Margaret Thatcher: Ding Dong The Wicked Witch Is Dead..? Featured

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Being online at the same time that it was announced Margaret Thatcher had died was a bit like entering a surprise party: lots of people desperate to jump up and down, shout, and generally make a lot of noise (without really saying, well, anything), whilst you just stand there not really sure whether to laugh or cry.

Immediately, the internet was flooded with circulation of Maggie related content; be it hatred, respect, facts, rumours, analysis – it was a field day for the opinionated. One of the best things I saw all day was this graph (pictured right), first submitted last year by Martin Belam, which is both terrifyingly and hilariously accurate. And then, of course, there is the fact that the song, 'Ding Dong The Wicked Witch Is Dead' has made it to top 20, prompted by Maggie's death. Ouch.

The reaction of the public saw paths so crossed that it was as if the M11 had been plonked on the A1. There came many messages giving their condolences, including David Cameron’s “A great leader, a great prime minister, and a great Briton”, Geri Halliwell’s “1st lady of girl power” (later deleted) and Obama’s tribute that “The world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and America has lost a true friend”. Whatever your opinions on Cameron, you’ve got to respect a former spice girl and a pal of Jay-Z.

And of course, the loathers. Revellers at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton changed the cinema listings to read ‘Margaret Thatcher’s Dead Lol’. Frequent tweeter James Martin rewrote an Elton John classic to include lyrics such as “it seemed to me that you lived your life, Like a lantern in a mine, Always threatening an explosion, to the picket line”, whilst the rest of twitter went to town with one liners:

Websites such as reached 227,050 ‘likes’ with the quip “the lady’s not returning”, and Vagenda’s ‘Was Margaret Thatcher a feminist?’, including a 49p carton of milk in how to ‘Steal her Style’.

On a more serious note, the newspaper headlines ranged from sophistication in the form of “Loved, Hated, Never Forgotten” and “The First Lady”, (from the Northern Echo and The Times respectively), to the Sun’s crass “Maggie Dead in Bed at Ritz” and the Socialist Worker’s “Rejoice!”.  Well, you can’t fault them for being two-faced.

My favourite reaction of all comes in two parts. First, the hashtag #nowthatchersdead resulting in thousands of confused fans paying tribute to Cher. Secondly, after Harry Styles tweeted ‘RIP Baroness Thatcher x’, some of my favourite replies include “is he your friend” and “is market thatcher something to do with our queen?”. The response of less, um, politically aware fans prompted such a strong viral reaction, one twitter user went to the trouble of making a ‘Thatcher for One Direction Fans’ guide, including instructions such as:

 “Margaret on Unions: Simon Cowell is treating the boys badly and keeping all the money they make for himself. They boys aren’t happy about this and make a joint pact not to sing. Margaret forces them to either perform or break up”. Inspired.

So, there you have it. The reactions of the death of The Iron Lady went so far and wide it would be impossible to try and summarise them in one go. Whether loved or loathed, here is a woman whose death sparked the conversation, debate, celebration, and mourning of a nation. The press rushed to write about her, television rushed to broadcast her. She was undeniably an extraordinarily influential figure. Besides, without Thatcher’s Britain, society may never have evolved to bear the child that is Made in Chelsea. I’ll leave you to think about that.

Lizzie Scourfield

History student at the University of Leeds. I have a special sort of love for Sean Paul and puns.


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