by members of the public in George Square. A chorus of “so long, the witch is dead” erupted, along with chants of “Maggie Maggie Maggie, dead dead dead,” from the gathering as champagne bottles were popped.
BY Barry Neild