THOMAS: Britain's hateful politics
BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- The death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has prompted reactions from Britain's far left that takes bad taste to new extremes. During its Top 40 music countdown Sunday night, BBC Radio 1 was "forced" to play a seven-second clip of "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" from the 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz," because Thatcher haters had bought enough copies during a feverish online campaign to bump it to the top of the pop charts. It ultimately reached the number two spot, 5,000 sales short of the top position.
If you think U.S. politics has become too corrosive, consider the British variety. Call it patty cake vs. cage fighting.
"Death parties" have been held across the UK at which anti-Thatcherites celebrated her passing. Anarchists, who demonstrated their hatred for Thatcher over the weekend, plan to join other haters for a demonstration at her funeral on April 17, which has prompted Scotland Yard to make preparations to defend heads of state, or their representatives, along with celebrities against terrorist attack.
A veteran Metropolitan police officer, sergeant Jeremy Scott, tweeted that he hoped Thatcher's death was "painful and degrading," adding the world would be a "better place" if Prime Minister David Cameron and some of his cabinet members were also dead. Scott has since resigned.
The Daily Mail reported that a drama teacher named Romany Blythe called Baroness Thatcher a "despot" and said: "They danced in the streets when Hitler died, too."
Some students who attended death parties were too young, or not yet born, to be aware of the Thatcher years. The Daily Telegraph quoted 21-year-old Aamna Mohdin, a biology student at Queen Mary, University of London, who called Thatcher a "terrible person" and a "draconian woman" who did nothing for women or feminism.
These are the products of "higher" education. One student who attended a death party was quoted as saying she didn't become a liberal until she went to university. No surprise there.
Why such visceral reactions to a woman who served her country for 11 years as prime minister? For many, government is a drug to which they have become addicted. They need the drug to survive. Margaret Thatcher tried to break that addiction and get her people to support themselves. Anyone who suggests it is possible, even desirable, to break the government "habit" becomes the target of the "addicts" and their enabling politicians, both in life and now in death.
The British press has reported on families in which several generations have been on "benefits" with no expectation of ever working, and no motivation for finding work. They are offended by suggestions they look for a job.
Thatcher sought to break that cycle and in so doing angered many who thought it their "right" to be on the receiving end of other people's money. The debate in the UK mirrors that taking place in the United States as too many politicians, reluctant to tell anyone "no" for fear of losing votes, indulge people in their social and economic addiction to government.
The battle being fought in both countries is between those who value the individual as supreme and others who regard the state as supreme. In the UK and U.S., government has exceeded its boundaries and just as last winter's floods in the UK have caused severe damage, there has been similar damage to liberty and the promotion of capitalism in both countries.
The Cameron government has cautiously tried to emulate Thatcher in its reform attempts. These include the costly and underperforming National Health Service -- a preview of coming attractions if Obamacare is fully implemented in the U.S. next year.
If Cameron succeeds, the left will probably celebrate his eventual demise, too. Such is the poisoned well of British politics.