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Ding dong the witch is dead – Tories seek to crush power of free market

Whatever you think of the good taste of celebratory Thatcher death partying, it is an interesting spectator sport watching the Tories tie themselves up in knots over a chart-topping Wizard of Oz song and whether the BBC should permit the “free market” in music downloads to determine what it plays (admission: I’ve downloaded two versions in the last few days).

The Daily Telegraph which bizarrely refers to the song as an anti-Thatcher anthem — hardly what Judy Garland had in mind — is carefully hedging its position: their printed front page lead has “BBC chief refuses to ban Thatcher death song” in response to demands by Lord McAlpine and Sir Gerald Howarth, but the website has moved on to “Play Margaret Thatcher death song, her supporters tell BBC“. The clincher seems to be Nigel Farage’s more pragmatic than genuinely libertarian line of:

If you suppress things then you make them popular, so play the bloody thing. If you ban it it will be number one for weeks. Personally I think that the behaviour of these yobs – most of whom weren’t even born when Lady Thatcher was in power – is horrible, offensive and disgusting. Much as I hate it, I think that if you ban a record you make a huge, huge mistake.

All of this ignores the problem of how to explain the row to the kids who don’t know who Thatcher is and are rather more likely to have seen the dull Disney prequel Oz the Great and Powerful than the 75-year old masterpiece.

So the good news:

  • the row will help Ding Dong the Witch is Dead to the top of the charts,
  • the Tories have shown their authoritarianism but are having to bow to the will of the people, and
  • a new generation might get to discover that the newly techni-coloured joys of Judy Garland (even if I do prefer Ella Fitzgerald’s cover of the song) are worth a great deal more than the Disney remakes (though the latest is allegedly better than their 1985 version in which Dorothy is committed to a sanitarium for electroshock treatment).

And finally, for the film buffs, I’m not necessarily knocking remakes. The Judy Garland Wizard of Oz was amazingly the sixth film adapted from L. Frank Baum’s fairytale.


  1. Dave says:

    Great to see the Tories wrong-footed by the inventiveness of ordinary people. The words of Corporal Jones come to mind: They don’t like it up ’em!

  2. carole maxted says:

    And you call the Conservatives the nasty party.
    How would you feel if it was your Mother who had died being treated with such disrespect.

  3. carole maxted says:

    funny how my previous comment has taken so long to be moderated, is this a form of censorship?

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      Carol Maxted: I started the week resolute in my view that celebration of the death of Mrs Thatcher (as opposed to Thatcherism) was not something we should celebrate. I’ve seen several days of the deliberate (but ill-considered) exploitation by the Tory party of her death for political ends, of which most people have thoroughly tired. This piece was essentially a news story. You’d better get used to the fact that the woman many Tories hero worship was deeply divisive, is widely seen as having done much damage to the country and was much hated.

      And, given what has been argued by so many Tories, I don’t think you’re in any position to talk about censorship, which as you can see we don’t practice here. Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to moderate comments as soon as they appear 24/7.

  4. John p Reid says:

    Tories seek to crush power of free market, .. And the far left seek to encourage it, by getting people to pay to download it on ITunes,

  5. Laban says:

    “I started the week resolute in my view that celebration of the death of Mrs Thatcher (as opposed to Thatcherism) was not something we should celebrate.”

    But that’s preceded by “I’ve downloaded two versions in the last few days” and “good news: the row will help Ding Dong the Witch is Dead to the top of the charts”

    Is it possible to be both against celebrating her death AND in favour of it?

  6. Dave says:


    It is possible when the opinions are in sequence: starting off respectful then quickly realising the event is being used by the political and media elite to initiate a week long party political broadcast.

    But it’s not easy for ordinary people to gain access to national media and counter the Establishment view so they resort to whatever means are at their disposal – hence the popularity of a 69p download that makes the national news and indicates the presence of something other than a docile population.

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