Many time-honoured social conventions have been discarded in recent times in our headlong rush to demonstrate how modern and relaxed we have all become, but we still, more or less, stick to the maxim of “not speaking ill of the dead”. At least not in the immediate aftermath of their demise, when their families’ grief is still raw.
Yet news of the passing of the frail 87-year-old Baroness Thatcher, so confused that she had to be reminded almost daily that her husband was dead, was greeted with street parties in Brixton, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool and Glasgow. In south London, the scene of rioting in 1981 during her first term in office, the letters on the billboard outside a cinema were rearranged by masked vandals to read “Margaret Thatchers dead LOL [Laugh Out Loud]”. In Glasgow’s George Square, revellers drank champagne, wore party hats and sang, “Ding, dong, the witch is dead”. In Leeds, they shared a celebration cake. In Liverpool they gathered for a “death party”, and in Bristol joined forces under the banner, “May she never RIP”.