It has been 23 years since Margaret Thatcher actually was prime minister of Great Britain, but a substantial portion of the British public harbour surprisingly negative memories of her. Internationally she is mostly seen as an  effective  and fearless leader, if somewhat truculent. To her advocates Thatcher rescued Britain’s economy with a dose of tough love that ended government support to dying industries, checked the influence of unions and helped make Britain globally competitive. On the world stage she was a tough cold warrior who is given credit for helping speed the reformation of the Soviet Union. But her death last week has laid bare a deep  pocket of resentment from those who feel her time in office made victims of the British working class. A non-scientific poll in the Daily Mirror showed  three quarters of respondents object to the 10 Million pound price tag of Baroness Thatcher’s funeral. A Sunday Mirror poll showed six out of ten opposed. The wife of the speaker of the House of Commons says she will boycott the funeral Last week the song ”Ding-dong, the witch is dead,” was briefly the number one song on a BBC playlist. The Telegraph reported that football fans danced in the stands at Reading’s Madejski Stadium, singing: “Let’s all do the conga, Maggie is no longer.” They also chanted “Maggie’s dead, dead, dead,” and “Margaret Thatcher’s dead, and now we’re going to party.” Footballing authorities decided not to attempt to observe a minute’s silence for  Thatcher at games last weekend fearing it would likely be met with jeers and a mass showing of disrespect. The RT news agency reported In addition to a massive  protest in Trafalgar Square, Saturday, Facebook sites have been set up calling for parties to be held to celebrate the former Prime Minister’s death.  The Maggie’s Good Riddance Party said it will hold a “right jolly knees up” (dancing) outside St. Paul’s Cathedral on the day of her funeral, which is scheduled for Wednesday, and turn their backs on the funeral procession as it passes. The funeral will take place Wednesday. It will be  televised on BBC. The Queen and Prince Philip will attend.

John Best has had a lengthy media management career, in television and radio and now print. As Vice President, News at CHCH in Hamilton, John oversaw a significant expansion of the news operation. He founded Independent Satellite News, Canada’s only television news service providing national content to Canadian independent TV stations. John is a frequent political commentator on radio and television, a documentary producer and author of a book and numerous articles on historical and political subjects. John is a past recipient of the New York Festival’s award for writing in the International TV category.

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