Friday, April 12, 2013

Thatcher: A rival campaign, as Cooper fluffs it

Whoever would have thought the legacy of Thatcher would turn out not to be a debate over the merits of Keynes against Alan Walters, but a silly spat over a song from The Wizard Of Oz.

It's telling that the big fans of Thatcher have, through their orchestrated attacks on the BBC, managed to turn what might have been a sombre week of reflection into a giggling morass of point and counterpoint over the Munchkin's signature tune.

It then gets funnier, because they cry "but you keep talking about it", thereby churning the story on and on. What would have been a Facebook campaign to control the commanding heights of the lower 20s of the chart has instead become the dominant theme of Thatcher coverage.

Clearly, now, more people are buying the record to make Charles Moore go even more vermillion in the face than to dance on Maggie's grave. Every column inch in the Mail turns what had been a bad taste kick of a corpse into a much more cheerful tweak of the establishment's nose.

But hey: why don't the Thatcher fans try and counter this protest by showing how much she was loved by a portion of the population?

Ooh, Louise Mensch. I understand you've got an idea?

Uh... I was thinking more of that Thatcher single where she read the Gettysburg Address, or maybe Telstar, which was one of her favourites. But, er, yes, if you want to endorse The NotSensibles, a group who were self-identifying as being not sensible, clearly taking the very piss out of the idea of anyone being in love with Margaret Thatcher, go for it.

I'm expecting Nadine Dorries to be pushing Shipbuilding in the belief that all that talk about reopening the shipyards is an endorsement of Thatcher's industrial policies.

Meanwhile, after days of speculation over whether the BBC will or won't play Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead on Sunday, Radio One's uncomfortable-in-a-suit controller Ben Cooper has managed to concoct the most wonderful fudge by proclaiming that they'll play five seconds and talk about the song.

He was on BBC News a short while ago, trying to suggest that what might appear to be fudge is something else entirely - maybe butterscotch, or cinder toffee.

At one point he said something which will only prolong the agonies - that it was inappropriate to play an attack on a person "who hasn't yet been buried".

Which means that a week on Sunday, once the former Prime Minister is in the ground, he might have to drag through the decision again. Does the change in status from above to below the horizon suddenly make a difference?

There's no indication why five seconds is any worse or better than the full fifty-six seconds. Either the song is offensive - in which case, don't play it; or it isn't, in which case play it in full.

Cooper suggests when Rage Against The Machine was number one, they edited that record and this is the same thing. Except it isn't, is it? There's a difference between removing a "fuck" from a record going out on the radio, and removing fifty one seconds of a track not because of the content of the song but because of the imputed motivations of the people buying it.

Cooper wasn't going to please everyone; instead, he's created an illogical mess.

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