Tue Apr 9, 2013 8:36AM
The death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has unleashed a hail of street parties, and other joyful reactions across Britain. In a show of the depth of public hatred against the former Conservative leader, hundreds of protesters gathered in Brixton, London and Glasgow to hold “Thatcher death parties” while similar parties were also planned in Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester. The public rejoicing was also clearly seen on the internet and elsewhere including among the members of the National Union of Students who cheered and applauded in their conference in Sheffield when they received the news of the former PM’s death. On the streets, protesters held banners reading “Rejoice Thatcher is dead” while others said they are “here to celebrate the death of a woman with blood on her hands”. Thatcher was never popular even when in power and she never won the votes of more than a third of the electorate because of her domestic policy of cuts and privatization leading to massive unemployment of up to three million people, which was unseen since the great depression of the 1930’s. A protester in Glasgow said the celebrations are totally appropriate because Thatcher committed “economic crimes” in the 1980’s that devastated many families. Her point was echoed by a member of the executive council of the Unite the Union in Glasgow Bryan Simpson who said they want to “point out that what she began is being continued by the Tories [PM David Cameron’s government] now”. In England, David Hopper, general secretary of the Durham Miners' Association, said her death was a "great day" for coal miners. Paul Kenny, General Secretary of Britain’s general union GMB, also paid his share of condemnation of Thatcher saying "her legacy involves the destruction of communities, the elevation of personal greed over social values and legitimizing the exploitation of the weak by the strong". People were also busy on the internet, making jokes about Thatcher’s death and tapping into their creativity to show their delight of the occasion. An e-petition has been launched on the official government petitions website poking fun at Thatcher’s privatization policy and the government’s decision to hold a state funeral for her. “In keeping with the great lady's legacy, Margaret Thatcher's state funeral should be funded and managed by the private sector to offer the best value and choice for end users and other stakeholders,” the petition, which has so far gathered 33,000 signatures, read. The public pleasure was also seen on Twitter with political comic Jamie Kilstein writing “To honor Thatcher I will punch a poor person and to spite her, hug a coal miner”. Another comedian Mick Ferry wrote “Maggie [Margaret Thatcher] is now working on a plan to privatize Hell” while political journalist Seumas Milne wrote called for “no state funeral for the most socially destructive prime minister of modern times”. Milne also tweeted that demands for “respectful silence” from “victims and critics of Thatcher” are “not only misguided but dangerous”. The apparently endless wave of delight among Britons for Thatcher’s death was completed by tens of thousands of likes and shares on Facebook and Twitter of a website set up three years ago. The website “Is Margaret Thatcher Dead Yet?”, which was updated with the word “Yes” boldly added to the front page after the former British PM’s death, faced a rush of likes and shares. It has so far collected more than 224,000 Facebook likes and nearly 15,000 likes on Twitter. AMR/HE