Margaret Thatcher “made Britain great,” the Telegraph declared. “So completely has her legacy shaped modern Britain, so fully have she and her ideas been woven into its fabric that it can be hard to appreciate the depth of our debt to this most extraordinary of individuals.”
Revelers across England would at least agree on the reach of her legacy. So deeply do they feel Thatcher stripped bare the welfare nation that streets from Leeds to Liverpool and London filled with people on Monday celebrating her death. Some even ate cake.
Twitter erupted with anger-fueled joy on news of the Iron Lady’s death at 87:
“Working class around the globe will cheer to the end of Thatcher tonight,” reads one tweet.
“Hope that **** burns in hell,” states another.
“Fireworks and flares going off in town!” notes one from Liverpool.
“Sat sipping a proper #whisky from #Scotland one of the few industries not destroyed by #Thatcher#,” someone boasts.
Another says simply: “Let the party begin!”
And so it did.
“For years and years people have discussed how they will party when Thatcher died,” one reveler explained on the phone from London. (He asked to remain anonymous because his job prohibits public political comments.)
He learned about a party in Brixton, south London, on Facebook, and decided to go because he is “relatively glad” she’s gone. By 9 p.m. about 300 people—”aging punks” in their 30s, 40s and 50s—filled the street outside the Ritzy Picturehouse.
“It was quite boisterous,” he said. “The chant when she was prime minister was, ‘Maggie! Maggie! Maggie! Out! Out! Out!’ People just kept chanting, ‘Maggie! Maggie! Maggie! Dead! Dead! Dead!’”
Some graffitied anti-Thatcher slogans. Others made posters: “Ding dong, the witch is dead” and “Rejoice!”
Someone arrived with pints of milk. When Thatcher was minister of education in the 1970s, she cut a government program that provided free milk to school-aged children. From that day she was known at Thatcher the Milk Snatcher. On Monday evening, her critics toasted her demise with milk.
Someone climbed the balcony of the Ritzy theatre to unfurl a banner: “The bitch is dead,” it read.
The crowd swelled and police officers milled around. Says our source: “It was all very good-natured” — an odd way to describe a death party.
Online there was vulgar jubilation. The Telegraph closed its comment sections. “Even our address to email tributes is filled with abuse,” editor Tony Gallagher said.
“It does seem odd to be celebrating someone dying,” our source agreed upon reflection. But the parties were about so much more than Thatcher, he explained. “Thatcherism is still alive and well. People were sort of celebrating Thatcher dying because they dramatically failed to defeat Thatcherism.”