Monday 8th April 2013 brought about the death of former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The news prompted reactions as divisive as opinion on 'The Iron Lady' had always been. Scottish parliamentarian George 'shall-I-be-the-cat' Galloway, comedian Mark Smith and the ever coy Morrissey were quick to lace up their dancing shoes. Others were more reserved in marking such a monumental event.
At Folk and Tumble, we occasionally pass comment on the world around us but first and foremost we’re here to talk about music and whether she was loved or loathed there were many tunes of varying content and quality penned throughout the years about the Thatcher years and her enduring legacies.
From The Smiths, The Style Council and other Red Wedge acts to the two-tone of Madness and The Beat, everyone had something to say. Here’s a quick rundown of my personal top ten. I won’t be dancing in George Square, Glasgow nor anywhere else for that matter but in the interests of delving into the archives and enjoying some good tunes, here is my top ten Thatcher era Folk & Tumble anthems.
This collection of tunes can be enjoyed as you see fit. Mark the passing of this formidable, iconic premier however you wish. There were many more acts with something to say but for the most part, the 80s tunes were as bad as the shiny suits and awful haircuts. Even Ireland’s own national embarrassment Bono got in on the act with some spurious rhetoric and nursery rhymes. That’s one best left off the pages of any self-respecting site.
We raise a glass to the protest singer and leave you with these words from Billy Bragg.
This is not a time for celebration. The death of Margaret Thatcher is nothing more than a salient reminder of how Britain got into the mess that we are in today. Of why ordinary working people are no longer able to earn enough from one job to support a family; of why there is a shortage of decent affordable housing; of why domestic growth is driven by credit, not by real incomes; of why tax-payers are forced to top up wages; of why a spiteful government seeks to penalise the poor for having an extra bedroom; of why Rupert Murdoch became so powerful; of why cynicism and greed became the hallmarks of our society. Raising a glass to the death of an infirm old lady changes none of this. The only real antidote to cynicism is activism. Don’t celebrate – organise!