Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead

The demise of Margaret Thatcher, as mentioned in the last post, was not a subject to be pursued further by this author. There is, however, another matter far more serious that’s arisen as a result of her recent death.

Since the 1960s, the BBC has broadcast a weekly “Top of the Pops” program, featuring bands and recording artists whose records have either reached the “Top Twenty” in Britain, or are so successful as to make it just a matter of time before they do so.

Following the death of Margaret Thatcher, one record – a very old one – catapulted its way into these charts at number ten and has now reached the number three position, just twelve thousand copies behind the number one single, P!nk’s “Just Give Me A Reason”. It’s predicted to make the top slot.

Following pressure from high-falluting, right-wing, Tory pressure groups, the BBC has decided not to feature this record, in its entirety, on this week’s program. Instead, they’ll play a five second clip of, “Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead”, from the 1939 movie, “The Wizard Of Oz”, followed by “…a news item during the Radio 1 Chart Show on Sunday.”

The Guardian explains further:

The BBC has taken the unprecedented step of deciding to insert a news story into the show to explain to younger viewers why a track from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz has suddenly leapt into the top 10. Radio 1 has a target audience of 16- to 24-year-olds, none of whom will recall Thatcher’s premiership first hand…Hall [The new BBC director general] went into firefighting mode as soon as the row intensified on Friday with three Tory-supporting papers – the Daily Mail, the Telegraph and the Sun – rounding on the corporation for a plan to play the track. Gerald Howarth, a Tory MP, said it would be a “serious dereliction of duty”.

Hall spoke with the BBC1 controller, Ben Cooper, and the acting BBC director of radio, Graham Ellis, before making the decision not to play the Wizard of Oz song in full…The BBC also took the politically astute step of tipping off John Whittingdale, about their decision. The Tory MP, who chairs the Commons culture, media and sport select committee, was among those calling for the BBC not to play the song.

If it was to get his approval, it worked, as Whittingdale told the Guardian that he thought the BBC had made the “right decision” in difficult circumstances.

“I would have been very unhappy if the chart show was used to make a political point, not to mention the issue of taste. On the other hand, it would have been odd if it didn’t mention it. But putting it into context, I think, on balance, it is a sensible way of dealing with it,” he said…[1]

A sensible way of dealing with it, or political censorship? Quite obviously, if the song is about to become the top selling record in Britain, it’s because a majority of the British people want to hear it – for whatever reasons. What right do a bunch of Tory MP’s have to block it? And, more importantly, what right has the BBC – an independent broadcasting company paid for by the British public via a licence fee – to demur to their demands?

The BBC may be controlled by a bevy of pseudo-aristocratic layabouts who spend all their time swilling brandy in the posh, Moroccon-bound, armchairs of their Mayfair clubs, but Sparrow Chat isn’t.

Below is the complete version of, “Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead,” and it’s dedicated to all those poor wretches tortured and murdered in Chile under the foul regime of Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, whose vile death squads tortured and slaughtered thousands of innocents during the military junta’s reign of terror from 1973 to 1990.

Why? Because General Augusto Pinochet was a ‘dear and close friend’ of the late British ex-prime minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Which, perhaps, says more about her as a human being than any of her political machinations ever could.

[1] “Ding dong, the … BBC to cut Thatcher protest song short” Guardian, April 12th 2013

6 Replies to “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead”

  1. Well said RJ! One evening this week I switched the TV on 10 minutes too soon for the prog we wanted and heard two stuffed shirts on PBS pontificating on how wonderful Thatcher had been for the UK and the world. Cue a stream of very unladylike language from yours truly. ;-(

  2. Twilight – yes, PBS is becoming more and more like the mainstream media. It’ll be showing advertising next. (I note the BBC has started doing so on its website!)
    The ordinary people of Britain, and the world, have nothing whatever to thank Margaret Thatcher for.

  3. Revisionism at its finest, RJA, they forget how much blood is on her hands. A horrible woman.

    But they same is done for Reagan, Kissinger and The Shrub.


  4. Mary – thank you for that brief, intellectual, comment. I note your email is given as “@thatcher.com”, but the domain is, of course, non-existent.

    Why doesn’t that surprise me, I wonder?

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